Review: Mount Gay XO Peat Smoke Expression

Today we go even further down the timeline with this Mount Gay release from a few years back. I actually remember trying this during one of my first trips to London that was specifically for a rum tasting event – oh, the memories! Funnily enough this one is still available to buy, although it will make a small dent in your wallet.

The Peat Smoke was probably one of the first times when Mount Gay went out of their comfort zone in order to create something a bit more niche. The Master Blender at the time, Allen Smith, used the old Mount Gay XO blend as a base which he finished in barrels that previously held peated Port Charlotte whisky from Bruichladdich distillery. That’s a combo that looks delicious on paper and not only, as it scored gold with 95 points at the IWSC.

Personally I’m not a fan of peated whisky overall, although I can appreciate the complexity beneath the smoky flavours, so this will be slightly challenging to asses, but not impossible.

Mount Gay XO Peat Smoke Expression is molasses based, a blend of pot and column distillates that have been aged between 8 and 15 years in ex-Bourbon casks and finished for 6 months in former Islay whisky barrels. Bottled at 57% ABV without any additions with a limited number of 6120 bottles in the wild.

On the nose it reminds me of a small barbeque. Smoked almonds, cocoa biscuits, toasted wood, new furniture and dark chocolate. Brownies, walnuts and burnt cinnamon in a Tiki bar. It has a slightly medicinal profile. Overheated electrical outlet, ripe pineapple, burnt orange zest and black pepper. It feels quite unique!

On the palate the peat flavour has a strong start while the rummy profile is saved for the end of the tasting experience. Burnt toast, blue cheese, smoked almonds and roasted peanuts. Black coffee, pineapple syrup and pink grapefruit. It’s slowly growing on me. Tobacco, new leather, raisins, cinnamon and overripe red apples. The finish is long with sweet cherries and smoked red chilli.

Not the kind of rum I would drink every day due to the fairly intense peat flavour, but it’s definitely interesting and adds a new layer to the already delicious Mount Gay XO. You can still get one for £185 and if both scotch and rum are your thing, then you’d be in heaven drinking this.

Mount Gay XO Peat Smoke Expression score:
Flavour/taste: 56/70
Value for money: 12/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 83/100


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