At the start of February I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Kit Carruthers, the owner and maker of Ninefold rum, in person. My very first impression, which I unapolgetically expressed out loud, was that he was taller than I thought – although that might’ve been just my 5’7″ talking. That same evening Kit hosted a Ninefold tasting at Merchant House, London, complete with a slideshow and some very delicious rum, including his latest aged offering the Ninefold Barrel Aged Pure Single Rum Edition #2. After I tried Edition #2 I knew I had to get a bottle to review it, and to make it more fun, I am doing a side by side comparison to Ninefold’s previous aged release, the Nith Inshore Rescue Pure Single Rum which was launched for charity purposes.
Ninefold Distillery is set up in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland and was established in 2019 by the aforementioned Dr. Kit Carruthers – the rums I’m trying today are the oldest released by the distillery so far. Ninefold currently has in its core range an unaged Pure Single Rum and a Dormont Spiced Rum – there are plans for a continuous aged release as well, but so far all the previous aged bottlings launched were in limited numbers:
- Ninefold Barrel Aged Pure Single Rum Edition #0 – this was Kit’s first charity bottling and the very first aged rum coming out of the distillery with a limited amount of only 10 bottles;
- Ninefold Barrel Aged Pure Single Rum Edition #1 – the first 1 year old Ninefold rum, a single cask release consisting of 246 bottles.
So as you can see, despite the small output of his distillery, Dr. Kit Carruthers is no stranger to charity, something I very much applaud – and since we re on the subject, let’s talk about his 2nd charity release (and 3rd aged overall).
Ninefold Nith Inshore Rescue Pure Single Rum
For this release Ninefold collaborated with Nith Inshore Rescue and launched 100 bottles of Scottish aged rum in order to celebrate 40 years of lifeboat service and to support their continuous efforts.
Nith Inshore Rescue is an independent lifeboat service serving the Dumfries area based in Glencalple, 5 miles south of Dumfries in south-west Scotland, on the estuary of the River Nith close to where it joins the Solway Firth. The rescue boat service was founded in 1982 after the Nith repeateadly caused human casualties with its fast tides. Since then, Nith Inshore Rescue is a vital part of the emergency services for Dumfries and Galloway as well as northern Cumbria. As a side note, if you would like to help them and donate you can do so here.
Bottles numbered 1 to 5 were given to auction in order to raise as much money as possible, and all 5 of them came with a wooden presentation box made from local driftwood. The rest of the 95 bottles are being sold through the Ninefold website at £100 per bottle and all the profits are donated to Nith Inshore Rescue – there are still some available.
Now about the rum itself, this is a molasses based, pot still distilled Scottish rum. It’s a blend of 12 experimental rums that used a long fermentation between 4 and 8 days and were distilled in the spring of 2019 using various configurations of their 500 litre copper pot still. The blend was casked in a virgin American oak barrel (barrel #4) in September 2019 and in June 2021 it was moved into 2 former Oloroso sherry octaves that were used to finish Speyside and Islay single malts where it spent a further 3 months maturation – making this the first 2 year old Ninefold. The two octaves were blended back together at a 40:60 ratio in favour of the Islay cask and the rum was bottled at 59.2% ABV cask strength, free of additives.
On the nose you can definitely feel the Islay whisky influence. Smoked almonds, burnt wood, passion fruit, jara lemon zest and a medicinal aroma. Caramel, brown sugar, cacao biscuits and ginger beer. Canned plums and peat smoke. Islay profile is actually quite prominent.
On the palate the rum comes out to play. Toffifee, caramel, walnuts, biscuits and cacao nibs. Red apples, black pepper and some… ashtray – the Islay influence gives it a lot of peat smoke aroma. Ginger beer and nutmeg. The finish is long with Laphroaig and toffee.
Ok, if you read my blog, you’ll see I am not huge on peaty rums, although I can see how it can have its audience – and this is a Scottish rum so I guess it makes even more sense. Despite that, this is a well aged and balanced distillate. The Islay cask does not overpower the rum at all and you can feel all its sweet, toffee-ish profile.
Can be found at £100 a bottle and it’s meant for charity so I will not say anything about the price at all, on the contrary, wouldn’t mind if it was a bit more expensive. If you like peat and you want to support saving lives then this is definitely for you!
Ninefold Barrel Aged Pure Single Rum Edition #2
This is the one I tried in Dr. Kit Carruther’s presence and I remember finding myself praising it – and not just because its maker was there. Even Dawn Davies from The Whisky Exchange described it as the best aged rum she tried in the UK and that has to count for something.
This is also described as blend of experimental rums, molasses based, pot still distilled in 2019. A virgin 200 litres American oak barrel (barrel #5) was filled up to 50 litres with this blend in September 2019 and in March 2020 it was topped up with the re-distilled feints from the same experimental rums. The blend was moved in June 2021 in 4 former Oloroso Sherry octaves that were used to finish Speyside whisky and it was bottled at 59.4% ABV cask strength in January 2022 – so it was aged for at least 21 months. Only 256 bottles were released without any additives or chill filtering.
On the nose it has that lovely toffee aroma. Biscuits, ginger bread, raspberry jam, banana foams and ripe pears. Mango juice, sweet oak and chocolate milk. A touch of cardamom and some stout. Pencil shavings and white pepper. Very moreish!
On the palate it feels like a rum with a whisky-ish finish. Toffee sauce, red apples, biscuits, chocolate milk and cinnamon. Stem ginger, creamy stout, tobacco and cappuccino. Black pepper, cacao nibs and burnt orange zest. The Speyside whisky influence adds a faint layer of smoke and nuttiness. The finish is long with Nutella and some peat smoke.
Now this is definitely the winner! Subtle Speyside whisky notes while the rum just shines through delivering sweet (not sweetened) and creamy flavours. I am a fan, and for just £60 a bottle, everyone should definitely get one.
On paper both rums look fairly similar, with the only major difference being the Islay cask influence on the Nith Inshore Rum. In my opinion both of them are expertly fermented, distilled and aged and the only reason I prefer Edition #2 is that my palate doesn’t really do peat smoke – but then everything on this website is based on my (very subjective) taste so this is hardly the absolute truth. Hats down to Kit for continuously making some great Scottish rums while actively giving back to community.
There are some new things coming out of Ninefold soon, but my lips are sealed, just keep an eye on them
Ninefold Nith Inshore Rescue Pure Single Rum score:
Value for money: 17/15
Ninefold Barrel Aged Pure Single Rum Edition #2 score:
Value for money: 15/15