Review: That Boutique-y Rum Company – Boutique-y Records

That Boutique-y Rum Company (TBRC) and That Boutique-y Whisky Company joined forces once again to launch a range of new bottlings, this time playing on pairing the spirits with certain musical styles based on their origins and/or name – welcome to Boutique-y Records!

In this review I will, obviously, be covering the rum range – I was initially planning to buy and review only the Casa Santana, but thanks to Peter Holland, the main TBRC guy, I have samples for most of the releases so why not bore you with a long one. TBRC is an independent bottler under ATOM GROUP who also own the online drinks retailer, Master of Malt and they focus on bringing interesting bottlings of various origins to the market – and so far they have done a pretty good job.

Here’s the rums line up:

The reason some labels have to use the “Secret Distillery” moniker in the name is that the producers of the said rums do not approve of using their name for bottlings that are not their own – which is fair, but if you know rum, it isn’t rocket science to figure these ones out. Now let’s get started!

That Boutique-y Rum Company – Casa Santana Colombia 6 Year Old (Batch 2)

Casa Santana sources rums from Colombia, but also other Caribbean distilleries – it’s basically a maturation house, they do not make their own distillates. Given the name and even the label hints, I don’t think you need to scratch your head too much to figure out which classic rocker you need to listen to while sipping this.

This is the 2nd batch from Casa Santana bottled by TBRC, I have also reviewed the first batch a couple of years ago and I remember enjoying it – now let’s see how this one fares.

TBRC Casa Santana is molasses based, a blend of rums from countries including Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad and Dominican Republic, column distilled, that have been aged at least 6 years. Bottled at a fairly easy 45% ABV, no additives or chill filtering and with a much smaller run than the first batch – 220 bottles in total.

On the nose has a lovely nuttiness. Smoked almonds, walnuts, apple strudel and Oloroso sherry. Ripe pears, cinnamon, aromatic tobacco and sour cherry pie. Some saffron and black pepper. Cappuccino, plums, burnt orange zest and black tea. It’s not as light as I was expecting.

On the palate it’s easy going, but has some spiciness too. Cayenne pepper, burnt oak, blanco vermouth and floral honey. Cocoa nibs, cinnamon sticks and dried figs. There’s a nice earthiness to it. Walnuts, cocoa butter and passion fruits. Hints of watermelon and peach. The finish is medium to long with tobacco and cappuccino.

This is not bad, easy to drink, yet fruity with layers of chocolate notes and woody spices. I like this and the £25 for 50cl price-point is really good. It’s not overly complex, but if you enjoy easy sippers get yourself one and enjoy it neat or in an Old Fashioned.

That Boutique-y Rum Company – Casa Santana Colombia 6 Year Old (Batch 2) score:
Flavour/taste: 47/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 77/100

That Boutique-y Rum Company – Secret Distillery #6 El Savador 13 Year Old (Batch 1)

Giving that there is only one (official) rum distillery in El Salvador, it is safe to say this comes from Licorera Cihuatan – Cihuatan means “land next to the sleeping woman” in the region’s native language and it has been beautifully represented on the label. According to the TBRC website, this is the “Easy Listening” offering, with a relaxing guitar playing in the background.

This will be a light style rum, but it’s been suggested it does contain some heavier distillates that set it appart – let’s see!

TBRC Secret Distillery #6 is molasses based, multi-column distilled and aged for 13 years, with 10 years spent in El Salvador and the rest of the maturation happening in the UK. Bottled at 57.8% ABV, without additions and with a limited run of 462 bottles.

On the nose it feels bright and fruity. Foam bananas, melon, yellow apples, pears and peach yogurt. Camomile tea, pistachios and kiwi. Has a sweet floral profile. Some white chocolate, vanilla and lemon sorbet. Add some wood spices to the mix.

On the palate the ABV makes it quite spicy. Lemon zest, dark chocolate, peaches, ginger and angelica root. Blackberries, charred oak and black pepper. Biscuits, Earl Grey tea, cardamom and sultanas. Some prunes, vanilla and saffron too. The finish is long with angelica root and stone fruits.

This one is good, although there’s an earthy bitterness I’m not fond of. On the light side, as expected, with pleasant bright, yellow fruit notes and some wood spice. The high ABV is nice, but I think I’d prefer the Casa Santana in terms of ligther rums. It’s priced at £63 for a 50cl bottle, and while it could be interesting to try, I don’t think it’s the best of the bunch.

That Boutique-y Rum Company – Secret Distillery #6 El Savador 13 Year Old (Batch 1) score:
Flavour/taste: 45/70
Value for money: 13/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 73/100

That Boutique-y Rum Company – Secret Distillery #7 Barbados 21 Year Old (Batch 1)

I’ll be honest, this is the one I’m most excited for. A 21 year old, pot still, heavy rum coming from North Barbados… and yes, I can confirm it was made at Mount Gay Distillery. This is before Remy Countreau owned the distillery and it was under the Ward family proprietorship. Frank Ward himself confirmed that they sold a parcel of pot still only rums to rum merchants in the past – this is very unique!

The rum should have similarities with the old Mount Gilboa, although this one is double distilled while the Mount Gilboa was triple distilled. Now, heavy Soca music for a heavy Barbados rum seems quite appropriate.

TBRC Secret Distillery #7 is molasses based, pot still distilled and aged for 21 years, with 6 years being spent in Barbados and the rest in the UK. Bottled at 52.6% ABV and unadulturated with a limited run of 407 bottles.

On the nose has that signature Mount Gay Pot Still aroma. Heavy stone fruits, mint, orange zest, cranberry juice and marzipan. Red apples, raspberries and a touch of wasabi. Some rose water, furniture polish and raisins. I want this!

On the palate it feels fairly similar to the Mount Gilboa I have reviewed earlier. Tic Tacs, wasabi peas, unripe stone fruits, lime juice and fresh ginger. Floral honey, cardamom and marzipan. It’s intense with this menthol profile. Vanilla and brown sugar. The finish is long with wasabi and stone fruits.

Oh wow, the intensity, I feel like I just had rum flavoured tooth paste – and I can’t complain. This is unique indeed, complex, fruity, spicy and while the maturation is there, the distillate is the main character. This is priced at £100 for a 50cl bottle and for its complexity and background it’s a no-brainer for any rum enthusiast that enjoys anything from Barbados.

That Boutique-y Rum Company – Secret Distillery #7 Barbados 21 Year Old (Batch 1)
Flavour/taste: 60/70
Value for money: 14/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 89/100

That Boutique-y Rum Company – Caroni Distillery Trinidad 24 Year Old (Batch 8)

Wouldn’t you also go to a techno-rave taking place in a rum distillery that has been defunct since 2002? Caroni is well known for its heavy, dirty, diesel-y profile that has split the rum crowd – that didn’t stop it from becoming a sought after rum, given its limited stocks and unique taste. Each release is becoming more and more expensive, so you should have at it while you can.

This one is a HTR – Heavy Trinidad Rum marque, which means it won’t disappoint the Caroni heads out there.

TBRC Caroni Distillery is molasses based, column still distilled and aged for 24 years, with around 10-12 years spent in the tropics and the rest of the ageing in the UK. Bottled at a lovely 61.5% ABV, un-meddled with and with a limited run of 332 bottles.

On the nose… well let’s take our time. Black olives, hot wheels (not joking, heated up tires), dusty cardboard and sharpie. Plums, dark chocolate and raisins. Some cloves and cinnamon. Molasses and a touch of minerality. Overripe bananas, black pepper and cacao nibs. Yep, it’s a Caroni!

On the palate I feel like I’m licking freshly poured asphalt (thank you for this tasting note, Gergo!). Black olives, Luxardo cherries, molasses, dark chocolate and peppermint – honestly this should pretty much sum it up. Grund black pepper and a touch of liquorice. Caramel dipped prunes, peaches and black tea. Add a drop of actual marmitte too. The finish is very long with treacle covered oak and black tea.

Eat a marker pen and imagine you actually enjoy it, this is Caroni! Definitely an aquired taste, do not take a full bottle of this if you have no idea what you’re getting into, just grab a taster. Now, if you’re a heavy rum fella and you’re running out of Caroni, this is a very good opportunity to get a refill – £235 for a 50cl bottle is quite the hole in the budget, but these guys (TBRC) are on the 8th batch with this and it doesn’t seem to slow down sales wise, so get your fix – I also reviewed Batch 2 here.

That Boutique-y Rum Company – Caroni Distillery Trinidad 24 Year Old (Batch 8)
Flavour/taste: 62/70
Value for money: 12/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 89/100

This range is very exciting, with distillates you wouldn’t usually see in the wild. Well done to That Boutique-y Rum Company, if you’re a rum person or planning to be, you should 100% keep an eye on these guys.


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