John Barret formed Bristol Spirits Ltd. in 1993 in order to deal with spirits and ageing them in barrels to be released under their banner. Over the last 2 decades the Bristol Classic Rum selection has attracted the attention of many rum lovers with interesting vintages, most notable from Guyana or Trinidad (Caroni). Interestingly enough the Trinidad I’m reviewing right now is not from Caroni, but it’s still a hidden treasure if I may say so.
Earlier in July I attended the trade session of the Rum Show and I just couldn’t skip the Bristol Spirits stand. As I was heading down there, Lance, The Lone Caner himself briefly stopped me in my quest and told me to focus on the Latin style offerings from Bristol ending his statement with a confident “you’ll see!”. I took that advice to heart and while having a nice conversation with Simon Askey (the new Sales Director for Bristol Spirits) I expressed my desire to try their Venezuela (which Lance already reviewed and praised) and Trinidad.
Indeed these rums were accompanied by some bold Jamaican and Barbadian labels because of which I might’ve ignored these hidden gems, but it’s a good thing that rum enthusiasts love sharing their… well… enthusiasm.
While some bits from the experience are a bit blurry – happens to the best of us – I do remember being very much pleasantly surprised by their Trinidad, which actually comes from Trinidad Distillers Limited (TDL). For those that might be unaware, TDL makes rums for Angostura, both the rums and the bitters, and truth be said… I am not a fan of their rum core range, too light and too dosed for my own liking.
The Bristol Spirits Trinidad is a molasses based rum, column still distilled in 2013 and brought in the UK in 2020. It would be safe to assume the rum was aged for 7 years in Trinidad and 1 year in the UK for the 8 year total. Bottled at 43% ABV, chill filtered and no additives as far as I’m aware.
On the nose it seems full bodied. Mothballs, unripe stone fruits, Cola lollipops, pink grapefruit and ground cayenne pepper. Unripe bananas, kiwi, yellow apples and pears. Surprisingly fruity yet sharp. Some mango, new furniture and black pepper. A touch of allspice, cinnamon and vanilla along with earthy notes. Very interesting!
On the palate it’s fairly intense and fruity. Melon, stone fruits, bright tobacco, cardamom and moth balls. Wasabi, toffee and mandarin. Feels like a milder Mount Gay Pot Still. Passion fruits, almonds and Cola. Grapefruit zest, prunes and lingering honey. The finish is medium to long with cocoa nibs, melon and acidic notes.
This is great, complex and quite full bodied, it doesn’t feel like the usual TDL distillates. It could be that Bristol Spirits bottled what would be the heavy marque rum that is used in the usual Angostura rums – regardless it feels like a good, balanced pot still distillate even if it’s column produced.
It can be bought for a mere £48 from The Whisky Exchange. My bottle will surely not last long!
Bristol Spirits – Trinidad 8 Year Old score:
Value for money: 15/15