I’m glad to be able to review a Scottish rum from an island which is mostly known for its whisky – Islay. Last year the Islay Rum Distillery, which was built on the site of the former Hastie’s Lemonade Factory in Port Ellen, released their very first bottling.
For this project to come to life, Islay Spirits, a subsidiary of the independent bottler Vintage Malt Whisky Company entered a joint venture with the local start-up company, the High Road Rum Company ran by Ben Inglis. Ben is in charge of the rum production as the Head Distiller and he has big plans for their line-up with an aged and spiced rum in sight – it might still take a while though.
Geal (pronounced ge-al) is a Gaelic word that translates as “white/clear/bright” and is a reference to the unaged nature of the rum. The distillery started production in January 2022 and they use imported molasses which is fermented for around 4 days (or more for various experiments) and distilled using a double retort pot still – if you wish to read or see more of the distillery, just check this post by Rum Revelations.
The Original Islay Rum Geal is molasses based, fermented for 4 days and pot still distilled. Bottled at 45% ABV and with nothing else added except water.
On the nose it has that moreish profile I’ve noticed at many UK rum distilleries. Toffee, printer ink, white cardboard and biscuits. Coconut cream, almonds and a touch of sea water. It has a little bit of a meaty quality to it as well. Raw chicken breast, black pepper and peach yogurt.
On the palate the sweet profile continues. Coconut cream, whipped cream, biscuits and butterscotch. Almonds covered in white chocolate and salted caramel. It’s quite soft and easy-going with a thick mouthfeel. Black pepper, blueberries and some liquorice. The finish is medium with Raffaelo pralines.
The Islay Rum Geal is quite creamy and has a nice perceived sweetness to it and, while it’s enjoyable, I do find it just a little too easy to drink. Still a very lovely drop that makes a nice Daiquiri – just don’t expect any peat-like aromas just because it comes from Islay.
It’s priced at about £45 (Royal Mile Whiskies) which is a bit spicy, but it’s a very new distillery so it makes sense rum production is costy at the beginning. I am happy to see another Scottish distillery making rum and I’m expecting some exciting releases in the future from Ben.
The Original Islay Rum Geal:
Value for money: 12/15