Review: J. Gow UKRC Single Cask Selection

This marks the 4th collaboration between the Facebook group The UK Rum Club and a rum brand. To make it even better, a portion of the profits from 3 of these collaborations, including this one, were donated to various charities. Pretty cool, eh?

Collin van Schayk is the owner of the J. Gow brand and he’s making the rum at the VS Distillery in Orkney, Scotland. I have previously reviewed a few releases from Collin such as the Fading Light, Revenge and Culverin. Based on the fact that I enjoyed all of them I knew I had to get this Single Cask Selection as soon as I heard about it – especially given charity is involved.

Collin worked with the founders of the UKRC, Steven James and Wes Burgin, in order to release this unique expression. A portion of the profits from each bottle sold, more exactly 10%, were donated to My Name’5 Doddie, a foundation that aids people all over the UK living with MND – according to Collin they managed to raise £850 so far and there are still bottles available on the J. Gow website.

This bottling marks a couple of firsts for J. Gow – this is the introduction of the first J. Gow release that used blackstrap molasses (grade C) which, according to Collin, has less sugar content but the end product retains more flavour. Secondly this is the debut of their Rioja casks which they scraped and burnt themselves with ex-Rioja cask number 48 being specially selected for The UK Rum Club.

J. Gow UKRC Single Cask Selection is molasses based and fermented up to 7 days with a small amount of dunder. Batch distilled and aged for, as the label says, not quite 3 years in an ex-Rioja cask – from 30th of October 2020 to 20th of July 2023. Bottled at 57% ABV without any additives with only 140 bottles available – mine is number 12.

On the nose it seems fruity and savoury. Gherkins, walnuts, dried fruits, red apples and Demerara sugar. Liquorice, Earl Grey tea, burnt orange zest and cacao nibs. Has a really inviting, dark aroma to it alongside some perceived saltiness. Canned peaches, cola, newly polished leather shoes and black pepper. Some subtle layers of menthol as well.

On the palate it’s quite intense and rich. Stone fruits, Demerara sugar, liquorice, canned mushrooms and black tea. Ginger, charred smoky oak and menthol. Reminds me of some full bodied pot still rums from Mount Gay or Beenleigh. Juicy red apples, raspberry jam, canned plums, pickled onions and treacle. Dried figs and marmalade too. The finish is long with both dried fruits and stone fruits.

Yep, this is a winner! It’s amazing to see how well the British rum scene is doing and this rum is a perfect example of that. Full bodied and layered with plenty of fruity and brown sugar notes. As I said you can still grab a bottle for £60 on the J. Gow website and I would definitely urge you to buy one – you’ll get a delicious rum and give to charity all in one go!

Well done Collin, Steven and Wes!

J. Gow UKRC Single Cask Selection score:
Flavour/taste: 60/70
Value for money: 17/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 92/100


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