This is a very special rum, having been originally produced specifically for the bar Death & Co in NYC. Thanks to Haus Alpenz, it is generally available to the public as well. This rum is a blend from Trinidad, made by combining a number of different pot-still rums aged from 3 to 5 years in small oak casks. As an added bonus, this rum is bottled without chill filtration and at a very respectable 98-proof, which means that it is absolutely bursting with flavor.
While I heard about this rum more than a year ago, the initial reviews, while mostly positive, made me somewhat wary. Thankfully I stumbled upon it finally being stocked at a local liquor store again and decided to take the plunge.
Taste: light honey sweetness up front, with spices, pepper and hogo appearing mid-palate, which opens up to reveal a bit of toasted oak and chocolate with a few drops of water
Finish: light, mostly residual hogo, which also opens up after adding water to give peppery toffee and mocha
On a number of occasions that I've tried this rum neat, it seems very closed at full strength. Almost nothing on the nose and a slightly lackluster palate. However, even the smallest amount of additional water makes this rum absolutely blossom with flavors. Maybe I've just become a little to used to high proof sippers, but I think this rum is just beautiful on its own. The balance and evolution of flavors is incredible, displaying bits from just about every style of rum out there in turn. To make an analogy, this is the Highland Park of the rum world.
However, even though it is magnificent on its own, this rum was designed with cocktails in mind. There are a few drinks made at Death & Co that were designed with this rum in mind such as the Drunken Dodo, the Kerala Cocktail, the Coin Toss, and the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. However, it also makes for a beautiful daiquiri or Mai Tai, as well as this little thing I put together:
1.5 oz Scarlet Ibis rum
0.5 oz lime juice
0.35 oz allspice dram
0.35 oz honey syrup
Combine all ingredients, shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
This is just a minor tweak on the classic Jasper's Jamaican. While the eponymous drink obviously calls for Jamaican rum, I think Scarlet Ibis fits into the mold almost perfectly. The cocktail retains the wonderful mocha and vanilla finish of the rum, hooking up with the allspice dram to give it a bit more pep. The honey syrup and lime play counterpoint, giving the drink both smoothness and zing at the same time. The higher proof of the Scarlet Ibis compared to most of the Jamaican rums on the market today (Smith & Cross and J. Wray excepted) also helps to buck it up. Overall, this is a very pleasant little drink.
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