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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Mount Gay Rum, Barbados

OK so it’s not a whisky distillery (in fact the visitors center wasn’t even in the actual distillery) but there were plenty of similarities with whisky production. Tammy and I visited Mount Gay in Bridgetown, Barbados in October 2011. Mount Gay claims to be the oldest rum distillery in the world with deeds going back to 1703. The visitors center is in the bottling and blending plant near the harbour (handy for export). In a process similar to Scotch whisky production, the spirit is produced at their distillery in the north of the island near the sugar cane production. The by product of sugar production, molasses, is fermented and then distilled into rum. Interestingly some of the distillation is done in a continuous Coffey still, the same way that grain whisky is distilled, and some goes through a double distillation process in pot stills, ie the same as malt whisky. The different distillates are then matured in ex-bourbon casks from Kentucky (another similarity with scotch and other whisky) and then, when the maturation process is deemed complete, the two different distillates are finally blended and bottled. At the end of the short tour and video we were given samples of their three main products, Mount Gay Eclipse (43% ABV), Mount Gay Eclipse Black (50% ABV) and Mount Gay Extra Old (43% ABV – I think). While not quite what I expected (no actual distilling etc) it was still worth the visit, very generous samples at end of tour and a party atmosphere throughout, I think even the people working in the gift shop has been sampling the goods, perhaps the tradition of dramming is alive and well in Barbados. This tour was all about drinking and buying rum and we obliged on both counts and left with a bottle of Eclipse Black.

More in this category: Bowmore, Islay, Scotland »

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St Nicholas Abbey, Barbados

I know you probably haven't heard of this one, it is a tiny rum distillery that was only opened in 2006.  It is located in the grounds of a house that was built in 1658, one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the western hemisphere, that we visited while on vacation in Barbados in October 2011.  The small distillery produces rum from fermented sugar cane juice (rather than the usual molasses - which is what is left after they remove the sugar crystals from the cane juice) and they distill in small pot still and then mature the rum in bourbon casks in their own bonded warehouse.  They offer free tastings and if you want to buy a bottle they even specially engrave the bottle in the distillery while you wait.  Recently found out via Twitter than you can buy the rum at Master of Malt website as well.... http://www.masterofmalt.com/rum/st-nicholas-abbey-10-year-old-rum/
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