Edinburgh-based whisky specialist, independent bottler and cask broker, Cask 88, is set to sell a range of rums for the first time.

Three independently bottled single cask rums mark the first foray into the world of rum for rare whisky specialists and independent bottler, Cask 88, who plan to introduce Scotch whisky drinkers to premium rums from South and Central America.

The business, which usually specialises in rare whiskies, have introduces the new line of rums amid reports that the spirits is gaining appreciation as a premium sipper akin to whisky.

The rum range

Available for general sale from 8pm on Wednesday 12 August, each of the Cask 88 rums come from a small batch, single cask release from a Caribbean distiller.

These have been selected to give consumers a taste of unique and authentic rums, produced using traditional methods that cannot be readily found on the supermarket shelves.

The range includes a Guyana 20 year old rum; a Guyana 21 year old rum and a Nicaragua 19 year old rum.

The rums from Guyana originate from the only remaining distillery in Guyana, Demerara Distillers, known for its range of heritage wooden stills.

These stills were adopted by the distillery from other Guyanan rum distillers which closed in the late 20th century and include the three last operational wooden stills in the world (two pot stills, one coffey still).

The Nicaraguan rum originates from Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua, which lies at the foot of the active San Cristóbal Volcano, and claims to produce the world’s first carbon neutral, Fair Trade-certified spirit.

Speaking of the new range, Cask 88 director Patrick Costello said: “Our Scotch whisky drinking clients are always looking for something new to excite the palate and so we’ve had our eye on rum producers in the Caribbean for some time now.

“We feel the category shows a level of complexity and refined flavour that is reminiscent of Scotch whisky, and has the potential to command the attention of the world.”

Rum as a premium drink

There are already indications that rum may be positioned to enjoy similar growth to what Scotch whisky has recently experienced, with premium rum leading the charge.

According to research group IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, total worldwide sales by volume of standard or value priced rum grew by just 0.6% from 2014 to 2019, but ‘high-end’ rum bottles (priced $28/£22.50 or above) grew by 8.3% over the same period, indicating that rum may be about to shake its reputation as an inexpensive summer party spirit.

Cask 88 are confident that bottling small batch rum is a natural development for an independent bottler of Scottish whisky.

The sugar-cane distilled spirit has a lot in common with Scotland’s national drink and is being touted by analysts as the next trend in premium drinks.

Both distilled in pot or column stills and matured in oak barrels for the development of flavour, rum and whisky differ in their raw source material: whisky is distilled from barley wort, whereas rum is the distilled sap of the sugar cane.

Where to buy

The Cask 88 Rum Collection will be available to purchase through the Cask 88 website and from Whisky Foundation for worldwide delivery.

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Tasting Notes 

From Sam Laing and Yonnick David, Guyana Rum Festival

Guyana 20yo

Nose – A strong first impression of dark Demerara sugar, which then shifts aside to reveal more subtle vegetal aromas, like agave or aloe sap.

Palate – On the tongue, this rhum punches with fruity, tropical flavours. A leading note of soursop and cherimoya fruits develops into the subtlety of asian pear and golden apples.

Guyana 21yo

Nose – Draws you in with aromatic wood; sandalwood and white oak at the fore. A touch of vanilla. Sweetness follows, of orchard fruits and then barley sugars.

Palate – The flavours begin youthful, but the maturity of the spirit lingers on the palate afterwards. Sugar bubbles into rich caramel, developing a slight char. A charred oak flavour becomes almost leathery, and then leaves a gentle tingle of spices.

Nicaragua 19yo

Nose – The aromas are dense and compacted together – overlapping layers of ginger cake, banana loaf and nuggets of crystallised pineapple. Woody aromatic notes follow: hints of cinnamon, vanilla and old, dry bookcase.

Palate – Thick and sweet on the palate, with a foretaste of dried prunes, dates and baked apples. Every part of the palate gets washed in these flavours, and a citrusy sharpness breezes up the nose from the back. Then the ginger cake returns, cooked until dark and dressed with desiccated coconut. A background oakiness pervades throughout.

About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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