While vacationing in Venice Beach, Florida I happened upon this rum. The bottle really stood out and the dark liquid intrigued me. When I got home I started researching the rum and learned it is produced by A. Smith Bowman distillery located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. They are a family distillery based on the Sunset Hills estate farm founded in 1926. Their lineup includes three whiskies, vodka, gin, and this dark rum. They source the pot still rum from the Caribbean in small batches, blend it to 80 proof and bottle it onsite.
The squat round bottle is capped with a wood and cork stopper. The white security strip looks like an old world stamp. The embossed front provides the basic information while the back label shares the history of colonial rum. The rum has a dark mahogany color with gold amber hues. Swirling the liquid in the glass creates a thick ring that forms nice large legs that run down the side of the glass.
When I pour the rum in the glass the smell of molasses immediately fills the air. I let it settle and discover charred oak, hints of lemongrass, brown sugar, vanilla, and light roasted coconut. Interestingly enough, after I had finished my first sample the molasses note lingered in the empty glass for quite some time afterwards.
First sip is loaded with oak tannins and as I continue to sip I begin dissecting the other flavors in the pot still. I discover dried coconut, cocoa, tobacco, and leather. The sweet honey- molasses note comes out and lingers with the tingle of the alcohol into the finish.
It is always fun to pick a bottle up off the shelf that is a complete unknown, roll the dice and get a solid win. This rum has a lot of good things going on and I am happy with the dynamic complexity of the spirit. Pot still rums as a rule can be tricky and the enigmatic label does not give you any clues about the age and lineage of the rum other than it is aged and sourced from the Caribbean. I am sure it would be functional in any rum cocktail you wanted to put it in but I enjoy sipping neat so much I will probably save my bottle for that purpose. If you see it on the shelf and want to experience a quality small batch spirit this is the rum for you.