Released in late 2018, Gosling’s rum presented its latest product: Gosling’s Papa Seal Single Barrel Bermuda Rum. This spirit is molasses-based and is a blend of pot and column distilled rums that were sourced from three Caribbean islands and have been aged for a minimum of 15 years in once used medium char bourbon barrels in Bermuda. The final product is blended to 41.5% ABV and bottled in Bermuda. For Gosling’s first limited rum release, they selected 12 barrels to release 2,590 bottles worldwide.
The bottle is sold in a slip case package that focuses the light and causes the label and medallion on the front of the bottle easy to be easy to spot on the shelves. The rum has a
walnut color with bright amber highlights both in the bottle and glass.
Swirling the liquid created a thick band that released one wave of fast moving legs and then a second wave slowly forms and meanders down the glass a minute later.
The aroma of the rum provides hints of caramelized vanilla, spice, oak tannins, cherry and overripe bananas.
The first sip of the rum ignites the tongue in a swirl of dense charred oak tannins that manifest in the form of spices (cinnamon and clove), roasted pecans, fresh cut leather, and aged tobacco. The sweet notes of cooked bananas, brown sugar, and toffee come in, creating a nice balance to the wood notes. As the rum begins to fade a light bitter mineral note manifests briefly as the oak and char notes return for a long finish.
When I think about the Gosling’s rum line my mind gravitates to the dark and stormy cocktail and their Black Seal rum often used in it. Papa Seal is clearly in a different category and the closest thing in the Gosling's line that resembles it is the Gosling’s Family Reserve. While at the same time it still maintains the identity of the Gosling’s line. Considering the age of the rums used in the blends and the heavy tannin notes, I was surprised that there was not more acidity in the spirit. The balance of oak and sweet notes was an impressive feat of engineering that shows off the skills of the blenders.
Since the Papa Seal bottling are single barrel product, the range of the release will have variations so the barrel number on the bottle is important that it might be compared to other releases. For this review this rum came from Barrel #001. This rum can be found in the Airport Duty Free stores in Bermuda and in select shops across the United States. If you enjoy other Gosling’s releases such as the Family Reserve, you may want to track this one down and give it a try as it stands in its own unique place in the product line.