As November arrives, I begin looking back and reflecting on the many rums released and enjoyed during the year. I have to say The Real McCoy 5 year has by far one of my favorite back stories. Produced by Real McCoy Spirits in Stonington, Connecticut we are encouraged to revisit the Prohibition era of the United States. During that time many "Rum Runners" or smugglers would increase their profits by adding wood alcohol or some other questionable ingredients to their illegal wares. One enterprising gentleman by the name of Captain Bill McCoy traveled to Barbados, loaded his boat up with rum, and then sailed it up to New York. There he dropped anchor three miles off-shore in International waters where it was legal for him to sale his rum. Locals would then sail up and purchase what they needed for their Speakeasy's and drug stores. Because Bill McCoy always sold legitimate unaltered product, the phrase “The Real McCoy” returned to popularity.
Fast forward to modern times and we find Bailey Pryor, the researcher and creative force behind a documentary about the Real McCoy for PBS. While researching the life of Bill McCoy , Pryor decided to develop a rum in his honor. In his research through the use of photographs and other documentation, he traced the prohibition era rum back to what is now the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados. He approached Richard Seale the Master Blender and owner of Foursquare and created a partnership to create the rum. Using a combination of copper pot and column still rums they blend the rum to 80 proof. Distribution is currently limited to three states, for more information about the company visit http://realmccoyspirits.com.
The rum comes in a squat 750 ml, long necked bottle. The beige label and bold font makes the rum easy to spot from across the room. The rum has a pleasant copper color that gleams like a shiny penny when the light cuts through it.
Sweet honey caramel rises to meet my nose as I approach the glass. As the aroma settles I find vanilla, dried orange peel, and oak round out the profile.
The entry has a bit more spark to it than anticipated accompanied by a warm bodied caramel flavored mouth feel. As I continued to sip it, I picked up on the balance and blend of the different types of rums. The oak and orange peel create an interesting backdrop that balances the sweetness of the vanilla and caramel notes which carry the midline. At the finish the oak really comes out to play and lingers into a nice dry finish.
The first rum distillery I ever visited was the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados. With its gorgeous landscape and diverse product lines, it fueled my exploration into the variety of rums Barbados has to offer. The Real McCoy fits perfectly in their portfolio right alongside Rum 66, Old Brigand, and R.L. Seale. The immaturity of the spirit makes it a bit rough to sip neat, but I believe they will find it fits well in any classic- hmm prohibition era cocktail that calls for gold rum. With two more expressions entering the market place I will be curious to see how they measure up to this one.
This review originally appeared in Got Rum? magazine.