When we think about rum rarely do we think about the charitable endeavors attached to a brand. Recently, while attending the Miami Rum Congress I met Calvin Babcock, owner of the Saint Benevolence Caribbean rum brand. This soft-spoken gentleman took the time to talk to me about the rum and the charitable endeavors that inspired it. 100% of the profit goes toward charitable efforts in Haiti. The town of St. Michel de’ L’Attalaye is the location where most of the charitable works are funded, this has included building much needed infrastructure needs of the community that includes schools, bridges, wells, an orphanage, and a medical clinic. St. Michel is well known for the Clairin in produces and it is the hope of Mr. Babcock that they will be able to build a distillery for future production of the Saint Benevolence rum line.
Currently, Saint Benevolence rums is a blend of five-year rums from the Dominican Republic and Barbados. The rum from the Dominican Republic is made from sugar cane juice and distilled using a pot still, while the rum from Barbados is molasses based and distilled using a column still. The rums are aged separately in once used American Oak Bourbon Barrels for five years. The rum is transported to Florida, where it is blended to 84 proof and bottled in small batches.
The rum comes in a tall 750 ml bottle secured with a wooden capped plastic cork. The front and back labels provide the basic details, including the lot number. For this review the bottle came from lot: 17-04. The liquid in the bottle and the glass has a pale amber color that when swirled created a thin band around the glass. The band spun off a wave of fast moving legs, and then as the rum evaporated dropped a few denser slower moving legs that left a serious array of beads around the sides of the glass.
The aroma of the rum is vanilla forward with notes of toasted coconut, black cherries, apricots, with just a hint of oak tannins punctuating the experience.
Like the aroma, the first sip reveals a vanilla rich flavor that forms the foundation of the rum. Light spice notes of allspice and nutmeg augment the ebb and flow of the vanilla while the coconut and fruit flavors from the aroma create some high notes in the profile. As the primary flavors begin to fade, the wood tannins manifest with a lightly bitter baking chocolate and alcohol notes. These flavors linger in a medium finish.
The immaturity of the rums in the blend makes for a polarizing sipping experience. However, the rum works quite well with other fruit flavors to create a dynamic rum punch or even a tasty daiquiri, which makes me believe it would be a serious bump up for any cocktail recipe calling for a “gold” or immature aged rum ranging between two to six years. Personally I enjoyed the complexity of the blend and found it had a lot of positives going on especially when used in a well-balanced cocktail.
If you would like more information about the Saint Benevolence rum company and their charitable endeavors, please check out their website. I appreciated the level of detail they shared as well as listing where the product can currently be purchased in California and Florida. I will continue to follow their endeavors and keep you updated when they release future products.