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Recommendable to most
Aged funky Jamaican rums are my favorite type of rum and this bottle certainly delivers that. Bottled at 43%, it is similar to Smith & Cross and Plantation Xaymaca, and arguably better than the latter. Costs Slightly more than I’d like to pay for a rum so similar to S&C but it’s rare enough around me that I felt that I had to snag a bottle while I had the chance. If you’re a hogoholic like me, try this rum at least once.
Bought this because I heard it was created by Martin Cate to resemble the blend Trader Vic used upon running out of Wray and Nephew 17 and 15 for his Mai Tai’s. The Jamaican funk mixed with Martinique molasses ( not agricole) was something that I never tried. It is similar to Plantation OD but a bit more molasses with the banana funk. I am super impressed by this, definitely works as a funky Jamaican for an authentic Mai Tai, or any other tiki cocktail calling for dark Jamaican rum. I have tried the fabled Wray and Nephew Dagger rum and Appleton Rum Punch rums at the Mai Kai and Hukilau. Denizen is closer to the Appleton Punch but with a Smith and Cross hint of funk.
Many people in pursuit of authenticity prepare an "original" Trader Vic's Mai Tai using a blend of aged Jamaican and rhum agricole from Martinique. And the result is delicious. But Martin Cate of Smuggler's Cove has done a bit of research (and lots of rum tasting) and makes a solid case that the Martinique rum used by Trader Vic in his original recipes was not, in fact, an agricole, but a rhum traditionnel/industriel—that is, made from molasses, rather than sugar cane juice. (Shocking! But people forget that the French and former French colonies did and do make their share of molasses-based rhum.)
Mr. Cate then collaborated with the makers of Denizen to produce the first blend of aged rum that approximates that featured in trader Vic's "Second Adjusted Mai Tai Recipe" (the one he used after depleting world stocks of W&N 17 and 15), and released it to the world.
The resulting is rum is really astounding. The bouquet is intensely aromatic and floral. The taste is dry. Sugar-loading has not smoothed out this 8-year-old's rough edges; from start to finish, this is a rum with character. It's not the most refined sipper, but it's still quite sippable. Try it in a Daiquiri. Swap it into your favorite classic tiki drinks that call for Martinique, Jamaican, or "gold" rum. And while its very existence hinges on its not being a rhum agricole, it still makes for a darn good Ti' Punch.
Of course, where this bottle really shines is an "original recipe" Trader Vic's Mai Tai—rum, lime juice, curacao, orgeat, and sugar syrup. Preferably garnished with a spent lime shell and a mint sprig. Thank me (or Martin Cate) later.
I believe Martin Cate after reading everything he knows about the Mai Tai rum, and keep this rum tucked away with my curacao and orgeat to pull out and make a mai tai with! It's beautiful, tastes lovely and a good price point! Wish more stores carried this!
Got this as my catch-all Mai Tai rum and have been very pleased, as have all of my friends who have tried it. A few of us know what a real Mai Tai is and with the proper technique and proportions (homemade orgeat helps too) I have developed what we consider the best Mai Tai we've had with it. There is some real funk and depth to this rum that comes through just the right amount in a Mai Tai without challenging the pleasant nuttiness and dry orange flavor.
This aged, blend is a little bit Appleton, a little bit Smith and Cross and a little bit Agricole that sort of make it in category of it’s own. The aroma instantly reminded me of a traditional quality Mai Tai and of course, this makes outstanding cocktails. I also like to sip this on a occasion when something a little lighter and drier is in order. A little brown sugar lingers on the lips with a nice medium long, warm finish. Very unique and nicely done.
I have to say that sometimes we try to make more out of a rum than its intended or perhaps better expressed; hold it to a standard to to which it is obviously not suited. Merchant 8 is not a long aged pot distilled rum and was never really intended to be a "sipper" (but regardless, to some of us it is!). As mentioned here Martin Cates uses M8 as his house Mai Tai rum at Smugglers Cove house. What isn't mentioned is that he collaborated with the folks from Denizen & E&A Sheer to blend a rum for just that purpose. I was happy to see that at least one person here also picked up on just how successful that collaboration was; the Jamaican funk & Agricole notes do indeed come through. With that in mind I'd say that Jeff Berry and Martin Cates were both pretty much on the same page when it came to recreating the flavor of the now extinct 17YO Jamaican Rum that was the basis for the original Mai Tai. I like it straight but it truly shines when used for the purpose it was intended.
If you take into consideration the price tag of $30.51 out the door at the local mega booze and wine than this is a 10!! It has a huge presence in nose, flavor, finish and perfectly bottled at 43%
Jamaican funk is front and center but with a great oak smoke acidity that kicks in for the extreme linger. Nothing is off putting here for those that love estery dunder and also like their rum with an 'H'. They are two of my favorite styles so for me this is a big winner.
I'm going to believe that the low key presentation of screw on top and generic bottle has something to do with the friendly price. This rum has been around the globe, produced in the west Indies, bottled in Holland and bought in California! Denizen could easily up the ante with a cork and lapels but I really hope they don't because it's an easy buy as is.
I was actually hoping for it to be a bit more intense than it actually is.. The funk is there, but not at the dramatic levels I was expecting from the description. It is, however, a classy rum that deserves a great deal of respect - It is the closest imitation for the legendary W&N 17yr.
Initial nosing is of caramelized ripe banana. It has a very pleasant velvety mouthfeel, and a nuttiness that I assume comes from the Grand Arome. Some tropical fruits mix in as it progresses to a very smooth, warm finish. I would love to see what this would showcase at a higher strength...
Its a go-to rum for Maita'is. Though I would argue a superior drink can be had by blending Smith & Cross with an aged agricole.
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