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Tasty, but not quite great
As west-coaster who's sadly spent almost no time in Michigan, I'd never heard of Two James Spirits before this bottle appeared on the shelves of my (well-known) local chain. I didn't need more Jamaican rum on my tiny shelf, but the specs alone were enough to convince me to pick a bottle up anyway:
- Jamaican (we're off to a good start)
- Pot Still (oh yeah...)
- Worthy Park (*drools...)
- Aged 8 years (ooo, fancy...)
- "Moscatel" finish (ok, let's not get *too* fancy...)
- 50% ABV (yes yes yes...)
- $25 (shut up and take my money!)
Clearly Two James, despite focusing on their full lineup of other spirits (bourbon, whiskey, gin, vodka, absinthe, and mezcal), also have their ear on the rum appreciation scene (though, strangely, their rum isn't featured anywhere on their website). They're the only US (whiskey etc.) distiller I'm aware of the doesn't seem to be adding a rum to their menu simply as an add-on, because they have access to a still and some sugar, and because they're tried a few other things and wanted to design another label to slap on a bottle and sell to their friends (usually with disastrous results). The Jameses where to source good juice, and managed to take a risk (with the trendy but wholly unnecessary sweet wine cask finish) without ruining it. It's encouraging to see!
So yes, the rum is good. It's got a big, funky nose that tickles your... nose. Lots of fruit, a good amount of wood. Some cherry, maple, hint of brandy. Though rather dry overall, it enters sweetly on the tongue, with a bit of a bite. It ends with moderately short finish on the throat, but the flavors do linger in the mouth for some time. The proof is just right—perfectly drinkable as-is, but a few drops of water don't kill it.
Compare to Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still.
It's eminently sippable for funk fans, but I love mixing with this, often using a 50-50 blend with Coruba in classic cocktail recipes calling simply for "dark jamaican" rum. It also makes a splendid Daiquiri, and I can only imagine the kind of funky Mai Tai you could get pairing it with something like La Favorite Couer de Ambre (for the record, I'm a Denizen guy, but I never turn down a Mai Tai using some respectable version of the "original" recipe). Haven't tried it yet, either, but I'll bet this would shine in a Planter's Punch.
Again, I could have done without the wine cask finish (it's still a bit too young, and moscatel is dangerously sweet). It works well enough for cocktails, but the finish doesn't do the rum any favors when sipped neat. I'm just glad it didn't ruin it.
I'm simply amazed that somehow, Two James managed to get so much right with their first rum release. It's funky, un-sugared, at-proof, competently aged, truly unique in the market, and reasonably priced to boot (their other offerings do appear to be pricier). As long as they continue in this pattern, I'll be coming back for more!
This is the first rum expression from Two James Spirits craft distillers, based in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. A blend of Worthy Park pot still rums, blended and aged in St. Catherine Jamaica, then shipped to Detroit to be finished in Moscatel Sherry casks. It is bottled at 50% abv, making it a hit with tiki bartenders and afficionados alike. This is classic Jamaican funk with a distinct wood finish. The higher proof makes it an ideal tiki mixer. That said, pour it into a glass neat, let some of the alcohol evaporate, then add ice, and let the flavors come alive. Add a little lime, sugar and water and you've got yourself a quintessential and very tasty classic grog.
As a huge fan of all Jamaican rums, this was a long sought out find for me. I finally found it online from Blackwells. A gold rum in color, which was surprising, I assumed it was a dark rum. Nose definitely Jamaican pot still funk, overripe banana and molasses. Tasting notes were not as funky as I expected, definitely a nice light smoothness, with a sweet natural wine and grape flavor underlying the pot still hogo. I mixed with it a bit but trust me, as a sipper with the wine cask aged flavor, it should always be sipped! One of my favorite sippers ever.
This rum is, I see, hard to find--luckily the liquor store on my block always carries it. Doctor Bird is for the hogo-lovers among us. The funk is pronounced and fruity, and the rum is rich, not dry. Fabulous in a daiquiri, as it is in lush tiki drinks.
I take a sip of this now and then but it will really make a cocktail shine. Inexpensive but hard to find. I love it!
Not sure where to start on this one. I purchased this purely to use in tiki cocktails as I'd seen it referenced by name in some recipes. I'm afraid this is going to be long winded! Sorry!
As soon as the cork was pulled the pot still aromas literally exploded out of the bottle! Although there is a lot of alcohol in the nose it's not hot or solvent like. A lot of fruit with hints of strawberry, kiwi, perhaps ripe banana and some of the muscatel coming through. Perhaps a hint of sour or tartness as well.
After letting it breathe for a few minutes I dropped a cube in, swirled, let it rest and then revisited the aroma. Very similar but perhaps a bit less intense. Very smooth and pleasing aroma (if you like Jamaican funkiness) with some sweet aromas coming out. I swear that as this opens up I get hints of mint!!
For 50% alcohol I find this very, very smooth. Warming but not hot in my opinion. Quite different than I imagined. The flavor is full and funky but less in your face than I at first thought when getting the first aromas from the snifter. Still a big flavorful fully aromatic pot still rum but somehow well rounded. Some sweetness late leading into the finish most likely from the muscatel barrels but it's definitely not a sweet rum. Hints of dry woody character but less than I expected for an 8 year rum.
This is a really surprising rum. Although funky and mostly dry it's well balanced and has great body and flavor.
Definitely not for everyone. I think if you like funky Jamaican rum then you can't go wrong even if only using as a mixer in tiki cocktails but I like this one on the rocks! If you don't like Jamaicans or think that Appleton is too funky then run for the hills and leave this to those who appreciate the funk and flavor of pot still Jamaican rum.
At $28 (from Binny's in Chicago) this is quite a bargain. A solid must for tiki and funk enthusiasts! I give it a solid 8 for it's unique character and wonderful complexity. As is stated by many other reviewers this is not a rum for everyone so if you only like sweet sugar bomb rums or shy away form other funky Jamaican rums then don't try this one and give it a poor rating. It is what it is!
Enjoyed a glass of Two James Doctor Bird Jamaican rum with my friend during a 5,000 mile road trip across 18 States. Bottle and label design look nice and unique. Golden color. Very strong and offputting glue and funk straight to your nose and palate. Nasty burn at the end. Can't even mix this one to hide the nasty taste. Not my cup of tea.
As a lover of the Jamaican funk, I was pleased to discover this rum at Lost Lake in Chicago. Well balanced and integrated pungency, like over-ripe banana, keeps me craving... Didn't have the pleasure of trying it in a Maita'i or Jungle Bird, but something tells me it would be fantastic. I'll be looking to add it to my collection as soon as I can find a bottle.
I didn't always like Jamaican rums, but as I've come to understand the process I've also come to appreciate the funky taste. I found this on a visit to Detroit. Two James is a local distillery there, who brought in barrels of rum from Jamaica, and bottled it in Detroit (basically using their distillery/bottling license to get around Michigan's outdated alcohol import laws).
I poured it neat, and could smell the rum as soon as I started to pour. It has a strong aroma of over-ripe apricots with a slight tickle of the nose. The first sip has an interesting blend of sweet and tart with just a little burn on the back of the tongue. It leaves behind a fruity aftertaste like dried apricots and raisins.
I added an ice cube, and it brought out even more of the fruitiness.
This is a great sipper, especially if you enjoy the funk. Cheers!
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