Thanks so much for submitting a report. It has been emailed to the Rum Captain and will be actioned shortly.
I was really a little undecided when I bought this one, but was swayed by it being on offer down form £30 to £24. The reason for the indecision was the ingredients, as I know that M&S and Ferrand/Plantation (who I think supply their rums) are not adverse to adding sugar, and a lot of it. So the ingredients.....Jamaican Aged Rum, Cane Sugar, Colour: Plain Caramel. I don't mind colour, but sugar...hmmm. It is also nicely presented with a good cognac bottle, cork and wax seal.
On the plus side, this is bottled at 42% ABV a strength that I think suits rum very well. It says that it is double oak aged in cognac and bourbon barrels.
The nose is unmistakably Jamaican with that wonderful typicity from their pot still rums. This is carried through on to the palate, which its smooth and good length, with a nice gentle burn of alcohol. All the flavours and notes that you would expect. There is an added sophistication that comes from the cognac casks.
BUT (and it is a big but)....why oh why oh why have they added so much sugar? Or any sugar for that matter? It doesn't suit the Jamaican style and sits there feeling unharmonious and confected. As the rating states, it is "easily consumable in a bind" but it will annoy a lot of people when they get to the sugar and ask whether it really needs to be there. It masks some of the sophistication the rum has. I drink all my rums straight up, but with this one, I am wondering whether it might not be better on the rocks to try and mask some of the sweetness.
Over all a very nice rum that has been ruined, which is disappointing. I have only just opened the bottle, and hope against hope that it will open up and become more balanced, but somehow I doubt it. This should be the best M&S bottling, but is probably the worst. The Bajan rum is even sweeter, but it can handle it. This Jamaican can't.
EDIT - the bottle has now been open for 2½ weeks and it is much more harmonious. I am surprised how much it seems to have changed. The sweetness seems to have married itself to the rum much more naturally. It is still too sweet, but not so obvious, and I still find it a little incongruous, but it is easier to drink and even though it is 42%, I have to say that it is a very smooth rum.
I actually think that this is a 6½, and it will be interesting to see if it "improves" even more. But the real test is whether I buy it again. And I am just not sure. Having started off as a big no, I am changing my mind. Maybe I am in the right mood for it tonight, but I have to say that I am enjoying it.
2nd EDIT: I've come around to this rum, but I think I am treating it as something other than a Jamaican. More a "Caribbean Blend" type rum as I stand by the fact that the sugar detracts from its Jamaican characteristics. However as a nice, but still too sweet, rum it isn't too bad. I think that the fact that it is 42% rather than 40% helps with the sugar. Would love to taste this one with no added sugar.