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What have Kirk & Sweeney done to their line up?


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Charles M

Posted 5 Sep '20 from United Kingdom with 135 ratings

Well having never had the 18yo, not 23yo before getting a 23 Reserva, this is more about the 12yo that has changed into the 12 Reserva. All age statements have now been removed from all of their new range.

Having gone from an easy drinking rum that was rich, caramely and with an ever too much amount of sugar (the 12yo), it has morphed into the 12 Reserva that is really a very average and not very attractive a rum. It's almost as if they've lightly spiced it as there are now hints of orange to it that weren't there before. I am also thinking that the rums in the blend are somewhat younger than they used to be, but given the lack of an age statement, who knows?

I do wonder whether they have been too successful in their sales and have had to change their blend to meet demand.

Really very disappointing and I won't be buying it again. However, I am quite enjoying my bottle of 23 Reserva. I suspect though, that if I was a fan of the 23yo, I might not view the 23 Reserva with such favour if the 12yo > 12 Reserva is anything to go by!!

Buyers beware. If you can still get the 12yo go for it. If the 12 Reserva is the only thing on offer, be warned.

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vomi1011

From Germany with 280 ratings Replied 5 Sep '20

12y Kirk&Sweeney is also my favourite.
This is quite interesting, because the most distillers try to improve their quality with a refreshed product line. In this case there seems to be an improvement in quantity.
Thanks for the information:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2020/04/05/kirk-and-sweeney-an-outstanding-rum-you-should-explore/amp/
"The packaging on the Kirk & Sweeney rums has been changed to eliminate age designations. The new designations for the core range are 12 Reserva, 18 Reserva and 23 Reserva."

The rum is younger now, that's for sure.
"In the case of a 23 YO Dominican rum, for example, at least 51% of the rum would need to be 23 years old, the other 49% can also be 23 YO or it can be a blend that consists of a mix of rums whose average age is 23 YO. That means it can consist of rums that are both older and younger of the bottles stated age."

I know Kirk&Sweeney 12 since 2019 and it was always without suggar.
I like especially the moldy wood (apricot with wood). That's why I always have a bottle in reserve. I think it's a good reason to buy another one. I like also the old design of the bottles.

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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 41 ratings Replied 13 Sep '20

I was really excited to try the Kirk and Sweeney 12 year. Then I bought a bottle and was sorely disappointed.

Weak, lacking any kind of bite. My wife tried it and said, “It feels like warm water in my mouth.”

That’s it exactly. There is a little burn on the finish and some flavor but I won’t buy another bottle and my current bottle is just for decoration.

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Charles M

From United Kingdom with 135 ratings Replied 13 Sep '20

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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 41 ratings Replied 14 Sep '20

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Charles M

From United Kingdom with 135 ratings Replied 14 Sep '20

Best not go for the 12 Reserva then.

I get the lacking of bite, but then quite a few 40% rums which have been sweetened suffer from that, obviously some more than others. But I' not sure I quite agree with the weak bit (but that's the beauty of rum, its all subjective). Looking at your cabinet on here, it seems that we have broadly similar taste in rums (of course with some we wildly differ on).

I have to be honest and say it's not my favourite rum, but I did enjoy drinking it. I always think a change is a good thing to have from time to time, and I quite like a break to a smooth/lacking in bite rum. It recharges the batteries and the appreciation for rums with more structure.

K&S 12yo is a punter friendly rum. The rum itself isn't so bad, dollop it up with a bit of sugar, put it in a fancy bottle and get it on the supermarket shelves (at least here in the UK it is). And FYI, the company it keeps on my local supermarket is pretty poor....http://tiny.cc/17wusz (I've used tiny to shorten the very long URL from Sainsbury's).

So to me, it is a supermarket rum (at least here in the UK) mainly I suspect because of the packaging, and as such expectations shouldn't really be that high.

I wonder though....there was a champagne producer who was approached by a big company here in the UK and was asked to make X many cases for (IIRC) £10m. They accepted but had to change their blends to meet the quantity/price point. To me the result was very average, verging on the undrinkable, but it was a commercial success. A cheap bottle with the magic word "Champagne" on it.

So with regards to K&S12 Reserva, I do wonder whether they are now making the rum to meet a price point rather than making the best 12yo rum they can irrespective of price. And I stand by my thoughts that it might have been lightly spiced, as that can mask a multitude of sins. And to that end, I have to really back Richard Seale's thoughts on categorising rums, as IMO something strange has gone on with the 12yo > 12 Reserva.

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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 41 ratings Replied 14 Sep '20

Charles,

Interesting commentary.. I am relatively new to rum, thus my wide range of bottles. However, I’ve just recently been turned on to Foursquare products and I have to say they have changed my feelings and taste about rum.

As you said, they are making the best possible rum regardless of price where I truly feel (and have read) that K&S are doing exactly what you said. Making rum to a price point. That never really works well, regardless of products IMO. I’d rather pay more for a top product that muddle around in compromise land.

But that is a personal hang up of mine. I can’t buy the base model of any car, guitar or leather tool. I like quality for the most part.

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vomi1011

From Germany with 280 ratings Replied 15 Sep '20

Kirk & Sweeney is made from Bermudez rum from a distillery on Dominican Republic.
DomRep rums are not very heavy, because all three distilleries (Barceló, Bermúdez and Brugal) uses multi-column distillation.
What we know about multicolumn-distillation is:
"These large factory-sized stills use several columns which typically produce a distillate of more than 95% ABV. Such rums are characterized by being lighter, much less rich in esters, and are aromatically almost neutral. They are therefore modified: by producers who make blends, white rums, spiced or flavoured rums, or low quality spirit for mass consumption."
http://rumaniacs.com/Notes_and_Categories

"Low quality spirit" is the wrong term, because the distillate is very clean (much cleaner than from a pot still distillation). But the flavor profile is of course not that rich.
Bermudez Aniversario 12y is also not very strong or rich in flavors, but quite smooth and easy drinkable. And that's what we could expect from the old 12y K&S rum.
K&S12 is not sweetened (the old one), 0-4g is the sugar concentration in 1l.
I like the wood with apricot aroma and the mildness of this rum. It reminds me of an old cellar btw.

If we have an expectation, then we need to buy a rum that can meet that expectation. Therefore it's always a good idea to find some information about a rum bevore buying it.

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Immiketoo (PREMIUM)

From Greece with 41 ratings Replied 15 Sep '20

Vomi,

Interesting post. Despite being made by a column still, I found it weak compared to every other rum I’ve tried so far. I think the ABV is 40% but it does t taste like it at all.

It came highly recommended to me so needless to say, I was disappointed. Oh well. Live and learn :)

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vomi1011

From Germany with 280 ratings Replied 15 Sep '20

Tasting is subjective matter. I would say Brugal Anjeho and Barcelo Imperial have the same mildness (typical DomRep rums). If you say they are weak, you mean the same. I think some people prefer them, because of this mildness.

The aromas in K&S are not very intensive, because it has light aromas like white oak, apricot, vanilla and it's a multi-column distillation.
If you expect heavy and intensive rum, you should try Navy style Rums: Silver Seal Old Navy Rum, Plantation OFTD, Kill Devil Navy strength, Rammstein rum for exampel.
This classis blends from Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad/Barbados rums would not disappoint you.
Or you can go for high ester rum like Savanna HERR, Hampden DOK, Long Pond TECC.
They have so much intensity, you can enjoy the aftertaste 1h later.

If someone recommends a rum, the question arises why. If the answer is because it's mild, it doesn't suit your heavy rum preference.

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Charles M

From United Kingdom with 135 ratings Replied 15 Sep '20

Yes, of course tasting is subjective.

But I was more on about the objective taste between 12yo and 12 Reserva.

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Paul B (PREMIUM)

From United States with 357 ratings Replied 16 Sep '20

vom1101:

You mentioned the three B's as for distillers from the Dominican Republic, but where does Oliver and Oliver fit into this mix? Most certainly not Brugal. Oliver and Oliver is best known for their Optimus rums. They also produce a small batch called South Bay, which is one of the greatest bargains that one can find (if at all).

Notice that the new bottles of K&S are totally different. They may no longer be top heavy, but new bottles tell me new contents inside. I usually stick with their 18 year old, but was not all that pleased with my last bottle from them.

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vomi1011

From Germany with 280 ratings Replied 16 Sep '20

I know O&O as company who blends rum. Most of them have a strong sherry profile. That's why it's hard to say what rum is behind their sherry profile. They don't have own distillery as far as I know.

http://thelonecaner.com/category/rum-reviews-by-maker/oliver-oliver/
"Oliver & Oliver uses rum stocks bought elsewhere, and ages them in oak barrels prior to final issue: they also have brands like Cubaney, Quohrum and Unhiq"

I found an old information from 2010:
"The distillate: Since the company does not have a distillery so where do they get the stuff from? It's from Trinidad and Tobago and also Panama. It takes one and a half (1,5) months to ship it to their facility."
https://refinedvices.com/oliver-and-oliver-a-tour-and-tasting-of-cuban-tradition

A new information from 2019 says that they have also a distillery now. It's a big company I think they have invested some money to reduce their costs.
https://www.spirituosen-journal.de/news-ron-maximo-xo-extra-premium-neu-in-deutschland-68600/
"This new addition comes from the Dominican company Oliver & Oliver, which distills some of its rums itself, but also purchases some from distilleries not mentioned."

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