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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.
Delicious Jamaican Rum. Great amount of esters (FUNK). 100 PROOF and doesn't taste like it. Enjoyable neat and on ice. Throw it into a tiki drink. Just ENJOY it!
Dessert like aftertaste that pleasantly lingers.
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.
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.
Wavered between 7 and 8, went with 7 (solid). It's quite good, though not especially complex or layered (for me anyway). Definitely worth the price. Beautiful, light gold color.
Clear funk on the nose, but not a funk-bomb. Still, probably not a beginner's rum! A bit of alcohol, and I get hints of both mint and licorice, and some kind of fruit that I can't yet place. Quite a pleasant flavor with tones of dark fruit. Lightly sweet, mild burn for the ABV. Medium-short finish, again with a fruit flavor that I can't quite place. This gets better though each time I go back to it!
Have yet to try in a cocktail, but I have plenty of faith that it would do very well. It's got the right character.
Once I started hearing from multiple tiki-heads that this made for an exceptional Mai Tai, I knew I needed to track down a bottle or five. This didn't disappoint! Fantastic funk on the nose, and blends very well with a rhum agricole for a fabulous Mai Tai (it also works well in other drinks that call for Jamaican dark rum!), if you can get your hands on it stock up! Or better yet, head to Detroit and take a tour of the Two James distillery, it's well worth the trip!
Ok so if you like super funky rum this should be an 8 for you, i dig the worthy park Jamaican and appleton type rums but this is textbook agricole. Like shoving dirt and grass in your mouth.
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!
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