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Review 6 – Kill Devil – Uitvlugt (Guyana) 18 Year Single Cask Rum

The Kill Devil brand is owned by Hunter Laing who are well versed in the blending of whiskey and this brand is their foray into the rum industry. According to Andrew Laing they follow the same philosophy with this range as they do with their Whiskey which is to bottle single casks of rum only when they believe they are perfect for drinking and are not chill filtered or have anything added to them. There is an interview with Andrew Laing about their new rum series that you can read here. The brand, logo, illustration and packaging were developed by Sevenfive in late 2015.

This particular rum was matured for 18 years in Oak Barrels and was distilled in Guyana in the original Uitvlugt Distillery before it closed down in 2000 which means this rum was one of the final distillates produced there. As a result, this is a real piece of history and an extremely limited release I was happy to get my hands on. This was distilled in November 1997 according to the bottle and this single cask also produced just 357 bottles and is bottled at the higher than usual ABV of 46%.

The bottle is elegant looking with the kill devil logo on the front alongside the information on the distillery of where this rum originates from, the date it was distilled and other bottle information. The label on the back of the bottle refers to the name of Kill Devil being a local colloquialism back in the 17th and 18th centuries. It also mentions the casks that are selected are then shipped to Scotland to be carefully and traditionally bottled by hand. The bottle is finished with a nice cork top which definitely adds to the overall feel of a premium rum offering.

In the glass this rum is a lot lighter than I expected for a rum aged as long as this. I would have expected a much darker appearance, but I believe this is explained due to the fact nothing is added to it before bottling.

On the nose the initial hit is very oak and wood like. It’s quite overpowering to begin with. Past those notes I can smell hints of grass. The freshness of this rum reminds me of the tasting palette of a rhum agricole, very light and fresh rum. Having let this rum sit for a few minutes the oak and wood features take a real backseat and fruitier notes appear. I smell green apples and apricots. An unexpected but definitely not unwelcome change!

On my first sip I was expecting to be met with a lot of oak and wood which is the usual with a rum aged for this amount of time, especially with the nose having those notes at the forefront. However, that is not the case here. The immediate notes I taste are raw sugar cane, bringing back the theme of the rhum agricole again. There is a strange sensation when this rum first glides over your tongue. I can only liken it to a very gentle flicker or shimmer similar to the old child’s sweet of pop rocks on a much lower scale. The rum is thin enough to briskly cover your tongue efficiently without losing its flavour profile. The mid flavour profile now follows the nose and some fruit come in here. I can taste banana alongside the green apples and apricots.

The finish is where the oak and wood flavour return. I also get some spices here mainly cinnamon and nutmeg. The finish is long and also has hints of grass and remains light and fresh throughout.

This rum is a bit strange. It has a profile which reminds me of a top shelf rhum agricole and not a lot of molasses which I would’ve expected. Summery and refreshing which improves once left for a few minutes to sit in the glass. Overall this rum grows on me the more I have drunk it. It isn’t what I expected by any means, but that isn’t a bad thing. The light and fresh notes make it a summery selection rather than a winter warmer. If you enjoy the rhum agricole flavour profiles then this is a great selection for you. It is more expensive than I would personally like to pay for a rum of this style, but the exclusivity of it more than explains its price point. An interesting development in the Kill Devil line and I look forward to trying others.

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What Do You Call It?

As mentioned in a couple of earlier posts, rum has many nicknames including Nelsons Blood and grog. Alternatives include; Rumbullion, kill-devil, navy neatersBarbados water and pirate’s drink. One of the theories of the origin of the word rum, is from Rumbullion, which itself means great tumult or loud crowd noise. Colonists from America when they first discovered and tried rum found it very strong and when they claimed it was potent enough to slay Satan himself, kill-devil was born. Alongside grog being issued to the Navy, where rum was mixed with water, the senior offices were able to take their allowance neat, hence the term navy neaters. Barbados water comes from folklore that suggests Barbados is where the first rum originated. Finally, pirates are synonymous with rum. This could have been due to the fact that rum kept for longer on ships, but we know it was steeped in pirate tradition which has led to the term pirate’s drink. If you have any other nicknames with interesting back stories please leave them in the comments below!