We all have our first loves. They’re the ones that we never forget and that always have a special place in our hearts. They’re the ones that caught us by surprise, made us feel things we had never felt before and opened a whole new world to us – new textures and flavors all for the taking thanks to that first one.
Of course, I’m talking about my first rum love – the rum that started me down the path to becoming the RumDood in the first place: Admiral Rodney.
Admiral Rodney is made in St. Lucia, a small island in the Eastern Caribbean jammed between Martinique to the North and Barbados to the Southwest. The rum is named after a British Naval Officer that served as military governor of the island after the British seized it from France in 1762, Admiral George Rodney. Rodney is probably best-known for his command of the British fleet during the 1782 Battle of the Saintes, in which the British ships under the Admiral’s command foiled a Franco-Spanish plan to capture the island of Jamaica. On the front label of a bottle of Admiral Rodney you can find a small note about the famous battle.
Admiral Rodney (the rum) is made today by St. Lucia Distillers in Castries, the capital city of St. Lucia. The rum is made in column stills and is then placed in oak casks for aging. The final blend in the bottle has an average age of 12 years in oak (meaning some of the rum is less than 12 years old, some is more).
In the glass the rum is a deep bronze color. The legs that form on the side of the glass are slow-moving and thick – almost oozing down toward the bottom of the glass.
Your nose is greeted with scents of caramel, vanilla and banana up front. There are some spice notes of nutmeg and even a slight grassy note that seems to move toward the smell of grapes if you let the rum sit for a few minutes.
The rum doesn’t smell overly rich. It seems to have a sweetness to it, but is more in the vein of a Bajan variant of English-style rum: cleaner and softer than the Jamaican rums.
Admiral Rodney’s foray onto your tongue leads with sweet caramel and vanilla notes. What starts as a simple and clean rum with slight sweetness also brings flavors of leather, banana and apple. The finish is slightly spiced and dry with lingering notes of pear and smoke.
“Smooth and relaxing” is probably the best way to describe this rum. It lacks any harsh burn on the finish and the lingering spice and fruit notes that stay with you for a few moments after each sip are very nice.
The Admiral is a fantastic sipping rum and is probably best enjoyed on its own. It’s very easy and smooth and pairs well with sitting in a comfortable chair while smoking a pipe or a cigar.
Sure, back in 2005 there may have been someone who may or may not have poured some of this into a glass with ice and a cola-type beverage, but I’m certain that he met his end as he deserved – either that or he went on to start a rum blog, get invited to be a judge at numerous rum competitions, get invited to host/MC rum events and eventually become a bartender that spends his shifts convincing people to try classic rum cocktails with ingredients like Chartreuse or vermouth. One of the two.
If I were pressed to come up with a cocktail in which to use the Rodney by either a customer or an arbitrary blogging format that I’ve chosen, I’d try to stick to simple, classic drinks like a Rum Old Fashioned with Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters or a Sweet Palmetto. It’s also pretty tasty in an El Presidente.
El Presidente (modified)
1.5 oz Aged Rum
.75 oz Dry Vermouth
.25 oz Curacao
.5 tsp Grenadine
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange or lemon twist.
The Long & The Short Of It
Admiral Rodney is a great sipping rum that’s pretty close to perfect for sitting on your porch or boat or couch (if, like me, you lack both of the previous options) and letting the day wind down. It’s clean, slightly sweet profile with a wonderfully smooth finish is what most people are looking for in a “premium” rum.
The biggest downside to the rum is that if you’re a United Statesan such as myself, you’ll have to leave the country to procure yourself a bottle until such time as the USPTO decides that there might actually have been two admirals in British naval history. Of course, that downside comes with the upside that procuring a bottle provides an excuse to travel to St. Lucia for a week or two – and there can’t be anything wrong with that.
Dood’s Rating: 4 Bottles of Rum Out of 5
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