Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum – Black Gold Special Reserve
By Bill Lau | A Potable Pastime
Posted March 5, 2016
Blackwell Rum, 40% ABV (80 proof)
Distilled, aged & blended by J. Wray & Nephew Ltd., Kingston, Jamaica
Ah, rum. Prime mover in some pretty significant events in world history, like the American Revolution and the slave trade, just for starters. (I recommend Rum: The Epic Story of the Drink That Conquered the World by Charles Coulombe, Citadel Press, and Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776 by Ian Williams, Nation Books if you’d like to learn some very interesting history that was almost certainly completely ignored in school.)
Then of course we have the indelible image of the pirate in books and movies; romanticized as a carefree rogue, scoundrel, and rum-guzzling swashbuckler, particularly associated with dark rum. In the broader nautical theme, we have daily rum rations and grog, which were provided as recently as 1970 (when the British Navy discontinued the practice; I guess someone figured mixing alcohol with modern weapons systems and nuclear reactors was not the best possible combination).
Which brings us to this particular rum, a relatively recent entrant (2008) to the wonderfully wide world of rum, which offers so many varieties and expressions of this historic and satisfying beverage.
Chris Blackwell, founder of the famous Island Records label which brought the world such artists as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Steve Winwood and U2 (to name a few), taps into his deep family roots in Jamaica to bring us this special rum combining traditional dark rum character with the body and smoothness associated with gold rum, hence the moniker black gold.
Sampled neat, which is typically how I prefer my spirits, at least initially. Sometimes I’ll add a hint of water after that to tone down the alcohol heat and open up the full range and depth of flavors. Some opt for a little ice, which has a similar effect as it melts and dilutes the spirit slightly. It all comes down to personal preference.
Blackwell Rum presents a deep coppery-amber hue, reminiscent of maple syrup, that catches the light with a beautiful glow.
Big aroma with some vanilla, generous classic dark rum fermented molasses character, rich fruit (baked figs, dates, burnt currants), and faint hints of wood.
Smooth, viscous and velvety-textured with an alcohol burn. Tasted straight, there’s tons of classic dark rum flavor delivering on the promise of the aroma, with some late cacao nib joining in and leading into a lingering bittersweetness. Adding a wee bit of water opens things up and tones down the burn, bringing out complex caramelized notes.
Outstanding dark rum that is perfect for sipping yet equally at home in a variety of cocktails, especially in many Tiki drinks. Highly recommended.
You might like to try these cocktails featuring Blackwell Rum (I heartily recommend them!):
Disclosure: The author has received no reimbursement or compensation for this article (though he’s certainly open to receiving some free samples in the future!). All opinions and remarks are those of the author alone.