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Mount Gay Single Estate Series Brings It All Back Home

 

Mount Gay is of course a major brand in the rum world for as long as, well, 320 years! As the Barbados distillery celebrates its 320th anniversary in 2023, the distillery had decided that perhaps the best way to pay homage to its rich history is to bring it all back home - everything from farming sugarcane on its own estate to fermenting, distilling and bottling, it'll be entirely a single estate project.

Here comes the Mount Gay Single Estate Series - in its first edition, the 23_01.

  

As we all know, rums holds much of its history to the sugar production industry, an offshoot of which is molasses which is a byproduct of the process. These molasses would then be used to produce rums, particularly in the Caribbeans at the time, where the sugar industry operated prolifically.

Nonetheless as times changed, the sugar industry moved on, and yet rum stayed.

Mount Gay too underwent a transition in the 1970s where it sold off its sugarcane estates and instead relied on purchasing sugarcane from elsewhere in Barbados and the Caribbeans.

 

 

“I have no career in sugar, and I'm saying to them, ‘Wash your factory. Give me [Grade] A molasses. Separate it from everything else that you're doing. And by the way, I want to control the specifications.’ I think, at first they looked at me and the rest of the team like, they have lost their minds! The first year, it was a challenge. And then every year after that, it became almost like we became part of the culture.” says Trudiann Branker, Master Blender

 

As part of the Single Estate Series project, Mount Gay's Master Blender Trudiann Branker had sought to bring it back to the distillery's estate by reviving its own sugarcane farming as well as opting to specially obtain Grade A molasses (instead of conventional blackstrap molasses) for the rum to ensure that only Mount Gay sugarcane was used for the historic bottling.

 

Trudiann Branker, Master Blender of Mount Gay. (Image Source: Imbibe Magazine)

  

Branker highlights that this is key as Bajan sugarcane is fundamentally different from sugarcane grown elsewhere in the Caribbean, as it offers limestone rich soils versus volcanic soils.

“We’re the only island in the Caribbean chain that is limestone. All of the others are volcanic,... Our soils in St. Lucy [where the estate is located] are high in clays, which means that they retain nutrients well. They are shallow, but still good for sugarcane. And the limestone bedrock is very close to the surface of the soil, which means that our sugarcane roots can be influenced by the mineralogy found in the limestone soil.” says Jacklyn Broomes, Mount Gay's Sustainability Manager

 

   

The inaugural release from the new annual Mount Gay Single Estate Series, the Mount Gay Single Estate Series 23_01 is distilled from Grade A molasses produced from estate-grown sugarcane that was harvested from 2016 to 2017, which was then fermented for a longer period, before 100% distillation by pot still, and then 5-6 years of tropical ageing (6 Years for 2016 Vintage and 5 Years for 2017 Vintage) in ex-Bourbon American Oak barrels at the Mount Gay estate.

The release stands out from the distillery's core range rums with a 9-day fermentation time instead of the usual 3-4 days to enable a greater influence from the atmospheric yeast, and also in its 100% pot still distillation instead of a mix of column and pot stills used traditionally.

Mount Gay Single Estate Series 23_01 is bottled at 55% ABV (well above the standard 40-43% used for the core range).

Official Tasting Notes

Colour

Light Golden Hues

Aroma

Pear, plum, fresh cut flowers, dried fruits, vanilla, nutmeg, oak and lemon.

Taste

Pineapple, sea salt, leather, ripe yellow banana, oak and star anise.

 

The new expression is denoted with 23_01_Bn_Qa which stands for 2023 Released, 01 Edition and finally Bourbon (Quercus Alba). 

Finally as an additional touch, it will come in a special darker bottle that is made of 70%+ recycled glass and a lightweight bottle, with a 100% recyclable packaging. Even its giftbox and cork is mono-material and printed with limited label ink and QR codes.

Incredibly the entire lifecycle of the rum is ridiculously well-documented at Mount Gay's website.

A total of 4,002 bottles will be released for the first edition, with a MSRP of US$400.

 

Kanpai!

 

88 Bamboo Team