1941 is hardly a year that comes to mind when it comes to rum vintages, as most rums then were sold in bulk or blends, and there was simply no market for single cask rums. With that in mind, its astonishing to find a 1941 single cask rum no.76 from the Long Pond distillery in Jamaica, distilled on the 3rd of May 1941, and bottled in 1999 at 50% abv.
To share a little background on this cask, it was allegedly aged for 5 years in the tropics, before being shipped to the UK in 1946 at the end of the war. The whereabouts of the cask for the next 20 years remains a mystery, but what we do know is that it showed up at Gordon & Macphail’s warehouse in 1967. It was aged for a further 32 years before the cask was shared and bottled by both G&M and, in this instance, Silver Seal, with only 13 bottles allocated to the latter (although the back label says 12 bottles, a single crystal decanter by S.S. also exists).
Despite 58 years of aging, the colour still remains relatively light, an orange-y copper. Similarly on the nose, you’d be hard pressed to guess that the rum is nearly two-thirds of a century old. Tropical and uplifting, it presents itself in a melange of pineapples and freshly squeezed lemons, a slight of mint, light smokiness even. Counter to that brightness is a thick layer of honey, caramel, and mandarin oranges.
On the palate, there is no question about its Jamaican heritage as the funk takes over. The initial palate is surprisingly crisp, herbal, some iodine, nice oak maturity. The rum grows in elegance as it opens, the edges become much rounder, sweet honey peaches, cane sugar, mints. The finish brings a lot more interesting and juicy notes, caramel, red apples, hawthorn, slightly drying but sits extremely well on the palate with great balance and texture.
Definitely one for the ages, not just in terms of its age, but rather a testament to Long Pond’s legacy, and that proper cask and liquid management can result in something so well-balanced and sublime even after 58 years. Thank you The Auld Alliance for the dram!
Afternote: It would appear that more than 13 “official” bottles of the S.S. Long Pond 1941 are in existence. In the May 2022 Rum Auctioneer, one of these bottles was listed as “Archive Sample 6”, meaning that there are at least an additional 6 bottles of these around.
Your occasional rum addict!