Mount Gay XO

Category: Dark
Country: Barbados
Aged: 12-17 Years
Alcohol: 40% (80 proof)
Availability: Almost Everywhere
Price: $30-$40 (750 mL)

Appearance (0-5): 5
Aroma (0-25): 23
Taste (0-35): 32
Smoothness (0-10): 7
Body (0-5): 5
Overall Quality (0-20): 19
Machete Grade (0-100): 91

Notes: Mount Gay Distilleries has been producing rum for over 300 years. They know what they're doing. Mount Gay XO (Extra Old) is the distillery's finest product, a blend of rums aged 12 to 17 years. The bottle has wide rounded shoulders with a bubbled neck, similar to another Bajan product, Cockspur 12. The liquid is an elegantly lustered brown-amber with gripping legs. From the moment the cork is removed, the aroma is unmistakeably Bajan and heavily of bourbon. In fact, without aeration, the Bourbon mostly overpowers the other aromas; but given a few minutes, warm notes of oak, nuts and caramel are released. Tastes of brown sugar, spice, vanilla, oak, and, of course, bourbon. Lingering burnt wood and molasses. Very complex and robust. Bite is firm and intense, but pure - not from immaturity or improperly added spice. A small splash of cool, clean water evokes an additional taste of creamy bitter chocolate and maybe a very faint frutiness. Loses some of its initial character when on the rocks, but is a fair trade with the gain of slightly more approachability. Perfect for medium to heavy cigars. A later tasting was paired with a Romeo y Julieta Reserve Maduro Belicoso for a poweful combination that could very well leave the unsuspecting light-headed. Another tasting paired with an Avo LE #5 was also great. Mount Gay XO is a classic standard, the rum by which all others are judged and universally considered one of the best sipping rums on the market. I agree, and yet I especially enjoy Mount Gay XO in a classic Old Fashioned or mixed in extra potent Cuba Libres. Though I personally prefer my rum to have a little bit more sweetness (such as Matusalem or Zacapa), this is a rum of exceptional quality.
Top Shelf Silver
Reviewed: August 2007