A Sip to Celebrate 50 Years!
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Barbadian Independence (which is on the 30th November 2016), Mount Gay Distilleries, have released 3,000 bottles of XO Cask Strength, a limited-edition of its award-winning spirit: XO.
Initially sworn to secrecy, with a press embargo until the 1st November, the first public sipping opportunity came in Berlin at the RumFest half way through October. Further opportunities through October presented themselves – most pleasingly so in the company of Master Blender, Allen Smith at the London RumFest and a special Rum Club at Trailer Happiness the following day, but despite all that, the world’s worst kept secret is now officially out there.
Mount Gay Master Blender, Allen Smith has released a cask strength version of the immensely popular XO, a rum that helped to change the way the world looked at the category when it was first released. But it’s not a case of simply removing the addition of water to bring the XO down to the normal bottle strength of 43% - the trick in managing the blend to deliver in a manner that fits both the Bajan and Mount Gay profile, whilst still giving the excitement of a cask strength rum was a challenge that Smith seemed to relish. I can say with all honesty, if you’re a fan of Mount Gay – you’ll be a fan of the cask strength XO as it’s pretty damn tasty.
Currently Selfridges have retail UK exclusivity (at least for November 2016, possibly presently) – a great move in terms of publicity, but it means that the retail price jumps to £150, whereas it might have been between £140 (or less) elsewhere.
A ripple of comment has been made about collectability – and given this release is limited to 3,000 bottles worldwide, there is a point of course – but Mount Gay are keen to point out this is a rum for sipping and enjoying – ideally with friends. I’m happy to admit that the piggy bank at RumShack HQ has been running on empty for a while, but despite that we brought a bottle as a present for our newest member of the family – when Rebecca hits 18, she’s welcome to open the bottle or continue to save it for a rainy day. Our problem is we’d quite like a sip now and again. I guess we best put it out of sight (and hopefully out of mind) for the time being…
Press Release: The handcrafted XO Cask Strength edition embodies the essence of Barbados, with an aroma that personifies the island's bold, but humble personality. From the inception of Mount Gay in 1703 to the historical day of independence in 1966 to now – Barbados and Mount Gay have continued to grow and strengthen together each year. Characterized by an elaborate and robust taste profile, XO Cask Strength symbolizes the rich culture and strong personality of both Mount Gay and its nation.
"This is our tribute to the spirit of Barbados, the original birthplace of rum, and the people that make this island so unique," said Allen Smith, Master Blender. "To taste XO Cask Strength is to experience everything that fans love about XO, but it gives connoisseurs the special opportunity to enjoy the truest intensity of XO aromas straight from the casks."
Featuring a blend of the finest spirits matured for eight to 15 years, the rich, oaky taste of the rum is rounded out by notes of ripe banana and toasted almond, followed by vanilla and spice, to create a smooth, unforgettable finish.
Each bottle will come in a stunning keepsake wooden box with a beautifully designed booklet that will take readers through the history of rum's inception in Barbados. A portion of the sales of every bottle sold will be donated to the Barbados Museum and Historical Society to support its efforts in conserving the significant and inspiring history and culture of Barbados.
This collector's item will be available at select premium liquor and spirits stores in the United States, Barbados, United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Australia in November 2016. Offered in 750ml or 700ml bottles at 63 percent alcohol by volume (dependent on country), XO Cask Strength will sell for a suggested retail price of $185.
Rum Databank: Mount Gay Rum
Country of origin: Barbados