After working away from home for three weeks at a time I’m always excited to find the fruits of my online shopping labour waiting for me. This time when I arrived home I had a bottle of Panamanian Abuelo Centuria (Maybe more about that another time) and this bottle of Australian Stone Pine Barrique Rum. As I have often said, I’m a fan of Australian craft or independent distilleries, so of the two bottles I’d purchased, this was the one I was most interested in trying.
Apart from a couple of other reviews online, I couldn’t really find any information about this rum. Even on the distillers website there is absolutely no information about this bottle.
I know that Stone Pine Distillery is in Bathurst New South Wales.
I could find out a fair bit about the family run business and the website provides the following information.
Bev and Ian Glen have their roots steeped in the Scottish brewing and distilling industry. They moved to Australia, complete with children and dog, in 2006 with the aim of establishing Bathurst’s first microdistillery. Bev used to run various Edinburgh pubs, while Ian is a biochemist and holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Brewing & Distilling from Heriot-Watt University. He is also an Associate Member of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling and has spent his entire career in the malting, brewing and distilling industry.
The bottle is a rather uninspiring wine type bottle with a screw cap – bleugh! As uninteresting as the bottle and cap maybe, the label is nice and gives the whole thing a bit of a classy feel about it. The amount of information on the labels make up for the lack of information on line. From the bottle I learnt that this rum is a blackstrap molasses rum and comes from a single barrique. I also learnt that a barrique is a 225 litre oak cask. In this case, medium toasted American oak.
Unfortunately there’s nothing about how long it’s been aged so I have no idea how old it is.
Opening the rum takes a twist of the screw cap so no satisfying “Pop” of a cork but I’m sure that won’t make any difference to the quality of the actual liquid. Pouring a healthy glug and the aromas waft up out of the glass straight away. Initial aromas are heavy thick sweet toffee. This rum is bottled at 40%ABV so I’m going in neat with no water or ice. Nosing the glass and the gorgeous toffee aromas give way to quiet a grassy smell, sweet, wet, fresh cut grass. This quite surprised me as I wasn’t expecting it coming from blackstrap molasses. Then there’s almost a citrusy zing which again is surprising but not unpleasant.
Diving in now and initial tastes are smokey and oaky. Not over the top but noticeable. There’s no real alcohol burn but a very enjoyable tingle on the tip of the tongue and lips.
There’s a touch of spice and lovely fresh citrus tones. Nothing really sweet is standing out and I’m not getting the usual toffee, fudge flavours that I was kind of expecting. I see this as a positive as it makes the rum much more interesting trying to nail down the multitude of flavours going on. It has a real freshness to it rather than any kind of cloying sweetness. It’s surprisingly complex with something different happening with every sip but this is all held together by that subtle oakiness that is ever present in the background. Extremely enjoyable.
The finish lingers for ever and as it slowly fades away it still clings to the sides of my tongue.
Now I’m not going to say that I think this is a stella rum but I do think it’s excellent. I feel that it’s a bit of a shame that it’s only 40%ABV as I’d love it to have a little more bite and be slightly less user friendly. Then again though, I’m not the expert so I am sure the decision to release it at this strength is a good one.
All in all – another terrific Aussie rum and at around Aus$75 for a 750ml bottle (Australian bottles are usually only 700ml) this is a winner for me.