Rum finished whiskies are a bit of a rarity on today’s market. One reason may be that the marriage of whisky and rum is quite an acquired taste and does not sell as easily as the more traditional sherry or port finish. But it is of course also a matter of necessity. There simply aren’t so many good and affordable rum casks available for whisky to be finished in, and the reliability of supply for these casks is even more problematic.
This scarcity makes today’s tasting all the more fun, because I’ve been able to get together three different rum finished whiskies for a comparison. While these whiskies have all been finished in the same type of cask, let’s not forget that they each have a unique distillery character, which sets them apart from each other. Below is a short description of each of the whiskies, including a link to the full review.
BenRiach 15 year old Dark Rum Wood Finish
Of the three, this dram smells and tastes the most of actual rum. The influence of the rum cask is huge, with dominant notes of vanilla, caramel and brown sugar. Unfortunately, the rum flavours are so strong that they overpower much of the whisky, making it a struggle to detect BenRiach’s distillery character. If it’s rum influence you want, this is the dram to go for, but then why not just drink a rum instead? Bottled at 46%.
Balvenie 14 year old Caribbean Cask
The soft, smooth Balvenie character is balanced perfectly with the additional flavours from the rum cask, creating a beautifully subtle fusion between Caledonia and Caribbean. Balvenie’s typical barley and honey flavours are complemented by nutmeg and tropical fruit. The rum influence is less obvious, but integrates a lot better with the whisky. Of the three, this is by far my favourite. Bottled at 43%.
This whisky has an outspoken oaky character. Mackmyra Vinterdröm retains a huge amount of spices from the rum cask, but is less sweet than the BenRiach and Balvenie. It is a little rough around the edges, and provides quite a woody bite, possibly a result of the maturation in Swedish oak. I’m a big fan of young, feisty whiskies, and although I prefer the Balvenie, this Mackmymra has lots of character. Bottled at 46.1%.