Rum Review : Macnair’s Exploration Rum Series

After yet another incredibly long intermezzo I’m back. Yes I’m a very inconsistent poster and unbelievably lazy at times (extended times at that). BUT! I just received some samples to review, so here we go again.

The samples I received came from Glenallachie, a Scottish whisky distillery. No stress I’m not going to be reviewing whiskies, there are enough whisky reviewers in the world (plenty of rum reviewers too, but I don’t care about that). The samples they’ve sent me are of the new endeavor of Master Blender Bobby Macnair: The Exploration series.

Macnair is trying his hand at masterblending rum with his experience as a whisky man. For his inaugural series Macnair chose to limit himself to one country: Panama. Now, I haven’t been too wild about rum from Panama. I like it okay, it just doesn’t really give me goosebumps or anything of the sort.

Quick rundown on some specs: both the 7 (unpeated) and 15 have been aged in a combination of red wine, virgin oak and ex bourbon casks. The peaed 7 has had an American oak and ex-peated scotch whisky cask treatment.


7Y

Colour:

I’ll use the colours mentioned on the little brochure that was given to me, as they are simply beautiful. This one is ‘Burnished Bronze’

Nose:

Fresh, fruity and a bit sharp in the beginning. A very kind nose with tropical fruits, hints of mango, some coconut and stonefruits. A gentle layer of milk chocolate makes this feel like a summer-y fruit-chocolate pie. In the beginning there is a slight spiciness. This fades away quite quickly, leaving you with a pleasant though very average nose. Very forgettable nose

Taste:

Warmer and sweeter than the nose suggests, there’s more spice and some added fruits. Bananas, mangos and oranges. This combines well with the still-present milk chocolate and some caramel. Hough it’s all a bit flat flavour-wise. I do notice a certain thickness about the rum in the mouth, so perhaps it’s sweetened? Not sure though.

Finish:

There’s a duality about this finish. On the one hand there’s a bit of a spiciness, on the other hand, my lips are kind of sticky… yet another clue for sugar.

All things considered, it’s nice but too kind. If the price is right this can be a pretty little tipple to casually enjoy with friends, you just don’t have to invite the biggest rumheads.


7Y Peated

Colour:

This one they call ‘Sunset Gold’. How romantic

Nose:

This is something weird, the peat is instantly recognizable and has a bit of weird effect on the rum. It feels like a rather sharp and light smoke of a menthol cigarette, instead of a heavier cigar. Any scent from the rum has quite literally gone up in smoke. I’d really think this is a peated Speysider if I didn’t know better.

Taste:

The palate is also overloaded with peat. Some inkling of rum can be found, but one has to dig incredibly deep to find it. This is not really what I’m looking for in rum, nor do I hope anyone is.

Peat works incredibly well in Whisky, it supports the flavours of the Barley and it simply fits. After all, what grows together, goes together. Peat and barley are something for the continent. Peat and sugarcane is just a combination that doesn’t do it for me, at least not in this configuration. Perhaps in a heavier rum with a more characteristic palate the peat would work better. But even then, I wouldn’t like to combine this overdone smokiness with what could be a good rum.

This is not a good match. I like my rums to have character, this however is no doing anything for the name of rum or peat for that matter.

Finish:

The smoke flavours stay for a longer time than I care for. Otherwise there isn’t much to it. I think someone better check the distillery before they burn it all down with peat.


15Y

I kid you not. I had to wait 30 minutes and a pint of water for the flavour of the previous rum to subside enough to be able to taste this one properly.

Colour:

Here they combined both, giving us ‘Golden Bronze’. Whether it’s due to lack of creativity or because they may just have a dart board with sexy words for brown on it and they per chance hit these particular words a couple of times, I wouldn’t know… But it sound good though, like you’d describe someone who’s been sunbathing in California for 2 weeks

Nose:

Fatter and heavier than the 7, which also makes it smell somewhat sweeter and less ethanol-y. The fruitiness made way for more of the milk chocolate and woody vanilla. Some nuttiness is also present. Much more pleasing nose. Some tropical and juicy fruits are detectable on the secondary nose

Taste:

Warm, gentle, light spice. Very similar to the 7 year old, but doubling down on the sugar-y and woody notes. 46% is a good ABV for this one, giving it just enough power to be interesting. It has a bit of a barbadian/ St-Lucia style body. Very nice this one

Finish:

Medium-long with a lovely aftertaste. The Spiciness is gone and I’m left with orange, pastry, chocolate and hints of caramel. All wonderfully balanced.


Conclusion:

The unpeated 7 isn’t bad, its just not something I would buy. It’s a bit too sharp on the nose and forgettable on the palate.

The peated 7 is just wrong. Good for Macnair’s to try and experiment across spirits. But please don’t do it anymore. It’s not because peat works really well in some whiskies it’s guaranteed to work with rum . and definitely with rum from Panama.

The 15 however is very nice. Warm and chocolate-y nose. Very accessible yet still interesting palate and a well-timed and pleasant finish. A nice daily sipper.

Overall this was an interesting experience, mainly because I’ve now tried a peated rum… unfortunately. The other 2 rums were nice, but not something I’ll be giving a lot of attention to or give a very high rating. They’re not bad but also nothing that’ll make your eyes pop and astonish you.

Macnair’s 7 (unpeated): 5/10

Macnair’s 7 (peated): 2/10

Macnair’s 15: 6.5/10

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