Brand: Privateer, Distiller's Drawer series

Origin: Privateer Distilling, Ipswich, MA, USA

Still: Pot, Column

Age: 2 years, 11 months

Finish: New American Oak

ABV: 52.4%

We're back at Privateer for another review of the Ipswich, MA-based distillery's specialty rum releases. Unlike Letter of Marque "For Our Friends", this bottle is a release from the Distiller's Drawer lineup; Distiller's Drawer (sometimes abbreviated as "DD") is the collection of distillery-selected, single barrel* rums that are typically released concurrently each year, whereas a Letter of Marque is a standalone release, typically a single-barrel selection made by a store or club.

The inspiration for the Distiller's Drawer concept is stated on Privateer's website as the following:

While founder Andrew Cabot traveled through the Caribbean to research what would become Privateer Rum, he met with a distiller who kept a special bottle tucked away in his desk drawer. It was the distiller’s favorite creation, set aside to showcase how remarkable his spirits could be.

Imagine running a distillery and crafting all sorts of amazing rums, while having the ability to stow away a bottle of your favorites for later. That's the appreciation that Privateer hopes owners of Distiller's Drawer bottlings have when they enjoy a dram from these limited releases.

Today we're reviewing release #120– "Respite". This rum was aged for 2 years, 11 months in a New American Oak barrel, which yielded 224 bottles when it was released as part of the 2021 DD set.


Orange, high clarity, medium viscosity


Butterscotch, vanilla, cracked black pepper, coconut, old leather


Vanilla, oak, black pepper, cinnamon, spiced green apples, coconut


Medium-short; warming and tannic, but moist; coconut, spices, oak, oak, and more oak

Rating: 6/10


Respite is another nice entry in the Distiller's Drawer canon; this young single barrel has some rough edges, but has a nice core of flavor.

The appearance is a really nice orange in the glass, sporting high clarity and medium viscosity. For such a (relatively) young rum, Respite has some long legs, that typically are reserved for longer-aged spirits.

On the nose, I get butterscotch, vanilla, cracked black pepper, coconut, and old leather. This is an approachable, yet somewhat stiff and aggressive grouping of notes, which contain some aromas that I would say form the pillars of Privateer rums.

The palate offers notes of rich vanilla, oak, black pepper and cinnamon, spiced green apples, and coconut. It's relatively short-lived on the palate, but the sweet and spicy notes of Respite translate the bouquet pretty accurately.

The finish is medium-short, warming, tannic, yet moist. Notes of coconut, various spices, and a ton of oak help round out the experience of an individual sip.

As stated above, Respite is a nice rum that's a little rough as far as the intensity of the oak influence and somewhat thin palate. It's not an unpleasant experience, but sits just on the line of being over-oaked without enough working in the background to make up for that asymmetry.

Further Reading

*Starting in 2022, Distiller's Drawer releases will not exclusively be single barrels. This will likely mean availability for Distiller's Drawer sets will not be as limited as they may have been in the past, since the alternative will likely be blending multiple rum barrels, thereby increasing the volume of distillate used for a particular bottling.