Origin: Privateer Distilling, Ipswich, MA, USA
Age: 3 years, 2 months
Finish: New American Oak
Privateer needs no introduction to readers of our reviews, or for fans of American rum. The Ipswich, MA-based distillery is owned and operated by Andrew Cabot, who is a descendant of an actual Revolutionary privateer and rum distiller, also named Andrew Cabot. Their branding leans into the naval/maritime motif that is often associated with rum, without quite going overboard into the "pirate" category. The rum itself is distilled and aged in the New England tradition, closely following how the 18th century Andrew Cabot may have produced his rum.
The Navy Yard line is bottled from a single barrel, at cask strength; these are much more readily available than the Letter of Marque or Distiller's Drawer series. The barrels used are 53 gallons and made with New American Oak, which have received a #3 char and open-air seasoned for 24 months.
Aside from the barrel, Privateer uses Grade A molasses and a 6 day fermentation period with their proprietary yeast strain. Once this process is complete, the wash is column-distilled through their pot/column hybrid still. The resulting spirit is then proofed to 55% ABV before being barreled; all Navy Yard expressions are aged between 2.5 and 3 years, and harvested when the team deems the aged spirit to be ready.
The bottle I have for this review is barrel P616, which I purchased from the Florida Rum Society; each market receives a different barrel, so a Navy Yard I find here in Tennessee will be different than the one I have from Florida. P616 is 56.1% ABV, and aged for 3 years, 2 months, after having been distilled February 2018; there were 211 bottles yielded from this barrel.
Special thanks to Bob McCoy from the Privateer team for providing some additional information about this expression. The entire team at Privateer is absolutely world class in their devotion to transparency and honesty in their rum production.
Copper, high clarity, medium viscosity
Toasted coconut, vanilla, black licorice, molasses, fresh-cut oak, raisins, sea salt
Vanilla, molasses, toasted coconut, black licorice, butterscotch, black pepper
Long, tannic; vanilla, oak, coconut, nutmeg
This Navy Yard P616 was my first Privateer single barrel, and it is quite delicious. It is an excellent example of the New England distillery's style at an undiluted proof point. The heavy amount of oak, toasted coconut, and vanilla notes really shine in this barrel.
In my glass, P616 is a nice copper color, with high clarity and medium viscosity.
Notes of toasted coconut, vanilla, black licorice, molasses, fresh-cut oak, raisins, and sea salt are provided on the nose. The oak and vanilla are really prevalent on the opening whiff, with toasted coconut joining quickly after. Black licorice, raisins, and sea salt provide some savory notes, with some molasses coming through, briefly, at the end.
P616's palate offers heaps of vanilla, molasses, toasted coconut, black licorice, butterscotch, and black pepper. Lots of vanilla, molasses, and coconut at the beginning, giving a slight sweetness to the first few sips. Black licorice comes in the mid-palate, as does some hints of butterscotch, and a few dashes of black pepper. A really nice, spicy, and somewhat sweet flavor profile.
The finish is long and tannic. Notes of vanilla, oak, coconut, and nutmeg come through. The palate and finish really showcase a rough, bourbon-style profile, offering some vanilla, plenty of oak, some sweetening coconut, and some drying nutmeg.
Privateer Navy Yard P616 is tasty, and I'm glad I was able to snag a bottle from Florida. The rum is heavily influenced by its New American Oak cask aging, almost to a point of being over-oaked. Still, this is a very enjoyable rum that stands up on its own, but could also be used in a cocktail. As Privateer continues to mature their single barrel program, these Navy Yard expressions will certainly be among the spirit world's most sought-after releases.