Brand: Cane Island
Origin: Beenleigh Rum Distillery, Eagleby, Queensland, Australia
Age: 4 years
Our next installment of back-to-back Australian rum reviews comes to us from the relatively new private label brand Cane Island. Cane Island boasts tropically-aged rums from different locales such as Guatemala, Thailand, and Australia. Their offerings are split between Single Island blends and Single Estate rums that feature a single distillery.
The company behind Cane Island is Netherlands-based Infinity Spirits, who tout themselves as "offer[ing] branded & bottled Rum Solutions to retailers and distributors", which "fill the gap between private labels and well-known Rum Brands". For blending expertise, Infinity Spirits employs Hein Smit, former E&A Scheer Master Blender, to create the products that they sell to clients; these brands include Cane Island and The Royal Cane Cask Company, among others.
The Cane Island Single Estate Australia rum was produced in Beenleigh's pot stills from a molasses base, and aged on-site for 4 years in ex-Bourbon casks, before being bottled at 43% ABV. Unfortunately, according to a direct message conversation with Infinity Spirits, this Single Estate Australia has 20g/L of added sweeteners; I learned about this after I had purchased the bottle.
Despite the amount of detailed information about the rum on the label, the additives were not disclosed. I was really hoping that this newer brand could provide some really cool rums at lower prices and strength, so those who may not spring for a more expensive bottling of Australian rum could experience an unadulterated expression.
Light amber, high clarity, low viscosity
Orange peel, demerara sugar, pastry dough, burnt grapes, gingerbread
Honeysuckle, cough drops, bourbon oak, butterscotch
Short, light, bitter; oak, bitter orange pith, cough drops
This Cane Island Beenleigh hits some of the highlights that we know from the distillery, but falls a little short from being a standout rum. The palate is a bit light and the youth shows its face quite a bit in the glass, which while not necessarily being a bad thing, sees this expression fall a bit short in the lineup of Beenleighs available to me.
This 4 year rum is a light amber color with high clarity and low viscosity.
The nose starts out with the fruity and sweet notes of orange peel demerara sugar. Fresh pastry dough comes in next, followed by burnt grapes that reminds me of brandy, and ends with a spicy gingerbread aroma. It certainly smells like a rum from Beenleigh, although this is lower strength and the nose backs this up.
On the palate, I get notes of honeysuckle, cough drops, slightly bitter bourbon-soaked oak, and butterscotch. It's generally sweet, floral, and leans into a little bitterness. Not much more to report back, unfortunately; definitely Australian, but definitely only an introduction– and not an exploration– of the funk and complexity that can be found from this country.
The finish is short, light, and bitter, with oak, bitter orange ptih, and cough drops lingering after the palate finishes. The experience is a little uncontrolled at this point, and is fairly thin; I'd chalk this up to the lower proof.
I commend Cane Island for offering a rum from a locale that might be a huge departure from what the every day person thinks is the typical rum producing country. However, the end product lacks some complexity and suffers from the stigma of adulteration, which doesn't help sell this rum on that unique origin alone. Even though this may not live up to other Australian rums, it's still an affordable expression distilled by a reputable producer, and one I'll enjoy using in cocktails that I wouldn't use any more expensive Australian rums.