Brand: Holmes Cay
Origin: Beenleigh Rum Distillery, Eagleby, Queensland, Australia (picked by Florida Rum Society)
Age: 9 years
For my birthday today, we're going to look at perhaps my favorite rum of this Australia Week lineup: Holmes Cay Australia 2012.
Holmes Cay needs no reintroduction, so let's cut right to the chase. This rum was bottled from cask #60, which was selected by Jay Cocorullo, Travis Miller, and Sam Patel for the Florida Rum Society's barrel pick program.
The rum in cask #60 was produced via pot distillation at Beenleigh from a molasses base, and initially aged for 6 years in ex-Bourbon casks on-site in Queensland. It was later transported to the UK for an additional 3 years of ex-Bourbon cask aging, before being bottled at an eye-popping strength of 67% ABV.
According to Jay, this is the highest proof Holmes Cay Australia release, and is the last cask to be bottled this high; not that I'm a strict proof-hound, but this definitely sold me on the bottle.
Amber with an orange tinge, high clarity, medium-low viscosity
Honeydew, Elmer's glue, roses, pastry dough, looseleaf tobacco, molasses, cardemom, toasted sawdust
Wildflower honey, sour red grapes, vanilla, hondeydew, cinnamon, cardemom, black pepper
Long, hot, flavorful; bourbon oak, honeysuckle, cinnamon, grapes
This is an incredible rum! Eric and his team found some great casks of Australian rum, and the FRS crew chose one heck of a barrel out of those available. This is complex, illustrates the prowess of Beenleigh, and above all else– strong. The floral, spicy, and sweet notes commonly found in distillate from Beenleigh are present, and it's just such a fun rum to drink.
Australia 2012 is an amber color in my glass, featuring an orange tinge; it has high clairyt and medium-low viscosity.
I get honeydew and Elmer's glue on the initial nosing, followed by rose flowers, a heap of pastry dough, and slightly smokey and savory looseleaf tobacco. The symphony continues with molasses, the distinct aroma of cardemom, and trails out with sawdust that has been toasted in the Australian sunlight. It's quite the experience to behold, and just plain delightful.
Wildflower honey leads the palate, with its sweet and slightly floral notes followed by sour red grapes, vanilla, and honeydew melon. Onto the mid-palate, powerful cinnamon appears– a harbinger of the strength of the juice, followed by cardemom again, and finishes with a zip of black pepper.
The finish is long, hot, and flavorful. Bourbon oak is prominently displayed, with honeysuckle, cinnamon, and red grapes appearing throughout.
This is an uncut look at the notes that Beenleigh can bring out in their rum, and I can say I am a huge fan of this collection of aromas and flavors. It's a bit hot, but somehow the immense complexity and multitude of unique notes throughout the experience makes you forget about the proof and focus on figuring out what exactly that note is that you're getting. I'm glad I grabbed a bottle of this when the opportunity arose, and look forward to future bottlings of rum made by this wonderful distillery.