Origin: Diamond Distillery, Diamond, Guyana
Still: Wooden Pot
Age: 10 years
Given the amount of rum distilleries there are in the Caribbean it says something when a single, specific still has such a reputation and cult following. The Port Mourant still is one of many located at Demerara Distillers, Ltd.'s Diamond Distillery in Guyana, but it produces some of the most recognizable distillate in the world.
This iconic status is likely due to the construction of this particular still: instead of pure copper, greenheart wood was used to create this double-vatted, batch still. As noted in Matt Pietrek's Modern Caribbean Rum, this is the last operational still of its type left in the world. The wood creates a unique relationship with the distillate during the production process– which takes about 16 hours to complete, and requires hot water to be placed on the top of the still's vats to prevent warping of the wooden planks.
The rum produced using the Port Mourant still comes out at a proof ranging from 84-87% ABV, and typically has an ester range of 20-50 g/hLAA. As noted by Pietrek, a majority of flavor in this rum comes from other congeners like higher alcohol that is a result of the double retort and wooden design elements of the still.
DDL may use this distillate in single still releases of its El Dorado brand, or in blends for brands like Pusser's. In the case of the rum we're reviewing today, the juice was produced by the Port Mourant still in 2008, then stored in a presumably ex-Bourbon cask and shipped off to Europe, where it aged for a total of 10 years until bottling by Blackadder in 2018, noticeably without any filtration or additives.
My bottle– #154– was one of 260 yielded from the barrel, and purchased at Lincoln Road in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Pale gold, medium clarity, medium-high viscosity; floating barrel dump particulate
Sour green grapes, golden delicious apple, pineapple, industrial varnish, blueberry pie, permanent marker
Overripe pineapple, rotting mango, blueberry pie, sour green grapes, oak, underripe banana, molasses
Long, hot, fruity, sour, industrial; green grapes, cinnamon, industrial varnish, black cherries, dried mango, banana peel, red bell pepper
I've tried a few different Port Mourant expressions, and this one may just take the cake. The classic Guyanese fruity funk is present, the body is full, round, and almost creamy, and the finish is pleasant and warming, almost easing the sipper into the fading moments of enjoyment.
In my glass, Blackadder Guyana 10 year is a pale gold color, with medium clarity, medium-high viscosity, and remnant particles of the barrel from which this rum was dumped.
On the nose, I get fruity and funky notes of sour green grapes, golden delicious apples, and pineapple. In the middle of a sniff, the sting of industrial varnish hits pretty hard, before easing into a freshly-baked blueberry pie, and finishes with permanent marker. It's quite a funky, complex, and enjoyable bouquet.
Guyana 10 year's palate is equally enjoyable and complex, leading with tangy, sweet, and acidic overripe pineapple, funky rotting mango, and warm blueberry pie. Sour green grapes come in next– a feature I typically attribute to the Port Mourant still, with oak following up. Underripe banana and molasses round out this powerful palate. The mouthfeel is also very soft and creamy, making this very easy to drink.
The finish is long, hot, fruity, sour, and has elements of industrial funk. Green grapes lead off, followed by spicy cinnamon, industrial varnish, black cherries, dried mango, and banana peel, with a vegetal red bell pepper outro.
This is an excellent rum that showcases the Port Mourant still exceptionally well. Blackadder Guyana 10 year is complex and funky, while delivering notes that make Port Mourant such a distinct still, while the cask particles add a unique texture to the rum. I have yet to be disappointed in a Raw Cask offering, and can definitely recommend this delicious expression.