Brand: Raising Glasses
Origin: Undisclosed Distillery, Aragua, Venezuela
Age: 14 years
Chugging along with our look at Raising Glasses' portfolio, we once again find ourselves with a sample of rum that has now made it to shelves as a main release. For full disclosure, Raising Glasses provided this sample to me; thanks John and Lorri!
This rum is a 14 year old Venezuelan production, have been originally produced from a column still at an undisclosed distillery in the state of Aragua. After distillation, it spent 12 years aging at origin, and a further 2 years aging in the UK; Raising Glasses bottled this (sample) at a strength of 60.9% ABV.
This is now a main release for Raising Glasses' 2023 lineup, which once again focuses on the folklore of the origin countries in question; the Venezuela release is known as "Whistler". The Whistler is a terrifying creature that wanders rural towns and villages, seeking victims to add to his collection of bones, which he keeps in a bag he slings across his back. Moderate rum drinking may ward him off, but drink too much, and he'll come for you, all the while whistling a creepy tune.
Gold, high clarity, low viscosity
Butterscotch, ethanol, old leather, orange peel, maple syrup
Tobacco, candied oranges, butterscotch, vanilla, cinnamon, black cherries
Medium, balanced, thin, oaky; butterscotch, oak, vanilla
It's not every day that you get to try a Venezuelan rum without additives, at cask strength no less. This Raising Glasses Venezuela has some nice flavors, even if the profile is a little light on depth and complexity.
The rum is a gold color, with high clarity and low viscosity.
On the nose, the Venezuelan rum offers butterscotch on the outset, with some raw ethanol following up. An aroma of old leather comes in next, with orange peel giving way to a thick maple syrup on the end of the nose. This doesn't quite do it for me, but then again, it's very tame for a >60% ABV rum, with only a little bit of that raw alcohol note showing through.
Raising Glasses Venezuela starts the palate with some smoky and robust tobacco, candied oranges, and butterscotch, before bringing vanilla, cinnamon, and a hint of black cherries into the mix. The palate is quite short, and merges quickly into the finish. The flavors are nice and sips again very low compared to its proof, but it's pretty thin and simple.
The finish is medium length, fairly well-balanced, still a bit thin, and oaky. Butterscotch, oak, and vanilla are the only notes I get. The flavor notes are well-integrated, but they are short-lived. One benefit is that this finish is very "clean", and does not linger long on the palate; if you are doing a rum flight or tasting, this won't obliterate your palate the way a 60% ABV Jamaican may, for example.
For a higher proof, long-aged Venezuelan rum, this is pretty approachable, if a little timid on the length and complexity of some of the notes. I've found many Spanish heritage rums shine in the 50-57% ABV range, otherwise the heat and oak take over; that isn't the case there, which is nice. While this may not be my preferred style to sip, I do enjoy the variety that this brings to the independent bottler's lineup.