Brand: Smooth Ambler
Origin: Appleton Estate, Vauxhall, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica; Clarendon Distillers Ltd., Lionel Town, Clarendon, Jamaica
Still: Pot & Column Blend
Age: 23 years
Finish: ex-Bourbon & ex-Rye
When we think about independently-bottled rum, we typically think of companies who make their business procuring and then selling special casks of rum. In the case of Revelation Rum, it was a West Virginia-based whiskey distilery– Smooth Ambler– that bottled this rum.
While known for their Contradiction Bourbon and Old Scout whiskies, Smooth Ambler released this long-aged rum in 2014 composed of 2 Jamaican rums: 25% pot still rum from 1985, and 75% column still rum produced in 1990. Some details come from the Rum Project forums, including text extracted from an email sent to a few of the posters there.
As for the source distilleries, first party info is unavailable due to an NDA between Smooth Ambler and their broker, but sources point to any combination of Appleton Estate, Clarendon, Hampden, and Worthy Park. The only Jamaican stills in operation during the years the column component was produced were at Appleton Estate and New Yarmouth, while the pot still still could have been any of the active distilleries.
Given the ambiguity, the attribution in the "overview" box above represents what poster "Capn Jimbo" claims a rep in New York state has published as the sources: Appleton Estate (pot still) and Monymusk/Clarendon (column still).
The bottling most often reviewed is the ex-Bourbon matured release, but some amount of the blend was re-casked into an ex-rye barrel for finishing for an undetermined amount of time. This rum was part of that rye cask finish group, and was bottled at 49.5% ABV after a total of 23 years of aging.
This sample was provided to me by /u/LIFOanAccountant, fellow rum reviewer active on the /r/rum subreddit.
Gold with an orange tinge, high clarity, low viscosity
Blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, vanilla, Playdough, caramel
Floral honey, underripe banana and pineapple, lemon zest, blueberries, raspberries, caramel, green apple
Medium-short, spicy, warm; green apple skin, cinnamon, banana, caramel, vanilla
This is quite the journey; from a funky nose, to a more balanced but powerful palate, and ending with an almost dessert-like finish. The promise of long-aged Jamaican rum may be a red herring to some, as this mostly column still blend leaves most of the funk to the nose, while delivering on some spicy rye cask notes.
The nose brings some zesty fruit notes with blueberries, raspberries, and kiwi, and really highlighting the funk. The palate, meanwhile, lets the foot off the pedal of the funk a good bit, and brings some fruit forward after a burst of floral honey that honestly reminds me of Beenleigh. The rye finish is present via green apple, cinnamon, and vanilla notes throughout different parts of the palate and finish.
For an oddball of a rum, this turned out pretty well. It's fun to try long-aged rums, this composition mellowed out a fair bit and became a bit muddled in my opinion. Bottom line? This is good-not-great.