Brand: Mount Gay, Origin series
Origin: Mount Gay, St. Lucy, Barbados
Finish: French Oak (Light Toast)
During our trip to Barbados in 2022, my girlfriend and I got to tour Mount Gay's St. Lucy distillery site on a VIP tour (led by the legendary Romal). After a walkthrough of the grounds, some photos snapped of fermentation vats, stills, and aging casks, we ended at a tasting room with the other guests.
Romal tasted us through the Mount Gay catalog (we even got a certificate at the end!), and eventually provided a list of items that were available to take home. Of the different rums we tasted, I was most interested in the Origin Series, and I decided to purchase Volume 1, which we were told was only available for purchase the distillery.
The Mount Gay Origin Series is a two volume (so far) series of bottlings of rums showcasing specific production techniques of the distillery; Vol. 1 contains two 375ml bottles showcasing cask influence, while Vol. 2 highlights the differences of pot and column still distillates. Each volume comes in a nice gift box that contains an informational booklet.
The Origin Series Virgin Cask is a pot still distillate that was finished in a lightly toasted, virgin French Oak cask for an undisclosed amount of time (Romal mentioned during the tasting that a pair of samples had only aged 10 days in their respective casks– I am not sure if that referred to the Vol. 1 rums or not). The rum was proofed to 43% ABV before bottling.
Champagne gold, high clarity, medium viscosity
Vanilla, butterscotch, classic bubblegum, fresh pastry, black pepper
Butterscotch, vanilla, custard, black pepper, orange rind, popsicle stick
Medium length, light, warming; orange peel, vanilla, black pepper, elderflower
The Virgin Cask is a fine rum that showcases the qualities of French Oak quite well. It's got a fair bit of the oak influence on the flavor profile, as well as black pepper to lend some spiciness to the experience. The sweet and silky flavors like butterscotch, vanilla, and custard are balanced and augment the spice perfectly.
I like that both Origin Series Vol. 1 bottles use pure pot still distillate, as it offers a control factor when comparing the different cask influences. Generally, the profile of the Virgin Cask rum is pretty indiscernable from standard Mount Gay bottlings, which makes me wonder what percentage of pot still rum is used in the Eclipse and Black Barrel blends.
It's exciting that distilleries have these "behind the scenes" releases that allow a peek behind the more heavily-marketed bottles; they help one develop a greater appreciation for the craft and processes that are employed in the production of a rum. Nice rum and an awesome concept.