Brand: Doctor Bird
Origin: Worthy Park, Lluidas Vale, Saint Catherine Parish, Jamaica
Finish: ex-Bourbon & ex-Moscatel
Those readers who have browsed /r/rum with any frequency the last year or two have likely come across Doctor Bird in review posts or suggested in comments. Its bottle sports a fantastical, Victorian era-style label, illustrated with the Trochilus polytmus– aka Doctor Bird, the national bird of Jamaica– front and center on the label.
Doctor Bird is produced by Two James Spritis in Detroit, MI, but the rum itself is not distilled by them. In fact, there is little widespread, definitive information about the source and age of the rum blend used, such is often the case with sourced rum. Two James says the following on their product page:
Blended 3 different medium to high ester rums blended on-site at our distillery in Detroit and finished in Moscatel casks imported from Spain
So no mention of source distillery or specific aging. However, I am attributing Worthy Park as the source distillery, considering the bottle states it was distilled in St. Catherine, Jamaica, the home parish of Worthy Park. Aging wise, thefatrumpirate.com seems to have confirmed with Zan Kong– the commercial manager of spirits at Worthy Park and brand ambassador– that the distillates used include a 6 year old and some younger rums; however, the bottle itself does not display an age statement.
So the story I have is this: Worthy Park distills the rums using their pot stills which are then tropically aged in ex-Bourbon barrels, Two James imports then blends in their facilities in Detroit, and further matures the blend in ex-Moscatel casks for an indeterminate amount of time. The finished product is bottled on-site at 100 proof before heading to state distributors.
Like many bottles in my collection and growing list of reviews, I picked this up at Elixir in Spring Hill, TN, as it is not yet available in Memphis. Let's see what this bottle has in store for us today!
Pale champagne, high clarity, medium viscosity
Overripe bananas, maraschino cherries, olive brine, fresh-cut grass, Greek yogurt, sunflower seeds, orange pastries
Bananas, grilled pineapple, sour grapes, mango, olive brine, honey, papaya, strawberries and cream
Medium-long, oily, warming; rotting tropical fruit, strawberries, jackfruit, slight oak essence
Doctor Bird can be a divisive dram, given its incredibly funky character, strong aroma (when I poured the tasting sample, it filled up my kitchen almost immediately!), and powerful proofing. It certainly stands out amongst the ever-growing slate of US-available Jamaican expressions given its special Moscatel cask finish.
In the glass, Doctor Bird is a nice pale champagne color, with high clarity and medium viscosity.
On the nose, you are introduced to the symphony of notes vying for your attention: overripe bananas, maraschino cherries, olive brine, fresh-cut grass, Greek yogurt, sunflower seeds, and fresh orange-filled pastries. It's truly a miraculous bouquet, and perhaps one of my favorite noses of any rum that I own.
The palate similarly offers plenty of fruit-forward flavors: bananas, grilled pineapple, sour grapes, mango, papaya, as well as some earthy elements such as honey and olive brine, and further still, a sweetness not unlike strawberries and cream. I would say I favor this blend over Smith & Cross, if I would have to pick a "desert island" funky Jamaican rum. It brings the funk but has a much more complex palate, in my opinion.
The finish is medium-long, oily, and warming. It provides notes of rotting tropical fruit, strawberries, jackfruit, and a slight oak essence. Bits of the experience linger on, but still prompts one to revisit the glass to get another wave of tropical goodness. There's is not much of a tannic note per se, but definitely a note of oak that can be detected throughout the finish.
Doctor Bird is a fantastic product that provides a unique funk and incredibly complex character, which lends to a fantastic sipping or mixing experience. It's certainly one of my favorite rums to use in cocktails, and although it is not (yet) available in Memphis, I try to keep it stocked on my shelf. I highly recommend this rum, especially if you want a unique, funky, fruit bomb.