Brand: Raising Glasses
Origin: Beenleigh Rum Distillery, Eagleby, Queensland, Australia
Age: 16 years
Raising Glasses has been making quite the waves lately. The Boston-based independent bottler burst on the scene with their own releases featuring 3 expressions of high-strength rum, which led to a wave of reviews and critical acclaim.
For Australia Week, we're looking into the future of Raising Glasses' releases, to an Australian rum that was distilled at– yes you guessed it– Beenleigh in Queensland, Australia. Another product of their pot still, this rum was aged for 11 years on-site in Eagleby, before being transported to the UK and aging in for 5 additional years, bringing the age to 16 years. Presumably, all maturation was done in ex-Bourbon casks.
After attending the 2023 Miami Rum Congress in early February, I kept in touch with John Hsu and Lorri Kern, the fine folks behind Raising Glasses. Later that month, I was visiting one of my best friends in Boston and ended up finding time for us to get dinner with John and Lorri at Birds of Paradise.
It was a wonderful time talking with wonderful people. Full disclosure: they gave me a parting gift bag with some samples of the next round of Raising Glasses releases, including this Australian expression. Thanks John and Lorri!
Golden bronze, high clarity, low viscosity
Honeysuckle, molasses, cough drop, tangerines, red grapes, salted caramel
Floral water, cherry syrup, molasses, tangerine, rotting apples and grapes, permanent marker
Medium-long, tannic, bitter, hot, floral; cinnamon, oak, dark chocolate, cigar smoke, honeysuckle, molasses
Raising Glasses Australia hits a lot of the same notes that other rums distilled at Beenleigh do, including plenty of floral elements and a fair amount of molasses. This sample, however, does not pull its punches, and forgoes bright flavors by featuring bold and drying flavors, while emitting a fair amount of funk just below the surface.
This golden bronze-colored rum has high clarity and low viscosity.
On the nose, I get aromas of honeysuckle, deep molasses, a medicinal and slightly bitter cough drop, and salted caramel which waver between savory, sweet, and bitter. Some wonderful notes of tangerine and red grapes bring some fruity notes to the table, rounding out a very fine nose.
The palate is really tasty, yielding floral water and cherry syrup initially, drawing some inspiration from the nose. Molasses is present in the mid-palate, leading into fruity tangerine and rotting apple and grape flavors– some really tasty notes, with the tangerine being pretty unique among rum. Permanent marker brings a little industrial funk into the mix.
The medium-long finish is tannic, bitter, hot, yet floral. Notes of cinnamon, oak, and bitter dark chocolate bring on a lot of bitterness and tannins quickly, some strong cigar smoke notes sit in the back palate, before easing slightly to get some honeysuckle and molasses.
This Australian rum is wonderful, and offers some unique qualities that sets it apart from other rums from Beenleigh. The proof point is perfect, the flavors and aromas are near-perfectly tuned, and although the finish is not quite what I would hope for, I am really interested to see this bottling get released.