Goslings Rum is a 200-year-old family-owned brand based in Bermuda that has cornered the market on the Dark ‘n Stormy cocktail—quite literally, as it owns the trademark for this classic rum and ginger beer drink. In addition to its popular core Black Seal expression, Goslings has the higher-end Family Reserve lineup which just got an upgrade with the addition of an excellent rum finished in rye whiskey barrels.
Family Reserve Old Rum Rye Barrel Finish is actually the first addition to the Family Reserve line, an annual release of older rums aged between 16 and 19 years in bourbon barrels that first came out in 2003. This new release differs in that the rum was put into once-used rye whiskey barrels for an additional three years, more of a lengthy secondary maturation than a cask finish. “This will be the first of multiple innovations in the Old Rum line of products,” said eighth-generation rum maker Malcolm Gosling Jr. in a statement. “We took a unique blending approach when introducing our Old Rum to rye barrels, starting independent fills in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Finally, this year, we married the three aged rums for bottling and the end result is a complex rum that can be enjoyed like a bourbon or aged whiskey—either sipped, on the rocks, or in a classic cocktail.”
We got to sample the new Rye Barrel Finish, and it’s a very good rum that far surpasses Black Seal in terms of flavor and complexity. There is a nice dusty spice on the nose which follows through on the palate. The inherent sweetness of the rum is tempered by its lengthier aging, and those three years in rye barrels have added deep notes of leather, black pepper, dried fruit, chili-infused dark chocolate, and spiced apple. This is a rum built for sipping or, as Gosling Jr. suggested, using in a cocktail that needs a counterbalance to sweet flavors like an Old Fashioned or Manhattan.
Last year, Goslings added some new expressions to its portfolio, including Spirited Seas Ocean Aged Bermuda Rum and Dark ‘n Stormy canned cocktails in different flavors, and there will be another Spirited Seas expression in the coming year as well as some other new releases. In the meantime, you can find Family Reserve Old Rum Rye Barrel Finish available to purchase from ReserveBar now.