Thursday night, I was at Table & Vine in West Springfield; it's the largest package store in the area and it's my go-to liquor store when I want something hard to find or unusual. One of the things I like about them is the in-store tastings they have. Usually, it's wine - not really my forte - but Thursday night, they were pouring shots of rum. How awesome is that? They were promoting two rum products from St. Lucia. I tried them both (no way was I going to turn down free shots of Demon Rum) and wound up buying a bottle of one of them.
Chairman's Reserve by St. Lucia Distillers, Saint Lucia. 80 Proof - Until a year ago or so, this rum wasn't available in the US, and I can see why the people of Saint Lucia would want to keep it a secret. This is a relatively inexpensive rum that tastes like it should cost at least twice as much. The gentleman doing the pouring told me that Chairman's Reserve is a blend of double-distilled pot still and continuous still rums, which give it a "sipping rum" flavor at a "mixing rum" price. It's aged in used whiskey and bourbon barrels to develop a more complex flavor.
Brown sugar and caramel on the nose, with no harsh alky vapors; the first sip is like vanilla caramel velvet with a nutty, brown spice finish. Chairman's Reserve is indeed an awesome sipping rum, as good on the rocks as it is neat.
It was an easy sell for me - after the tasting I bought a bottle, and it was quite a good deal at about $20 for the 750ml bottle, purchased at Table & vine in Taxachusetts.
Castrie's Peanut Rum Cream - This is a cream liquor made from St. Lucia rum, Madagascar vanilla, roasted peanuts, cream, and spices. It is undeniably smooth and creamy - like taking a sip of a silky peanut butter milkshake spiked with a good shot of premium rum. It went down easily but peanut flavor is not one of my favorites and I involuntarily made a face as I swallowed. Lynnafred and Maryanne, watching from the sidelines, laughed and said, "Ha! DO NOT WANT!!"
I can think of dozens of things I could do with a bottle of Castrie's Peanut Rum Cream. I bet it would be fantastic mixed into a cocktail with, say, Kahlua and garnished with a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on the edge of the glass. Or poured with hot fudge over premium vanilla bean ice cream. Or, um, poured with some raspberry liqueur for a peanut-butter-and-jelly cocktail. Okay, so that last one is probably a bit of a reach, but just because I don't really care for the flavor of a peanut-butter liqueur doesn't mean it's swill. It isn't. I just wouldn't want to drink it.