An Australian Rum? say what?!
yes, Australian Rum. I know this might sound weird to some of you (and was also to me a few months ago when I heard about this distillery called Beenliegh), but this exists, and it also has been distilling rum for quite a long time, first created in 1884.
A bit of history then :
In 1865 a duo from England by the names of John Davy and Francis Gooding purchased 300 acres of land fronting the Albert River. They named the clearing after their old Devonshire farm, which was called Beenleigh. Originally, they had intended to grow cotton on this land, but as fate would have it, a more lucrative alternative presented itself- sugar cane. As legend would have it, around the same time, a man called James Stewart, known as ‘The Bosun’ was operating a floating sugar mill, aboard the S.S. Walrus, along the Albert and Logan Rivers. He soon found a productive use for the excess molasses he produced- making Rum on the sly. One day in 1884 the SS Walrus washed ashore on our banks. No one was aboard- except The Bosun’s Copper Pot still. Beenleigh Artisan Distillery was born…
At the end of Distillery Road, there’s an old red building that is, in parts, the original Beenleigh Distillery from 1884. It’s home to ‘The Old Copper’. The Old Copper is a very special Copper Pot Still that has a signature shape and style known as a Vat Still. It is the only one of its kind in Australia. Other similar international examples of this equipment include the Port Mourant Still- famous for classic Demerara style Rum. Another significant link between Beenleigh Distillery and Demerara is that their previous Distillers once worked with similar stills along the Demerara River, Guyana in the early 1900s.
Benliegh is a true artisan distillers. Only four people work in The Big Red Shed, including their Master Distiller, who has been here for forty years. The Distillers manage all parts of the Rum-making process, from fermentation to nursing the still throughout the day, to cask-aging the Rum. Fine Australian Rum must legally mature for a minimum of two years to be sold as “Rum”.
This rum was aged for 13 years, 10 of which were done on Australian ground (well over the 2 minimal to call it Australian Rum), and was bottled at a nice 63.4% abv. My first ever Aussie rum, let’s try this!
Beenleigh 13 yo Rum, cask 38 (The Duchess) , 63.4% , € 75 (Best of Wines)
Nose: Big and sweet, with lots of sweet sugarcane juices as well as fresh paint, maybe a hint of acetone, very juicy with lots of oak, funky spices, and orchard fruit, and grass.
Palate: Big entry with a spicy edge, pepper, chilies, sugar cane syrup, hot cinnamon candy, more of the wet paint/remover/acetone thing going on, but in a good way, plenty of oak tannins, berries, and vanilla cream, with a bitter oaky edge towards the end of the palate.
Finish: bittersweet, with chocolate, fig and molasses, and a good portion of wood spices.
Conclusion: Lovely and very drinkable, and by Jove, i would not have believed this stuff comes from Australia. It’s damn lovely. Easy drinking despite being over 63%!! dangerously easy, you might opt for a 2nd and a third dram and… Seriously interesting stuff in a good way.
Available on Best of Wines Online website