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    Review: Mount Gay Embraces a Unique Distillation

    By Kirk Miller,

    Mount Gay's latest bottling utilizes an all-copper Coffey still. Mount Gay

    What we’re drinking: Mount Gay Master Blender Collection: The Coffey Still Expression

    Where it’s from: Mount Gay, located on the northernmost tip of Barbados, is the world’s oldest commercial rum distillery. Founded in 1703, the brand is now under the Rémy Cointreau drinks umbrella.

    Why we’re drinking this: Coffey is the seventh limited-edition release from the distillery’s Master Blender Collection, which we’ve previously enjoyed exploring. “The Collection gives you a glimpse into what we do, pairing different distillation types with different barrel types,” explains Mount Gay’s Master Blender Trudiann Branker. “It’s things you wouldn’t traditionally see from Mount Gay.”

    What makes this release special is that it was distilled on a very old 100% copper Coffey still, only one of three operating globally. Historically, the Coffey still was one of the first types of column stills invented, and it harkens back to the way rum was made in the 19th century. After several decades of non-use, the two-column still used for this expression was recommissioned in 2019.

    “It was dismantled for many years, and the parts were scattered throughout the distillery,” Branker says. “It’s fully manual and requires the entire distillation team to operate.”

    The rum here utilizes 100% molasses from Mount Gay’s home of Barbados. It’s fermented in open-oak vats and aged for four years in heavily charred ex-bourbon casks. According to Branker, the still may be used in future releases, but “there’s not unlimited local molasses,” so we may not see an iteration like this again.
    Mount Gay Master Blender Trudiann Branker Mount Gay

    How it tastes: Coming in at 58% ABV, this non-chill-filtered release is floral on the nose with notes of oak, banana, pear, honey, cinnamon and a surprising amount of grapefruit on the palate; it has an almost leathery texture and underlying earthiness. It’s delicious and worthy of a neat sip.

    Interesting fact: This bottle is a tribute to Mount Gay’s late distiller Reynold Hinds, who spent more than 50 years at the company and went by the nickname “Blues” (hence the “Tribute to Blues” lettering on the bottle). Thanks to Hinds’s knowledge and expertise, the distillery was able to restore the Coffey still.

    Where to buy: The Master Blender Collection: The Coffey Still Expression is limited to 5,004 bottles and is available “at select premium retailers” for $240.

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