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Kanaloa Rum Club – Gosling’s Rum Jul 27

Kanaloa Rum ClubWhile London basked in the light of yet another overcast summer’s evening, a small crowd gathered under the shelter of Kanaloa’s Tiki Club, as a Dark ‘n’ Stormy evening brewed.

Playing host to Gosling’s Rum and their UK distributors Love Drinks, the bar tenders at Kanaloa Tropical Island Bar & Grill kicked off the second Kanaloa Rum Club with Bermuda’s national cocktail, the Dark ‘n’ Stormy.

One of only two cocktails to have been trademarked, Gosling’s Dark ‘n’ Stormy is a simple but effective drink, being 2 measures of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum over ice, topped with ginger beer and garnished with a wedge of lime. Bringing their own style to this classic cocktail, the Kanaloa bar tenders also added a splash of fresh lime juice, prior to the ginger beer, resulting in a drink that in their own words is a “tiki classic”.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Malcolm Gosling Jr (pictured right), who was on the Kanaloa Rum Club - Malcolm Gosling Jr - Rum Tastinglast day of his UK trip to share his love and passion for his family’s business. A family business that has been around since 1806. Today, Gosling’s Rum has become part of the national heritage of the small island of Bermuda. A vital ingredient in Bermuda’s national dish, Fish Chowder, along with it being essential to several of Bermuda’s cocktails, Gosling’s Rum is even used to christen new buildings on the island.

With a history as rich and full of character as the rum itself, Gosling’s Rum has been produced since 1863, where after 3 years of experimentation with blending imported Caribbean rums, their distinctive black rum was born. Originally sold from the barrel, due to a lack of glass manufacturing on the island, it wasn’t until World War I that Gosling’s Rum was sold from reclaimed champagne bottles. Using black sealing wax to seal the corks in place, it wasn’t long before people started asking for the “Black Seal” rum.

Using a secret blend of Caribbean rums, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum uses rums aged from 3-6 years old, which are then blended together with a small amount of molasses to give that rich dark colour, before being bottled at 40% ABV / 80 Proof.

Not surprisingly, the evening’s tasting started with their signature Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. For me this rum hits the tongue with a rich smoothness that finishes with a slight bite. With plenty of character and flavour, I see this rum as not only great for cocktail mixing, but also for sipping over ice. (With a full review coming over the next few weeks, I will be putting both of these ideas to the test.)

Next up was the latest edition to the Gosling’s range of rum, Gosling’s Gold Rum. Created in 2005, after 100 years of experimentation, this blend of 2-5 year old rums, is lighter in colour and taste than the Black Seal Rum and I very much see it as a mixing rum. Also bottled at 40% ABV / 80 Proof, this amber coloured rum is still smooth, but doesn’t have quite as much depth of  character as its older brother, the Black Seal Rum.

Kanaloa Rum Club Gosling's Family Reserve Originally kept for the Gosling family themselves, our next tasting was of the Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum and I for one am so pleased that they decided to share this little gem. Taking the original Gosling’s Black Seal Rum blend and then aging them in charred oak barrels for a further 16 and 20 years, this 40% ABV / 80 Proof rum has a rich deep amber colour, with a chocolaty aroma. Incredibly smooth to sip, this is without a doubt one of my favourite rums.

Limited to 5000 cases every year, each bottle comes in its own distinctive wooden box and is individually numbered and signed by Malcolm Gosling, the president of Gosling’s Export (Bermuda) Limited and Malcolm Gosling Jr’s father.

To finish off the evening we were treated to Gosling’s 151 Proof Rum, which with a bit of help from one of Kanaloa’s bar tenders was proved to be extremely flammable and highly suited for fire breathing. Bottled at 75.5% ABV / 151 Proof, this overproof rum uses the same blend of 3-6 year old rums as Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.

Clearly an overproof rum of this strength is going to be strong to the taste, but where Gosling’s 151 Proof Rum succeeds is that it also has retained a lot of the depth and character of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum as well.

 With the tasting over, the rest of the evening was spent catching up with some of the Rum Club faithful, chatting with Malcolm and the Love Drinks team and enjoying “The Bermuda Triangle” – one of the cocktails that Stuart Hudson and his team at Kanaloa had put together for May’s National Bermuda Day celebrations. A blend of Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum, bitters and falernum served over ice, this cocktail truly is an expression of the best that Gosling’s Rum offers.

So my thanks to Malcolm Gosling Jr for his informative and tasty presentation, Kirsty and Joel of Love Drinks and to Stuart and the Kanaloa bar team for a great evening and for allowing me to get an even better understanding of what Gosling’s Rum has to offer.

Although the date of the next Kanaloa Rum Club is still to be confirmed, it is likely to be Wednesday the 10th August 2011. It is however definite that it will be featuring the excellent El Dorado Rum, presented by their UK Ambassador, Stefanie Holt and will be an evening not to be missed.

For further details about the Kanaloa Rum club, please email or if you’re passing by, simply pop in to Kanaloa Tropical Island Bar & Grill and ask the bar staff.

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