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Rum Review: Prichard's Fine Rum (Gold)

 
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How do you rate Prichard's Fine Rum (five is best)?
5
25%
 25%  [ 1 ]
4
50%
 50%  [ 2 ]
3
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
2
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
1
25%
 25%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 4

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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3424
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject: Rum Review: Prichard's Fine Rum (Gold) Reply with quote

Prichard's Fine Rum: Spicy Dark Chocolate Covered Berry Cream

Whew!

Can you, should you taste rum when you are sick or congested? Can airing improve or change a spirit? Who in their right mind would buy a rum from Tennessee? The answers to these, and an easy solution to the looming economic depression follow.

Well maybe not the latter, lol.

Sue Sea and I have been pooched in Paradise for about a month, maybe more. Some of my medical associates think its a sneaky virus; others attribute it to early vegetative blooming and allergens associated with a Xmas warm spell. No matter.

We've been suffering cabin fever. So I hadda venture out and take a break from what seemed like solitary confinement within the dank grey walls of a prison/home, and zoomed - free at last! - out in my cheery, faded red, near-antique, sticker-festooned Honda Acura. Double clutching through the crazy traffic known only to South Florida and naturally, straight to a couple of my favorite rum shops.

On the shelf I came upon yet another section of hard-to-find rum. A row of Pritchards - a white, two different flavored rums and a nice amber "fine rum". All were label gunned at $24.95 except the amber "fine rum", which had been labeled twice. The outer label read $53.95.

I called over the young Indian attendent.

"Is this rum really $53?" I asked. She took the bottle, ran it through the scanner. "Yes it is, do you want it?". "Not at that price, there must be a mistake, all the others are just $23.95!". It should be noted that all the Prichards come in the same style bottle, with the same labels and gold trim. They differ solely in the name applied. I was convinced and convincing and the lovely lady agreed. She said that business was lousy, and offered: "Would you take it if I change the price to $23.95?"

Is the pope Catholic?

As I gleefully drove home, I suddenly realized that the "fine rum" probably WAS probably properly marked and that however sincere, I'd been full of s**t. As the Compleat Idiot I am permitted such error, but as bad as I felt...

I didn't turn around.

Instead - and looking frequently in my rear view for a flashing police cruiser - I proceeded home with a now even more valuable purloined cargo. I was determined to raise our suffering spirits. On arrival I asked Sue sea "How'bout a rum tasting?" - an offer I did not have to make twice. We badly needed escape and Prichard's Fine Rum was the solution at hand, beckoning us to their rum making Paradise of...

Tennessee?!

What! It's true. Of the few American made rums (including Charbay, Sgt. Classick and Pirate's Choice), Prichards was made in a state that most people simply fly over or quickly drive through on their way to real Paradise - Southeast Florida and the Keys. Of all of these only Pirate's Choice can even begin to feel like "authentic" Caribbean rum (my insincere apologies to WIRSPA). And New Orleans doesn't count. Yet.

Still, Tennessee does imply a rich history of moonshiners, good bourbon, Jack Daniels and great horses. Could a good rum possibly come out of this snowbound land lost in the middle of the North American continent? Or like the New England rums of old, would this product simply be, along with shiny beads and steel knives, fit only for trade with vulnerable Indians and African slavers? The reviews:

Sue Sea:

Quote:
I'd been feeling lousy. Jim tried unsuccessfully last week to engage me in a tasting of Charbay (reviewed in the French style section). I'd gotten as far as the aroma, but with all good intent, I honestly felt my opinions would be worthless based on my "sick" attitude and upper congestion. But when he arrived home with his elegant new bottle of Prichard's, I'd had quite enough of being sick and decided to give it my best. And hoped I'd feel better too.

Most of you know that I am a big fan of presentation, and Prichard's does not disappoint. Unlike some of the new and offputting bottles that are beginning to appear, Prichard's delivers their rum in an elegant and classic bottle. But not a rum bottle! No, it is more like a whiskey or bourbon bottle. Like a flattened rum bottle - with broad, curved, smooth masculine shoulders, transitioning to a smooth narrow neck, heavy and clear thick base. Black tip with a gold seal and ribbon. The label is understated, strong but sophisticated, with a gold crest entitled "Torav Cyn Plygav".

I wondered what this meant.

No matter. It shouts "quality and care". And it does not disappoint. When Jim and I taste, it is almost always at night. Indirect track lighting wall hung art, with enough light to see color. The rum bottle perched before us on a lazy susan, and our favorite tasting glasses, a pitcher of cool water. Jim usually discusses a bit about the rum, where it's from and the like, but I insist he tell me only the basics. I want to discover the rum for myself. I do spend some time looking at the bottle. And then comes the pour.

Prichard's Fine Rum immediately established itself!

This is rare, and this is wonderful! I was nowhere near the glass and I knew we were in for a treat. Prichard's whiskey bottle presentation had led me to expect a whisky/bourbon kind of rum, perhaps like Mount Gay Extra Old. Now MGXO is a rum I have rated very highly, but is far from my preferred Cuban profile. I feared Prichard's might be one of these.

Boy was I wrong. The aroma was pungent but simply delicious. The high nosing was simple - just sit next to it! A true high nosing was very fragrant: orangey, berry, cherry, maybe even a little peach. Over a light butterscotch syrup. As I moved down a light furniture polish emerged, then a rindy leather, almost medicinal aroma. A bit of hickory smoke (as though one were smoking a ham) and a deep black licorice. Nose too deep and the medicinal aspect may overpower, but...

It is well to remember this was a fresh pour from a fresh bottle. More about this later from Jim. This last aspect changed.

Prichard's fine rum seemed medium heavy bodied. I found the early palate quite brisk, with some early prickly heat, like biting into a cinnamon clove, bordering on bitter. It develops into a rindy, leathery midpalate, over a background of heavy fruit, like rind of peach. I found Prichard's slightly hollow, particularly as it moves to a growing spicy hot peppery licorice finish. Think white pepper, jalapeno, wasabi, and even clove.

The finish is long and like a few other very rums, Prichard's has what I call a fine exhale. This is not an aftertaste, but a sensation that is literally an exhale. Many exhales seem to move back up the throat, and foward in the mouth, sometime even to the lips in a literal reverse tasting. Prichard's is even more unique for me in that the exhale is more nasal, and is entirely consistent.

All in all I was very surprised by Prichard's. It does not suffer from the sometime syrupy sweetness of many altered rums. Not was it whiskey or bourbonlike. Like many pungent Jamaican style rums it must be approached with care, but it only improves with time in the glass. Prichard's is enticing from the opening of the bottle, aromatic and romantic. It draws you in from the first view and pour and aroma, and like all fine rums makes you want more.

Prichard's is a unique, exceptional molasses rum.

Me:

First, a little background. Prichard's Fine Rum is made in Kelso, Tennessee from expensive food grade molasses. It pot stilled, and aged in "handmade charred, white oak barrels". They promote that this rum is bottled at "barrel proof". The age is unknown. I do know that their "private stock" is 6 years old, so we know it is less than that, but I hesitate hazarding a guess. The fruity notes indicate youth, but the charred oak is evident.

It is aged quite enough though, and I found some reports that this rum is aged 3 years in small, 15 gallon barrels for increased oak/rum contact and accelerated aging. I will not discuss medals as most competitions are unreliable. Prichard's also make "double barreled" and flavored bourbon.

In time Sue Sea and I have grown close together in our tasting and experience. Of course our descriptors may differ - her rindy/leathery is my leathery/astringent and so on. I knew from this first pour Prichard's Fine Rum was something special. A pungent aroma filled the room with a rummy, fruity berryness.

My first nosing agrees completely with Sue Sea, and I must warn you.

Like all Jamaican styles, Prichard's is challenging. You must understand that some rums really do need time and care. If you are a pour 'n taste type, don't waste your time. Forget Pritchard's, MGXO, Appleton 12 and many of the other very fine rums. If you don't have time, better you should pour a Captain and Coke and get wasted. Capish?
Capish.

But I beg you: pour yourself a dram of Prichard's - a slightly cloudy amber with medium legs - and stand back. Believe me, you will soon be blanketed with it's wonderful fruity aroma. This is a rum that people will notice when they walk into the room "What IS that, mmm!". Take care and time and you will be richly rewarded. Nose high - very high. Move in slowly. Reflect. Tastewise, Prichard's opened for me with a an early, leather over fruit, astringent. Very dry. Then moving to a very spicy hot, clovey licorice looooong finish and aftertaste. There is a bit of molasses. Nice chestwarming heat. With time and airing, the deeper leather and licorice tones emerge. The rum smooths, and the medicinal aspect retreats.

This raises a related issue.

We have tasted more than one rum that had offensive early aromas. In one case we believe the bottle was stored on its side, as evident from the cork. We believe that this can affect the taste initially, if temporarily. Our tastings often take time and we consume several drams each. By this time the rum level is usually down to or slightly past the shoulders. And we have found that the rum at the shoulders is no longer the rum we first poured.

The lesson: don't judge a rum too soon. Give it time and air. In the case of Pritchard's, as noted, it become deeper and smoother. The licorice emerges, the fruit reduces a bit and the (near) bitter/medicinal retreats. Don't make the mistake of getting too close to a Jamaican style, or be prepared to learn to like the robust pungency and in the case of real Jamaican rums, to like dunder.

All in all Pritchard's is a fine, fine rum and makes our short list. It is distinctive, surprisingly complex, consistent, unique and American. One that makes us proud. At the price I paid, it was a best buy as well. Only its youth and a bit of hollowness separate from the highest ratings. A bottle of Prichard's belongs on your rum shelf.

It's the American thing to do...

Rating (10 is best): 8.5




Note: "TORAV CYN PLYGAV" turns out to be an "ancient" family slogan for the Prichards, meaning "You Will Have To Break Me Before I Yield". Unlike my family slogan "A Wet Bird Never Flies at Night", lol...

Go figure.

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Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:28 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3424
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:30 am    Post subject: I still stole it! Reply with quote

I feel less guilty now. But not much...

Got a note from Phil Prichard, the Commander in Chief of Prichard's Rum, who advised me that his Prichard's Fine Rum (above), is intended to sell for about $35.

Therefore, my absconding with this fine rum (pun intended) at a mispriced $23.95 is less a crime. Even so, I am comfortable that I will be pardoned, lol, as I have brought this great American rum to the attention of you, the rum public and the usual suspects...

To Phil Prichard, may he continue to produce this wonderful and authentically classic rum! Even though it is slightly above my informal limit of $30, this fine rum is a must buy.
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Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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Pyrate Surgeon
Cabin Boy


Joined: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 26
Location: Central Coast, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm...so it's a rum that has to air before sampling. I'll give it a try, but my first impressions of Prichard's was that of something watery with a hint of ethanol. Very bland across the palate.

We shall see. Confused


******

Capn's Log: Appreciate your posts mate, thanks. Although all tastings have room for a modest amount of variation by different tasters, "watery" and "bland" simply don't register for us for this terrific rum. Are you sure you were tasting Prichard's aged "Fine Rum", and not their unaged mixing white? I'll PM ya...
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Mike.357
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Joined: 05 Dec 2012
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Location: Knoxville Tennessee

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So i bought a bottle of this rum tonight. 34.95 on the shelf, with my employee discount I was OTD at just over 30.00.

As I examined the bottle the first thing I noticed was the color. It is a deep gold and very rich looking. I managed to get it uncorked and as I always do with a new spirit I sipped it right from the bottle. It was very smooth and absolutely reminded me of Appleton V/X.

The Prichard's is definitely richer and has more flavor. I get vanilla, carmel and oddly enough a hint of dark berry. Anything but bland. it is full of flavors and aroma. Within a minute of simply opening the bottle I was washed over by the smell of this wonderful spirit.

I poured a couple of fingers in a rocks glass over ice and let it set for a minute or so. The aroma increased, most pleasantly. Sipping it has been heavenly and the 80 proof bit is certainly doing its part.

This is a wonderful spirit and I highly recommend it. I gave it four stars.

But.......

At 34 dollars retail I can get a 1.75 size bottle of Appleton V/X, more than twice the buying power. While this spirit is better tasting, smoother and more aromatic than Appleton V/X I am not sure it is worth twice as much at the V/X is.

YMMV
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da'rum
Minor God


Joined: 29 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one Mike, have you tried it without ice?

For me, regardless of the rum, ice tends to block some of the flavours. I am solidly in the camp of the opinion that rum should be sipped at room temp or hand warm.

cheers
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Mike.357
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Joined: 05 Dec 2012
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Location: Knoxville Tennessee

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always taste it neat, like I said first drink was right from the bottle. I know that is not the standard way for tasting though, LOL.

I prefer my beverages cold, liquor especially. Just my preference.

Bottom line is that my money is too hard to come by and I doubt I would buy another bottle of Prichard's as long as V/X is still being distilled to the current quality.
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Pain or damage don't end the world. or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back. -Al Swearengen (Deadwood)
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jankdc
Cap'n


Joined: 26 Nov 2012
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Location: Cleveland

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike, I must say that in order for you to truly appreciate fine rums, you need to change your glass. Read the chapter on tasting and glasses. Having a good glass with a good rum magnifies the experience.

I came around to good glasses with wine not that long ago. I had been drinking not very good wine and would always pour it into a juice glass like my grandfather did. When we started getting into better wines and using a better glass that allowed oxidation and the ability to smell . . . wine tasting became a sensual experience.

The same is with rum. I have some wide mouth sherry glasses similar to what Jim recommends. My favorite sipper right now is Ron Matusalem. While I know that MGXO is a "better" rum, the aromas with RM cause my eyes to roll up into my head. I don't get it with a shot glass or sipping it from the bottle. Even after the last drop is gone, I'm still sniffing appreciatively the aromas in the glass.
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jankdc
Cap'n


Joined: 26 Nov 2012
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Location: Cleveland

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In fact, put that bottle of Prichard's away until you get a good glass. Don't waste it, you'll thank me later.
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Mike.357
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Joined: 05 Dec 2012
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Location: Knoxville Tennessee

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the input janks,

maybe i spoke incorrectly or was not clear.

My glass for drinking is a bowl shaped glass, it came from a Glenmorangie gift pack. It absolutely contains aroma. I just called it a rocks glass.

I have not looked at the glassware link yet but am fixing to do so directly.
If I think I have the wrong glass for tasting I will post back.
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Pain or damage don't end the world. or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back. -Al Swearengen (Deadwood)
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Mike.357
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Joined: 05 Dec 2012
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Location: Knoxville Tennessee

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fwiw the glass I use for drinking is exactly like the first glass pictured minus the stem.

I like that when I drink from it I can't help but get a good whiff of it all.

And way further down the page is a pic of a monkey drinking from a bottle
That poster is framed and hangs from the back wall of our store, LOL. I literally laughed out loud when I saw it:)

When I taste wine in store I use a standard cone shaped party cup, LOL.

it's all good.
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Pain or damage don't end the world. or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back. -Al Swearengen (Deadwood)
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