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Rum Review: Mount Gay 1703

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How do you rate Mount Gay 1703 Rum (five is best)?
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Total Votes : 2

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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3499
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:21 am    Post subject: Rum Review: Mount Gay 1703 Reply with quote

Mount Gay 1703: A rum that deserves superlatives?

Sue Sea is big on birthdays. I'm not. But I love her dearly, so that means her day is celebrated, in this case by doing a happy hour at one of Ft. Lauderdale's most prestigious beachfront emporiums. Prime location, mere feet from the water, $20 drinks and grand service. Fortunately it was happy hour, two for one. We were fully engaged with a few wines and a calamari appetizer when I spotted a bottle of Mount Gay 1703.

But we don't review super-premiums!

Why? Simple. The Rum Project is based on two premises: first, that world class rums don't have to be expensive. Prime example: Barbancourt Five Star. Or even Mount Gay's Extra Old (once about $29, ballooned to $50 in a failed marketing scheme, and settled back down to $32). Second, our audience is the 99% - you and I - who are more worried about paying bills then having a look-at-me bottle on the bar.


It was Sue Sea's birthday, I was feeling grand and frankly it's very rare to find a bottle of 1703 on the bar, so we asked the price. Answer: $23 for a shot. Oh well, why not we thought, let's share one. And then a big surprise!

We'd been chatting up the bartender all evening, and when he walked over to pour the 1703, he proceeded to pour it very heavy, then - gulp - poured two! Oh no, but we ordered only one! But just as we were about to correct him, he presented them to us saying "...the second one is on me, happy birthday!"

Good grief! Two healthy double pours or even more, perhaps $100 worth, for $23 (or $11.50 each). So with plenty of product, and the time to enjoy it we then proceeded to give the 1703 a good taste and review...

Sue Sea:

Mount Gay Extra Old is one of a mere handful of rums earning a mutual "10" from Jim and I. Extra Old is actually a bit over our preferred range of price, which is $20 to $30, but is well worth the few extra dollars in the low $30's. Now as you know I really do appreciate presentation, and although this aspect is never scored, I do like a fine bottle and label.

Although Jim has always opposed the new Mount Gay bottles, which he believes disrepects the 300 year tradition of Mount Gay, personnally I rather like the new design just as well.

We'd already had a lovely time at the beachside restaurant and bar, so I was really surprised when Jim ordered a single Mount Gay 1703 for us to share. That our server brought us yet another, on the house, was astounding.

Mount Gay 1703 presents, as expected, as a stunning and brilliant orange/dark cherry near mahogany. It looks rich. The only thing I regretted was not having our usual, small apple shaped tasting glasses; instead we were served in small tumbler, neat. It would have to do.

The 1703 presents first as an oakey vanillan with caramel. Harmonious, and like a sweet and creamy sherry oak barrel, and the typical Mount Gay bourbon tones. The palate was entirely consistent and crecendoed to an absolutlely lovely, sophisticated and romantic warm peppery finish.

In sum, the Mount Gay 1703 was difficult to break down, and frankly, I didn't want to. Unlike simple rums which pose few, but differing aromas and tastes, the Mount Gay 1703 is so complex and well blended that any real attempt to try to separate out its elements is counter-productive. Still I am left with impressions: almost like Bananas Foster over real French Vanilla ice cream, with tones of deep orange, apricot citrus, and dark raisins and prune.

Like Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year, I'd like to rate Mount Gay's 1703 a "12" - DELICIOUS! - 1703 is perhaps the best rum I've ever tasted.


Mount Gay Extra Old was perhaps the rum that accounts for my love of rum, and was one of the very first rums we purchased. Soon after the Preacher and I had our little tiff, and The Rum Project was born on the premises of (a) non-commercial, independent and scrupulously honest reviews of (b) rums that we purchased with our own hard earned cash (no freebies), and (c) whose average price was in the low $20's.

It turned out that the five leading rums (of each style) all fell within our criterion (Extra Old was sold for $29 at that time). MGXO, Appleton Extra 12, Barbancourt 5 Star, Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 15, and El Dorado 12.

Naturally Mount Gay 1703 fell far outside our criteria. At least until Sue Sea's birthday. But as always, I digress...

Mount Gay 1703 normally sells for about $100 per copy in a rather typical premiumized heavy bottle. Now if you go to Mount Gay's website you find this rum described in surprisingly few words. Apart from the usual blather about "precious reserves... opulent blend... centuries old distilling process... for the most discerning connoiseurs", etc., their actual descriptors are few...

Mount Gay: "Rich oak, ripe banana, toast, vanilla pastry and warm spice".

Compare to the Frozen One's usual laundry list of descriptors. For him, and other faux reviewers - oh, you might add The Tree here - it's all about volume and inaccessibility. The more expensive the rum, the older the rum, the better the marketing, well, the more descriptors, and the more inaccessible these are. Why?

It sounds competent and knowledgable.

It isn't. Proof positive? If anybody knows how their rum presents it's Mount Gay themselves. And their description (above) is mercifully brief and completely understandable. It reflects our own approach which is to describe a rum as simply as possible, and in terms that most will easily understand.

Like Sue Sea's "Bananas Foster".

Now since 1703 is a blend of 10 to 30 year old rums, I was expecting tons of compexity. It was not to be. With Mount Gay Extra it is possible to just keep discovering aromas, tastes and flavors. But back to 1703...

Mount Gay 1703 is one of a very small number of rums that actually smells smooth and rich. Think a creamy, vanilla orange, black licorice and/or a creamy deep tar. A rich deep dark cherry. The palate is integrated and exquisite - a deep vanillan tar, candied deep orange. The 1703 opened with a dark cherry oak with early heat leading to a white pepper finish.

Sue Sea's crecendo.

What's important about Mount Gay 1703 is not its elements, but far more importantly, its sense of amazing smooth integration. Where the Extra Old demands your attention, the 1703 draws you in smoothly and impeceptibly. Where the Extra Old demonstrates its identifiable complexity, the 1703 blends its many gifts into a rich, harmonious, smooth and integrated whole.

I would not hesitate to recommend that any rum afficianado of common means find a way to either taste or buy this rum. I mean it. Mount Gay 1703 is stupendous.

Score (ten is best): 10.

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Minor God

Joined: 05 May 2013
Posts: 438

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried it on Sunday. Wow. It has all the elegance of MGXO, or Seale's 10, but even more refined. It really is a testament to the art of blending. It's an easy drinker without being insipid, a concept which nearly every other producer should learn about. Despite its apparent age, it does not taste particularly woody or oaky, which I thought was interesting, as from my memory, the two younger all-star Bajans do have definite oak notes.

At the price they charge, I'd rather spring for an indie Jamaican or Demerara, since those are my favorite styles (or an indie Caol Ila!!), but my God, this rum was good. Within the Bajan style, I'd agree with the perfect 10 rating.

Certainly if I was to introduce someone to real, unsugared rum, and I had a bottle of this, it'd probably be the first sample I gave out. Maybe I will have to plunk down the cash....
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