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Rum Review: Fernandez "19" Gold Rum

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How do you rate Fernandez "19" Gold Rum (five is best)?
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot

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

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:29 pm    Post subject: Rum Review: Fernandez "19" Gold Rum Reply with quote

Fernandez "19" Gold Rum: "Bananas Foster Light"

What's with the number 19 and Trinidad anyway? Bear with me, and you too will know...

Trinidad's contribution to rum is more a modern one, as this former Spanish colony (1498) did not even grow sugar cane until the French revolution and the immigration of French colonists, only to be taken over by the British in 1797.

Their modern history insofar as rum is concerned began with the Fernandez family who were growing grapes on Trinidad when a mildew epidemic wiped them out, and they left the island. Manuel Fernandez created award winning rums in 1905. Upon his untimely death, the business ended and his son, Joseph Bento returned to Trinidad. After what was called the Fire of 1932, Bento purchased a stock of rum from the government at distress prices, and discovered the rum was actually 13 years old, having been distilled in 1919.

Bento knew a good thing, called it "1919 Aged Rum" and sold it successfully for some years. Later he distilled a successor to this rum and named it "Vat 19" - a highly respected rum for some years. Ultimately the Fernandez company was purchased by the tremendously successful Angostura (Bitters) company, distiller and bottler of the wonderful "Angostura 1919". Angostura still bottles a rum called "Fernandez 19", the subject of this review.

And so the number 19 lives on.

The Angostura rum story dates from about 1940 and the development of very modern and scientific facilities which produced mostly high quality, light flavored rums. It will not surprise you to know that Barcardi held a controlling interest in Angostura until 1997, or that most of their light Caribbean product was produced on Trinidad.

Angostura's "Fernandez 19" is no exception. I was lucky enough to run across a few bottles at $14, and with the aforesaid history in mind simply couldn't avoid giving it a try. The reviews:

Sue Sea:

I came home to find that Jim had once again brought home a rum surprise - the Fernandez "19". He asked me if I'd like to do a quick tasting, and I refused. So he unscrewed the cap, put the mouth of the bottle under my nose and asked me what I thought. It's aroma immediately reminded me of our early "Banana's Foster" rum - Angostura 1919. I had no idea Fernandez was related. Two days later we did an "official" tasting.

Fernandez "19" Gold Rum comes in a fairly ordinary classic, medium-necked bottle with a modern clear plastic see-through label (a mistake in my mind). Even though this rum sells at mixer prices, there's no reason to look inexpensive. To me, a bottle and appearance sets the stage, and this presentation was not particularly inviting. But the rum surprises.

As before, my first aroma was of a light banana, a bit of oak and a touch of toasted almond. Light and very inviting. But the taste disappointed. This rum is what some call "hollow" - meaning a nice beginning and end with very little in the middle - a lack of an interesting taste. In this case the taste is disappointing and immediately transitions to a growing peppery, but short and unremarkable finish.

I see this rum as a good mixer and perhaps a nice light summer sipper. It is quite sippable.


Fernandez "19" Gold Rum is, well, gold with fast thin legs. It is most certainly a light rum and there is no doubt it was made by Angostura. Like Sue Sea I found the aroma extremely pleasant - light and featuring a light "Banana's Foster" reminiscent of Angostura 1919, and a very light almond. The first taste was sweet but fleeting, a quick open, which just as quickly closed and led to a very dry, astringent pepper. The finish was lightly peppery, short and ended in we call a "mouth finish".

Some rums provide a nice spicy finish that warms the chest and also leads to a lingering and provocative aftertaste. Fernandez "19" does neither and leaves you with nothing. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad rum, smooth and quite sippable for those who really don't want much of a challenge or real rum experience. At events where rum is not the point.

To me Fernandez "19" Gold Rum seem like a very young Angostura 1919.

Rating (10 is best): Sue Sea - 5, Jimbo - 6.

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