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Rum Review: Mount Gay 1703 Master Select

Mount Gay 1703 Master Select Rum Review


When I heard Mount Gay was reformulating and relaunching their flagship 1703 marque, I was worried. In fact, I went out and bought a couple of bottles of the old stock to ensure I’d have something to remember it by.

You see, Mount Gay 1703 was the first long aged, unadulterated rum that really grabbed me. It made me realize that there was so much more to the category than the sweet Central American rums I had been enjoying at the time. Master Blender Allen Smith managed to get 1703 to tick the smooth and sweet boxes without cutting corners or giving up on Mount Gay’s roots, and I was very impressed (as the review reveals). 1703 was that luxury sipper which could speak to just about any palate.

Now in 2017, Mount Gay has released a new version of this luxury marque, and with it a different blend and package. Bottled at Barbados’ standard strength of 43% ABV, the pot and column blend sells for about $150, and is limited to 12,000 bottles. I have yet to hold the bottle in my hand, but I was able to get a 4 oz. sample from Mount Gay, so let’s pour a dram and see what it’s like.

In the glass, the color is deep bronze to mahogany with golden flashes. Moving in for a nosing, the Mount Gay signature banana note jumps out of the glass, which quickly morphs into a bananas Foster. Beneath the banana flambé is a dusty oak note that suggests a damp barrel house. The oak is lightened by a bright note of green apple coated in caramel.

A round yet assertive entry yields a mid-palate caramel lull, as a spiced apple mix lights up the sides of the rear portion of the tongue. The flavors are multitudinous, and a few sips are required to begin to suss them all out. The rum leads with fruit, but the dusty oak is also very prominent. Now in addition to the green apple and banana, we have Seville orange zest and a hint of pineapple. The notion of caramel is here again, combined with a dose of toffee, suggesting a decadent dessert to be savored. After a time, a dash of brine is detectable, as is a hint of cocoa, dried apricot, and leather.

The finish is long, a touch sweet, and quite enjoyable. There is a bit of Seville orange/oaken bitterness, but the many flavors are nevertheless balanced.

Round yet assertive from start to finish, this is a really complex rum that gives a nod to dessert without being sweet. Expensive? Yes, but worth it.


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