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Rum Review: Real McCoy 3-Year

The Real McCoy 3-Year Rum Review

The real McCoy 3-Year Rum

In our review of The Real McCoy 5-Year, we touched on the brand’s namesake, so we won’t rehash it here. Suffice to say Bill McCoy was a famous Prohibition-era rum runner and was known for selling authentic Barbadian rum.

The 3-Year is bottled at 40% ABV and retails for about $22. (I was lucky enough to receive a sample for review purposes.)

Since writing the 5-Year review, I have had plenty of each expression—especially at the Miami Rum Festival, where the other judges and I were treated to a breakfast with the brand owners and some of the impressive folks steering the Board of Directors.

Like the 5 and 12-Year expressions, the 3-Year is a combination of pot and column rum distilled at the Foursquare Distillery on Barbados under the watchful eye of Richard Seale. It has spent three years in American oak (ex-Bourbon barrels) prior to carbon/limestone filtration, where its color is was removed. There are no additives of any kind here.

In the glass, the liquid is water white, and a swirl of the rum produces a set of slow-moving legs. As I move in for nosing, the wafting ethanol carries with it a host of ripe fruit including banana, raspberry and mango. Beyond the fruit is a bit of creamy vanilla.

As the rum enters, there is a good dose of heat and peppery spice that provides a perfect counterpoint to the fruit. As the heat subsides, the vanilla and cream returns, bringing with it a bit of cocoa. On subsequent sips, my mind allows me to blend the flavors simultaneously, which brings forth images of a rum-spiked raspberry cream smoothie. Pretty delightful stuff.

On to the scores:

  • Appearance: 1/1
  • Nose: 2/2
  • Mouth feel: 1/1
  • Taste: 3.25/4
  • Aftertaste: 2/2
  • Total Score: 9.25/10

Buy The Real McCoy 3-Year Rum online

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2014 9:10 am

    This is one of those rums that must be really difficult to review with a straight face. Now, I have no doubt that this is a well made rum, by Richard Seale, which raises the first point: the “Real” McCoy 3, 5 and 12 opened at around $20, $29 and $45 respectively. Compare to his Doorly’s White, 5 Year, and XO and his Seales 10 for roughly half those prices.

    I guess this means that the branding and bottle are worth as much as what’s inside, yes? Of course not. Which is why the hard-to-find McCoy’s are already being discounted. But don’t tell the marketing boyz that. Nope, just give them a sliver of real history and they’ll turn it into a might oak of exaggeration.

    Yes, there was a Bill McCoy, and yes he was a rumrunner and yes, they called the hooch he brought in as the “Real McCoy”. But that’s as far as it goes. This was Prohibition, and rum running was highly illegal and highly risky, but hugely profitable. The rather rough hooch was made in the islands, or in the hills by our moonshiners in the United States, and to call it “high quality” is quite an exaggeration. These were the days of bathtub gin. And even then most of what passed for whisky, rum or gin was further watered down each step of the way.

    In truth, the only reason Bill’s products were called the “Real McCoy” had nothing to do with quality; rather that he was one of the very few runners that didn’t water down his booze.

    • Rumbot permalink
      January 13, 2015 8:22 am

      There is evidence that Bill McCoy sourced some of his rum from Foursquare Distillery in Barbados back during Prohibition. (The distillery opened in 1920.) This includes photos of him with barrels with code numbers that match up to Foursquare’s records and “Barbados” printed on the barrels. They have always been known to produce quality rums. (Richard Seale of Foursquare distilleries is on the board of directors for The Real McCoy.)

      There was plenty of high quality spirits brought into the US during Prohibition, made in Europe (Scotland, Ireland, and France), Canada, and the Caribbean; and much of that made illegally by moonshiners was actually pretty good as well. The rotgut was more the exception than the norm, and this was from what bootleggers (distributors) and speakeasy owners (retailers) did, as well as the federal government (non-labelled denatured spirits, the cause of just about all the blindness and sickness associated with bad booze back then.) Not the moonshiners (producers.)


  1. New Rum Review: The Real McCoy 3-Year | Inu a Kena

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