What is it? Column distilled molasses based rum from India and aged in oak for 12 years. Apparently Old Monk is one of the highest selling dark rums in the world, yet we see very little of it in the UK. There is a 7 year old and “The Legend” that are most frequently seen over my way, but I saw this bottle of 12 year old online and had to give it a go – the bottle states for it to be sold in Germany only.

Coloured, chill filtered and bottled at 42.8% abv.

Sugar? No data online for the 12 year old, but there are certainly additions to this rum of some sought; whether that been sweetener and/or other flavourings.

Nose: The best way I would be able to describe this would be; it smells of the smell that someone who doesn’t drink dark rum thinks rum would smell like. I hope that makes sense! It’s boozy, molasses’y, dark, deep and rich. As far as I’m concerned (and other geeks) it doesn’t smell anything like rum. There is loads of artificial vanilla (added, not cask based vanillin), caramel, thick butterscotch, some char/smoke/tobacco and black coffee that has been over brewed and left for too long in the pot. I know what this smells like, I’ve got it! It smells like Kahlua. In case you’re not familiar or have never had it, Kahlua is sugar based, coffee flavoured liquor with vanilla. This stuff smells really lovely, but it’s not a rum at all, sorry.

Palate: Well, after the nose I’ve not got my hopes up. Thick mouth feel and sweet delivery. Black coffee again, vanilla (lots), butterscotch, cola and quite alcoholic indeed. Yep, this stuff is a high proof Kahlua. There is an almost rubbery taste mid-palate, which is similar to a taste I found in Dictador 12 (I didn’t like that either!) and a funny type of saccharin/artificial sweetener taste that’s not really that pleasant. So palate starts off ok, gets pretty rough and not too nice and then picks up again at things move to the finish.

Finish: Ah, that’s better than the end of the palate. Medium. Gooey caramel, toffee, chocolate, vanilla, burnt sugar, yadda, yadda, yadda. A little bit of coffee thrown in there, because….well, it tastes of coffee and vanilla. Little to no oak apart from a slight tannic buzz at the end.

Thoughts? Hmmmm. Ok, this isn’t a rum, it’s a flavoured molasses based spirit drink….or a spiced rum, or other such thing. As one of those it’s good, it’s very tasty on the whole and would mix really well with coffee or a cola – but I didn’t buy it as one of those, I bought it as a rum and as a rum it’s a pretty poor show. I can’t even find any evidence in the tasting that this is near 12 years old! Look, I can understand why so many people like to drink the stuff, it’s all pudding like and boozy, but I’d wager that none of those people actually know what rum tastes like.

This cost me £25, would I buy this again? No. It’s nice to have something a little different on the shelf but not nice enough to get me to try any of the other offerings in the range or buy this again. Save yourself the mither, put £10 to your purchase and get a real knockout rum from Foursquare or something instead – or get a bottle of Kahlua if that’s what you’re into