View Full Version : Agnostura 1919 rum

05-30-2008, 16:35
I've been curious to try this stuff for a while. It is aged for 8 years and moderately priced. I finally had the chance the other week. I am no rum expert, but I have had a few varieties and I've never tasted one like this. It hardly tasted like rum at all; it was all vanilla and oak. In fact, the vanilla aroma was so strong that I could have sworn it was flavoured, but the website indicates otherwise. I'm wondering if there are many other kinds of rum as sip-worthy as this...

05-30-2008, 19:49
I find the 1919 8yo a passable aged rum, much better than the over-oaked 1924 12yo sibling.
That said, I prefer -- when I can find them -- the El Dorado 5- and 12yo demerara rums from Guyana, both cheaper and, in my opinion, better than the aged Angosturas.
However, the 5yo Angosturas (gold and dark) for c. $17 are absolute steals.

05-31-2008, 04:31
I agree with Tim that the Angostura 5 year old rums are superb. The Dark is one of the best rums I've had being complex and well-balanced. (It reminds me by the way of a Beam's Choice bourbon Doug has from the 70's, they are different drinks but presented in a similar style).

I haven't tried the 1919 but I still have some 1824, aged 12 years as Tim mentioned. This is one of the most unusual rum tastes I've ever had. It has notes of tropical wood (perhaps the vanilla mentioned earlier) and, well, rubber. I believe this component reflects either a considerable pot still element or column rum distilled at a low proof. This taste is one I find difficult to drink neat. But if you analyse the taste of El Dorado 12 or 15, it can be seen that this type of rum is an element of that taste. Some people would call it orange or nutmeg-like. I've made a vatting of the 12 and 15 to which I added a little Angosture 1824. The result tastes (to me) like a luxury version of El Dorado 12, which is saying something because the 12 already is a premium drink! In other words, I find the best use of 1824 for blending and I believe El Dorado uses something very similar as one part of its 12 and 15 year old blends.

The Angostura 5 does not have any of this keynote of rubber or nutmeg, though. I think the rums chosen for it are lighter, less congeneric rums than are held for 12 years to make the 1824. Another explanation may be that all the base rums are the same and it is barrels and maturation techniques that produce the different tastes although I incline to the other explanation.

I believe too that by using a term such as 1824, the producer is indicating it is giving us an aged pot still rum or one with those characteristics.

I might pick up the 1919 and offer my views on it, it is available here I believe. I would guess its character is half-way between 1824 and a rum such as the 5 year versions Tim mentioned, just going by nomenclature. We'll see.

But I value my half bottle remaining of 1824 since it will last years enhancing future ED 12's and 15's.

Although 1824 and 1919 are made by a Trinidad-based concern and the EDs are classic Demerara from Guyana, there is a regional commonality I think, at least in the older age bracket.


05-31-2008, 08:13
I was just surprised that it hardly had any of the typical "rum flavour" that I associate with drinks like Appleton Estate V/X or Bacardi Gold. I've never had a rum that was so easy to sip, but mind you I haven't tried many.

05-31-2008, 13:43
I looked for it today but it isn't in stock at the outlet I visited. I'll check again tomorrow, the selection does vary depending on location (LCBO).


06-01-2008, 12:21
Color: A darkish straw colored, like an English bitter ale

Nose: I get custard, yellow custard, light spice

Taste: Sweetish (but tasting naturally sweet and not dosed with caramel), some wood notes, some rubber notes as in its elder brother but less pronounced, round and soft, everything well-integrated.

Finish: Refined, mild.

This one is a winner to me. The rubber-like notes are in perfect proportion, I wonder if this is all pot still or a blend of pot and column still rums. This would make a great Island punch (add a bit of sugar and some lime), but it is great on its own.

Trinidad and Guyana seem to share the profile at least on the pot still side. I recall though having once had a Jamaica pot still rum, long-aged, that had been sent to Bristol, England for extended maturation, and the 1919 reminds me of that. Thus, the style might reflect more a Caribbean pot still taste than anything specifically national or regional.

I think the differences being noted from a more typical aged rum palate are explained by the pot still element or fashioning the rum in that style.


06-01-2008, 15:32
Interesting that you did not note any vanilla aromas, as that was what my family noticed first and foremost. My mom actually drank some, and believe me, she is not one to drink spirits.

The Angostura website has loads of information about the distillation process. If you haven't checked it out yet, you might find it informative...

06-01-2008, 16:01
Thanks, I will check that. My reference to custard I think is similar to what you termed vanilla.


06-01-2008, 16:11
I just checked the website and its taste note on the 1919, which it calls an anejo, is well-rendered. Note that they refer to the rum being blended from both light and heavy rums. The heavy rums almost certainly are pot-still rums or rums column-stilled at a low proof.

The vanilla elements surely are from lengthy wood maturation, and possibly from ex-bourbon barrels.


06-01-2008, 16:32
"Blending is the secret of fine rum. It allows the master bender to use many different types and styles of rums to create a particular blend or brand. The barrels of rum used for a particular blend are selected with age as the major selection criteria. The skill of blending involves the mixing together of light and heavy type rums of different ages that have been carefully analysed and selected by the blender for the characteristics specified. Through a “marrying process” the different rums are allowed to fuse together to give the blend a smoothing effect. After the rum is blended it is stored in bottling vats and reduced to bottling strength by the addition of deionised water. It is then passed through filters and polishers before being bottled and packaged for sale".

The above is drawn from the Angostura company's website www.angostura.com

The site contains a commendably detailed and informative description of the company's process.

From the quote above, and from another statement on the site that its heavy rums come from the "first column", it is evident that the notes of rubber, perhaps sulphur and, well, congener I get in the 1824 and 1919 are from the heavy rums which as in a pot-stilled product contain secondary constituents that give character and flavor to the spirit.

Some rums are more caramel-like and neutral in taste than 1919 and 1824. (I suspect by the way 1824 is an all-heavy rum, or at least that it contains much more heavy rum than 1919 because the taste I associate with a low distillation proof product is more intense in the 1824 than in the 1919). In fact Angostura's rich-tasting 5 year version would fall into this category IMO, as do many of the classic Demeraras and other dark rums of the Caribbean region.

I myself enjoy the rich caramel flavor of such rums; 1919 IMO is going for a different style though.


06-01-2008, 16:42
In this series of posts on Angostura's rums (and thanks again for that website reference), I'd like to point out as well that the company confirms its rums are aged in barrels that used to hold primarily bourbon, although some barrels are used that held "Cognac" and "wines". No doubt the different woods used add to the choice the blender has when formulating each product.

It is interesting, I find, this terminology of "light" and "heavy" rum. It is similar to the terms used in Canadian whisky distilleries of light and heavy whiskies. These terms refer to the amount of secondary constituents allowed to remain in the spirits after distillation, and distilling-out proof is a key factor in this regard.

I suspect that the chemical engineers and designers of the post-war plants, at least for rum and whisky, introduced such terms. But to me as a layman, they refer to different degrees of rectification and in some cases no rectification.


06-01-2008, 16:55
Returning to my own tastes, for an aged dark rum, I like again either a caramel-influenced taste on a base which is reasonably neutral but retains some flavor from the molasses or cane origin (and if it results from added burned sugar - caramel-, so be it), or, a complex blend that has an element, but not too much, of the low-distillation taste from the heavy rums.

In the first category, Jamaican Screech is excellent, so are some of Bacardi's rums. (I've never been a big fan of Lamb's though, at least the version we get in Canada). Havana Club is good (but not what I'd call "refined" except usually the anejo). Flor de Cana is excellent. I don't know if any of these use heavy rum in their formulation, but whether they do or not, I like the taste profile they go for.

In the second category, I find 1824 too intense to drink neat. I value it for personal blending experiments. 1919 is very nice to my taste. However my favorite currently is El Dorado 12. For some $34 it delivers a super-premium taste that has "everything": some cocoa, a coffee-like note, a fruit-like note (papaya maybe), plenty of caramel and some of that heavy rum character, all blended with great skill. I'd call it the Highland Park 12 of the rum world.

I don't have as much experience though with rums as with bourbons, ryes and malt whiskies. There are many, many I haven't tried.


06-01-2008, 17:05
To further Gary's point about pot-still (heavy) and column (lighter) distillations, Angostura also describes the distilling process thus:

The purpose of distillation is to obtain the alcohol from the fermented wash (8-10% w/w alcohol composition) and ultimately refine it to produce the spirits that will be used to make the rum. The fermented wash contains not only alcohol but also many by-products that as a group are called congeners. These congeners are vital to the taste and aroma of rum.
The first column is the Wash Stripper or Beer Column; it removes water and residual solids from the ‘wash’ stream. The product from this column is heavy rum steam (80-85% ethanol by vol). This is our first product. It contains all the congeners from the fermentation. It is very flavourful and aromatic and it is inevitably aged. To make light, the heavy rum is then sent to the Purifier (Hydroselector) Column. Here the water added changes the vapour/liquid equilibrium so that the light components separate easily from the alcohol. The head goes to the alcohol recovery column, while the bottoms feeds the Rectifier Column; this stream is typically 12% alcohol. The rectifier concentrates the alcohol to be separated; a stream close to the top of the column is sent for final rectification, the bottoms is recycled to the purifier and the other cuts are sent to the Alcohol Recovery Column. This Recovery Column recovers the alcohol from all the by-product streams from the other columns.
The Final Column produces a bottoms product of 96.6% alcohol (light rum) that may be used to make rum.
The light and heavy rums are aged in oak barrels for periods of not less than two years and up to fifteen for the heavy rums. The spirits are eventually blended and sometimes colouring is added. For white rums, the residual colour from the barrel is actually removed...

Interesting that they claim the first distillation, in the 'beer still', leaves ALL the congeners in the resulting product.

Also noteworthy as a tangent is that this is the company now operating whiskey-making efforts in Lawrenceburg, IN and Owensboro, KY. They have much experience with a variety of distilling equipment, and they have hired the likes of Charles Medley to convert that knowledge into American whiskey product.
Kinda excites me, ya know?..

06-01-2008, 17:16
Thanks Tim, very helpful that is. They are saying that their heavy rum is distilled at about 160 proof and must be aged to be palatable (unless of course further processed to become light rum). The analogy with straight whiskey, Cognac and malt whisky is clear...

It is good to see such people taking on whiskey distillation, they will do a great job I am sure.


06-02-2008, 09:53
WHat do you think of Appleton's lineup? I tried drinking the Reserve neat, but the sickly-sweetness was overpowering. It's even too sweet to mix with cola.

06-02-2008, 13:03
Appleton is not a particular favorite of mine and I've had most of the range. Certainly it is good palatable rum and very good in mixed drinks, but on its own the flavors always seemed middling to me. That's just my opinion and I want to stress that since apart from taste being personal, clearly as a top-seller the taste profile sought by the company appeals to many consumers.

Where the liquor is sweeter than is desired, you could cut the mix and add soda water instead (say 2:1 Coke to soda water). Or add more ice to dilute the drink more than usual.


06-02-2008, 13:08
An excellent rum for very fair money is Screech from Jamaica, sold in Canadian markets under that distinctive name (which originates in Newfoundland). The name might suggest something harsh and discordant but the rum is not at all like that. It is a smooth, flavorful rum that can be consumed neat or in mixed drinks.


06-02-2008, 14:57
An excellent rum for very fair money is Screech from Jamaica, sold in Canadian markets under that distinctive name (which originates in Newfoundland). The name might suggest something harsh and discordant but the rum is not at all like that. It is a smooth, flavorful rum that can be consumed neat or in mixed drinks.


At one time it deserved the name, but evolved into today's more refined version.

I highly recommend And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis.

At Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Bottle-Rum-History-World-Cocktails/dp/0307338622/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212443592&sr=8-1