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Mount Gay Eclipse
About Mount Gay Eclipse
I often find the rum section to be a bit overwhelming. There are so many different styles from so may different countries at so many different price points, and it can be difficult to narrow down all the choices. But since I’ve been focusing on spirits for cocktail mixing, I was on the look out for a reasonably priced rum from a brand that’s likely widely available. And, I thought Mount Gay Eclipse would be a perfect rum to try, since I tend to see the brand everywhere.
Mount Gay has a long history in the Barbados rum industry. The distillery was inherited by John Sober in 1703 and was originally named for the mountain on which it located, Mount Gilboa. The Sober family eventually hired a fourth generation Barbadian named Sir John Gay Alleyne to run the distillery. He was so integral to it’s success that the name was eventually changed to Mount Gay in his honor.
Mount Gay Eclipse is made from three ingredients: water, yeast, and molasses. The water is drawn from a well that was dug in 1703 when the distillery was first established. It is drawn up hundreds of feet from a coral cavern. A combination of column and pot still distillation is used to produce the rum. They also use a proprietary strain of heirloom yeast to ferment the molasses used for column distillation. For pot still distillation, they use open-air fermentation, which allows native yeast to naturally enter the mixture.
❖ Spirit: Barbados Rum
❖ Distillery: Mount Gay Distilleries Limited in Barbados, Caribbean
❖ ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
❖ Lower Moderate Price
❖ Color: Gold
❖ Nose: Vanilla Extract, Banana, Caramel, Tropical Fruit
❖ Taste: Spice, Vanilla, Oak, Slight Smoke
❖ Finish: Medium, Spice, Tropical Fruit
The Original Rum Punch
1 1/2 oz Rum
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3 oz Water
1 Dash Angostura bitters
freshly grated nutmeg
❖ Add rum, simple syrup, lime, bitters, and water to a glass and add crushed ice
❖ Stir to combine, and garnish with grated nutmeg, and lime or orange wedge
As Mount Gay Eclipse is the entry-level rum in their offerings, I was looking forward to mixing it in some tasty cocktails. I’m always interested in the recipes recommended by the distilleries, and I found this simple recipe for The Original Rum Punch intriguing. I was curious how Eclipse would blend with the other ingredients, given the range of flavors.
This is a very dangerous cocktail. My first impression was it tastes just like a fruit punch, and there wasn’t even a slight hint of alcohol. Although the cocktail is on the sweeter side due to the amount of simple syrup, I didn’t find it too overpowering. Most of the ingredients blend together well and I especially liked how the nutmeg brought out the rum notes like vanilla and tropical fruit. The only thing I couldn’t pick out was the bitters, but they are supposed to be a subtle flavor anyway. I also would recommend squeezing the lime wedge in the drink if you want to offset some of the sweetness.
Mount Gay Eclipse suffers from similar issues as other entry-level or mixing spirits I’ve tried: the few things I like don’t come together to create a product I love. At first, I was optimistic because the nose is a pleasant blend of banana, fruit and vanilla. However, the palate turned out to be completely different, with much more prominent spice and slightly burnt oak notes, and it wasn’t until the finish that the fruit notes reappeared. I was ultimately disappointed by the lack of cohesion and evolution in the flavor.
But, this only means I won’t be drinking Mount Gay Eclipse neat very often. Those overpowering spice and oak notes are much more tolerable when mixed in cocktails. In fact, the other ingredients, like the nutmeg in The Original Rum Punch, seem to bring out specific notes in Mount Gay, which is a good sign if you are looking to experiment, or if a recipe calls for a Barbados Rum. I just wish this was a little bit cheaper. I think it’s still a reasonable price for a mixing rum, but it’s just outside the range where I’ll buy without thinking twice. So, while not my favorite rum, I would still generally recommend Mount Gay Eclipse, and I’m looking forward to trying more Barbados rum.
As always, drink responsibly.
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