The Doctor Is In
Every now and again a spirit sneaks in under the radar and manages to succeed solely on word of mouth press and niche internet popularity (you know, the way Pappy Van Winkle originally started before it became a giant shit storm), surprising you entirely with both its quality and affordability. It doesn't happen often these days, but when it does happen it can be quite exciting. The Doctor Bird rum is such an example. I can see why this bottle has captured the imagination of our insider crowd right now.
Brought in by Two James Distillery in Detroit, Doctor Bird is made from Worthy Park pot still rum, aged for more than six years in Jamaica before being shipped to Michigan and filled into fresh Moscatel Sherry Casks. Those of you who enjoyed the tropical funk and ester-driven flavors of our recent Golden Devil releases will go bananas for this. It's bottled at 100 proof, has a lovely sweet wine finish (reminiscent of something like the Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or aged in Sauternes casks), and it comes in at a more than reasonable $24.99 (at least for now it does).
In this budding age of rum rejuvenation, we've seen a growing interest in the unsweetened, unadulterated rums of both Barbados and Jamaica, but in my mind there's no question which island has the upper hand in terms of character. I've been quite pleased with the new full proof releases from Foursquare that have had our spirits customers buzzing over the last few months, and I've been even more excited about how crazy the demand has been. They're fun, tasty, and they're dialed up at the high proofs that today's modern spirits fans are looking for.
In my own personal opinion, however, the Jamaican rums are the pinnacle of rum excellence. They're not crossover rums. They're not obvious rums that everyone will like right off the bat from the very first sip. They're rums for rum drinkers—the kind of thing you enjoy only after an initiation period into the intensity that pure pot distilled rums offer. I like that. I like that there's still an opportunity in today's world of instant gratification to nurture a slow appreciation for a complex and profound flavor profile. That excites me.
If you're still exploring the world of rum and you're not quite sure Jamaican pot still rums are for you, don't feel like you have to go all the way in right away. The Appleton 12 year is a fantastic introduction to the genre that offers the essence of that pot still flavor with more richness from the column still rum blended in. To me, it's the category's great sipping rum. When you're ready to dial it up, however; know that the Doctor is in and he's gaining quite the reputation for quality.