Kirk and Sweeney 18 Year Old Rum is owned by 3 Badge Beverage Corporation (August Sebastiani) based in Sonoma, CA, Distilled, Aged and Blended by J. Armando Bermúdez & Co. in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, and Imported and Bottled by Frank-Lin Distillers Products in Fairfield, CA at 40% ABV.
Price: $49 MSRP
This 18 year old rum is named after the schooner Kirk and Sweeney, that in 1924 was seized off the cost of New York by the US Coast Guard for rum running. While 3 Badge does not make this information public, Kirk and Sweeney is most likely produced at the Bermúdez Distillery since it is located in Santiago de los Caballeros, D.R. If this indeed the case then the rum is fermented from blackstrap molasses and column distilled. Some of this fresh rum is put into ex-bourbon barrels and aged for 18 years in a brick warehouse. After this rum has fully matured, the barrels are pulled, vatted, and this blended is shipped to Frank-Lin Distillers where they bottle it at 40% ABV.
The onion shaped bottle is quite impressive and modeled after 18th-century bottles used to ship rum and other spirits. The bottle has a substantial weight to it and the screen printed label depicts the eponymous schooner, compass rose, Dominican Republic, and Long Island, NY. The natural cork closure is held closed with a gold foil sticker tape printed with the latitude and longitude coordinates for where the rum was seized off the coast of Long Island.
Nose: The nose is bursting with vanilla and beneath that there is the aroma of molasses and a faint note of cinnamon.
Palate: The rum is smooth and has a full body with only a slight hint of sweetness which is more inferred from the strong vanilla flavor than actual sugar. The vanilla is somewhat balanced with wood flavors and a dry tannins. Lying dormant below the vanilla are subtle notes of coco powder, burnt sugar, and slight smokiness from the ex-bourbon barrel.
Finish: The finish has more vanilla, more oak and is bone dry with a slight mineral quality from the molasses. There is also a lingering note of coco that covers the tongue.
Conclusion: Kirk and Sweeney 18 Year Old Dominican Rum is a very smooth sipping rum though like the 12 year old, it is a little lacking in depth of character. Tasting it side by side to the 12 they are obviously different but at the same time almost indistinguishable from each other. I wonder if the extra $10 price tag has any impact on its appeal or make it less attractive. I believe the Kirk and Sweeney 18 cold be a good fit for a rum drinker that wants a sipping rum in the vain of Ron Zacappa 23 but with stronger vanilla character.
Thank you to Folsom + Associates for providing the free sample.