Sunday, April 5, 2020

Rum Review: Mount Gay XO Reserve Cask Rum

Generally, I am not a huge rum drinker because I find it a little too sweet for my liking.  Nevertheless, as you know, there are always exceptions to every rule.  Mount Gay XO is such an exception.

This rum is drier than most.  The master blender and his team have really produced a rum here that is different.  So, with that being said, let's delve into the basic stats of this spirit and then check it out in the glass.


Age Statement
None.  The website tells us Mount Gay XO is a blend of aged rums ranging from 8 to 15 years.  The 'XO' means 'extra old.'


Cork stopper.

Mount Gay Distillery is the oldest official rum distillery in the world, established in 1703.

Nose (undiluted)
Bananas, old leather jacket, stewed prunes, English cream, spiced oak, hints of sherry-like notes.

Palate (undiluted)
Warm, out of the oven, creme brûlée; melted caramel, cocoa, even some Nestle Quick powder and light banana. Molasses on pancakes, a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Finish (undiluted)
The sugar cane sweetness of the mid-palate transitions by the time of the finish.  Once gone from the palate, you are left with  sustained, dusty notes of baker's chocolate, with a sprinkling of sage, rosemary and thyme.

General Impressions
This rum is impressive.  The price point is affordable.  You could spend a lot more for purported 'premium' rums and end up with a lot less.  This is a very dry rum that delivers a lot of complexity by the time you reach the finish.  Well balanced, never hot or offensive, it's a real delight.

Give it a whirl my friend.  It will deliver!


Jason Debly

Creme brûlée's photo credit: Craig Lee for the New York Times.  Use of photo here is purely for illustrative/educational purposes only in accordance with the 'fair use' principle of copyright law.


  1. Couldn't agree more. I love rum and enjoy trying the expensive 'premium' bottlings when the budget permits, but this would be my 'desert island' rum without a doubt.

    1. Thanks for chiming in Ken! Stay safe in these crazy times!

  2. Just by coincidence, I recently picked up a bottle of Mount Gay XO for the first time when my local liquor store didn't have the rum I wanted in stock. The price for this was reasonable (@US $44.00) so I decided to take a chance on it. Overall, I agree with you that it's a drier, flavorful rum. However, I get a slight bitterness that makes it a bit more challenging to enjoy than my favorite rums such as Ron Zacapa Edicion Negra and Angostura 12 yr old. Fortunately, as the level in the bottle has dropped, that bitterness seems to have diminished, so Mount Gay is definitely growing on me.

    Anyway, great review and it's good to see you back in action!

    - Paul M. in Houston

    1. Hi Paul!

      I am on a bit of an exploration of rum lately. I have Ron Zacapa 23 coming up next followed by Goslings Family Reserve (a big favorite of mine from the past).

      Stay safe!

  3. Thanks for the great review. I picked up a bottle and it is excellent.

    1. Glad to hear you are enjoying it! Good price for what you get too! Stay safe!

  4. I also don't like many rums. They often add sugar. Mnt Gay is one that doesn't. Another and more to my taste is Appleton Estate.

    Appleton is my hands down favorite. I suggest just going for it and trying the 21 year old. It's very reasonably priced for a 21Y.O. anything IMHO. if you like it there is the 12 YO as well which I like as well.

    Let us know what you think if you ever try it. Thanks for all the reviews.