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Old 02-03-2009, 04:10 AM   #1
Lew Barrett
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 611
Default Goslings Family Reserve

There may be a review and thread dedicated to this old warhorse elsewhere on the forum, but I'm going to take a crack at reviewing it, as I had my second glass of this rum tonight. I obtained a bottle six weeks ago and I'm feeling familiar enough with it to risk a short review.

I obtained this bottle of Family Reserve to help round out my education. It's little discussed here on the Ministry, and elsewhere that I can find for that matter, but carries a premium price and has a good reputation so I reckoned it was fair game to discuss.

I paid $69 for my bottle, but have seen it selling for as low as $60, and as high as $79 in the US. The packaging is attractive. The rum arrives in a wooden box with a clear plastic cover, and is nestled in a pocket of wood shavings. It has a luxury look and feel, with black wax flowing freely down the neck and onto the body of the darkly opaque frosted bottle.

In the glass, the rum is a dark reddish brown, Long, slow legs flow languidly down the glass after a swirl. The nose is unique and strong, hinting of macerated dark fruit, some muskiness with a trace of vanilla.

There is an immediate resemblance to Black Seal on first sip, with a bitter-sweet flavor that hits the tongue straight off. There are subtle hints of vanilla, but that muskiness/smokiness and dark fruits predominate. I get charred oak too, and then a long, slow finish emphasizes a pleasant, but not overly aggressive sweetness.
The rum is extremely smooth and pleasantly warming.

For me, this is not an everyday rum, and doesn't replace my other daily favorites. However, it's a bottle I am immediately glad I have for it's unique and unmistakable character. I expect I will learn more about it as I gain familiarity with it.

The thing is, it's not immediately a profile I would normally think I might enjoy, but as I work my way through the glass and the long pleasant finish lingers, on, I have to acknowledge that this is a unique and flavorful rum and it's growing on me. It's Black Seal, which I'm not over the top on, brought to a different place. If you like Black Seal, you'll love Family Reserve, because this stuff is like that, but sanded to 600 grit wet and dry with all the rough edges knocked off. If you don't dote on Black Seal, you might still like Family Reserve (that's sort of my situation; I like the former in Dark and Stormys and that's it's only use for me) but if you do like the former, I can't see how you wouldn't really like Goslings Old.

I expect some people will find the value-for-money equation a bit skewed for this product, but high end, limited production rums cost what they cost. In rum as with other luxury products, exclusivity is always obtained at a price. Some of the cost of this bottle might be explained by the fact that there are fewer of them to go around. The rest of the premium buys you an extensively aged and beautifully packaged product. Only you can decide if it is worth twice the cost of other premium rums
you might like as well. Whatever, you will not easily find another profile precisely like this one; at least, I haven't so far.

Last edited by Lew Barrett; 02-03-2009 at 06:02 PM.
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