1653 Old Barrel Rum & Wood Old Time

Some gin lovers will certainly be familiar with the Swiss Gin. It is made by the over a century old spirits company Studer & Co AG and can be regarded as a thoroughly successful product. Apart from that, the Studer company is above all famous for traditional fruit eau de vies and liqueurs. A Swiss rum, on the other hand, is certainly not something that many people are aware of. (provided test product)*

But this is exactly what Studer also creates: the 1653 Old Barrel Rum. Well, I have to admit that the name made me think for a while. What exactly happened in 1653 so the number is so prominently printed on the bottle label? First, I suspected something that has to do with early rum history, I even had to think of Mount Gay, but then I noticed that the Barbadian distillery had been producing rum since 1663 (and not since 1653) – according to their own statements. Besides that, I did not see any connection from Mount Gay to a Swiss rum.

The answer to this mystery lies in Swiss history and folklore. In 1653 the peasant war took place and there was a man named Christian Schybi, an active as leader of the Entlebuch rebels, who was married to Maria Studer, an ancestor of the distillery family Studer. Thus, it is also clear that there is no barrel filled with rum in some corner waiting since 1653 or something like that (even if such a false assumption is certainly accepted with a smile by the marketing department of Studer).

The 1653 Old Barrel Rum is produced in Entlebuch in the canton of Lucerne from South American molasses. According to the manufacturer, it is distilled twice in a steam still process and finally matures for several years in oak barrels (some sources speak of 3-6 years). Finally, it is bottled with a promising ABV of 44.8% vol.

Tasting Notes:

Aroma: The nose is quite interesting and appealing. Nuts, vanilla, heather and a rich honey go hand in hand here. I have to think of whisky more than once. There is also a distinct note of (greenish) wood.

Taste: Surprisingly herbaceous on the palate, with a sweetness almost reminiscent of exotic fruits. In fact, I’m a bit sceptical whether a little sugar has been added, but this rum is definitely not what I would call a sweet rum. Spices, heather again, cedar wood and light fruit notes are always present, for some reason I associate them with sauna infusions. The alcohol is perceptible, but carries the aromas very intensively, so that a surprising, aromatic force develops here. I really like this rum!

Finish: sweetish with cedar wood and honey

With this solid and appealing rum, you can of course also do something in your shaker. Or in a mixing glass, to be more precise because I decided to do an Old Fashioned version, which is completely based on putting the woody and spicy notes in the foreground and rounding them off with bitter-spicy depth. That’s why the drink is served in a Japanese Masu cup – not because the drink would in any way be Japanese, but because a Masu exudes a wonderful scent of wood and thus underlines the drink fantastically. It really makes an immense difference! I just called the drink “Wood Old Time”.

Recipe “Wood Old Time”:

5,5 cl 1653 Old Barrel Rum
1,5 cl Suze
2 Dashes The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
2 Dashes The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
1 bar spoon sugar syrup
6 drops salt tincture (see below)

Salt tincture: mix water and salt (about 3:1 ratio) and stir. Some salt should settle on the bottom, in this case you have a saturated salt tincture. Drain the clear salt tincture and collect it in an airtight container. Collect the salt sediment with a sieve or filter cloth and discard it.

Preparation: Stir all ingredients on ice until cold and strain into a Japanese Masu cup on a solid ice cube.

Glass: Masu (wooden sake cup)

Garnish: none

Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online, for example at Conalco.

*The bottle for this review was provided to me by the Conalco Spirituosen UG. The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.

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