Gosling’s Family Reserve
I’ve long been a fan of Gosling’s Black Seal rum. Dollar for dollar, it’s one of the finest rums around. True, it isn’t for the faint of heart – but it soundly encompasses what rum is meant to be, and is one of the most affordable rums around that can be enjoyed straight up. So when Gosling finally started making their Family Reserve Rum more readily available, I was duly excited to finally try it.
First, it’s always a delight when a rum distiller takes the time to package their product in a manner befitting a spirit of such rich history. Gosling’s Family Reserve (also called Gosling’s Old Rum) is bottled in frosted glass of an extremely dark green. Its cork is sealed in black wax, embossed with a company seal and identified with rustic labels which include individual bottle/batch numbers. The whole affair is encased in an open-faced wooden box, and is truly a sight to behold.
To the nose, Gosling’s Old Rum strikes of duality – cool light overtones counterbalanced with warm spicy undertones, along with a hint of plums beneath (a fruity, pleasant smell that I couldn’t quite place, but once a neighbor identified it as plum, it was truly unmistakeable.)
On the tongue, Gosling’s Old is sweet and heavy. Like many fine rums, it carries as much sensation as flavor, tingling through the mouth and providing a surprisingly instant feeling of comfort to the throat and chest. It tastes of oak and aged fruit, while still clinging tightly to its core rum heritage.
Gosling’s Old is more refined and approachable than Gosling’s Black Seal. But – unlike with so many other rums – this premium option doesn’t reduce its market-level cousin’s standing so much as it offers a refreshing alternative. I will continue to enjoy Gosling’s Black Seal on a regular basis without pining for the technically superior Gosling’s Old. Rather, Black Seal will continue on as a beloved staple in my rum collection for ordinary consumtion, while Gosling’s Old will be untouched save for special occasions.