Review: Gosling’s Family Reserve

Rating: ★★★★★
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.

5 thoughts on “Review: Gosling’s Family Reserve

  1. Gosling’s Old Rum, is the BEST, IMHO. I have to agree with Bilge’s comment, a great rum indeed!

  2. I have just recieved My first bottle of Goslings Family Reserve Rum. I recieved it from some of my Staff for Christmas. I have not tried it yet and am unsure of what to expect. If I should open it and only have a portion of the bottle, will I be degrading the balance of the bottle? I wouild also like to know what the Number on the label means to those who might want to track it. What is the best way to drink the Rum? Room temperature or with ice, certainly not with a mix such a Coke or water. How long has the Rum been aged before it was bottled? The bottle that I have is bottle #1665/08, I asume that the 08 is the year of bottling

  3. Does anyone know how to find Gosling Family Reserve at retail? I’m NYC and/or New Jersey area.

  4. Gosling’s Old Rum is my favorite rum for sure. I’ve always liked the Black Seal too, and last year at Mike’s Liquors (my neighborhood specialty liquor store where I often got Black Seal) started selling that. Of course Mike asked me if I had ever had the Old Rum, then he told me the story about when the guys in the store did their first tasting of it. They promised themselves they would each just take a few ounces and save the rest for later, but it was so irresistibly incredible that they couldn’t contain themselves from devouring most of the fifth. Needless to say, I really wanted to try it! However, I decided it was a bit out of my price range at that particular time, but I would come back and get it after I got paid. It was perfect because the day after payday was the birthday of one of my oldest and best friends who lived up in rural Sebastopol, and it was also the night of game 6 of the NLCS and of course the Giants had a chance to clinch the series. So I put on my orange and black, grabbed the Old Rum, and headed up there. We were both blown away. We knew right away from the nose that it was gonna be nice and fruity. The smell reminded us of black currant or sweet raisin, dates, and pineapple-guava. But it was restrained and mellow. The taste is so good it’s hard to do it any justice in words. Suffice it to say that its seductively mellow nectary flavor pinpoints the pleasure centers of the brain. I agree that each sip is like a wave of comfort washing through the body. The silky smoothness of the body is unparalleled by any other rum I’ve tried, even the seriously premium triple-digit-dollar ones. I honestly think Old Rum’s double-digit price is one of the most surprising things about it, considering its astronomical quality. The drunk is really clean, chill, and quite euphoric. It makes ya smile. 🙂 If Gosling’s Black Seal is the world’s most delicious crude oil sludge, Gosling’s Old Rum is the fine black truffle oil of the rum world. That night me and my comrade kicked it on his birthday in the beautiful countryside, savored some Old Rum, and watched the Giants beat Philly to advance to the World Series. It was one of the greatest nights of my life. I’m about to get another bottle for my other friend’s birthday. Rum is definitely his main drink, but he’s never had this particular one before. I can’t wait for that . . .

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