Mount Gay Eclipse
My experience with Mt. Gay has been 50/50. I first tried their Sugar Cane Rum, and didn’t care for it much at all. I next tried their more exclusive Extra Old Rum, and it was an instant favorite. So now, just for grins, I return to the grocery store variety of Mt. Gay to try their Eclipse rum.
The color is light amber, the bottle unremarkable, and the label boasts the contents to be “refined.” To the smell, this rum is distant, and somewhat mildewy and crustaceous – I swear to you, there’s uncooked lobster in this, which makes for an odd, if not exactly good, start (especially for pirates with allergies.) But being the brave sort, I take the plunge and have a swig. In the mouth, Mt. Gay Eclipse is light and syrupy. It leaves a defined tingle across the tongue once swallowed, but little in the way of any actual flavor. The second sip encounters less tingle, and a bit more sweetness – but is still absent any real flavor. Indeed, with each subsequent sip Mt. Gay Eclipse flirts with flavor – sweet here, leathery there – but never really commits to anything. As such, it has little to recommend it to the the rum sipper of any sort of refined expectations.
Stick with the Mt. Gay Extra Old. It costs a penny or two more, but you’ll be happier in the end.
Mount Gay Sugar Cane Rum
No, you didn’t misread. The above title claims this review is for Mount Gay Sugar Cane Rum, but the label calls it brandy. I just learned the hard way that they’re one and the same. It seems that in some states Mount Gay is required by law to label their brandy as rum – either way, it ain’t rum, and it certainly ain’t good. I used it to remove a nasty clog from my drain, and it didn’t even do a very good job of that. The flavor was vaguely reminiscent of shoe leather soaked in vinegar. If you think that sounds appealing, give it a shot. Otherwise, I’d stay clear.
Important Update! I almost let the hideousness of this “rum” scare me off Mount Gay forever – don’t make the same mistake! If you try only one new rum this year, make it Mount Gay Extra Old.
UPDATE: I’m killing comments on this post. It was written back in 2004 and it’s getting quite tedious to respond to every Sugar Cane Brandy fan that wishes to air their disagreements. So instead, here’s a generic comment and response copies from my FAQ:
Q. Are you a total dolt? (insert rum name here) is my very favorite, and yet you call it wretch – was your tongue burned by acid when you were young?
A. Rum is a very subjective subject, and while I welcome opinions that disagree with my own, I do get tired of belligerent posts that choose to question my tastes entirely – especially regarding reviews that were posted several years ago. My rum reviews can be quite opinionated – I freely admit that. I have a strong preference for what I consider to be “heritage” and “naval style” rums – meaning the dark, oaky, molassesy sorts like you often find out of Barbados or Jamaica, and the peppery, bold sorts that reflect the mixes favored by the British navy. I don’t give a flat fig what rums won awards, and if I wanted my rum to taste like cognac, sherry, or port, then I’d pour myself a cognac, sherry, or port. A high end rum that tastes like any of the above might be very pleasant on the palette, but to a swab of my preferences they taste like fail.