Holmes Cay Fiji 2004 17 Year


American independent bottler Holmes Cay brings us this rum from South Pacific Distilleries in Fiji. It was pot distilled from molasses in 2004, aged in Fiji for twelve years, then transferred to the United Kingdom where it was aged an additional five years in American oak. It was bottled at 58%, which the bottle claims is cask strength. I’ve heard that the brand has had some iffy information on their labels in the past, which has me seriously wondering if the bottling ABV is actually cask strength.


Nosing this, I get graham cracker, gingerbread, raspberry, lemon peel, toasted nuts, and some dentist’s office aromas like fluoride and sterilized metal tools.

On to the palate: there’s black tea, more graham cracker, strawberry jam, black pepper, dried mint, soft plastics (like those floor mats you put together like puzzle pieces), and some licorice. You could tell me this was continentally aged pot still rum from Barbados and I would believe you. I’m guessing the oak this was aged in is fairly inert considering how long it spent in a barrel.


This is a well-made, enjoyable rum, but it’s just a little boring for me. It’s very mild for a pure pot still rum, and the aging hasn’t quite developed the complexity I would have hoped for. There’s a little fruitiness, a little (and I mean little) funk, but what dominates is a “tea and biscuits” vibe that, while perfectly pleasant, just doesn’t wow me. Well made, but not extraordinary. (6/10)