Raising Glasses Review-a-thon, Part 3

As I opened my box of samples from Raising Glasses, I was greeted by many familiar-looking names in rum: Barbados, Guyana, Venezuela, and so on. Beneath those, however, were three samples from a country far less ubiquitous in the American rum market: Thailand.

The first two, dubbed Kinnaree and Kinnara, are sibling casks from an undisclosed Thai distillery. Both were column distilled from molasses, aged five years in Thailand, aged an additional four years in the U.K., and bottled at cask strengths of 59.6% and 59.5%, respectively. The third bottle, whose working title is Manora, is a blend of these two casks reduced slightly to 55%.

Disclaimer: Raising Glasses sent me these samples free of charge. All opinions contained within these reviews are entirely my own.

Raising Glasses Thailand 9yo – “Kinnaree”

The nose is soft and pleasant but not at all boring. I get orange and lime zest, freshly cut grass, black tea, dried flowers, butterscotch, washed linens, and chai spices like green cardamom pods, cinnamon, and clove. On the palate, orange zest and black tea return, now mixed with caramel, custard, toasted marshmallows, and fresh pear.

Off to a great start here! This is a balanced, well-integrated rum which comes across as being more mellow and confectionary than its sibling cask. Though it’s certainly a more mild style of rum, it’s still full of character and I can’t say I’ve had anything quite like it. (7/10)

Raising Glasses Thailand 9yo – “Kinnara” 

This one’s nose is reasonably similar to the Kinnaree, but more fresh and intense. I get flamed orange and lemon peel, lemon cookies, green apple, and fresh chilis. The chai notes also return, dominated this time by black tea and green cardamom pods. On the palate, I taste more lemon, caramel-coated green apple, butterscotch, black tea, and bitter celery.

The Kinnara is a bit punchier than its sister cask, and for that reason I would put it just above the Kinnaree. That said, they’re very similar and I don’t think you can go wrong with either one. (7/10)

Raising Glasses Thailand 9yo – “Manora” (Working Title)

This one is a blend of previous casks, so we don’t need to belabor the tasting notes: the nose offers orange zest, crushed fresh leaves, butterscotch, chai latte, and menthol. Black tea and chai spices overtake the citrusy notes on the palate, and the fresh pear from the Kinnaree comes through as well.

For me, this is neither greater nor less than the sum of its parts. It strikes a nice balance between the green/fresh and confectionary/spicy flavors, but to be honest, so do the others. I swear I’m not trying to give out only sevens, but I don’t see a good reason to give the Manora anything less. (7/10)

Final Thoughts

Having tasted almost all current and upcoming releases, I’m very impressed by Raising Glasses’ lineup. Not only are they picking interesting and diverse rums, but they will have put out an astonishing ten releases in less than a year. This does include three blends, but even seven cask selections is prolific for such a short timeframe.

My hope for Raising Glasses is that they continue to push further into styles of rum which have little to no representation in the U.S. market. I believe they’re well positioned to move in this direction, not in small part due to their 375ml format. The smaller, more affordable bottles lower the barrier to entry for consumers, making it easier for them to take a chance on an unfamiliar style of rum. I’d love to see some cane juice, high ester, or even unaged picks. 

Thanks so much to Lorri and John from Raising Glasses for sending me these rums. This was a fun project, and I look forward to the official release of your next batch. Cheers!