Chairman’s Reserves, Part 2: John Dore 2 and Coffey

Let’s wrap up St. Lucia week with two single still expressions from Chairman’s Reserve. Thanks to u/allezleslionz and u/0129383789780 for the samples!

Chairman’s Reserve John Dore 2 14yr Single Cask

This molasses-based rum was made on the distillery’s John Dore 2 pot still, aged fourteen years in ex-bourbon, and bottled at a cask strength of 60.9%. I can’t say I’ve ever had JD2 distillate blended or unblended, so I’m excited to try it.

The nose opens with clove, star anise, nutmeg, cough syrup, dark cherries, blueberries, peppery leafy greens like arugula or Swiss chard, burning plastic, campfire, and dusty old cabinetry.

The palate is potent and woody, but not overwhelmingly so. I get more spices and cough syrup, then bittersweet chocolate, burnt orange, slightly burnt pastry, and ripe berries. Though it’s a heavy, oaky rum, it doesn’t feel like a slog to get through a whole glass.

While I was certain going into this that the best rum from SLD comes from their Vendome still, I’m not so sure anymore. This is complex, intense, and just plain delicious. It surpasses many of the Vendomes I’ve had, and it may just be one of the best things I’ve tasted from SLD. (8/10)

Chairman’s Reserve Coffey 11yr Master’s Selection for Bitters & Bottles

Last but not least is a barrel pick from Bitters & Bottles in California. This was made from molasses using SLD’s coffey column still, aged eleven years in ex-bourbon, and bottled at a cask strength of 57.8%. Oh, and did I mention that this is still being sold for under $60?

Right off the bat, the nose is much less wild and intense than its sparring partner. It’s full of warm baking spices like allspice, clove, and cinnamon. I also get Sichuan peppercorn, black pepper, tobacco, and cooked berries. 

On the palate, it’s snickerdoodles and mixed berry pie all the way down. The bake sale notes are accompanied by more black pepper, star anise, black tea, and plastic ball pit. 

I really like this! It’s a more approachable style for SLD which reminds me more of old Cuban rum or Savanna traditionelle. Though it isn’t quite as gripping as the JD2, it’s super solid and very easy to drink, and that’s not a phrase I often use to describe St. Lucian rum. (7/10)