Pyrat Cask 23

Pyrat Cask 1623A long time ago I happened upon a liquor store that had a bottle of Pyrat Cask 23 (aka Cask 1623). I looked at the $240 price tag and drooled, shook my head and bought a lottery ticket. I lost, and went home without that bottle of rum.

Last summer I happened to be chatting with a co-worker and found that we had a common interest in our love of rums. I mentioned the story about seeing the Pyrat 23, and he showed a particular interest in it. So much interest that he wanted it, so I offered to pick it up for him if they still had it. I eventually did get it for him, and we tried it and loved it.

Last week this co-worker announced that he was moving on, going to another job. Yesterday I asked if I could borrow the bottle. Well this brought a round of laughter from all sides – how does one “borrow” a bottle of rum? I promised that I would drink as little as possible – just enough to do a review for this site. He agreed, still shaking his head.

With friends like this, how can you go wrong? Thanks Chris!

An Introduction
Pyrat Cask 23 is a blend of pot-still rums of up to 40 years old, made and blended by Anguilla Rums, LTD. It comes in a hand-blown glass bottle with some antique-looking labels, a couple ribbons around the neck, and of course comes with a Hoti medallion dangling from a thick black string. There’s a small label on the bottle (it actually fell of this one) that is a hand-written serial number and signature from the bottler. The bottle is packed in a cedar box with a Hoti medallion inset in the front. All in all it’s a heck of a presentation.

Initial Taste
I had promised myself that I would pour only a finger of this borrowed rum, so I grabbed the widest glass I could find and poured a small amount. (Just kidding Chris – it was half a finger in a double old-fashioned glass.) This is a very dark rum – not dark like Myer’s but a very dark golden color. The initial smell is sweet with a faint orange tinge that seems typical with Pyrat rums, and delicately charred oak. It has some tones of very refined molasses, fruitiness, and a touch of honey. There are some other smells in here that are very faint and take some concentration to find. They’re so faint that all I can think is “fruit” but I get no further.

The initial, tiny sip is rich and full, sweet and a bit thick. Too small to really explore, this sip is predominantly sweet, faint molasses, and a bit of spiciness in the finish. The next, larger sip is more of the same – rich and sweet and excellent, but not a lot of flavors are coming out yet. This is most likely because I’m afraid to drink this up and leave Chris nothing, but I’ve got to bite the bullet and take a full, proper sip…

Wow, that fills the mouth with flavor! But again it’s more of the same tastes as before, with no other tastes really coming out. But this large sip certainly shows a few tricks in its finish. It’s got a long, wonderful finish that stays in the mouth for a very long time. This might have to do with its thickness coating the mouth – luckily that thickness is not cloying but has a rather silky mouthfeel to it. Tones of licorice come out at the very end, and some slight barrel – the best barrel tastes I’ve ever experienced. Though slight, they show off a delicate but beautiful balance of licorice vanilla, and oak.

It’s extremely smooth, but not quite the smoothest rum I’ve ever had. But the taste keeps coming long after the burn fades to nothing, so I can deal with what little burn it has.

I left a very tiny sip in the glass, just enough to coat the tongue. And I’m glad that I did, for it is very pleasant. And it keeps me from pouring another finger just to make sure…

This is certainly an excellent rum. Sweet and fruity, smooth and with an amazing finish – it might be the longest finish I’ve ever experienced in a rum. It’s certainly the best finish, by far, of any rum I’ve had. And that’s what takes this rum all the way, since it lacks the complexity that I’d expect in a blend of very old rums. The initial rum tastes themselves are simple – sweet molasses rum with orange tones and a touch of fruit. If that were all this rum had to offer then I’d certainly stick with the much sweeter Pyrat XO at one-tenth the price. But the back half, starting just after the swallow, really bring out the care and craftsmanship that went into this rum.

Money aside, this rum is outstanding and goes to the top of the list. But at $240 a bottle you have to be fully prepared to appreciate this rum. Don’t just take a sip and expect magical things to happen – get your money’s worth and pay attention and concentrate.

But I have to admit that even after this tasting I am not even thinking about spending $240 on a bottle of Pyrat Cask 23. That is the same amount as 6 bottles of Zacapa 23-year-old. But if I had the expendable income I would certainly buy one. And I would not share – except with Chris.


11 Responses to “Pyrat Cask 23”

  1. Christofer Hoff Says:

    You’re welcome. You picked it up, afterall, and since we haven’t touched it since we first broke the label, I think it only fitting that you get to again.

    Glad you enjoyed it.


  2. Milicent Says:


    I found your site when searching for reviews on this particular rum. I also discovered you on the Ministry of Rum website. I recently moved my Cask to smaller bottles after reading posts on oxidation at the latter site. After searching for sites on this rum again, I came across your site.

    I should have said do before but didn’t. Great review. Since our tastes are very similar, I have always enjoyed reading your thoughts and impressions. Pursuing your recommendations haven’t led me astray so far. Keep up the good work. I love reading your posts, observation, and experiences. Keep us informed.

    Thanks for your service to humanity. Keep it coming. Thank you, sir.

  3. Scottes Says:

    Welcome Milicent! Thanks for the kind words!

  4. Karl Schwolow Says:


    As the Assistant GM and Beverage Operations Manager for rumjungle Las Vegas, I agree wholeheartedly with your positive assessment of the Pyrat Cask 23. At $65 per shot, the Cask remains one of our more popular premium offerings. You also touched very briefly on two of our other extremely tasty selections in the Ron Zacapa Centenario 23-yr and the Pyrat XO Planters Reserve. All three of these rums produce an incredible albiet different taste sensation and are a perfect way to channel a Caribbean experience without actually going there.

    Karl Schwolow

  5. Paul Says:

    I have yet to have the opportunity to try this one, although I totally enjoyed my bottle of Pyray XO, so I look forward to trying this when I have a few extra dubloons on hand. A note to Mr Hoff above regarding oxidation – glass marbles. I keep a bowl full of small clear glass marbles on the bar, when I drink down something that I know will sit again for a while, I add a few marbles to the bottle raising the level up and elimiating the air. This way, I can keep the ambrosia in its original bottle.
    S/V Pyxis

  6. Eugene Says:

    You read like a kindred spirit. I have been a rummer since I started underage drinking over 30 years ago. I have been wooed by expensive premium rums also and have missed the chance at a couple over my deliberations. I recently encountered a rum that I have doubts either of us will ever drink in quantity, if ever. Havana Club Maximo. Along with an impressive presentation comes a two thousand Canadian dollar pricetag in my home country. I first saw it in Dubai airport duty free, where I live now, and thought it was an error at $1800 US. Looked online and saw it wasn’t.
    In contrast, I discovered one of my top three, Rum and Coke-rums about 17 years ago in India. It is Old Monk 12 year old ( they have a 9 year old that is a guaranteed hangover) and I can buy it in the next Emirate for less than $5 dolars a bottle and it is 42.8% alcohol, so it goes a little farther. My other Mixer favorite is Mount Gay Eclipse and the third I haven’t found yet.
    I keep Ron Mathuselum Gran Reserva on hand for sippin’.
    I also have a tip to pass on. I will often buy a bottle of less expensive dark rum like Captain Morgan or Lamb’s Navy and drop a Vanilla bean, a piece of cinnamon bark (a little goes a long way), a couple of cloves and a whole nutmeg right in the bottle. Leave it for a couple of weeks and I have a nice spiced rum without the sickly sweet, artificial taste you get from the branded ones.
    I am right there with you on Ron Zacapa 23. I tasted it first a few years ago and placed it at the top right away. I have had some excellent Venesuelan rums brought back by a friend as well.
    Happy New year, Eug

  7. Frank Says:

    Ah yes I remember getting a shot from that same exact bottle. Amazing.

  8. Randy Says:

    Hello. I usually drink Scotch, but like a nice rum occasionally and have liked the standard Pyrat that the liquor stores sell here. As part of their cost savings, through reducing the range of items they carry, they just reduced the price on the Pyrat 23 to $145. That caused me to search for this on-line, and hence your site. It looks like the Ron Zacapa is a lot cheaper, but I am wondering if, at $145, you would recommend the Pyrat 23 at that price. Thanks.

    • Scottes Says:

      If you’re new to rum, it might still be a bit much to spend. I personally would grab it for that price, but that’s 3.5 bottles of Zacapa… I’d have a hard time recommending many people to spend $145 on a bottle of rum.

      If you don’t know if a rum is worth the price then chances are good that it’s not worth it. You’ll know when you know.

  9. Annalise Says:

    Thank you for this!!! I’ve been searching for a perfect Christmas gift for my fiancé who loves rum, but only drinks the cheap stuff since he drinks so often. The money was definitely well worth it. The look on his face with that first drink was all the thanks I could get. I think I ruined every other rum for him though, because he said he will never drink another rum again. Good thing he likes beer too. I’m not a fan of alcohol myself, but I had to admit, it was very smooth. Thank you. It took me reading several of your reviews, but I settled on this since he also collects bottles, and this was one that stood out among the rest.

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