Angostura 1919 & 1824

The House Of Angostura, makers of the famous bitters, also makes a few rums. I’m sampling the 1919 and 1824 tonight.

Angostura 1824
This rum is the result of an intricate dance of doing things by hand. After 12 years of aging in used bourbon casks, a number of rums are hand-picked by Angostura’s master blender, hand-blended and then re-casked (by hand). After some time, when the blender is satisfied that the rums have properly married in the barrel, the rum is then hand-bottled into beautiful bottles, corked, and sealed with wax.

The rum is a very dark gold, with thin but very clingy legs. The smell is one of dark, sweet molasses, with vanilla and a dark toffee or butterscotch. The smells are bold and rich. The taste is not as sweet as the smell, and has flavors that seem slightly charred – pleasantly, not burnt. The molasses is apparent, as is the vanilla and toffee, along with a hint of raisins or other dark fruit. The finish is a little long and spicy, with a bit of a burn that surprises me for a 12-year-old. This rum certainly fills the mouth with flavors, each trying to grab your attention, and they succeed one at a time.

My third sip, quite large, packs a punch of flavors, burn, and spice. Though somewhat sweet and certainly complex – my desires in any rum – this does not have balance in its flavors. Each flavor is distinct and makes its presence known boldly. Though it’s far from unpleasant, it is also not quite pleasant enough to enjoy as a fine sipping rum. I have to wonder how this would fair in a cocktail whose ingredients would help balance this rum. It’s interesting enough, just not balanced.

Angostura 1919
This rum is a blend of rums aged at least 8 years. It’s a medium gold color, with thin dripping legs, and smells fantastic. Sweet molasses and creamy butter come to mind, or maybe caramel rather than butter. Hints of vanilla come through. The flavor is a little smoky, rich, and creamy with hints of toasted nuts. It’s not as sweet as the smell. The finish is quite mild but a bit long, with a tiny hint of spiciness and just a little burn.

Another larger sip is more of the same. This is quite good, and a very nice balance of some simple flavors. It’s fine enough and smooth enough to be a good sipping rum, though perhaps it doesn’t have enough of any distinct flavor to be sipped too often. It would make a very decent mixing rum though it might get lost in stronger cocktails. Very good, but could use a little something more.

Summary

Price aside, the choice between these two is a no-brainer: the 1919 wins. If considering the price, the 1919 wins easily at less than half the cost of the 1824 ($26 vs $55).

But neither is perfect. The 1824 is rather unique and distinct and contains some very fine flavors, but is too unbalanced to be sipped on its own. The 1919 is well-balanced and rich, but it’s just a little too bland to be sipped too often. Either could succeed in cocktails, though the 1824 would need some careful thought.

I don’t mean to seem down on both of these rums – they certainly have their good points. They both just miss the mark by a little. Even still, the 1919 will go into onto my list as “Recommended” whereas the 1824 gets branded as being “On The Edge” since it’s a little too unique to be blindly recommended.

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10 Responses to “Angostura 1919 & 1824”

  1. machete Says:

    I just tried both for the first time on Saturday and my initial notes are surprisingly similar to yours. Good review, Scott.

  2. Adam Says:

    This review, to me, is a shock. The 1824 without argument is my 2nd favorite rum (oh that pyrat cask). Every sip just makes me go “Ahh….!” When it comes to sheer pleasure of sipping on rums, the 1824 is my weapon of choice. As far as using it to mix in a cocktail, I would be scared to waste the robust flavors of this rum. BUT, that is just me and we all have different tastes!

  3. Bryan Says:

    I’m from Trinidad where these rums are produced, and though in general 1919 is more readily available (and affordable) I personally really enjoy the complexity 1824 has to offer.

    However, they both in my opinion come second to Guyana’s range of aged El Dorado rums.

    The 15 year old in particular is an absolutely fantastic rum, one which I can’t recommend highly enough. However everything above and including their 12 year old are worth trying.

    http://www.internetwines.com/rws20622.html

  4. Jim Says:

    I tried the 1919 over the last couple of days and have to say that while the first part of your review was spot on, I was surprised at the finish. It was mild and with only a little spice but also had a distinct smoke/tobacco taste to it that was rather diagreeable.

    It was so unpleasant I was wondering if I got a bad bottle. Needless to say, I won’t be drinking it straight again.

  5. Scottes Says:

    Jim,
    You should mention that this has too much smoke taste in the finish. I almost always find smoke/char to be disagreeable, yet I did not find it to be too strong in the 1919. However, you mention that it could be tobacco that you taste, and this is something that I do not find disagreeable. So I have a tendency to think that you’re tasting tobacco – perhaps not enough for me to notice, but enough for you to find disagreeable.

  6. Jim Says:

    That is probably right Scott.

    Let me take this opportunity to thank you for all your good work on this website. As a relatively new rumophile I have invariably found your reviews and comments helpful in selecting new rums to try and building my collection. I am particularly fond of the Zacapa 23 and the Zaya Gran Reserva, as well as, of course, the Cask 23.

    Keep up the great work!

  7. Jonny Swinglow Says:

    I really enjoy 1919 in the cocktail ninetini recommended by the Angostura website

  8. Johnny M Says:

    Well, I just finished my last sip of 1919 and felt compelled to see if there was a web site with more information on this exciting blend; my first google stop was your site and I have now been reading for over an hour. Your detailed list of favorits looks verry interesting and I am now quite anxious to explore some of your top pics.

    Up here in Ontario Canada our selection of Rum is Governement regulated and quite limited. There are a few “Vintages” stores in town which will have sparatic offerings of higher end Wiskeys etc; with your detailed list in hand I hope to find and try some new brands. Angoytura 1919, Appleton, Goslings, Havana Club, Bacardi 1873 and 8 year old are the main stays for now.

  9. Marcin Says:

    I think 1919 taste too much applecake to my side. Its too overhelming for my taste. But I tried it with vanilla icecream and boy! Its really brilliant for icecreams. Give a try that way.

  10. scott Says:

    I have reviewed your opinions of Angostura 1919 and ………I happen to like it very much. Admittadely, i am not a Rum snob, but…….
    Ron Matusalem is way up there for me, as is Havava Club, and 5 star, or special reserve Barbancourt.
    I also used to get these little roundish bottles of Barcelo that were wonderful, but cant seem to find them anymore.
    I would love some feedback on the aforementioned should anyone desire…..Thanks, Scotty


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