Recently I stopped in at a local liquor store hoping to find some Curacao for my Orange Liquor Throwdown comparison and found a couple of half-priced rums. One, Barrow’s Grand Reserve, was a rum that I’d never heard about but seemed interesting. After a discount it cost me $11 for what appears to be a $40 rum. Not bad. The other rum that I found has been on “My List” for some time – Doorly’s XO, a Barbados rum from R. L. Seale. The price was right – I paid $17, almost half the original price and much less than I had expected to pay. For these prices I could hardly pass them up.
When I first started researching rums to try I ran across an article by Robert Plotkin called “Sizzle In The Caribbean – The 12 Most Romantic Rums.” (It can be found online in the July 2003 edition of Got Rum? from The Rum Shop.) This article has not steered me wrong yet – I’ve tried about half the rums mentioned and have enjoyed them all. Doorly’s XO was on this list, but in years of searching liquor stores I had yet to find it. I had all but forgotten about it until I read Dave’s Broom’s book Rum where it got an intriguing 5-star review. Doorly’s was fresh on my mind, and when I saw it I got it.
As mentioned, Doorly’s XO is made in Barbados, home to Mount Gay Distilleries and several other rum makers. Doorly’s is blended and bottled by R. L. Seale and Company, who make a number of rums with the Doorly name, as well as Coyopa Rum and John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum. They have recently begun making the rum for Tommy Bahama, too.
From the Doorly’s XO label:
From the house of Martin Doorly, has emerged a rum without equal. To produce the unique character of Doorly’s X.O., some of the oldest rums are carefully selected for a special second maturation. The second Maturation is carried out with the oak already seasoned in the aging of the Spanish Oloroso Sherry. The result is a delicate fusing of complex flavours giving rise to a rum of unparalleled excellence.
The rum is a beautiful golden brown, and swirling shows some long legs. The initial smell is sweet, with banana tones and some vanilla, and quite wonderful. The first sip definitely shows the sherry and cask, some nuttiness, and not too sweet at all. The taste doesn’t match the smell too much, as the smell gave me expectations of sweetness and fruit. It’s smooth, though with a bit of a bite that fades quickly. The finish is short on ay bold tastes, with a long mild burn that is far from unpleasant. A mild taste, hinting of the sherry and oak, lingers lightly in the mouth for some time.
My initial thoughts are that this is a very good rum. It would probably go very well with a mild cigar, or a spicy beef dish.
I also think there are more tastes hiding in this bottle, some subtleties that I can’t discern at this time. These tastes might some out with a bit of water or some time to breathe. I’ll do both – just a touch of water, about 1/5 the amount of rum, and I’ll give it 5 minutes to breathe. Be right back.
5 minutes later…
The water and breathing time has brought the smell’s sweetness down a bit, and heightened the nuttiness. A sip now is very smooth, with a greatly reduced burn and a much longer finish with a bit of sweetness near the end. It is much more sippable, and though it has lost a bit of the flavors it is still very good. I still have to wonder if I’m missing some subtle flavors, so I will have to try this at another time.
Overall I find Doorly’s XO to be a very good sipping rum, and worth the normal price of about $33. The smell is wonderful, the taste is good, the burn acceptable, and I do like the way the taste lingers in the mouth long after the swallow. It does deserve something – a proper cigar or proper food – to go with it, and it will handle these other tastes well.
Doorly’s Rum: http://www.doorlysrum.com/