traditional column and double retort pot still
7 to 15 years in American Bourbon Oak and Tennessee Whiskey casks
Alcohol by volume:
Every bottle from the Mount Gay lineup proudly displays the year 1703. This specific year holds significance as it marks the earliest recorded mention of this Barbadian distillery engaging in the commercial production of the alcoholic elixir known as rum. Mount Gay stands as the oldest rum distillery in continuous operation to this day.
The plantation and distillery underwent changes in ownership, and one of them was John Sober. He was the one responsible for changing the distillery's name from 'Mount Gilboa,' which was connected to a nearby hill, to 'Mount Gay,' a name derived from the surname and in recognition for his skillful manager John Gay Alleyne.
Around thirty years ago, Rémy Martin (now Rémy Cointreau) acquired the rights to the Mount Gay brand, excluding ownership of the production facilities at that time. It wasn't until 2014 that the distillery management sold a controlling stake to the corporation. Rémy Cointreau restored the age-old column still, obtained neighbouring plantations and implemented environmentally sustainable development concepts. Respect, considering it could have bought a new still or source sugarcane at a more affordable price from the market. Nevertheless, the decision was made to enhance the brand's merits, and I commend the corporation for forsaking the commonly dominant and steadfast drive for immediate profit maximisation.
The XO is master blender Jeremy Edwards' creation with Allen Smith providing assistance during the period when it was known as Extra Old in 1994. Over time, the apprentice became the master, and a little over a year ago, after leading for nineteen years, Allen Smith passed on the responsibility to Trudiann Branker. She is the first female master blender at Mount Gay and the first in Barbados. And so, tradition intertwines with modernity, where change serves as the catalyst of progress.
Managed plantations, meticulously organised by variety, relying solely on rainwater for irrigation and fertilised with vinasse, meet only a portion of the demand. The Barbados Agricultural Management Company handles the acquisition of the remaining resources, providing materials sourced from the broader Caribbean region, though limited to varieties native to Barbados. The fermentation of molasses lasts up to 36 hours, occurring outdoors and utilising wild yeast. Mount Gay is a blend originating from both copper pot stills and columns, with the blend's ratio remaining a closely guarded secret.
Until recently, placing an XO label on a cognac indicated a minimum ageing of at least six years. However, rules have evolved, and the current threshold for 'extra old' is a minimum of ten years spent in a barrel. Rum is a rebellious spirit, though. The components of Mount Gay XO mature for seven to fifteen years in barrels made from American oak previously used for bourbon and Tennessee whiskey.