We are off and racing with a huge EXCLUSIVE AUSTRALIAN RELEASE to bring in the new year! The Dead Reckoning South Pacific!
A ten-year-old, muscat cask, 100% tropically aged, single blended rum from the legendary South Pacific Distillery in Fiji…bring on the Dead Reckoning South Pacific!
The Dead Reckoning South Pacific – is a bit of a dichotomy. The first impression is of one of a HUGE rum that absolutely CHARGES out of the bottle and rams into your olfactory system as you open it for the first time. It’s just such a, well, BIG smell it’s almost a little disconcerting imagining how it’s going to hit the palate…and yet when you do take your first sip, what strikes you is just how immensely well behaved this Fabulous Fijian is!
Sometimes a rum has a story that defies belief. Sometimes a rum is ‘just right’ when an indy bottler finds it. Sometimes it needs nothing more – just a qualified eye in the right place at the right time… and a little bit of luck of course. This is the story of such a rum. Distilled in 1994 at South Pacific Distillery – a blend of both [‘double thumper’] pot and column still rum. It was tropically aged in Fiji in Australian Muscat Casks (from Charles Sturt Winery in Wagga Wagga to be precise!) for 10 years. In 2004, these casks were married into a single stainless steel tank. The tank was then shipped to an Amsterdam rum warehouse where it was promptly forgotten about.
Forgotten about, that is, until in 2022 (a full 18 years later!) when a certain Justin Boseley was snooping around the dusty back corners of said warehouse sniffing out unusual rums (he’s like a bloody truffle-pig in a bond-store, people!). I like to imagine he climbed over a few racks of barrels, before pulling back a dusty tarp to reveal this mysterious stainless vessel. I also like to imagine the smile that formed when he cracked the lid and first smelled the precious cargo it held.
Normally, at this point Justin would put the tank on a boat, sail it to Adelaide where he would finish it in a cask or casks he felt would improve the flavour in the dry Adelaide heat. For example, last time we offered a South Pacific Distillery Dead Reckoning (the 21 year old Mutiny South Pacific, back in 2021) Justin had finished it in Cream Apera Casks in Adelaide for 12 months. This time though – for the first time – Justin had found a rum that was absolutely ready to rock and roll just as it was. So he bottled it onsite in Amsterdam and then sent it to Europe and the USA as part of his first onslaught into these huge markets.
Now we’re big fans and good friends of the Dead Reckoning brand – and it’s this ongoing friendship that has allowed us to received an allocation of an otherwise Europe-USA only release (there is only 1240 bottles worldwide). For the Dead Reckoning collectors – note the foil-sealed cork on this rather than the wax seal screw-top used on the Australian-bottled releases!
Our Tasting Notes
Nose: So much going on here – and every time you go back you get something new! Gingerbread a-plenty at first, but then sultanas, bananas and pawpaw – all mashed up rather than funkily over-ripe. There’s candied peel there too… and cloves… and biscuit spices… and then…
Palate: Lovely sweet and lusciously tropical. Just the merest smidge of heat at first but the succulent sweetness quickly extinguishes any fire. Huge, voluptuous and syrupy fruit notes coat the palate like render as vanilla-ey custard notes dollop on for the ride.
Finish: The finish backs up the nose and palate admirably – there’s no disappointing ‘fizzle out’ on this back end. Thunderous barrels of chewy dried dates, liquorice, black coffee and toffee roll on and on, bumping over funky fruit notes and more of that [delicious IMHOP] ginger nut bickie spice. Flavour-wise this is a mammoth rum – so much to be lip-smacked and tooth-sucked out of this offering from Dead Reckoning. It’s truly a gentle giant though – it gives a warm yet considerate hug, it’s affable and it’s easily approachable by both rum newbie AND total-rum-geek.
Seriously – I feel a bit of cheat with these tasting notes. There are new flavours to be found pretty much every sip – let alone if you leave it and come back 10 minutes later – LET ALONE TOMORROW!! Whilst you could mix this with a ginger beer or ginger ale quite easily – frankly, it’s just waaay to good to adulterate with anything other than some ice (it’s bloody hot this time of year, after all!).
From Dead Reckoning
After sampling this rum that was purely aged in the Sth Pacific I knew I had to have it . Initially destined for release in Europe & the US, it was decided the Rum Tribe had to have a slice of the pie as well .
I first bottled this in Amsterdam, then shipped it back to Australia. It’s time spent in a Muscat cask rounds off this once untamed rum perfectly. It still has hints of the rawness that’s always attracted me to South Pacific rum, but its 10 years in a Muscat cask had added layers of flavour profile & a subtle dipping experience. First distilled in 1994, barrel aged 10years in Fiji, then 18 additional years in a stainless steel holding tank have married the flavour chain together perfectly.
Nosed it has a herbal quality, similar to St Lucian rum. Pine Cones, some Pot Pourri and a touch of eucalyptus. Further nosing reveals some molasses, toffee and sweet vanilla. Time in the glass gives more time for the aromas to reveal themselves. Slightly menthol notes appear alongside some light tar and cigarette smoke.
It’s a complex nose. It’s a rum which is really worth sitting with and nosing. You will get a lot out of it this way and it will also improve your sipping experience. It is both light and soft, yet quite menacing at the same time.
On the sip it is quite spicy with a fair amount of barrel influence. It’s oaky but the spice from the oak isn’t overly woody. You get a good hit of sweet vanilla. The herbal nature of the rum comes out more with each sip – the pine cones and eucalyptus that was on the nose is very evident. I’m also getting a carbolic/soapy element.
On the mid palate the rum evolves further. A sooty/tarriness comes through. I think if you experienced a Fijian rum – for the first time you could well think it was a blend. It has elements of St Lucian rum, heavy Caroni and most definitely funky Jamaican notes.
The initial sip and mid palate carry a fruitiness as well, which works nicely with the more herbal notes. It keeps the more aggressive elements of this rum at bay. It keeps the balance nicely.
About Dead Reckoning
Justin, has immersed himself in rum for the past 20 years; a journey starting as a deck scrubbing lad with a thirst for Rum and adventure culminated in him becoming a Chief Officer; driving billionaire’s mega yachts around the world. This life of salty seadog adventure took him to Rum’s heartland, the Caribbean islands for 6 months a year, every year.
When he wasn’t at the helm of a yacht he could be found hanging off a bar or at a distillery sampling the best the Caribbean rum scene had to offer. Upon ending his days at sea there was only one thing he knew better that navigating around the world’s oceans- that was Rum. For 10 years Justin has scoured the globe discovering & importing the world’s best rums into Australia.
Dead Reckoning is Australia’s first independent rum bottler. We know there’s more in the works from Dead Reckoning and we can’t wait to try more and more of these fabulous independent bottling from a true rum legend.
About South Pacific Distilling
The South Pacific Distillery is known as the quite achiever, often producing rums under a cloak of secrecy, supplying independent bottlers with mind blowing rums. Their distillery is named ‘South Pacific Distillery’ and they use column stills and a John Dore pot still / double retort (double thumper) configuration. This still configuration is much better explained by others than myself. And HERE is a very good explanation of the ‘double thumper’.
Other very well-known rum distilleries such as St Lucia distillers, Foursquare, Hampden & Worthy Park use the same or a very similar system.
A closed fermentation process using molasses (closed so that birds don’t fall into the ferment) for 70 to 100 hours produces what can only be described as an element of funk. Dunder is not used; controlled yeast is the activator in their ferment.
High Grade Sugar cane and subsequently molasses is in no shortage on the islands of the South pacific, ideal for quality rum production.
After the ferment is run through the still the “rum” is normally stored in Ex Bourbon barrels in its high temp and humidity environment. The colour of this rum is evident that its “tropical ageing” is a rewarding and tumultuous partner, providing a full bodied and funky rum.