Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Context: After years of sourcing high proof, unfiltered, unadulterated rum from Europe, it's hard not to get excited about rum made stateside that can fit the bill. Rum I don't have to check on daily using a variety of international tracking apps while it sits in customs for two weeks. Couple that with the half dozen or so articles I read on Maggie Campbell and Privateer, and it gets tricky to keep focus only on the glass. What they are doing is bigger than the contents of one or two bottles. By all accounts, this is a company with integrity - committed to academic rigor, best practice distilling and positive social change in an industry/historical moment that benefits greatly from these philosophies. When I was making a whiskey purchase from Seelbach's tossing in a bottle of Privateer was an easy yes.
The Distiller's Drawer series focuses on single barrels and experiments made available for private selection. Geared for experimentation, Privateer utilizes a wide range of barrels for aging and produces a variety of marks with customize-able plates during the second (column still) distillation. They use a lower than standard barrel entry proof (110) - a practice I've been a fan of in bourbon. These are older bottlings, but Privateer now only uses single origin molasses for their rum.
Privateer Distiller’s Drawer #67 - MAWLS “Yankee Flyer” - 2 yr. 4 mo. - 54.4%
Nose: Sugar glaze. Bready. Young wood. Old fashioned donuts. Coconut. Apricot. Peach. Background earthiness. More layered than I thought on first pass. Lighter in profile.
Flavor: Healthy dose of young oak. Coconut. Citrus. Candied dip before the finish dries out - oak, licorice and baking spice.
Structure: High and linear. Complexity doesn't suffer. Nice little dance in the finish where things are most dynamic.
Alcohol Integration: Pretty dialed in, considering the age. Medium intensity. Plenty of room for the notes to work with.
Score: 5 (Acceptable For The Situation) Not my preferred style. Oak reads younger than I like (can push Popsicle sticks). Top note heavy, linear, and very dry in the finish. That said, I often poured a second glass, liking it better than the first. The profile also lent itself to a really fine daiquiri.
Privateer Distiller’s Drawer #93 - Seelbach’s - 2 yr. 5 mo. - 51.6%
Nose: More fruit forward. Candied apples. Light wood. Beautiful caramel base note. Wood reads older/more complex - meaty and spicy. Fantastic.
Flavor: Apples. Rich caramel. Young oak.
Structure: Deep, full bodied - lower on the palate. Oak lifts the finish - first time wood feels green. Finish is clean, medium/short absent heat.
Alcohol Integration: Drinks pleasantly under proof.
Score: 6 (Solid) Bourbon profile driven with the apples and caramel. Dangerously drinkable.
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New Gen Bourbon - young oak and barrel driven
10 - Reevaluate The Budget
9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers
6 - Solid - Above Average
5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Wish I Was Drinking Something Else
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour