Angostura has a wonderful problem: they are so well known for their world famous bitters that many people don’t know they produce anything else. The reality is, Angostura is one of the major rum producers in the Caribbean: they not only produce their own line of quality rums , they also supply a tremendous amount of rum to blenders and private label for a wide array of notable rums. Angostura has worked very hard to raise the visibility of their rums, and their latest effort is a limited edition premium rum series called the Angostura Cask Collection. The first release in this series is aptly named No. 1 and is a blend of rums ten to twelve years old, then aged an additional year in first-fill bourbon casks.
Angostura No. 1 Rum (40% ABV / 80 proof, $50) – medium amber in color, No. 1 rum’s nose clearly reflects the rum’s time in barrel with deep vanilla, caramel, and oak spice along with molasses and toasted marshmallow. The nose is light and inviting with the aromas in nice balance. The entry is quite sweet with caramel, molasses, and sugar. Things broaden out in the midpalate with the addition of some spice including black pepper, oak, clove, ginger, and cinnamon but the spice isn’t enough to fully balance the sweet notes. The finish is medium length and is a combination of sweet and spicy with sweet caramel lingering on the palate. Angostura’s No. 1 Rum is simply too sweet, and overly sugar enhanced. The rum has some interesting elements, but they are never balanced and can’t compete with the overly sweet flavor profile. No. 1 is also underproofed and would have had a better balance and flavor delivery in the high 80s or low 90s, and (of course) without so much sugar.
It’s a bold move for Angostura to release a premium rum at the $50 price point. While the premium rum space may have gotten a modest boost from Bacardi and their Facundo Bacardi collection, it is still in its relative infancy. The biggest issue with Angostura No. 1, aside from the fact that it’s too sweet, is that it feels like Angostura is trying to convince rum drinkers that they produce quality rum. Angostura does make some quality rums, but No. 1 feels a lot like a really attractive woman trying to convince you that she’s really attractive, which is anything but attractive.
Going premium with their rums is a strategy that isn’t going work for Angostura, and No. 1 isn’t a very auspicious start in that direction. Ironically, Angostura produces one of the most enjoyable flavored rums we’ve ever tried, released only in Trinidad under the name “Single Barrel”. Angostura’s “Single Barrel” is lightyears beyond Captain Morgan and The Kraken and could be the very thing that gets consumers to think of Angostura in the rum space. No. 1 won’t move the needle at all. Angostura No. 1 is limited to only 9,600 bottles worldwide and is only available in select markets. We doubt there will be a No. 2.