Review: Angostura Cask Collection No. 1 Rum

Angostura Cask Collection No. 1 Rum
Angostura Cask Collection No. 1 Rum

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.

  • Bill

    Nice read!

  • Mika Jansson

    I agree, this rum is not going to convince people. It is extremely sweet, and the aromas suggest that their origin is not the 1st fill bourbon cask, but rather a few bottles of artificial essences, or a cask treated with essences. I *know* what 1st fill bourbon casks give a spirit in terms of taste. It is *not* what I taste in this rum, sadly. They need to get their act together and stop “spicing up” their rums, it is so passe..!

    • drinkspirits

      Thanks for your comment. I think you are spot on. Angostura is better than this. They’ve been talking about pride in pure distilling and so putting out a highly adulterated rum as their showcase premium release just doesn’t cut it.

  • thenasnow

    pardon me but i have to chime in for folks like me that love the sweetness of this rum. i found out years ago that’s why i drink rum. so i can completely get that it is too sweet for you. i ask that you leave some room in you opinion for other like myself whose taste run a different way. i’m online now looking for where i can get another bottle.

    • Drink Spirits

      We’d never disparage someone for what they like, but Angostura is very vocal about not adding/adulterating their rums and talks about them as a pure expression of the spirit. There’s so much sugar added to this that it’s a real sugar bomb.

  • Michael Dunst

    I consider myself a “rumer”, I grew up in a rum culture and I have drunk rum since the beginning. I have tasted several brands as well as several qualities. However, it is also true that my knowledge and experience with rum has been obtained in an “amateur” or “recreational” way (no serious expertise meant). I came to the U.S. a few years ago and was surprised to get the impression that rum is not well known/understood over here. A argument that I often hear is precisely that people find it too sweet. I have heard this same type of comment from europeans very commonly too.

    In my very personal opinion, a rum that is not sweet should not be called rum (rum is made from sugar cane after all, a sugar distillate). I cannot determine whether Angostura puts additional sugar to their products or not, all can I say is Angostura No. 1 is one of the best (tasting) rums I have ever drank and consistent with my personal understanding of the spirit, i.e., I did not feel anything that made me consider (with sufficient certainty) that the rum was adultered. I do not know if it is just like the person below me says: “I taste rum in a different way”. Anyway, since I would consider DrinkSpirits an expert, I will take into account its point of view the next time I drink the No. 1 (if I am lucky to find it again).