Mount Gay The PX Sherry Cask Expression Rum Review

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Mount Gay The PX Sherry Cask Expression Rum Review

There’s a small handful of limited release bottles in the world of whiskey and rum that seemingly never fail to surprise and delight, and Mount Gay’s Master Blender Collection releases are one series that have talked their way into this conversation. Every year, the iconic Barbados distillery has some kind of totally novel experiment to put before us, from the time the series debuted in 2018 with XO: The Peat Smoke Expression, through the various bottles conceived by Master Blender Trudiann Branker, including Pot Still Rum, The Port Cask Expression, Andean Oak Cask and The Madeira Cask Expression. They’ve all been exceptional in their own way, and yet none of them have had the pedigree of the newly released The PX Sherry Cask Expression, one of Mount Gay’s most impressive bottles yet.

Simply finishing mature Barbados rum in sherry casks would have been treat enough, but The PX Sherry Cask Expression instead does the nearly unthinkable, taking a 20-year-old blend of column and pot still rums and then finishing with an additional year of sherry cask maturation. Which is to say: Holy hell, this is some extra, extra-aged Bajan rum we have here. Even crazier is the fact that this release is drawn from casks with 20 years of tropical aging, meaning that there was honestly probably almost no rum left in these barrels, visited as they so often are by the thirsty angels. The obvious danger, of course, is the threat that the rum has been entirely taken over by the oak/wood profile of the barrels, but perhaps that’s where the sweet, concentrated fruitiness of Spanish PX sherry comes to play?

Regardless, this 21-year-old spirit is bottled at 45% ABV (90 proof), for an understandably advanced MSRP of $270. Unlike so many of the questionable values in limited release whiskey and rum I’ve been railing against lately, this is one case where the rationale for an MSRP is quite easy to see.

What more is there to say? Let’s get into tasting and see how this extra-matured entry in the Master Blender Collection holds up.

On the nose, the PX Sherry Cask Expression is initially redolent in sweet char and rich tones of old oak, fudgy chocolate, vanilla bean, espresso roast and roasted tropical fruits. In the first few passes, it’s not really the sherry character that is jumping out at me, but rather the decadent notes of the base spirit, very woody and charred and rich. There are some lightly funky pot still esters, and a hint of ginger, but over time the sherry makes itself felt more and more clearly with more pronounced vinous notes and waves of dried fruit. This one smells like a journey, folks.

On the palate, it’s everything I was really hoping for–the oak has yielded a very smooth, silky texture and a mouthfeel considerably bigger than the 90 proof would suggest. Vinous fruit notes of currant and blackberry lead off, surprisingly bright and vivacious, paired with espresso roast, gingerbread and tons of old oak, with moderate sweetness. Blessedly, the oak is somehow composed and elegant rather than dominant, with moderately intense tannins that offer a drying balance to the sweet fruitiness. Lingering dried fruit sticks on the palate for minutes afterward, with raisin, prune and vanilla cream. It really is a treat.

The shocking thing here is how well balanced this one is despite its age. I find myself wondering if the sherry casks were perhaps used to revive an extra-mature stock of rum that might have been overoaked on its own–if so, the plan was executed expertly. Even among the previous releases in Mount Gay’s Master Blender Collection, this one is definitely special. At the very least, find a dram for yourself sometime soon.

Distillery: Mount Gay
City: Bridgetown, Barbados
ABV: 45% (90 proof)
Availability: Limited, 700 ml bottles, $270 MSRP

Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident beer and liquor geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.

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