Barbados is a picturesque Caribbean island that until 1966 had been ruled by a number of European colonial powers. Now, it is marking its 50th year of independence and one of its principal companies is celebrating with a limited edition bottling of Mount Gay rum.
The island, inhabited by Kalinago people since the 13th Century and prior to that probably by other Amerindians, first came under European influence when Spanish explorers visited in the late 15th Century and claimed it for the Spanish crown.
The Portuguese visited in 1536, but they left it unclaimed although they did leave behind a herd of hogs that reproduced and made the island known for their meat. In 1625, the English ship Olive Blossom arrived and its crew claimed the island in the name of King James I. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and Barbados became an English and later British colony, obtaining independence within the British Commonwealth.
The French company Rémy Cointreau, owner of the Mount Gay facility, commissioned Mount Gay XO Cask Strength, a blend of spirits matured for eight to 15 years and bottled at 63% abv. The rum, which goes on sale this month, is described as having “notes of ripe banana and toasted almond, followed by vanilla and spice, to create a smooth, unforgettable finish.”
“This is our tribute to the spirit of Barbados, the original birthplace of rum, and the people that make this island so unique,” said Allen Smith, master blender. “To taste XO Cask Strength is to experience everything that fans love about XO, but it gives connoisseurs the special opportunity to enjoy the truest intensity of XO aromas straight from the casks.”
Bottles from the 3,000-bottle lot, priced at $185, come packaged in a wooden box with a booklet on the history of rum’s origin in Barbados. A portion of the sales of every bottle sold will be donated to the Barbados Museum and Historical Society to support its efforts in conserving the history and culture of Barbados.