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  • Writer's pictureStuart Pearce

Beenleigh Rums

Updated: Mar 25, 2023

A week off = an awesome little tasting of a few Australian rums from the in vogue distillery Beenleigh - Australia's oldest operating distillery.

I was lucky enough to taste a couple of these at an awesome session with Steve Magarry & Luca Gargano at the recent UK rumfest - so I'm particularly excited about what I have in store this afternoon.

Located in Queensland, Beenleigh has been making molasses-based rums for over 136 years. Australia is not the first place that comes to mind when you think of rum, although I suspect that impression will quickly be evaporating - thanks (obviously) to the quality of the produce from this distiller. And, it has to be said, thanks to Steve Magarry's dedication to his #needmorebeenleigh campaign :-)

After several days of slow fermentation, Beenleigh use an unusual method of first boiling the wash through a column still and then moving the 'heart' to their copper pot still.

Enough jibber jabber - the drams to my left smell very inviting.

For today's tasting, I'm being assisted by The Mighty Sam McClain and a little throwback to the groovers themselves - Kool and the Gang :-)

5 samples, left to breathe for 30 mins, nosed first, then tasted, in increasing abv order (left to right above)

NB: all scores in this tasting have been revised down 1pt following my 90pts benchmarking exercise (here)

Transcontinental Rum Line (TCRL) 2015 - 48% abv, £40 (on release)

2 years of ageing in Queensland followed by a further 2 years of continental ageing in Europe.

Nose: Super impressed, and surprised, by this. It's got a beautiful rich deep nose. The oak influence, after such a short period, is awesome. Spicy sweet vanilla caramel. Burnt sugar. A touch of mango. Really inviting.

Mouth: Honeyed fruit. A delicious rum. Clean fresh taste, sweet but not cloying. Some caramel, lots of fruit, a little menthol. Not super complex but very enjoyable. Maybe doesn't quite live up to the nose but an absolute bargain if there's any left. So moorish. [85pts]

Beenleigh Inner Circle Navy Strength - 57.2% abv, £40

I believe this has been aged for 5 years in Queensland.

Nose: Surprisingly (given the higher abv) a little 'less' nose than the TCRL. Less fruity. It's rich and has a decent dose of burnt caramel biscuits. Like burnt Dutch stroopwafels. Good but less complex than the TCRL.

Mouth: A little more complex and interesting than the TCRL. Longer finish with some nice rotten tropical fruit balancing well with dates & caramel. In this case, the taste is a pleasant surprise from the nose. A clean, fruit-forward bold rum. Light esters work really well with the fruit and caramel. Yes. A long clean faultless finish. [87pts]

Velier Beenleigh 15 year 2006 - 59% abv, £95

Aged for 15 years at the distillery in Queensland, resulting in an angel's share (loss) of over 45%. Just 1200 bottles. {NB: S Pombe yeast / dunder slow fermented. See link at bottom}

Nose: Pretty special stuff. Oddly reminds me of a really good aged Bielle. Lovely balance and complexity. The burnt sugar has been toned down a touch, and we have extra layers of flavour. Lots of overripe tropical fruit. A little acetone and vinegar, And then back to the caramel. Yum!

Mouth: Another level to the previous two. Taste runs on and on. Loads of delicious flavours. Dips cleverly from estery rotten fruit, to spicy vanilla oak and then on to -not too sweet- caramel and then back round to the esters. Stunning quality rum. Well deserved [89pts]

Velier Beenleigh 5 year 2015 - 59% abv, £65

'Rapidly' aged for 5 years at the distillery's second ageing site located in arid desert conditions. After just this short period, the resulting angel's share (loss) was over 23%. [Just 800 bottles.] {NB: Cerevisae yeast. See link at bottom}

Nose: Really very good - although not offering quite the complexity and balance of the 2006. Tasty tropical fruit. Burned sugar but not quite caramel. The alcohol is not quite as well integrated resulting in a more powerful nose than the 2006. Looking forward to tasting these,

Mouth: The less well-integrated alcohol takes you on a bit of a rollercoaster ride. It's absolutely delicious and then firey, then lashings of fruit, and on to more zing. A big rich deep resinous rum - doesn't quite have the finesse of its sister but it's bloody good. [87pts]

L'Espirit Beenleigh 2014 - 78.3% abv, £75

This cask strength monster was aged for 6 years in Queensland before being bottled at a quite eye-watering abv - wish me luck!

Nose: Predicably powerful heady stuff. Lots of fruit, dates, a touch of smoke (or is that my nose hairs burning). Some spice and caramel.

Mouth: Ok, so I'm impressed. It's a monster no doubt, but with a softer side too. The taste goes on and on. Tiny sips obviously. And your tongues gets that massive zing of very high abv spirits. But then we go on a tasty journey. And it lasts for absolutely ages. Tasty fruit. Spicy caramel. Well executed rum. I want a bottle! [87pts]

Australian Rum - Get on board, it's bloody awesome. #needmorebeenleigh :-)

See here for a really interesting article on the history of Beenleigh and the recent collaboration with Velier:

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