So okay, XO obviously stands for “Extra Old” but Mount Gay Distillery dropped the long title a few years ago now.
A few weeks ago I managed to pick up a bottle of Mount Gay Extra Old which was advertised saying that it was possibly from the mid 90’s. I probably paid way too much for it considering that the current version costs around Aus $65. I won’t say exactly what I paid but it was more than twice that amount.
A bit of research on the older bottle and it looks like rather than the mid 90’s, it actually dates around the mid 2000’s. There’s a date stamp on the bottle that reads 030805. I’m not sure if that’s the American format so it’s either been bottled on 3rd August 2005 or 8th March 2005. The newer bottle is clearly stamped 14th May 2014. So after all the initial excitement of thinking there was a huge age difference between the two, it turns out that they are probably about 9 years apart.
The older bottle has a much more traditional label whereas the newer one has been brought bang up to date with a much more contemporary look and feel.
So this isn’t a review of the rums and I didn’t make any real tasting notes. A good review can be found here The Fat Rum Pirate Mount Gay XO.
I simply tried to see if there were any discernible differences between the two bottles and if 9 years between production has changed the profiles of the rums.
Looking at the two rums in both the bottle and the glass and I can see that the older version is noticeably darker. It is a nice deep mahogany whereas the newer one is much more copper like.
The aromas of the two are very similar. There’s dark chocolate in both and hints of fruit. All the usual suspects of raisins etc although if I can pick one tiny difference then I’d say the older version is slightly smokier albeit by a tiny amount.
The most noticeable difference I can discern is that the newer version tastes marginally fuller with stronger caramel and toffee notes and is definitely more flavoursome. It feels slightly more raw and there’s more going on the the mouth. I find that I actually enjoy the newer version more as it just seems to have more bang for the buck than the older one. It also has a longer finish.
Don’t get me wrong. They are both good rums and the older version still holds it’s own as a great sip. The differences aren’t massive and you can still tell that you are drinking the same rum.
Finally, and just out of interest, I mixed the two……Now this was a pleasant surprise as they both worked perfectly together and this new mix was the better option than the two rums by themselves.
I’ll definitely be mixing the two from now on…..until the old one has gone forever of course.