When you’ve got a friend who’s working in Myanmar, you tend to ask questions. “What’s Myanmar like?” is a good one. It falls right behind “Can you ship me some local booze?” So that’s how I acquired bottles of Grand Royal Whisky and Mandalay Special Rum, the latter being a 12-year-old expression that’s distilled, blended and bottled at Myanmar’s Mandalay Distillery.
Mandalay Rum dates back to 1886 and has changed hands many times over the years. Now it’s beging manufactured and distributed by Victory Myanmar Group Co. And from what I can gather online, the company makes a robust lineup of rums, including a white rum, a one year old expression, a couple with no age statements and this–the 12 year old Mandalay Special Rum.
Mandalay Special Rum is unlike a lot of rums. It’s absent that strong molasses note you’ll often find in Caribbean rums. And it’s also absent the tropical fruit notes you’ll find in Phraya Rum (which hails from neighboring Thailand), Tanduay Asian Rum (the Philippines) and many other Southeast Asian rums. This thing is a rum unto itself.
On the nose, there’s a real brandy-like quality within. Wine fruits and oak, mostly, plus hints of fresh sugar cane. Take a sip and things begin very warm, with lots of heat from this 86 proof spirit. It’s spicy on the palate with plenty of sugar cane, vanilla and more of that brandy-like fruit. Things finish dry, warm and oaky.
This is interesting rum and it makes us wonder what kind of barrels they’re using for its maturation process. (If anyone knows, please chime in). It’s a real treat to taste spirits unavailable stateside, and this is no exception. It’s not the best rum I’ve tasted, but it’s loaded with flavor and something I’d happily look for if circumstances bring me to Myanmar.
— 43% ABV
— price unknown
CE Rating: ★★★