Substation no. 41 Rum is premium rum with a damn reasonable price tag. Commissioned by the crew at the Substation no. 41 Rum Bar in Queensland it brings one of Australia's most vilified spirits out of the dark ages.
And to me, it's a creme brûlée.
Creme Brûlée... I know this is an article about rum but stick with me here... creme brûlée is an obsession of mine. At every restaurant I wind up ordering it and my judgement of the entire dining experience will hinge on how the kitchen treats this simple dessert.
90% of chefs seem to think it's all about being sweet and vanilla-rich. Just like 90% of premium rums. It's so easy to focus on sweet vanilla and forget the more subtle flavours of toffee and light spices.
Substation no. 41 Rum hasn't sacrificed any flavours by adding boatloads of sugar to be considered "premium". Instead the nose is full of almost bitter toffee, aged cedar planks and dark stewed fruit. Forget the overly rich Christmas cake of most rums in this category, this is far more refined and interesting.
The taste it is much dryer than the nose suggests with orange zest, seeds of paradise and white pepper balancing out the traditional vanilla character. This rum appears to have been designed to appeal to real rum drinkers who can handle the extra heat that sugar and molasses spirits provide. It has an entertaining finish that leaves a lot of single malt scotches dull by comparison.
To be honest, after reading the marketing material surrounding this rum it's a surprise that it actually delivers. Almost no spirits live up to their own "premium" hype but this rum is like finding a subtle tea-infused creme brûlée in a pub in Paddington. It's surrounded by more expensive options but it stands out and delivers so much more than the same old sweet-vanilla boredom.
Your daiquiris, dark and stormy's and rum punch's will thank you for trying this rum out. However here's a cocktail recipe that keeps the complexity of this spirit and isn't just another rum classic.
The 41st Earl
60ml Substation no. 41 Rum
60ml Earl Grey Tea
10ml Sugar syrup
Shake with lots of ice and strain with a tea strainer into a glass with a large chunk of ice, top with soda water and garnish with a grapefruit peel.
Alternatively you can add 30ml of lime juice before shaking and serve in a tall glass full of ice. Or if you've got a BBQ or party then multiply all the measurements by 10 and carbonate the whole lot in a small iKegger system for an on-tap aperitif.