With records dating back to 1703, Mount Gay is the oldest continually operating rum distiller in the world.
Produced on the island of Barbados, Mount Gay rum was originally named Mount Gilboa. When the plantation and distillery was inherited by John Sober in 1747, he appointed Sir John Gay Alleyne, as manager. When Alleyne died in 1801, Sober renamed it Mount Gay in his honor, as there was already a Mount Alleyne on the island. Although not the only rum produced on Barbados, Mount Gay is the only one produced in large enough quantities to be widely exported and known the world over.
Mount Gay rum is made from Barbados sugar cane at peak sweetness. Fermentation is begun by blending the molasses with the island's naturally coral-filtered water and yeast. The rum is uniquely distilled using both single and continuous distillation. Single distillation is carried out twice for depth and richness, while continuous distillation yields a crisp, delicate rum. It is then aged in Kentucky white oak casks lightly charred to impart a smoky flavor and rich amber color.
Master Blender Allen Smith creates the Extra Old from rums aged 8 to 15 years. Unsurprisingly, this viscous rum both tastes and smells of oak, which is balanced by hints of ripe banana. On the palate are caramel, vanilla and warm spice. It’s not very layered or sophisticated, but the premium rum is still best enjoyed on its own, either neat or on the rocks.
For those who prefer not to sip their rum, but to mix it with soda like James Bond, Mount Gay Eclipse is a cheaper alternative. This blend of rums aged 2 to 7 years is ideal for mixing into a variety of cocktails, from spiced rum to rum punch.