April 5, 2013

Do you like this?

Owney's Original New York City Rum (80 Proof):

Looking back in time, rum has a strong presence in the history of the North East United States. New York and New England both produced rums in the 1600’s that contributed to the rising oppression of the British Empire. In 1733 the Crown passed the Molasses Act, trying to force the colonies to use molasses from the West Indies. The West Indies could not meet the distillers demand, so they found creative ways to get around the act by using smugglers.

This frustrated the British and led them to pass the Sugar Act in 1764. This act cracked down on smugglers and taxed the colonies on any goods they imported or exported. This crushed the Rum Distilleries’ ability to make a profit and forced them to close or change focus to other spirits such as beer and whiskey.

In 2011 a distillery quietly opened in Brooklyn, New York called The Noble Experiment. The owner, Bridget Firtle, made her dream of producing a New York Rum a reality in 2012.

The first product of that dream is Owney’s Original New York City Rum. Named after Owen “Owney, the Killer ” Madden: a Hell’s Kitchen gangster who ascended to power during Prohibition as a bootlegger, rum runner, and speakeasy operator. This rum celebrates his legacy, as well as, the storied history of New York distilled spirits.


On the shelf this bottle distinguishes itself from everything else. It is shaped like a prohibition era medicine bottle with TNE NYC EST 2012 raised on the glass. The label wraps the 750 ml bottle with details about the spirit on the front and the story of Owney on the back. An added nice touch to this bottle is the way the label purposely covers the sides of the bottle in order to showcase the batch and case numbers.

Our bottle came from Batch #3, Case #2. The bottle is sealed with a plastic cork and secured with a security strip across the top.

The liquid is clear in the bottle and glass. Swirling the rum reveals a high level of filtration as there is no sign of distillate. The legs quickly run down the sides of the glass leaving a solid ring of crystal beads.


The aroma begins with a solid floral note that dissipates, revealing light vanilla and cane accents with a hit of alcohol.


As the rum rolls across my tongue it unveils a pleasantly strong molasses note. As it fades, the vanilla note carries as the alcohol bites at the end and they linger together in the finish.


It is a bold and brave thing for someone to leave a career in finance and focus on making their dreams a reality. I am pleased with the first expression from The Noble Experiment distillery and I look forward to experiencing future releases. Bridget Firtle in her interviews has revealed that this is step one for her rums. She has plans to produce aged and infused rums as she increases her inventory.

She has skillfully avoided some traps that other small batch distillers fall into and has produced a well balanced product. If you enjoy the flavor and mouth feel of an immature 80 proof rum, then you will be quite happy sipping this one neat or with a cube of ice. However, I would be inclined to use it as an ingredient for classic cocktails and, at around 36 dollars a bottle, it is worth experimenting with.

Review by Mr. Paul Senft :

Mr. Senft currently serves as owner of www.rumjourney.com.  He has a passion for rum and traveling.  He has dedicated himself to describing to his readers about his travels through the Caribbean Islands and writing rum reviews.  When he is not reviewing a rum, he is hard at work at trying different cocktail recipes.

April 5, 2013