Ten to One has made a big impact on the spirits world since launching in 2019, with its “departure from pirates and plantations” mantra and really excellent blends of rum (not to mention Ciara joining as investor and co-owner last year). Now CEO Marc Farrell and his team are dropping their oldest and most rare expression yet, a blend of rum aged up to 30 years called Founder’s Reserve—and we got an early taste.
The core Ten to One lineup consists of two main expressions—a Dark Rum that is a blend of eight-year-old column still rum from Barbados and the Dominican Republic, Jamaican pot still rum and Trinidadian rum; and a White Rum that’s a blend of un-aged column still Dominican rum and Jamaican pot still rum. There was also last year’s collaboration with Uncle Nearest, another Black-owned brand, that gave the dark rum a finish in the Tennessee whiskey brand’s bourbon barrels. All of these expressions have no color or sugar added, practices that are common with many rum brands but something that purists are happy to see eliminated from the spirit.
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The new 26-Year Founder’s Reserve is a special blend indeed. The two components are 26-year-old Guyanese column still rum, and 30-year-old Guyanese and Jamaican pot still rum. Of note, while many rum brands play it fast and easy with age statements (there are often not the same rules regulating the number that can go on the label), Ten to One follows the rules of whiskey from most countries and uses the age of the youngest liquid in the bottle. But that is still pretty old for a rum, given that tropical aging accelerates the interaction between wood and spirit far beyond how it would mature in a climate like Scotland or even Kentucky.
Fortunately, this rum has not been overpowered by oak and is a really delightful sipping spirit. The nose does have a rich woody note to it, and even a bit of smoke upon the first whiff. That’s followed by a huge burst of fruit on the palate, including apple, banana and coconut, with brown sugar and a subtle tannic undertone on the finish. The recommendation for this rum is to sip neat or on the rocks—drink it however you like, but this seems like a good idea.
There are only 210 bottles of Ten to One Founder’s Reserve available (SRP $450), each housed in a black wooden box with illustrated maps of the rum’s countries of origin. So act fast if you want the chance to taste this rarified release, which you can purchase online directly from the brand.
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