Habitation St Etienne Rhum XO (Ardbeg Cask)


ABV: 44%
Body: Medium 
Intensity: High
Texture: Medium-oily
Balance: Superb 
Best served: Neat
Theme(s): Sharp, peat, smoke, dry
Likes: Everything! A dry rum with smokiness
Dislikes: A little brittle, jagged   
Price: $160

This is a review of a very special rum. This is not just any rum, but a rum that has been finished for eight months in a Smokehead barrel that contained Ardbeg (a smoky and peaty whisky from the Scottish Isle of Islay). This means that this rum has peat and smokiness fuming out of a sugary rum foundation – sound pretty nice, hey!? You might also like to read my review of Ardbeg Galileo.

I can see the former Ardbeg casks defrosting in the tropical sun, infusing into the rum which it holds its peaty magic. Now, here it sits in my glass. I can smell its piercing fumes cut my nostrils, as that beautiful peat and smoke mingles with the sharp jabs of sugar and alcohol. This is seriously good rum, and such a great idea! Of course, for those of you who have never tried a peated whisky then this will be a gamble. However, if you like peated and smoky whiskies then you should really like this rum!

Tasting notes – Habitation St Etienne Rhum XO (Ardbeg Cask) 

Aged for eight years on the island of Martinique, this rum is finished in Smokehead barrels that contained Ardbeg whisky. The result is quite spectacular, and if you enjoy Ardbeg you should definitely try this rum. It is smoky with heavy fumes of peat and cigar smoke.


On the nose is a piercing alcohol with puffs of dry smoke and dense cigar tobacco, as dark chocolate adds bitterness to the underlying sugar.


On the palate the smokiness becomes more prominent, bringing cigar smoke and ash with raisin and a minty sharpness very much like minties! Then the lusciousness of the rum slides like salted butter, with shavings of dark chocolate and dry wood. This is a very high quality dry rum, which has used single column distilling and aged for the right amount of time.


The finish is very long, and a dry smoke lingers on the tongue; oh such a tease for an ex-smoker…

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