Review: Samaroli 2002 Demerara Rum

When Lost Lake reopened for pickup after being closed for months due to coronavirus, I biked up there at my first opportunity. While I was ordering a few cocktails to bring home, I noticed a bunch of bottles in the back that had the distinctive Samaroli label design. I decided to purchase it spur of the moment, being a bit euphoric that lockdown seemed to be ending, despite its very high price of… $250. Yes, yikes. Well, weeks later, it became clear that lockdown wasn’t ending but at least I had an exciting bottle of rum to try.

This is the 2002 Demerara Rum release from Samaroli, co-branded with Lost Lake. This is apparently the first time that Samaroli has ever done a labeling partnership like this – you can purchase it at either Lost Lake or Binny’s in Chicago. As you’d guess, this rum was distilled in 2002, and it was bottled in Scotland in 2018. It’s “from selected cask no. 1800013” at Demerara Distillers Limited (the only show in town for Guyanese rum distilling, as I’ve mentioned before<;), and was probably subjected to both tropical and continental aging. My specific bottle is 23 of 132 (haha Chicago Michael Jordan hahahahaha).

So, as you can see from the pictures, we have the classic beautiful Samaroli bottle and presentation. When you pour it in the glass, you get that fat Demerara rum smell big time. It’s tart and pungent, a bit reminiscent of molasses, and almost sour. There is just a little burn. On the palate, this rum is very, very mellow – it takes a second to kick in. Once it does, though, you get some more classic Demerara flavors, with earthy, slightly musty tobacco notes. I added a drop of water and it didn’t seem to make this open up any more. 

This is a very good Demerara rum – which you’d hope for at this price. However, like all of these really high priced limited release things, you’re pretty high on the curve of price vs. return, and it’s only an appropriate thing to spend on for enthusiasts. I’d definitely recommend this to any folks that are really into Demerara rums, since I think there were subtleties I was failing to pick up, but for me personally I slightly prefer other things (such as the Samaroli Caribbean release).