Just five years since being founded, Uncle Nearest Tennessee Whiskey has become one of the most awarded and beloved whiskeys in the game. Fawn Weaver and the descendants of Nearest Green (who helped Jack Daniel create his iconic Tennessee whiskey brand) started Uncle Nearest to celebrate Black heritage in the spirits world and create a space for the next generation of BIPOC creators and tastemakers to rise in the spirits industry.
Marc Farrell is one of those creators and tastemakers. Farrell started a rum company in the Caribbean to harness his heritage with rum while also helping move the industry past its problematic past. Or, in Farrell’s own words, he wanted to make a rum that is “a departure from pirates and plantations.”
Now Farrell’s Ten To One and Weaver’s Uncle Nearest have teamed up to make a special release for Black History Month. The new expression was created to honor and celebrate “the many black spirits pioneers whose contributions to the industry have been largely forgotten.” Let’s see what’s in the bottle!
Ten To One x Uncle Nearest Bourbon Cask Finish Caribbean Dark Rum
Average Price: $75
Ten To One source their rum from Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad, and Jamaica. A collection of eight-year-old barrels are then expertly blended and then re-barreled into Uncle Nearest’s Tennessee whiskey barrels, which held their 1856 expression.
Once the juice is just right, it’s proofed and bottled as-is with no additives or coloring.
The nose opens with a very bourbon vibe — rich buttery toffee that leads towards a spicy and nutty banana bread — before a good dose of oak char arrives with a slightly tart berry note and some dry pecan shells. The palate opens with a soft sense of vanilla pudding and muscovado sugar syrup next to stewed apples with a touch of clove and anise, a light sense of pecans, and a little bit more of that oak char.
The finish dips into a light sense of watery proofing before shooting back up with a spicy matrix of peppercorns, cinnamon, and allspice next to burnt green sugar canes and a note of almost overripe red berry with a hint of tobacco buzz.
The bottle is a cross between a stubby and a port bottle with a solid wooden stopper. The label is elegant and eye-catching (especially because its rum and there are no pirates) without being overfilled with information.
This is 100 percent a bourbon drinkers’ rum. It feels very “Tennessee whiskey by way of a subtle and dark rum” — which is good, if that’s what you’re looking for. It drinks fine as an on the rocks sipper but feels more like a solid cocktail base.
I’m going to try this in an old fashioned and go from there. A rum cocktail like a rum and Coke made with this might also reveal some interesting nuance.
88/100 — This is solid. Though this did feel more like a whiskey than a rum at times (which is kind of the point with the finish). I did wish there was a little more rum funk or something unique to rum in there at the end of the day.