Firstly, Holey is certainly not a misspelling of Holy. Holey Dollar was actually an Aussie dollar with a hole within it (see image gallery below this post), but unfortunately we aren’t sure when the phrase was first coined (sorry).
This rum is so named because when Australia was first colonised there was a shortage of coins and currency, so rum became the currency of the day. Obviously the non-drinking settlers were slightly opposed to this. However, that didn’t last long as the New South Wales Army overthrew the tee total governor and rum took back its rightful place as the national currency. This was the first and only military insurrection in Australia’s history, all over a bottle of distilled sugar cane.
Now, when asked about Australasian rums Bundaberg normally springs to mind. Well not anymore. Holey Dollar has already swept the international rum loving crowd off of their feet by winning accolades since 2009. 2011 alone has so far seen HDR win the New York Cocktail Challenge with best Mai Tai, Master status granted by the Rum Master Series held in London earlier this year. Master is obviously the highest accolade given by The Rum master Series. Not too shabby one might say?
Well, a few weeks back an Australian friend of the Hunch popped over from Sydney and threw us over a bottle of the overproof Holey Dollar Rum (HDR) and proclaimed it to be the best overproofer in all of the seven seas. Owner and Master Distiller is a Mr. Stuart Gilbert. Ten years ago he was an estate agent and now he’s winning the most coveted prizes in the industry. A relative industry newcomer Gilbert does embody a refreshing approach to distillation.
His main ingredient is from Fiji, pure sugar cane, none of this molasses malarkey. And Gilbert is a firm believer of blending and the pot still. “Personally, I think rums can go over the edge if aged for too long” Gilbert told us.
Holey Dollar Rums comes in three different forms; all aged 3 years to 6 years old. First is the Silver Coin, aged 3 years and is 40% ABV. Then we have the first of the overproofs. Overproof is rum terminology which describes the traditional and now dated practice of testing the strength of a spirit. The term overproof would be given if the rum would literally explode when given gunpowder and flame. Proof would just be a flame. The first overproof is what we are writing a review about today, it is called the Gold Coin. It stands proud at 57.2% ABV. Last but not least is the Platinum Coin with a defined 75.9% ABV – which Stuart told us is illegal in some Scandinavian countries.
Well, what are all the critics raving about? And is it all justified? Let’s find out.
The colour is a dark bronze hue with a mellow yellow gold tint to the rim. It doesn’t look immediately syrupy in texture, like the more mass produced overproofers; however, it does retain a decent texture.
On the nose we received a hammock full of tropical fruits. Lighter tones are wild flower, freshly cut moist lawn, passion fruit, toffee and wet hard woods. The main essence is that of bananas and spiced butter.
The taste is disturbingly palatable. Primary taste is dried flowers and brown sugar, then vanilla and a minute yet distinctive hibiscus flavour. This is all then momentarily alleviated by an ethanol veil that washes over the palate, which in turn makes way for raisins, almonds and Christmas pudding.
In conclusion, this rum is not disgustingly complex and it certainly doesn’t fade away into boring sweetness. Holey Dollar Gold Coin is distinctive and has a warm mellow character. If it were a film star it would certainly be Bill Murray – playful and filled with humour, but possessing a unique gravitas and intellect.
Cocktails we definitely recommend to be made with HDR Gold Coin
- Rum Old Fashioned
- Mai Tai
And it went magnificently well in a adapted variation of Jason Scott’s 2002 Cocktail Red Rum Martini:
- 24 Fresh Redcurrants
- 45ml HDR
- 20ml Sloe Gin
- 20ml Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
- 20ml Vanilla Syrup
Muddle Redcurrants, add ingredients. Shake and double strain into a chilled martini glass.
See Difford’s guide for the original recipe.
Holey Dollar is not yet readily available in Britain just yet, but watch this space for news on it.
If you want to know more about Holey Dollar Rum check out their website: Holey Dollar Rum Website