Review: End of Days Distillery Port of Entry Rum

As a new resident of North Carolina, I’ve been spending equal time exploring the state and exploring the distilleries of this state. This past weekend, I was checking out the oceanside city of Wilmington — which made it a great coincidence that just days earlier I had been able to find a taste of that city here in Raleigh: the End of Days Distillery Port of Entry Rum.


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History

Shane Faulkner spent his career as a businessman in the Wilmington, North Carolina area. But after twenty years working for other companies, he decided to lean into his self-taught love of home brewing and open his own distillery in Wilmington along with his wife Beth.

The distillery opened its doors in early 2020 — only six weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to shut the doors to the public once more. Despite the lockdown, the distillery continued to operate and innovate, providing hand sanitizer for the local community as well as coming up with delicious new recipes for their spirits.

According to Faulkner, the inspiration for the name came from one session where he and some friends were sitting around a campfire in the early evening, sipping some spirits, and reflecting on life. “At the end of the day, what are we enjoying? Did you have a day well lived and are you spending it with someone that you care about?” Shane said, according to one interview. “We said, ‘you know what? celebrate the day.’ Because life is very precious.”

Product

Rum is an ideal spirit for a new distillery because it requires very simple equipment, can be produced quickly, and doesn’t require the long maturation process required for a bourbon or other spirits.

In this case, the End of Days distillery starts with a mixture of raw cane sugar and molasses (the syrupy leftover residue from the sugar making process). The choice here of mixing those two elements is interesting, since usually distilleries pick one or the other. Raw sugar tends to result in a sweeter and more herbal flavor profile, while the molasses has impurities and other elements that usually produce a funkier and fruity flavor.

Those elements are added to a barrel with some water and yeast, which creates a fermented and mildly alcoholic liquid. That liquid is then distilled, proofed down, and bottled for sale.

Packaging

I feel like this is a good example of a modern, semi-minimalist design done right. Clean designs like these often struggle to strike the right balance, but I think between the placement of the label and the splash of color on the front, this design works nicely.

The bottle is pretty normal and standard for a small craft distillery: straight, cylindrical walls, gently rounded shoulder, short neck, flared lip, and capped with a wood and cork stopper. It’s a general shape we’ve seen time and again from other small distilleries, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice. For a modern vibe, I think it fits.

What really ties it all together is the label: it’s relatively small and unobtrusive, down near the bottom of the bottle, which gives plenty of room for the liquid inside to be clearly visible. That’s nice for a rum, but I feel like this will be an even more interesting visual when we get to the aged spirits. What I specifically like about the label is the pastel two-tone circle, with a red sky and blue water evoking the idea of a red sunset behind an old sailing ship. This pop of color helps offset the starkness of the rest of the design, keeping it from feeling too minimalist, and I personally like it.

Neat

As you’d might expect, the spirit is crystal clear and water white. Coming off that liquid is a surprisingly subdued aroma — honestly, it smells more like a vodka than a rum. There’s a teeny tiny hint of pineapple, some very light marshmallow, and that’s about it. Otherwise, I’m just getting industrial alcohol.

Thankfully, though, the flavors really start to blossom at the first sip. Marshmallow and cotton candy are the first things I’ll call out — likely from the raw sugar used for the source materials. That’s followed by a little bit of banana, but more like the candy banana flavor you’d get in a bag of Runtz. On the finish, there’s a bit more complexity, with some hogo-like funk that reads like overly ripe mango to me and likely a result of the molasses.

On Ice

Ice isn’t usually a good thing for lighter and less saturated spirits. In something like a richly aged bourbon, you probably won’t have any issues with ice — but with unaged spirits like rum and gin, the addition of some ice has a tendency to nearly kill the flavors that might exist. Thankfully, though, I think this rum survived the ordeal well enough.

The biggest casualty is the aroma: there’s literally nothing left once the ice goes into the drink. There wasn’t much to begin with, and with the ice in the glass it’s basically a neutral aroma. There are no hints of anything I can detect.

But just like we saw when taken neat, the aroma might be light but the flavors do come out and make a showing when you sip it on ice. There isn’t much progression at this point, just the candy banana flavor combined with some marshmallow sweetness. I don’t even think I get that over-ripe mango anymore, it’s just all banana.

Cocktail (Hemingway Daiquiri)

My editor hates it when I go off script, but this is one instance where I feel like it’s warranted. I’m fairly confident that this rum is probably not the greatest choice for a Dark & Stormy (our usual standard for reviews), and instead I’m going to use this light rum in a cocktail where I think it will work better: a Hemingway Daiquiri.

What I’m looking for here is the rum making a difference. Just like with the D&S, there’s a lot going on in the cocktail, so making its presence known among all of the additional components means it performs well. This is basically a daiquiri with slightly less punchy ingredients — so, in theory, this rum should shine through much better.

Overall it does make a delicious, well balanced, and enjoyable cocktail. It’s also one of the few times when a maraschino liqueur makes a ton of sense.

What I think this particular rum brings to the party is what we expected all along: the candy banana flavor. It’s a little bit of tropical fruitiness added to the drink — and it does in fact stand up to all of the other components — but it isn’t the home run I hoped that it would be.


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Overall Rating

This is a rum where I wasn’t blown away or significantly impressed. It was fine, got the job done, and did it better than Bacardi. And for the price point, it’s something where I really wouldn’t object to paying that much for the bottle and keeping it stocked for cocktails and mixed drinks. It isn’t going to be the most impressive bottle on the shelf, but it gets the job done and adds a bit of tropical fruit to whatever cocktail you’re making.

Especially given the local production and small business that it comes from, I’m happy to keep buying it and supporting them — but if cost isn’t a factor, I’d probably reach for Plantation‘s white rum first.

End of Days Distillery Port of Entry Rum
Production Location: North Carolina, United States
Classification: White Rum
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 42% ABV
Price: $23.95 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating:
All reviews are evaluated within the context of their specific spirit classification as specified above. Click here to check out similar spirits we have reviewed.

Overall Rating: 3/5
A good, solid white rum from a local North Carolina distillery.


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