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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

September 8, 2013


The Quest for Malternatives,
more young rums

I feel my nose isn't quite back to full form, so let's drop our precious and subtle (yeah yeah) malts once more and have more young rum. I've got dozens, if not hundreds of rums yet to taste and I'm planning to publish a list of true malternative rums in the coming weeks. So, more or less at random once again (or it may become a chore), let's try these babies today...

Mount Gay 'Eclipse' (40%, OB, Barbados, +/-2013)

Mount Gay 'Eclipse' (40%, OB, Barbados, +/-2013) Two stars The name comes from a solar eclipse that happened in 1910. Yes they use dodgy stories in rum too. Colour: gold. Nose: it's a rather flowery one it seems, and I have to say we aren't too far from some whiskies. Isn't this peonies? Dandelions? Also vanilla and a little mead, the sugarcane remains pretty discreet so far. Mouth: it's light, I'm getting quite some coffee and then burnt sugar, there's a feeling of coffee + schnapps, then more bananas flambéed (au rhum of course) and more and more candy sugar. It's a very easy one but it isn't dull. Nice presence. Finish: rather short, maybe a little flabby and too sugary, but it remains fine. Molassy aftertaste, not the most pleasant. Comments: okay but not very interesting. Very 'fair average-ish rum', that is to say pleasant enough but maybe not quite for malt enthusiasts. SGP:630 - around 72 points.

Dos Maderas 'Anejo 5 + 3' (37.5%, OB, blend, +/-2013)

Dos Maderas 'Anejo 5 + 3' (37.5%, Williams & Humbert, blend, +/-2013) Two stars A blend of Barbados and Guyana rums that were kept for five years in bourbon wood, then shipped to Jerez were they spent three more years in sherry wood. Not too sure when the vatting happens, after five or eight years. It's onwed by Bodegas Williams & Humbert. Colour: gold. Nose: this is nice. Very light but nice. Once again there are touches of malt whisky (could be the sherry's impact), quite some raisins and figs, honey, vanilla, then overripe melons and maybe plums. Not very 'rum' this time. Mouth: it's sad that they bottled this at 37.5, because the profile is quite lovely, citrusy, zesty, honeyed and raisiny. But there's almost no middle and it just makes you salivate. Unsatisfying, in that sense. Finish: almost none by whisky standards. Right, ideas of sultanas and rhum baba. Comments: a wasted opportunity if you ask me. I'll still rate it relatively high, but at this strength it's almost torture - right, because it's no crap! SGP:320 - around 70 points.

Wait, I've got a stronger bro, let's try it too...

Dos Maderas 'PX 5 + 5' (40%, OB, blend, +/-2013)

Dos Maderas 'PX 5 + 5' (40%, Williams & Humbert, blend, +/-2013) Two stars Same story except that this one spent 3 years in palo cortado and then 2 years in PX after the first five years. Colour: very dark amber. Nose: what a difference 2.5% make, sang Dinah Washington. We're extremely close to some kind of old Macallan or Glenfarclas - excuse me? Yes, or Glendronach - with bags of raisins, coffee, dates, figs, honey and prunes. Seriously, I'd have said 'Scotch!'. Mouth: nah, it's not Scotch this time. It's a little too light again, too syrupy now, too smooth, too sugary... Too Spanish, in a way (as far as rum styles are concerned of course). I'm disappointed, I had high hopes after the perfect nose. Finish: not that short but all these sugary raisins are really too much for this taster. Grapy aftertaste (cream sherry). Comments: I don't know, not my business but maybe less time in PX and 3 or 6 more degrees? SGP:720 - around 74 points.

Wait, I've got yet another Dos Maderas (random tasting, he said, yeah yeah...)

Dos Maderas 'Luxus' (40%, OB, blend, +/-2013)

Dos Maderas 'Luxus' (40%, Williams & Humbert, blend, +/-2013) Two stars and a half This baby's actually a '10 + 5'. That's right, ten years in bourbon wood and then five years in sherry casks in Jerez. Colour: light coffee. Nose: oh yes, a wonderful nose again, this time it's drier and nuttier, more fino-ish if you will, with walnut wine, almonds, sweet mustard, then Corinth raisins, some honey, wonderful notes of blueberry jam, maraschino and then Turkish delights (rose-flavoured). Let's pray now, let's pray... Mouth: mixed feelings. It's bigger and less flabby/fatty than the 5+5, but it's certainly very sweet and probably a little too liqueury for whisky lovers. I do not hate parfait amour (violet liqueur) or rose liqueur, but when there's too much there's too much. The arrival was satisfying as far as body's concerned but the middle is much weaker. Finish: shortish and, once again, too sweet for my taste. Comments: I loved the maraschino in the nose and the palate was acceptable, so this is clearly the best of the three but it's not my style. Too sweet! SGP:730 - around 77 points.

Good, we just had some dark sweet ones, let's have something hopefully different...

Caribbean Jack (43%, The Whisky Agency, Trinidad, 2013)

Caribbean Jack (43%, The Whisky Agency, Trinidad, 2013) Four stars A brand new one by or for our German friends that comes in a skull more or less like Dan Aykroyd's bottle of Crystal Head vodka. Is it deadly spirit? Let's see (lazy writing again, S.) Colour: pale gold. Nose: more, much more my style, even if it's not quite a full-petrol rum such as Caroni or Hampden or Albion and a few other Demeraras. It's actually well midway between those oily/petroly notes and sweeter cane sugar and honey. Less spectacular than the Dos Maderas on the nose, but it's the palate that will determine the outcome. Mouth: same feeling, which is actually pretty perfect. It's easier and smoother than the petrol bombs (yeah well) and firmer and more, say kind of phenolic than the sweet ones that I do not like. Nice oranges and cloves, star anise, a little cinnamon. All good. Finish: good length, a bit narrower than expected but clean and, above all, it does not leave a ton of sugar on your tongue. Sugar is THE enemy! Comments: a very, very fine sipping rum that is very pleasant when taken neat and when you're not up for some monsters at tropical strength. Well done Limburg in Germany! SGP:542 - around 85 points.

Okay, what could we have now? Maybe this one that I've always wanted to try. Lovely old label!

O.V.D. (40%, OB, George Morton, Demerara, +/-2013)

O.V.D. (40%, OB, George Morton, Demerara, +/-2013) OVD stands for Old Vatted Demerara. Not too sure this is the matching piece to the famous and no-less seminal O.V.G. (Old Vatted Glenlivet). It's intriguing... Colour: dark coffee. Very natural... not. Nose: pah-pah-pah, what is this? I like it but it's very unusual. Earthy, dusty, curiously herbal (cactus??? Lovage??)... Floorcloth? Vase water? Asphalt? Cut grass for sure. I had thought/feared that this baby would be extravagantly sweet and smooth and it isn't at all. Mouth: no, it isn't! But it's not great either, it lacks definition, it's all kind of jumbled, liquorice, raisins, gherkins, tar, oranges... Once again, the strength is too low and the spirit doesn't quite stand what's been put inside (better not know). Caramel for sure. Not quite Loch Dhu levels but... quite. Finish: medium length. Burnt sugars, more liquorice, kirsch. Comments: it's not unpleasant, it's less sweet than I had feared, but it's also a little too simple. Not bad, though. And I love the label ;-). SGP:631 - 65 points.

While we're having dark ones from Demerara...

Watson's Demerara Rum (40%, Ian McLeod, +/-2013)

Watson's Demerara Rum (40%, Ian McLeod, +/-2013) Colour: coffee. Nose: very similar, but this one's actually a little sweeter and more citrusy, which works well. Cleaner, so to speak, but there is a feeling of floorcloth again. More oranges for sure, Cointreau, then dust and earth, clay... Mouth: indeed it's sweeter than the OVD, and frankly this is cloyingly sweet, especially because there's no backbone. Caramel, maybe raisins, cane syrup, more caramel and then even more caramel. Thank Vishnu there's also oranges. Finish: shortish, not flat but way too sugary. Comments: probably for cooking or golden mojitos. Mixologists, don't shoot! But yeah, it's not undrinkable, so not worth less than 50 in my book. SGP:720 - around 50 points.

All right, a last attempt at finding a nice cheap Demerara...

Skipper Rum (40%, OB, Demerara, +/-2013)

Skipper Rum (40%, OB, Demerara, +/-2013) Another beautiful old label. We never see these English 'navy' rums in France, maybe something to do with Napoléon? ;-) Colour: dark mahogany, so ultra dark. Nose: same as O.V.D., more or less. Maybe a little more smoke but that's probably smoke from caramel. It's actually a little flat, after two minutes both the OVD and the Watson have more oomph and 'wideness'. Poor skipper... Mouth: not bad. Sweet raisins, sweet raisins, sweet raisins and then sweet raisins. Unless there's sweet raisins. All that in caramel and again a little feeling of smoky tar. Finish: not short, on sweet raisins and caramel. I should have bet. More oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: fair and kind of honest despite all the caramel. There may be more caramel than ethanol. SGP:721 - around 60 points.

All right, very last attempt, let's try something more expensive from Demerara... While not being one of these small batches by Velier, Bristol, Samaroli, Silver Seal or other wizzards of rum (coz that would be too easy).

Boote Star 20 yo (43%, OB, Demerara, +/-2013)

Boote Star 20 yo (43%, OB, Demerara, +/-2013) Four stars I don't quite know who is Boote, I guess it's a Dutch company according to the name. I know, google is our friend but you see, I'm in a kind of rush... Colour: gold. That's a honest colour! Nose: another world. I may have been too generous with my previous ratings, this is so much nicer, more complex, more elegant... It's actually superb, with splendid herbal notes, smoke, olives both green and black, engine oil, hay, pine needles, a little camphor and then more and more tobacco. Brilliant whiffs of old style cigarettes. I adore this nose. Mouth: oh yes it's quite perfect. Not quite as perfect as on the nose, as almost always, and sure 3 extra-% would have been welcome, but this praline, the olives, even the baked parmesan cheese, the tobacco and the bananas are perfect. Finish: that's where its losing points, it's becoming drying and oddly herbal. Maybe a little flat as well. Comments: forget about the flattish finish, it's great rum. Now, who is Mr. Boote? SGP:451 - around 86 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Rums I've tasted so far







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