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

August 10, 2014


The Quest for Malternatives,
today more rum

Yes we’re not done with our ron. Ha! Today we’ll fly to the Philippines, to Cuba and to Jamaica.

Don Papa (40%, OB, rum, Philippines, +/-2014)

Don Papa (40%, OB, rum, Philippines, +/-2014) Two stars This newish 7 years old rum seems to be extremely successful in France, you just see it everywhere. It’s to be said that the ‘retro-banknote’ label is very fashionable these days, we’re seeing this style on more and more bottles of spirit. Also the Che-Guevara-like story. Colour: dark gold. Nose: extremely fragrant, starting rather on citron liqueur (cedrat) and Grand Marnier (or Cointreau). I also find a lot of caramel, fudge and vanilla, and rather little sugar cane. So it’s all extremely sweet, rounded and easy. Mouth: more a liqueur than straight rum indeed, with a thickish, sugary arrival on tangerine liqueurs, or citron, or triple-sec. Also some maple syrup, perhaps, some honey, banana sweets… In short, it’s one of these very sweet rums, but it’s not exactly cloying, thanks to the citrus. Finish: a little short, sugary, citrusy. Notes of mead. Comments: probably not meant to be sipped like that, but I’m sure it would go pretty well on a few ice cubes. Needs cold. The good news is that it’s not very expensive, around €35. SGP:730 – around 72 points.

Brugal '1888' (40%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2013)

Brugal '1888' (40%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2013) Two stars Apparently, Brugal belongs to Edrington (Macallan…) This one is medium-aged, around 7 or 7 years on average, and finished in sherry. I had found the Brugal ‘Extra Viejo’ very sugary (WF 72). Colour: gold/orange. Nose: smooth and rounded but it’s not all sugar, syrups and liqueurs. Sure there’s quite some pineapple liqueur, a feeling of rhum arrangé and hints of tinned litchis, but I also find a small earthiness that’s really an asset here. Also a little cedar wood, maybe, a few pencil shavings, a fistful of golden raisins… Mouth: starts very sweet, on many honeys and liqueurs (hazelnut) and goes on with some oak, Demerara sugar, coffee, custard and chocolate. Very easy and smooth. Finish: of medium length, this time with touches of aniseed, mint and caraway. Comments: not my style but I do find this rum rather honest. SGP:751 - around 75 points.

Ron Cubay 10 yo 'Reserva Especial' (40%, OB, Cuba, +/-2013)

Ron Cubay 10 yo 'Reserva Especial' (40%, OB, Cuba, +/-2013) Two stars and a half Cuban domestic rum, now exported, by the makers of Havana Club. Colour: deep gold. Nose: it’s a much narrower and grassier, but also more elegant rum after the two sugarbombs we just had. There are whiffs of sugar cane (hurray!), hay, honeydew, then more and more ripe melons, Provence-style. Some wee feinty touches that make it more ‘artisan’, probably for the better. Maybe some parsley too. Mouth: it’s sweeter this time, and even frankly sugary, but curiously, I do not dislike that here. Also touches of oak, vanilla, maybe a little curry powder, honey, artisan orange liqueur… It’s all quite drinkable. The sugar’s well integrated. Finish: medium length. Sugar cane, brown sugar, vanilla, touches of grass, oranges. A little burnt sugar and liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: I do like the artisan feeling. SGP:641 - around 77 points.

Let’s have another Cuban…

Santiago de Cuba 11 yo 'Anejo Superior' (40%, OB, Cuba, +/-2013)

Santiago de Cuba 11 yo 'Anejo Superior' (40%, OB, Cuba, +/-2013) one star and a half Another domestic bottling that seems to get exported these days, mainly to Spain. Colour: gold/orange. Nose: another very aromatic one, sweet, reeking of saccharine and corn syrup, then honey and overripe bananas. And then there are litres of vanilla crème as well as a little hay and chocolate mints. Not unpleasant, but the palate may be too sweet for my taste, let’s see… Mouth: indeed, it’s a little too sweet and while the arrival’s quite oomphy, it tends to drop and to become flattish. Having said that there are pleasant notes of pineapple sauce and an oaky spiciness. White pepper. Finish: not too long, with some sour wood and overripe apples. More pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: I think it struggled a bit after the Cubay. SGP:640 - around 68 points.

Compania Licorera de Nicaragua 2001/2013 (63.20%, Isla del Ron, 214 bottles)

Compania Licorera de Nicaragua 2001/2013 (63.20%, Isla del Ron, 214 bottles) Two stars and a half One of the strongest rums I could taste, after a few explosive tropical-aged Demeraras. Colour: gold. Nose: this is more to my liking, although the very high strength makes it a little ‘silent’. I find more sugar cane than in the others, more grass, more coffee, more earth, traces of green olives, some tobacco… With water: some burnt oak coming through, wood smoke, dark chocolate… Also curious touches of grain whisky. Mouth (neat): it’s a sweeter style again, with plenty of stewed fruits, bananas, oranges, marshmallows, then more peppery oak. Strong stuff, one has to be careful. With water: the marshmallows win. Some sugar. Finish: not very long, still sweet, with an oaky structure. Comments: I rather like it, given that this is not quite my favourite style of rum. SGP:631 - around 78 points.

Jamaica 30 yo 1982/2013 ‘Freya’ (50.8%, Lord of the Drams, 35 bottles)

Jamaica 30 yo 1982/2013 ‘Freya’ (50.8%, Lord of the Drams, 35 bottles) Four stars and a half Indeed this baby’s named ‘Freya’, just like that Highland Park, but the rum’s been bottled first! Colour: deep gold. Nose: home! I mean, this is as phat, oily, grassy, olive-y, tarry and dundery as a Jamaican can get, and yet there’s a perfect balance and even some refinement. Also superb touches of fir honey, camphor, turpentine, smoked tea, then hints of melon and mango skins. I may have forgotten a few drops of diesel oil. Perfect. Mouth: a little more on the sweet side but the heavy style remains there, with this tarry/oily side, the brine, the olives, the ‘good’ rubber, the menthol, the liquorice… The oak becomes a notch louder after a minute or two, but it never becomes oaky. Finish: long, fruity, with oranges and more liquorice. A load of pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: quite love it. I had another 1982 by Liquid Sun that I liked rather less, even if it was very similar. Maybe a matter of context, or a death seat? SGP:562 - around 88 points.

After such a powerhouse, session is over!

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







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