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

January 26, 2014


Yet another bag of rum, all young

Since this is Sunday, let's go on with our little exploration of rum and try to find more malternatives. We'll have young ones again today but we'll soon try a large bag of much older ones.

Doorly's XO (40%, OB, Barbados blend, +/-2013)

Doorly's XO (40%, OB, Barbados blend, +/-2013) Four stars This is a 6yo blend of various Barbadian rums. It's also finished in Oloroso. Colour: amber. Nose: it's pretty dry and oaky, with some burning grass and in the background, the usual molasses as well as hints of chocolate. A small earthy touch that I quite enjoy, then more sugar cane and tar. It's getting nicer and nicer. Mouth: quite dry again, maybe a little weak, but there's some earth again, mushrooms, more and more liquorice, some leather, bitter chocolate, a feeling of cigars... Indeed, this is to my liking. Finish: quite long, dry, with some tobacco, cocoa and liquorice again. Comments: quality rum for sure, with something agricole. So much more to my liking than all the sugar bombs we had recently... And it's not expensive! SGP:362 - around 85 points.

Gosling's Gold (40%, OB, Bermuda, +/-2013)

Gosling's Gold (40%, OB, Bermuda, +/-2013) Two stars A rather inexpensive one, and the colour suggests it hasn't been heavily caramelised. Colour: white wine. Nose: it's an uncomplicated, light and very grassy one. Herbs, leaves, freshly broken branches, apple peels, a little almond oil... Rather shy but pleasantly unassuming. Mouth: feels more arranged now, I find quite some caraway and aniseed, then more orange and lemon zests as well as, maybe, drops of gin. It's not too sugary, though, so I wouldn't say it's a liqueury rum. Finish: medium length. Grass, fennel, cumin, dill... Comments: I haven't got much to say. The palate suggests this ought to be sipped on ice. Not bad. SGP:550 - around 75 points.

Botucal 'Reserva Exclusiva' (40%, OB, Venezuela, +/-2013)

Botucal 'Reserva Exclusiva' (40%, OB, Venezuela, +/-2013) Two starsThis is actually Diplomatico by another name. What was wrong with diplomacy? Colour: amber. Nose: this baby's very toffee-ish, this is almost liquid caramel mixed with chocolate and candy sugar, then fruitcake and raisins. It's very rounded. Mouth: really too sweet for my taste, although it's no cloying rum. Litres of caramel sauce, chocolate, then millionaire shortbread, raisins, Mars bar... Some touches of orange in the background manage to make it a little lighter, which is welcome. Finish: relatively long but the sweetness is too high for me, makes you want to brush your teeth. So, probably quality rum, but not quite my style. Comments: ditto. SGP:730 - around 70 points.

Fair. 5 yo 'Belize' (40%, Fair. Spirits, Belize, 2013)

Fair. 5 yo 'Belize' (40%, Fair. Spirits, Belize, 2013) Three stars This one's aged for five years in American oak. It's truly 'Fair Trade'. I've enjoyed a Jamaican by the same French bottlers (will they bottle 'fair' Scotch one day? ;-)) Colour: gold. Nose: sugar cane, diesel oil, hay, tar and coal smoke, what's not to like? A rum that smells of sugar cane and not of molasses and plain sugar, that's cool. Mouth: very good, balanced, rather less phenolic and tarry now, with more banana skin and stewed mangos, with also a little salt and liquorice. I also find a little eucalyptus and pine sap. All good. Finish: rather long, grassier and slightly burnt. Sugar cane. Comments: a style that I enjoy, between agricole and heavy traditional. Having said that, a higher strength would be much welcome! SGP:541 - around 82 points.

Rebellion 'Premium Black Rum' (37.5%, OB, blended rum, +/-2013)

Rebellion 'Premium Black Rum' (37.5%, OB, blended rum, +/-2013) This blend is bottled in Holland. Colour: coffee. Nose: not much. Molasses, molasses, molasses and molasses plus coffee and chocolate. Mouth: very weak... Whoooof. Not much happening. Molasses again, burnt sugar, 'American' coffee, chicory and then quite some juniper. Finish: short. Comments: not like, but I'm sure this isn't made for straight sippers. Premium? But of course, what isn't these days... SGP:340 - around 50 points.

Pampero 'Aniversario' (40%, OB, Venezuala, +/-2013)

Pampero 'Aniversario' (40%, OB, Venezuala, +/-2013) Two stars A well-known bottle. Will this baby be as sickly sweet as other South-American rums? Colour: dark amber. Nose: smoky cocoa and burnt molasses, that not obligatorily unpleasant. Also a little varnish, vanilla and more chocolate, then some leather and tobacco. Again, this isn't unpleasant and balance has been found, in my opinion. Mouth: very sweet but I like these notes of bitter oranges and smoked caramel (or something like that) plus all these Corinth raisins, that works. Also spice mix for mulled wine, cloves... Too bad it's also a little sluggish, maybe that's the low strength. Finish: not too short, on raisin cake and burnt brioche. Burnt raisins in the aftertaste. Comments: rather a good surprise. No junk. SGP:640 - around 75 points.

Velho Barreiro 'Silver' (40%, OB, Cachaça, +/-2013)

Velho Barreiro 'Silver' (40%, OB, Cachaça, +/-2013) Basically, cachaça is rum agricole made in Brasil, so distilled from sugar cane juice and not from molasses. Colour: white. Crikey, I had thought this would be aged but actually, it's the bottle that was brown. Silly me. Nose: a little caramel, a little burnt grass, touches of aniseed, some paraffin, plastic, plasticine, sour apples... I find this a tad undefined. Ahem. Mouth: a funny spirit, bizarrely earthy, metallic and sour. Smoked ham, perhaps? Burnt grass? Not easy, I guess this should go into cocktails. Finish: quite long, pretty smoky and quite herbal. Cardamom, juniper, sour apples. Comments: not too sure. A mistake. SGP:370 - no score.

Yah! We couldn't stop here, we need some good rum. Maybe a Caroni will work...

Caroni 'Caribbean Rum XO' (46%, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Trinidad, +/-2013)

Caroni 'Caribbean Rum XO' (46%, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Trinidad, +/-2013) Four stars and a half Caroni can be a perfect malternative, when it's the 'heavy' style that we're heaving in our glasses. Colour: amber. Nose: typical but not extremely big. It's got this earthy side, almost musty, these touches of petrol, liquorice, burnt molasses, black olives, pitch... And yet it's not a very heavy one. Maybe a blend of light and heavy Caronis? Mouth: excellent. Menthol, oranges, glazed chestnuts (bags and bags!), salmiak, cough medicine, honeydew, marmalade, salt, black olives, smoked fish... All simply very excellent and truly 'XO'. Finish: long, even smokier. A blend of lapsang souchong tea and orange liqueur. Comments: a superb rum, rather easier and less 'explosive' than other heavy Caronis but everything's there. Well done as always, BB&R. SGP:462 - around 88 points.

Wait, maybe we could try one more. Something funny and interesting, such as...

Rhum Rhum 'Liberation 2012' (45%, Velier, Marie-Galante, 2012)

Rhum Rhum 'Liberation 2012' (45%, Velier, Marie-Galante, 2012) Four stars A bottling by the infernal tandem Luca Gargano (of Velier fame) and Maetsro Gianni Capovilla, the slowest and most skilled distiller in the West. It's made at Bielle on Marie-Galante (a small French island near Guadeloupe) but it's Sig. Capovilla who's behind the wheel. Colour: amber. Nose: oh wow, this rum is unlike any other rum, including Bielle's. Starts on pipe tobacco, Amsterdamer-style, and spices such as soft curry or Moroccan mix for tajine. Goes on with dried longans, kumquats, dried tomatoes and gingerbread, with hints of tar and brine in the background. Also a growing camphory side and touches of walnut wine. Mouth: first briny and appealingly sour (cider apples), then very salmiaky, we're somewhere between some classic agricole and Caroni's heaviest. A little ginger from the oak, gingerbread again, spicy fruitcake, caraway seeds, marmalade and then more green tea. The strength is perfect, you need no more and no less. Finish: quite long but fresh, with (even) more gingerbread and notes of grapefruits that 'lift it'. Some kind of smoked brine in the aftertaste. Comments: I guess this was aged on Marie-Galante, that's why it feels older than its actual age (probably around 5). The freshish oak shows a bit but the spirit's big enough to stand and balance it. Even better when cooled down - just a bit. Say 15°C. Really love it. We'll try the cask strength version later on. SGP:462 - around 87 points.

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







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