Google Malternatives on Sunday, real malternatives

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

September 4, 2016


Malternatives on Sunday,
real malternatives

I’ve got a whole bunch of mega-rare and super-old cognacs up my sleeves, but the weather is quite hot in Alsace these days (Indian summer and all that), and I prefer to taste rum in that case. But that’s good timing as well, since I’ve got a whole bunch of mega-rare and super-old rums up my sleeves… (no worries, no pseudo-limited, decanterised and story-telled junk today!)
So in no particular order, but starting relatively smoooothly…

Bellevue 10 yo ‘1841’ (45%, OB, Marie-Galante, agricole, +/-2015)

Bellevue 10 yo ‘1821’ (45%, OB, Marie-Galante, agricole, +/-2015) Five stars There’s a younger and cheaper no-age-statement version of this baby that’s been bottled in the same decanter, so beware. Colour: deep gold. Nose: bing bang bong! All tropical fruits mixed with tar liqueur and engine oil. It’s almost impossible to beat this ;-)… Not to mention all the flowers, ylang-ylang, roses, honeysuckle, elderflowers (very vivid)… And these passion fruits and mangos! What a maelstrom… Mouth: exceptional. As almost always, the palate is a tad less complex than the nose, and indeed, this massive liquorice tends to dominate, but apart from that, this is perfect, rich, coating, yet elegant, bursting with tropical and phenolic flavours… A pirate’s old boat? Simply very lovable. Finish: long, with some salted liquorice, more mangos, more ultra-ripe bananas, and some mint, plus this tar that keeps it ‘masculine’ (what?) Comments: sadly, we were expecting this from Bellevue, so I couldn’t call this a surprise. I don’t think you could do much better out of column stills - but then again, there are column stills and column stills. SGP:752 - 90 points.

This starts well, very well…

Enmore 1987/2000 (56.6%, Velier, Demerara, casks #EDG 193-197)

Enmore 1987/2000 (56.6%, Velier, Demerara, casks #EDG 193-197) Two stars An old bottle I had bought when it came out. It always had the reputation of being genuine rocket fuel ;-). Let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: rocket fuel. Ten times more spirity than the Bellevue, ten times less aromatic. Burns you! Very elementary rum. I know, it’s Enmore, it’s Demerara, and it’s Velier. But still, this is raw alcohol. With water: basic rum. Alcohol, American oak, vanilla, not much else. Mouth (neat): humpfff… Some kind of high-strength lemon eau-de-vie, ultra-sharp and spirity. Shall we call it vodka-ish? I know it’s a sacred cow, I know, yet… With water: the oak stands out. Finish: bizarrely short. Lemon cake, perhaps? Comments: in general, Velier + Demerara means 85 to 92 points (or even more). But there are exceptions (cavernous sardonic laughter)… SGP:330 - 70 points.

Good, let’s change our plans. Drop the ueber-rare, try to find some super-good instead! (which is not mutually exclusive of course)… And speaking of Velier…

Foursquare 10 yo 2006/2016 (62%, OB, for Velier, Barbados, 2400 bottles)

Foursquare 10 yo 2006/2016 (62%, OB, for Velier, Barbados, 2400 bottles) Four stars and a half They call this ‘single blended rum’, which means that it’s a blend of pot still and column rum from one single distillery. Yup, like Ben Nevis or Lochside used to do in Scotland. If this baby’s anywhere near the young 2013/2015 Foursquare for Velier, we’re up for a treat. But cough, cough, 62% vol… Colour: amber. Nose: isn’t it a little bizarre that we’re reminded of the Bellevue that we just had? Except that this Foursquare is too strong for any careless nosing, the high strength distorts the aromas. So, turning the talk into action… With water: it gets gentler, softer, and less phenolic than expected. Cakes, raisins, humidor… And even warm croissants au beurre! Mouth (neat): doctor, I’m finding a parentage with the Bellevue again, is that normal? Stewed tropical fruits and phenolic, tar-like flavours. We know it’s a winning combo, but mind you, 62% vol… Some great menthol, though. With water: civilisation! Having said that the tarry, phenolic layer didn’t vanish at all, it’s still pretty congeneric rum. The pot stills, I suppose. Excellent liquorice, salt, lime, and our beloved green and black olives. Finish: medium, rather bright, slightly salty, with touches of bacon. The lemon is running the show in the aftertaste. Comments: a tad softer than expected, but quality’s extremely high. In a way, it’s meta-rum, gathering the best of many styles (but the sugarbombs). Less phenolic than the 2003. SGP:552 - 89 points.

So, Velier…

Worthy Park 10 yo 2005/2015 ‘Forsyths WP’ (57.8%, Habitation Velier, Jamaica)

Worthy Park 10 yo 2005/2015 ‘Forsyths WP’ (57.8%, Habitation Velier, Jamaica) Five stars It’s all a bit cryptic and beginners may need a PhD to understand everything, but this is well Worthy Park, distilled in the new double post still made by Forsyths and installed there in 2005. It’s also aged on location (and not in the UK), the angel’s share lying around 64%. And the distillery cat had just had four babies when this was distilled, and… and… and… ;-). Colour: gold. Nose: evident. Please call the anti-rumporn brigade! I’ve heard Usain Bolt was the cap’tain. Worthy Park may well be the current Jayer of the rum world (but Bellevue and Foursquare – and a few others - are close!) With water: nosing the engine of an old Lamborghini after a run (I know, I know, works with a Subaru too). And after fifteen minutes, roses and gewurz! Totally unexpected. Mouth (neat): what the **** is not perfect here? Perhaps the complexity, I wouldn’t say this is complex rum, but the style is, yeah, totally perfect. Perfect malternative, or rather islayrnative. Smoked anchovies and one olive. With water: do they have good swimmers in Jamaica? This baby swims exquisitely. Touches of pears. Finish: long, with more salt and lime coming out, which is always a blessing. Comments: you could buy six bottles of this for the price of the new NAS Ardbeg. And I doubt the new NAS Ardbeg (Selfie or something? Pokemon?) is as good as this. Did you get this all right? SGP:463 - 92 points.

These Velier people are becoming boring. Shall we talk about that lousy Enmore 1987 again? Or rather try their new Hampden?...

Hampden 6 yo 2010/2016 ‘HLCF’ (68.5%, Habitation Velier, Jamaica)

Hampden 6 yo 2010/2016 ‘HLCF’ (68.5%, Habitation Velier, Jamaica) Five stars So, 100% pot still, 40% angel’s share, and 550gr/laa esters. And of course 0% added sugar and 0% other additives. Fudge, we’ll soon need PhDs indeed! Colour: gold. Nose: holy featherless crow, Worthy Park or Hampden? That’s like asking ‘Charlie Parker or John Coltrane?’ I’m afraid there cannot be any answer. This is just as brilliant, but the strength is immense, with a feeling akin to that of those overpriced yearly bourbons that are bottled at 70% vol. In fact, it’s so strong that some soapy notes arise, which is no good. So, with water: good. Worthy Park is more waxy/vegetal/floral, while Hampden is (even) brinier/earthier/tarrier, but they sure are on par. Mouth (neat – because that’s within the procedures): now I know how Céline Dion does it ;-). Burns and makes you yodel. With water: sublime. More ‘ashtray-y’ (you need holidays S.) than Worthy Park, and a little more monolithic. In short, even more extreme. Finish: very long, which is an understatement. Comments: totally and plainly malternative. In truth, these rums might be better than the best of Scotch, since you need much more ageing to reach the same level in Bonnie Scotland. No, more oak won’t work, whether Uzbek or Zimbabwean. And agreed, these Jamaicans are exceptions (as are Barbados, Guadeloupe, or a part of Trinidad), I think there’s much more junk in rum than in malt whisky. Now, if we start to talk blends… SGP:464 - 92 points.

So, Velier, lets talk about that little Enmore 1987…

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







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