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

January 15, 2017


Even more rums at random,
looking for malternatives

As written hereinjustabove.

Saint Aubin ‘History Collection Cuvée Grande Réserve’ (40%, OB, Mauritius, agricole, 2014)

Saint Aubin ‘History Collection Cuvée Grande Réserve’ (40%, OB, Mauritius, agricole, 2014) Two stars Saint Aubin’s white ‘1819’ has been much to my liking (WF 80). This is supposed to be totally French-style agricole. Colour: gold. Nose: earthy caramel, that is bizarre. A lot of damp cardboard, then crushed cloves and perhaps cumin seeds. English brown sauce. Bizarre indeed, but you never know, this bouillony style can work greatly on the palate. Mouth: a little sugar, a lot of café latte, a touch of salt, and the biggest bag of butterscotch ever. Some sides do remember me of Bailey’s Irish Cream, which isn’t obligatorily good news. Finish: medium, still extremely caramely and fudge-y. Breton salted fudge? Comments: it’s really strange, and sometimes feels unnatural, but there are good sides. SGP:630 - 70 points.

Quick, congeners and esters!...

Jamaica 5 yo (50%, Rum Nation, sherry finish, Release 2016)

Jamaica 5 yo (50%, Rum Nation, sherry finish, Release 2016) Four stars and a halfI simply adored the 2015 release (WF 88), but things may change… Colour: gold. Nose: how could a little sherry manage to have the upper hand in this context? This is totally and plainly Jamaican, salty, olive-y, liquoricy, grassy, and slightly lime-y. Forgot to mention a tarry smokiness. Worthy Park. Mouth: superb. I don’t think it’s totally a nosing rum, but boy does it deliver on the palate. Blood oranges, green olives, crushed anchovies, grapefruit juice, cranberries, and some kind of tarred raisiny lemons. Wait, wouldn’t that be yuzu? You do actually feel the sherry, and in this case it seems to be relatively sweet, but it does mingle with the young Jamaican to perfection. Finish: very long, and smokier and tarrier. Eventually, the spirit killed the sherry. Comments: a rather exceptional young hybrid. I even forgot to add water. SGP:563 - 89 points.

Jamaica? Jamaica! To hell with randomness…

Jamaican Rum 36 yo 1977 (60.3%, Berry Bros & Rudd, Exceptional Casks, cask #23, 220 bottles, +/-2014)

Jamaican Rum 36 yo 1977 (60.3%, Berry Bros & Rudd, Exceptional Casks, cask #23, 220 bottles, +/-2014) Five stars An exceptional bottle for sure, all what’s missing is the name of the distillery. Unless it’s a blend, of course, not too sure. Colour: amber. Nose: starts very earthy and cigary, this is almost an old cigar humidor stored in the old cellar. It is not one of those funky high-ester Jamaicans, at all, but indeed the earthy side never stops growing, with even hints of mushrooms, moss, tropical rainwater, then rather coffee liqueur and chocolate sauce. Hints of Japanese bulldog sauce as well, fern, parsley... It is complex, but careful, it’s hot. With water: several citrusy liqueurs, mandarins, lime… And indeed an umami-esque side, only to be found in properly aged spirits. Mouth (neat): cedar wood and bitter oranges… Seems to be very oaky, but at 60%, better not take any chances. With water: perfect. Bitter oranges, sweet pepper (Szechuan style), herbs, a little ginger, lemongrass, and then, indeed, this Jamaican-ness, with more liquorice, salt, tar, and the expected olives (only wee bits). Finish: long, saltier, more lemony, more ‘Jamaican’. And simply more-ish. Comments: it’s funny how it shifted from a rather ‘average’ rum profile towards more and more, well ‘Jamaica’. Oh and 1977, you cannot not think of Bob Marley… SGP:462 - 90 points.

Hampden 15 yo 2000/2016 (43%, Compagnie des Indes, cask #JH53)

Hampden 16 yo 2000/2016 (44%, Compagnie des Indes, cask #JHPF01, 631 bottles) Five stars This baby was aged in French oak. Perhaps ex-Cognac casks? Colour: deep gold. Nose: perhaps a bit tight for Hampden, but otherwise I just adore this style. Barbecued thyme and parsley, coal tar, peat smoke (really), vegetable soup, tarragon (bags of tarragon), seawater, these green things with stones inside that grow all around the Mediterranean… ah yes, olives… In fact I find this profile simply dazzling. Mouth: I had first thought it would have been a mistake to bottle this at 44% vol. but I would have been wrong. That does bring some kind of lightness indeed, but that’s for the better, for once. Chopped parsley, or even that dish they make in Burgundy, called jambon persillé, then more ashes than in old Caol Ila, litres of seawater or rather olive brine, perhaps a touch of chilli that goes so well with olives, and then crushed anchovies and sardines, with some kind of tarry sauce poured over. Now yeah, I’d still have loved to try this at full speed. I mean, full strength. Finish: very long and extremely salty. We just drank seawater. Comments: a sublime distillate. This lousy website is becoming, isn’t it. Oh and very well done again, Compagnie des Indes! SGP:364 - 92 points.

Yeah go try to ‘climb over’ that one… But since we said Jamaica…

Appleton Estate 21 yo (43%, OB, Jamaica, +/-1995)

Appleton Estate 21 yo (43%, OB, Jamaica, +/-1995) Two stars That’s right, an older version of this famous expression. Now I have to admit that I find the current 21s by Appleton Estate very disappointing, that is to say much too sweet and flabby. But I love some of their younger expression. Let’s see… Colour: amber. Nose: nah, it’s very nice, but one can feel coffee liqueur and toffee, just bad signs in my book. Molasses, raisins, prunes… I’d go as far as saying that it’s pretty ‘supermarkety’, in other words rum for Joe Public. Anyway, let us move on… Mouth: yes and no. On the one hand, there is some kind of salty/tarry Jamaicanness, but on the other hand, there’s way too much burnt oak and bread, or office coffee in the evening… In fact spirit and cask are just fighting. Love/hate/love/hate/love… What’s better news is that there isn’t any vulgar sweetness. Quite the opposite, it’s really dry. Finish: rather long, but kind of disjointed, drying, with quite a lot of bitter burnt caramel. Comments: I never quite understood Appleton 21, and like the entry-level no-age bottling much, much better. Now I have the current bottlings of the 21 at 60, while this baby, since it’s much less sweetened-up, will reach… ta-dah… SGP:362 - 72 points.

Okay, we’ll soon do a verticale of Appleton Estate, including the ultra-rare and extremely pricy 50 yo, but meanwhile, we’ve got another cure at the ranch…


Hampden 15 yo 2000/2016 (43%, Compagnie des Indes, cask #JH53) Five stars Forty-three percent alcohol by volume? Aren’t they pushing it a bit? Let’s see… Colour: straw. Nose: right, this one won’t put a hole through your head, for sure. Everything’s there, just in a gentler way. Brine, olives, tar, smoke, herbs, bouillons and soups (there, I’m finding miso soup)… Very nice, but I may have had to start this silly session with this wee one. Mouth: well, no, it’s brilliant. Gherkin brine plus salted anchovies, smoked salmon, kippers, olives of course, hay wine (not straw wine mind you), and yep, there, the driest manzanilla ever. Finish: surprisingly long, and very salty. Comments: sublime spirit. Have I said that before? SGP:363 - 90 points.

(thanks to the rumaniacs)

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







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