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

July 30, 2017


All malternatives, new Foursquare
and good buddies

So, there is this new(ish) Foursquare everybody’s talking about. I could decide to put it on an easy pedestal by first trying the latest Zacapa, Don Papa or Diplomatico. Or I could try to find some fearless opponents, since ‘triumph without peril brings no glory’, as the good old Pierre Corneille used to say. Excuse me? Of course that’s what we’re going to do… Starting with Bacardi (I’m joking)…

Caroni 18 yo 1998/2017 (65.5%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Trinidad, 245 bottles)

Caroni 18 yo 1998/2017 (65.5%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Trinidad, 245 bottles) Four stars Honestly, it’s good that the label would tell us that this is ‘cask strength’, because with only 65.5% alc/vol. on the clock, I’m sure we wouldn’t have noticed. By the way, this very high strength is intriguing for a rum that probably didn’t spend its whole life the tropics. Colour: amber. Nose: starts with varnish, wood glue and pencil shavings - which is very normal with very high strength rums – before it starts to become more and more phenolic, congeneric, and simply tarry/salty, so very Caroni. Some dried pears too. Well, it’s actually not too huge so far, but water may change that… With water: not quite ‘very high esters’, its actually rather round(ish) for Caroni, but as we say in France, class talks. Mouth (neat): sweet Vishnu, this is hot and brutal! A Titanic load of liquorice, and something such as burnt gingerbread. Perhaps. Once again, a concentration that rather hints at tropical aging. Not too sure… With water: it’s really almost all on liquorice, with a touch of salted caramel. Which gives it a ‘British Navy’ side. Finish: rather long, but not quite massive. Now it’s not Angostura either… More liquorice, and perhaps hints of baked eggplant. Comments: very excellent, naturally, just a tad mono-dimensional, perhaps. SGP:552 - 86 points.

Let’s find another Caroni…

Caroni 20 yo 1996/2016 (57.18%, Velier, ‘Heavy’, 3800 bottles)

Caroni 20 yo 1996/2016 (57.18%, Velier, ‘Heavy’, 3800 bottles) Four stars This large batch was aged in the tropics for sure, while the angel’s share was of more than 85% this time. This is well ‘heavy’ Caroni, so high-esters and probably with a very large proportion of pot still rum inside. Colour: red amber. Nose: hold on, this is a little lighter than the Kill Devil, for reasons I can’t explain. But it’s also more complex, with delicate (indeed) notes of earths and teas, as well as a floral side. Peonies and geranium (remember, flowers, not stems or leaves, that would be a flaw). A little coffee. With water: we’re very close to the Kill Devil now. Spoonfuls of that kind of very earthy coffee (the name escapes me). Mouth (neat): ah yes, this is heavy. Take tar, add liquorice, add more tar, and add more liquorice. Finish with a dollop of orange liqueur and one mint leaf. With water: perhaps does the oak feel a bit, and once again it’s perhaps not one of the widest (and wildest for that matter) Caronis. But it’s most excellent, as expected. Finish: long, with a touch of lemon and salt. Orange liqueur in the aftertaste. Comments: I won’t decide both Caronis, both are extremely good, but perhaps not totally and utterly stellar. SGP:652 - 86 points.

Let’s move to Guyana…

Diamond 12 yo 2003/2016 (46%, Silver Seal, Guyana, cask #37, 255 bottles)

Diamond 12 yo 2003/2016 (46%, Silver Seal, Guyana, cask #37, 255 bottles) Four stars Lovely label, Silver Seal are always taking great care of their labels and presentations. Didn’t notice this was at only 46% vol. before I poured this little Demerara into my glass. Nothing to worry about… Colour: white wine. Nose: very singular, and rather on a blend of various tropical fruit juices with petrol and cane juice. Unexpected notes of elderberry flowers, celeriac, and beyond the tropical fruits, pears. Bags of williams pears. Mouth: extremely unusual. Salted bananas, pipe juice, cane juice yet again, pickled fruits, and only wee touches of liquorice and tar. Quite bizarrely, it partly reminds me of that lovely Brazilian rum that they aren’t making anymore, Epris. A little smoke as well. With water: no water needed. Finish: medium-long, still singular, with something bizarrely agricole. Did they also use cane juice at Diamond at some point? Great saltier aftertaste. Comments: quite embarrassingly, I’ll have to go with the same score yet again for this fresher than usual Demerara rum. SGP:651 - 86 points.

More Demerara…

Enmore 25 yo 1990/2015 (58%, Cave Guildive, bourbon)

Enmore 25 yo 1990/2015 (58%, Cave Guildive, bourbon) Four stars This one still from the original distillery, before their famous wooden pot still stopped fuming for good a few years later (but it’s in use again at Diamond, if I’m not mistaken). Colour: pale gold. Nose: rather gentle, and rather ashy/earthy at first, before several herbal teas start to come through, first chamomile and melissa, then fennel and even star anise. All that is covered with thin layers of liquorice and a softer tar. With water:  more earth and that mezcaly side that works well with some rums. Crushed guavas smoked and mixed with earth (what?) Mouth (neat): much bigger now. Even rather acrid, gritty, and really very herbal. Bags of lemon balm, some smoked/salted liquorice, and notes of green oak. Then ashes (eating the ashtray). With water: this baby really loses you. Sometimes fruity and easy, and then it starts to roar and gets much grassier and smokier… Finish: rather long, and with more citrus. Gets cleaner. Comments: what a ride, this one’s really difficult to follow. I’d even say that it plays with the taster. Nasty boy! SGP:562 - 87 points.

Good, all those rums were very different, and yet I scored them almost the same. I swear to both Alfred Barnard and Michael Jackson that I did not make this up. The VUMC of rum (very upper middle class). I think we’re ready to tackle the Foursquare…

Foursquare ‘Triptych’ (56%, OB/Velier, Barbados, 5,400 bottles, 2016)

Foursquare ‘Triptych’ (56%, OB/Velier, Barbados, 5,400 bottles, 2016) Five stars This is ‘Single Blended Rum’ upon the Gargano/Seale classification, so a blend of column and pot still rums from the same distillery. A bit like what Ben Nevis and Lochside used to make in the old days. Three vintages have been blended together (2004, 2005, 2007), from three kinds of cask (bourbon, Madeira, new oak). This combo must have been as tricky to adjust as the carburettors on an E-type! Colour: deep gold. Nose: what’s really nice is that this is a whole. There’s a little wood at first (new empty barrels in a wine storehouse plus fresh varnish) as well as some charcoal, and some rather muddy spices in the background. Yes mud’s an asset. I’m also finding notes of dried fish, old hunting jacket, and gun oil while we’re at it. Also touches of mustard and walnuts, maybe is that the Madeira. With water: olives! Another one that loves water.

Mouth (neat): right on the money. Brine, gherkins, olives, tar, ashes, lemon, and sage. As if the island of Barbados was drifting towards Jamaica, so towards the west. I was afraid the wood would be a little dominant, but I was wrong. With water: doesn’t change a lot. Perhaps a little more salt and a little more lemon? Finish: wonderful brine. I mean, rum. The aftertaste is a touch sweeter and fruitier. Guavas, perhaps. And just a wee oaky echo – I like them even better when you don’t feel the oak at all, but that’s just me. Comments: I just hate it that I like what’s just everyone’s favourite rum anyway these days. Quick, let’s find something bad to say… Right, the label. I know bad labels are screaming ‘it’s the content that counts’, but still, couldn’t we have a few parrots? Butterflies? Birds? Balloons? Surfers? Crocodiles? Girls? SGP:563 - 90 points.

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






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