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

November 5, 2017


Some even madder rums

Well we’ll try to avoid the sugared junk once again, as we’ve got plenty of them, but I think we’ll rather try those on/with pancakes eventually. Well I’m so glad we never make or have any pancakes in the house…


Please remember that my assessment of any spirits is only a strictly personal opinion and is done from the point of view of a malt whisky enthusiast who usually prefers distillate-driven spirits, and dislikes anything doctored, aromatised, hybridised, or tampered with, thank you – and peace!

Caroni 19 yo 1997/2017 (55%, Berry Bros & Rudd for The Whisky Barrel’s 10th Anniversary, Trinidad, cask #165)

Caroni 19 yo 1997/2017 (55%, Berry Bros & Rudd for The Whisky Barrel’s 10th Anniversary, Trinidad, cask #165) Four stars and a half This starts well… It’s like when the DJ was playing Ledzep’s Whole Lotta Love as song #1, remember? That’s what I’d call setting the tone. Ha. Colour: pale amber. Nose: it’s rather agricole Caroni. Okay, okay, Caroni can’t be agricole, but I often thought that ‘lighter’ Caroni could display some of the traits of good agricole. In this case, marmalade and pineapple jam, plus overripe bananas, plus touches of eucalyptus wood and sandalwood, and the faintest petroly notes. Tarmac. With water: menthol. Wasn’t this rather a cask of Vicks’ Vaporub? Mouth (neat): no, no, it’s pretty huge. Massive acrid/bitter oak, massive tar, massive dried fruits, massive cinnamony spices. It’s very dry, it’s pleasantly difficult (for masochists?), and you could think you’re drinking liquid shoe polish at times. The problem is that that works. With water: swims extremely well. Mangos matured in cedar wood. Finish: long, perhaps a wee tad oaky (tropical aging??) Comments: it’s ridden with flaws and yet it’s perfect, as if each flaws were cancelling out the others. In short, it is a lovely zero-sum game, but it’s not for the fainthearted. My dope. SGP:362 - 88 points.

Bielle 11 yo 2006/2017 (48.4%, Old Brothers, Marie-Galante, bourbon, cask #188)

Bielle 11 yo 2006/2017 (48.4%, Old Brothers, Marie-Galante, bourbon, cask #188) Five stars I shall say nothing. Bielle is Bielle. Colour: gold. Nose: rose petals, ylang-ylang, pink bananas, white chocolate. A Botticelli after Ledzep, welcome to The Internet (in case you’ve just left your desert island). Mouth: so fully agricole-y, so magnificently raisiny and liquoricy, so delicate… I think I’ll keep quiet. Finish: medium, rather on precious woods, and pine and fir, eucalyptus, thuja… Absolutely adore the cherries, or is that maraschino, in the aftertaste. Comments: right, that was short, I know. Forgot to mention the bergamots. Stunning, rather powerful rum, and yet it’s exactly the opposite of the thundering Jamaicans (for example). An iron fist in a velvet glove. Have I mentioned liquorice?  SGP:452 - 91 points.

Hampden 1990/2017 (60.4%, Rumclub Private Selection, selected by Dirk Becker, Jamaica, 328 bottles)

Hampden 1990/2017 (60.4%, Rumclub Private Selection, selected by Dirk Becker, Jamaica, 328 bottles) Three stars Rammstein or rather Marilyn Manson? Let’s see (S., please drop you lousy musical analogies, that just doesn’t work greatly). Colour: gold. Nose: pure Hampden from some respectful wood. Right, gherkins, olives, diesel oil, damp hessian, acetone, acrylic varnish, fresh fibreglass. Is that ok? With water (while hoping it won’t explode): insane. Brand new IKEA stuff, new plywood, detecting reagent. The good old days… Mouth (neat): totally huge, acidic, with a good dose of glue, varnish, hyper-concentrated dry white wine, liquorice, tar, and, yeah, more glue. Not sure this is legal, is it? Do you have the papers? What’s cool is that while swallowing a few drops, you can count your vertebras and make sure that they’re all still there, well in place. Would Obamacare cover this? With water: more extreme than the bastard son of Vlad the Impaler and Donald J. Trump. Glue and gherkin juice. Finish: very long, that’s all I’ll say. Heavy salted liquorice. Comments: Dirk Becker, we have to talk ;-). I believe only 0.0000001% of the population would enjoy this whacko of a rum. The problem is that I’m part of those 0.0000001%. I should really go see a shrink. SGP:372 - 82 points (but could have been 55, as well as 95, really).

Rhum Rhum ‘Liberation 2017’ (58.4%, Velier, Marie-Galante, agricole)

Rhum Rhum ‘Liberation 2017’ (58.4%, Velier, Marie-Galante, agricole) Three stars Velier’s rum made at Bielle’s with their own small stills, driven by Sig. Capovilla. I think it is a 2010 vintage. It’s said to have matured in ‘bois noble’, so ‘noble wood’. Perhaps first fill oak? Colour: gold. Nose: horseradish and celeriac, fennel, juniper berries, hops, fresh concrete, and just a touch of vanillin. With water: we’ve known gins that were a bit like this. It’s not totally ‘rum’ for me, and that's probably the high impact of some spicy oak. Perhaps European/French oak?... Mouth (neat): very good, with good acidity, lemons, lime, grapefruits, lemongrass, kumquats… One can see that it’s ‘precision’ that was the aim here, perhaps rather than complexity. With water: great at first, but I’m starting to feel those simpler gingery notes that suggest the oak’s got little too dominant spice-wise. Finish: long, gingery, and rather too oaky for me indeed. Comments: perhaps the limits of the exercise. I think earlier batches have been better balanced (read more distillate-driven), it’s as if we’re starting to see the seams this time. I mean, the staves. But it remains some excellent rhum, naturally, even if I much prefer the younger ones. SGP:371 - 80 points.

Savanna 10 yo 2006/2016 ‘HERR’ (63.8%, OB, for La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary, La Réunion, cognac cask, cask #502, 686 bottles)

Savanna 10 yo 2006/2016 ‘HERR’ (63.8%, OB, for La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary, La Réunion, cognac cask, cask #502, 686 bottles) Three stars and a halfThis crazy baby from the French island of La Réunion. HERR stands for High Ester Rum Réunion, and is actually a ‘grand arôme’ that benefitted from some very long fermentation. Colour: deep gold. Nose: ripe bananas flambéed with benzine, then covered with gherkin brine, wood glue, and a good litre of prune juice. Then we have rubbed mint leaves and Szechuan pepper, and then quite a lot of Morello cherry juice. I don’t find it as ‘Jamaican’ as what I could read elsewhere, but indeed, it’s powerful rum. With water: much softer, rather on fermenting litchis and longans. And fig wine. Mouth (neat): extremely strong, astringent, extractive, and frankly, you’d think it’s some kind of high-strength Baiju. The jury’s still out… With water: it does become Jamaican now, and we aren’t this far from that Marilyn-Mansonian Hampden. Nice olives, nice saltiness, nice rotten bananas. Finish: very long, rather on liquorice wood and menthol drops. Some acrid/varnishy wood in the aftertaste, a bit difficult. Comments: totally crazy. These grands arômes are normally used as dressers, drinking them as singles is a bit like eating mustard by the spoon. So, I have to call a shrink… SGP:262 - 84 points.

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






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