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

June 18, 2017


Malternatives The quest is not over yet

More random stuff from rum countries. The rule is, 80 points or above, proper malternative. Below 80, proceed with caution, or mix.

French Negrita ad, mid-1980s, 'If (or when) you enjoy (or love) you dare'. >>>

Negrita ‘Top Series 2000-2006’ (38%, OB, Bardinet, France, blend, +/-2015)

Negrita ‘Top Series 2000-2006’ (38%, OB, Bardinet, France, blend, +/-2015) Two stars Only 24,200 bottles, lol. 38% vol., re-lol. Now it’s very cheap (approx 17€), while the packaging has been much taken care of. Negrita is the brand our mothers, grand-mothers, and grand-grand-mothers used to use for cooking. Now some say this is actually Spanish rum, made in Spain (perhaps the Canarias?) Colour: deep gold. Nose: not much, but that’s fine. Caramel, molasses, cakes, burnt sugar, and a feeling of Cointreau. Touches of toasted oak as well. Seriously, this is fair, there are no foul notes of anything. Mouth: no, really, it’s fair. It reminds me of many a South-American, but it hasn’t got those massive amounts of sugar. Mind you, this is not quite ‘premium’. Molasses, honey, burnt caramel, café latte, orange liqueur, praline, sweets… No, serious, it’s fair rum. I didn’t say fair trade, eh! Finish: short, a tad sweeter, but I wouldn’t call it ‘sugary’. Comments: defeats several heavily inelegant ‘premium’ brands. SGP:630 - 75 points.

Coloma 8 yo (40%, OB, Colombia, +/-2016)

Coloma 8 yo (40%, OB, Colombia, +/-2016) These kinds of ‘hey-look-at-me’ packagings are always bad signs, aren’t they. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t heard anything about this brand before. So, low expectations, but you never know… Colour: gold. Nose: the usual dry molasses, burnt caramel, then touches of plasticine and roasted almonds. Well, it’s rum, and it’s not repulsive. It’s just a tad un-complex – and that’s an understatement. Mouth: sweet and liqueury, in the style of those dreadful over-packaged Dominicans that are invading our shelves. Sugar, sweets, easter eggs, cheap liqueurs, burnt sawdust, molasses. Finish: short, gritty. Sawdust and cocoa, plus burnt sugar and Nescafé. Comments: at least they didn’t caramelise it too much, according to the colour. We’ve got a saying here in France, we call these ‘Don-Papa-ish rums’. Where’s my toothbrush? SGP:730 - 50 points.

El Dorado 5 yo (40%, OB, Guyana, +/-2016)

El Dorado 5 yo (40%, OB, Guyana, +/-2016) one star and a half We had the 3 (WF 70) and the 8 (WF 79) but this 5 is new to me. The question is always the same with official Demeraras, how much sugar did they add at birth or prior to bottling? If the answer is ‘none’, this could be brilliant. Otherwise… Colour: gold. Nose: coffee liqueur galore! Extremely bad sign, this might actually be a liqueur indeed, dressed up as a rum. Kahlua and Tia Maria, fifty-fifty. When things go like this on the nose, imagine the palate… Mouth: oh, no! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine liqueur, and I do love coffee, this is just not what I’m expecting from a rum. Coconut and coffee, plus bags of cane syrup. Touches of pineapple. Finish: cloyingly sweet and coffee-ish. Coffee beans in the aftertaste. Comments: as a liqueur, it’s pretty perfect, and would this be, I would happily give it a 85 or something. But this is meant to be rum… Now I wont be too harsh, I haven’t got anything against liqueurs… SGP:730 - 69 points.

Negrita’s in the lead! Mum will be proud… And while we’re at it…

Diplomatico 2000 'Single Vintage' (43%, OB, Venezuela, +/-2015)

Diplomatico 2000 'Single Vintage' (43%, OB, Venezuela, +/-2015) All Diplos I’ve tried have been utterly disastrous, ridden with sugar (the silicone of rum), and just cloyingly sweet and revolting. And I am choosing my words carefully. Even the Single Vintage 2002 has been sickly sweet (WF 60). Colour: amber, while it moves as if it were oil in your glass. Nose: El Dorado was ridden with coffee, this one’s ridden with caramel. The largest pack of toffee at Mark & Spencer’s. Or the factory where they make Mars bars. Mouth: ouch! Coffee, caramel, corn syrup, Kahlua again, molasses, burnt honey… In short, it’s a fine caramel liqueur, and you could pour it over some vanilla ice-cream and achieve excellent results, but frankly, there’s more sugar and caramel than in Coca-Cola. Finish: short, and very difficult. The sugar is getting extreme, and this is becoming a torture. Comments: so much for a vintage effect. Frankly, I haven’t got anything against ‘latino’ rons, but this is just sick. SGP:910 - 50 points.

Yuk! But hey, nothing is impossible for a willing heart…

Diplomatico ‘Mantuano’ (40%, OB, Venezuela, +/-2017)

Diplomatico ‘Mantuano’ (40%, OB, Venezuela, +/-2017) The brand’s latest NAS. Some say NAS rums from some countries are better like that since age statements are fake anyway. Ha .I don’t know what a mantuano is, and guess what, I won’t try to find out. Colour: amber. Nose: ah? Less sweetness, less sugary aromatics, and rather… not much. Roasted nuts, perhaps, chicory, some mad creation from Starbuck’s, some wood smoke, which is not un-nice, torrefaction… So far, so okay-y. Mouth: very sweet, I’m afraid, but rather in the direction of the El Dorado, so more on coffee than on caramel. It’s almost ‘good’ after the terrible 2000, mind you, but sadly there’s also a feeling of white sugar in the background. Or aspartame. Finish: short, sugary. Burnt sugar. A lot of sugar in the aftertaste, as if you had just crunched three sugar cubes. Comments: not rum for our friends with diabetes, that’s for sure. The fact that there’s no mention of all this sugar on the labels is beyond me. Yeah I know, they have the greatest lobbyists… SGP:820 – 55 points.

Didn’t we just have our worst session ever? I must have consumed 50g of sugar or more, serious. Okay, bye, I think I’ll have to be on the wagon…

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

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






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