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

September 17, 2017


Yet another rum attack

Focussing on the better names this time again, because I’m no masochist. Which doesn’t mean we won’t try to keep assessing the doctored stuff as well in the future, but sufficient unto the month is the evil thereof, or something like that…

Foursquare 11 yo 2006/2017 (62.8%, Excellence Rhum, Barbados)

Foursquare 11 yo 2006/2017 (62.8%, Excellence Rhum, Barbados) Four stars From a cask marked ‘MBFS’, blended at birth using pot still and column Foursquares. This baby spent 20% of its time on location, and 80% in Europe before bottling. Colour: straw. Nose: sure it’s a little strong but I’m finding it rather gentle for Foursquare, with rather fresh grasses and fruits and not much gasoline or phenolic compounds. Butter cake, orange cake, custard, a spoonful of limejuice, some green apple peel. With water: whiffs of earth, a few needles, then rather white chocolate and crushed bananas. Indeed, it’s all rather gentle. Mouth (neat): really very strong, tart, with some sweetness in the background. Some kind of high-strength limoncello. With water: gets both oilier and firmer, with a little eucalyptus, orange zests, aniseed, then rather guavas. Some lighter phenols, perhaps a touch of wood smoke, and a rather lemony backbone that keeps it fresh and, well, even refreshing. Finish: long, pleasantly bitterer. Grass and a little Demerara sugar. Is it all right to quote Demerara? The guavas are back in the aftertaste, which is light and fresh. Comments: a rather lighter Foursquare, it could be that the ex-column part is in rather high proportions. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Hampden 16 yo 2000/2017 (54.6%, Excellence Rhum, Jamaica)

Hampden 16 yo 2000/2017 (54.6%, Excellence Rhum, Jamaica) Five stars This is LROK Hampden, so with a rather low-to-medium ester content for Hampden, and integrally ex-pot still. But low-ester rums from Hampden are much more estery than others. Colour: light gold. Nose: yeah, low esters, my foot! Limejuice, soot, brine, olives, shortbread, crushed ripe bananas, liquorice wood, humus, molassy pipe tobacco… With water: damp, mouldy old books and new linoleum (as I remember it, not sure anyone’s still making linoleum these days). Mouth (neat): so good, so good… Starts peppery and mentholy and gets then smoky and wildly grassy (old hay), with just the right amount of brine and smoked fish. Borrowed a few kippers from some distilleries on Islay. With water: liquorice and smoked tea, up. One black olive, a dollop of sugarcane syrup. Finish: long, and relatively easy for Hampden. Liquorice allsorts and lemon mints in the aftertaste. Comments: not a tiniest flaw that I could find. Perhaps the Port Ellen of rum (with a friendly nod to David Driscoll at K&L Wines). SGP:463 - 91 points.

W.I.R.D. 15 yo 2000/2015 (54%, Cave Guildive, Barbados, bourbon cask)

W.I.R.D. 15 yo 2000/2015 (54%, Cave Guildive, Barbados, bourbon cask) Four stars That’s right, this one from the West Indies Rum Distillery, a.k.a. Black Rock. Many of them are sweetened these days (Plantation’s, for example, while they actually do now own the distillery) but this one shouldn’t. And it’s pure pot still. Colour: light gold. Nose: starts rather liquoricy, with some rubbed mint leaves, but gets then rather mineral (chalk, plaster) and Vicks-y. Embrocations, overripe bananas and pineapples, then lilies and hints of wine gums and peonies. This baby’s pretty complex so far. With water: metal polish, old tea tin box, rubber bands, and linden tea. Mouth (neat): wait, may someone smoke pineapples? Or let some fresh pineapple infuse in lapsang souchong? Very funny, getting more peppery over minutes. English cake topping (right, flavoured icing sugar). With water: excellent, and rather on salted fruits, fresh, preserved and dried ones. A spoonful of tarry lapsang souchong again. Finish: rather long, and rather fruitier again. Dried pineapples and just herbal teas. A salty touch in the aftertaste. Comments: many drinks are very good when not doctored using sugar or other offensive additives. Okay, maybe not Coca-Cola. SGP:552 - 87 points.

Long Pond 30 yo 1982/2013 ‘Old Jamaique’ (50%, Ian MacLeod for Corman-Collins, bourbon barrel, cask #20, 237 bottles)

Long Pond 30 yo 1982/2013 ‘Old Jamaique’ (50%, Ian MacLeod for Corman-Collins, bourbon barrel, cask #20, 237 bottles) Four stars Did you see that Long Pond Distillery resumed operations after being closed for four years, thanks to Ferrand/Plantation, via the aforementioned W.I.R.D.? Please, not add sugary syrups! Colour: gold. Nose: rather fruity, rather fresh, and rather easy. Fennel seeds, vanilla, ripe peaches, bananas, then blueberry muffins and assorted pastries. The lighter side of Jamaica so far… With water: some incense, cedar wood, light cigars… Mouth (neat): really good, both rounded and easy, and yet more ‘Jamaican’ than on the nose. Pink pepper (Szechuan) and bitter oranges, earl grey, pineapples, and more oranges. All very good, and very easy. With water: some notes of gewürztraminer and caraway liqueur do come out. A little juniper. Finish: medium, fresh, with ‘ideas’ of good aged genever. Comments: a little more fragile than other Jamaicans, and a notch thinner, but just extremely good. Matches some of the best old agricoles, in my opinion. SGP:641 - 87 points.

Long Pond 35 yo 1977/2013 ‘Old Jamaique’ (50%, Ian MacLeod for Corman-Collins, bourbon barrel, cask #10, 229 bottles)

Long Pond 35 yo 1977/2013 ‘Old Jamaique’ (50%, Ian MacLeod for Corman-Collins, bourbon barrel, cask #10, 229 bottles) Five stars Forgot to say that these two old Long Ponds spent their lives in Scotland. Colour: gold. Nose: very delicate, floral, easy… Dandelions, vanilla, stewed peaches and mirabelles, lilies of the valley, nectar, barbecued mangos… Possibly one of the most floral rums I could nose. Indeed, barbecued mangos. With water: pure natural all-flower honey. I mean, honey from real honeybees. Mouth (neat): thin lace at first, but it grows bolder and tenser, with some pepper and caraway. Peppered pineapple cake with a little liquorice and nutmeg. Mandarine Impériale liqueur. With water (although water isn’t needed here): delicate, fruity, with notes of baklavas and other oriental delights, including Turkish ones. Finish: medium, a tad more phenolic and simply ‘Jamaican’ (say one olive). Honey and fruits in the aftertaste. Comments: a smoother old Jamaican that will please just anyone. Indeed, lace. SGP:641 - 88 points.

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






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