Google A bag of new VHS rums

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

May 27, 2018


A bag of new VHS rums

Looking for malternatives, as always, let’s see what we can find in the boxes… Oh yes, VHS means Very High Strength…

Nicaragua 18 yo 1999/2018 (59.2%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, 257 bottles)

Nicaragua 18 yo 1999/2018 (59.2%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, 257 bottles) Two stars and a half
Official Nicaragua doesn’t always sound good to me as far as rum’s concerned, but good indies such as Hunter Laing may have the remedies… Colour: gold. Nose: it’s not some boisterous rum, it doesn’t shoot esters or phenols to you, but I have to say I do enjoy these subtle notes of pastries, croissants au beurre, cane juice (it’s got a discreet agricole side, mind you), and warm brioche straight from the baker’s oven. Orange blossom, honeysuckle, that’s nice… With water: same-ish. Mouth (neat): oranges, pencil shavings, woodruff liqueur, poiré (pear cider), orange-y caramel. Not quite my cup of mal… I mean, rum, but it’s well made for sure. With water: nice, green oranges, sour apples… Finish: medium, a tad acetic, green apples, green wood… Comments: yeah I’m keeping the latest Guadeloupe and Diamond by HL for later… I’ll always first eat the potatoes, then the truffles…
SGP:461 - 79 points.

Okay, one truffle…

Diamond 12 yo 2004/2017 (63.1%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Guyana, 246 bottles)

Diamond 12 yo 2004/2017 (63.1%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Guyana, 246 bottles) Four stars
Indie Demeraras can be stunning, while the officials are getting away with murder if you ask me. Drop unlikely liqueurs and dosages (a fake word that’s now being used by rum makers because Champagne does use it, ha-ha-ha.) Colour: pale gold. Nose: instant olive brine and new rubber boots, then seawater and capers. Some lighter Jamaican, in a way. All nice and millimetric. With water: the exhaust fumes of a S1 E-Type. Some of you will understand… Mouth (neat): impeccable, narrow indeed, simple, but oh-so perfect within that simplicity. A blend of olive oil, lemon juice, and cigarette ashes. A lot of cigarette ashes. With water: takes water like a champ. Huge lime juice plus smoke and brine. That’s all, folks. Finish: very long, very ‘green’. Perhaps a little extreme for Diamond, but isn’t life too short anyway (what what what?) Comments: seriously, it’s very simple, but it’s very good.
SGP:374 - 87 points.

Haiti 2004/2018 (63.1%, Transcontinental Rum Line, for ‘& Fine Spirits Paris)

Haiti 2004/2018 (63.1%, Transcontinental Rum Line, for ‘& Fine Spirits Paris) Four stars
Barbancourt, I suppose… Couldn’t be Klérin/Clairin, could it? Now I haven’t got a proper picture of the front label yet, so I’ve put the back label. Don't ask. Colour: straw. Nose: Barbancourt’s always elegant, even if older, pot-still versions were a bit fatter and ‘wider’. This reeks of cane juice, actually, and I guess that’s the whole point of agricole-y rum. We’re finding true bananas, sweeter roots (manioc?), unexpected wild strawberries, and funny whiffs of celeriac, chervil, lovage, and oxalis. With water: we’re all on sugar cane, with touches of oranges and two olives. Mouth (neat): it’s sharper than I had expected, with lemons and pineapples, green bananas, pickled ‘stuff’ (onions?), then cane juice indeed and touches of pipe tobacco. It’s a proper style, true to its origins, even if some neighbouring islands may sometimes overshadow this very style. With water: brine, olives, grass, and sugar cane. It’s subtle, it’s complex. Finish: medium, and even saltier. Comments: a style that needs to be kept and defended. No one else makes this on our little planet, I believe.
SGP:362 - 85 points.

Monymusk 14 yo 2003/2017 (60.7%, The Rum Cask, Jamaica)

Monymusk 14 yo 2003/2017 (60.7%, The Rum Cask, Jamaica) Three stars and a half
Granted, Monymusk’s not Hampden, and neither is it Worthy Park, but the strength is there… Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s a petroly cane, with quite some varnish and nail polish remover on top of all that. But that may be the very high strength, so… With water: cut grass, cucumber, unripe pineapples, some distant whiffs of pony saddle and wildcat (I imagine). Mouth (neat): very solventy for sure, but some nicer coconut and pineapple are keeping it kind of civilised. Quick, water… With water: ah yes, this is better. You could imagine a blend of pineapple juice with limejuice and the stronger gin there is. Gin? Don’t get me started… Finish: medium, rather green and pretty fresh. Limejuice and some liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: I think it’s excellent, but it tends to weave in and out, in a way.
SGP:362 - 83 points.

Caroni 20 yo 1998/2018 (64.6%, The Duchess, Trinidad, cask #19)

Caroni 20 yo 1998/2018 (64.6%, The Duchess, Trinidad, cask #19) Three stars
Indeed, Caroni. There’s more Caroni, dugouts have not gone dry, contrarily to what some good friends have been telling us for years. Remember Port Ellen’s very slow death? They’ve been bottling ‘some of the very few remaining casks’ for two decades… Shortage marketing, always the best! Colour: deep gold. Nose: oak shavings first, then rather cedar wood and milk chocolate. But at this strength, let’s not take any chances… With water: vetiver and sandalwood, coconut, oak sawdust… Mouth (neat): heavy, oak-driven, pencil-shaving-y, extreme. Sweet Jesus, we’re currently eating a whole humidor… With water: finer, more herbal, but still pretty extreme. Litres of sap and resins, varnish... Finish: very long, and very varnishy. Comments: some will love this style, but I’d say we’re rather in upholstery territories this time. Extreme extractiveness (can you say that?)
SGP:372 - 82 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all rums we've tasted so far






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