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

April 8, 2018


Five more rums for a Sunday

We keep exploring the rum world, trying to sort the wheat from the chaff. Or the natural ones from the doctored swill…


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!

Ron Esclavo ‘XO’ (42%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2017)

Ron Esclavo ‘XO’ (42%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2017)
Some 23 yo rum from a solera, at approx 60€ a bottle. We’ve seen that elsewhere and so we’re very afraid. Is there anything that’s really authentic in this? Haven’t all ‘brand builders’ been jailed already? Colour: deep amber. Nose: flat and sweet. When even the nose is sweet, that says a lot. Caramel and niente, nichts, nothing, rien, nada. Mouth: more sugar than in sugar. Some horrible liqueur, with a little chocolate and molasses. Finish: short, which is a blessing. Artificial orange liqueur, corn syrup. Comments: terrible and miserable doctored stuff, they should sell it with a free toothbrush. And if this is 23 yo, and even if there’s a drop of 23 yo rum inside, I’ll eat my beret.
SGP:810 - 30 points.

Guadeloupe 14 yo (47.1%, Single Cask Collection, Solera System, 566 bottles, 2017)

Guadeloupe 14 yo (47.1%, Single Cask Collection, Solera System, 566 bottles, 2017) Three stars
Some rhum from Guadeloupe in a solera system? That’s new to me but as I always say, I'm extremely far from being a rum expert… Colour: gold. Nose: it’s light and fresh, rather all on sugar cane juice, with touches of aniseed and dill at first, then rather cut grass and hints of melon. Very light for La Guadeloupe… Is it traditional/industrial? Mouth: more body, although I wouldn’t call it ‘heavy’, at all. Some mentholy and even mustardy oak (sandalwood?) plus notes of crushed bananas and ripe melons. Some pears too. Finish: short to medium, more on melons. Melon liqueur. Comments: feels a bit like sweet Remoneinq, not too sure. Unusual, but good, for sure.
SGP:740 - 80 points.

Don Pancho 21 yo (50%, Sansibar, Panama, 279 bottles, 2017)

Don Pancho 21 yo (50%, Sansibar, Panama, 279 bottles, 2017) Two stars and a half
We already tried the 25 yo, it was pretty good (WF 79) given that in theory, this is absolutely not our preferred style of rum. Colour: deep reddish amber. Nose: smoked ham in your rum? That’s not unpleasant, not at all. Pemmican, meaty honey, roasted cashew, honey sauce, molasses, pipe tobacco… It’s style, it’s a style… Mouth: sweet, luscious, rich, with some pineapple liqueur, Cointreau… It’s as sweet as Diplomatico, but much more complex, I would say. Loads of honey and agave and maple syrups. Finish: medium, extremely sweet. Five kilos of liquorice allsorts in the aftertaste. Comments: what can I say? Not my style at all, but within that style, I’m sure it’s one of the better ones.
SGP:720 - 79 points.

Rum 970 2007/2016 (40%, OB, Portugal, Madeira, agricole)

Rum 970 2007/2016 (40%, OB, Portugal, Madeira, agricole) Four stars
It’s not very well known that the ‘agricole’ appellation works for both some French rums AND some rums from Madeira. Really loved these makers’ 2006 at cask strength last year (WF 86). Oh and these are becoming rather cult(ish) these days… (hint, hint)… Colour: deep amber. Nose: fennel seeds! Then caraway, wormwood, menthol, balsam, fresh-pressed cane juice, orange juice, and a wee meatiness. Spanish ham. Excuse me, Portuguese ham. Frankly this nose is quite stunning, with a formidable freshness. Mouth: okay, this rocks. There’s a tad too much oak for me, but the profile is impeccable despite the lower strength. Chocolate and coffee, triple sec, always these fennel/aniseed notes (a marker, perhaps?), plus notes of pine resin and thin mints. Liquid After Eights. Finish: medium, chocolaty and coffee-ish. A feeling of tiramisu, if I may… Comments: these rare Madeirans aren’t very well-known but they’re worth your distinguished attention. The next Easyjet flight leaves at 13:35, gate #...
SGP: - 85 points.

Bellevue 19 yo 1998/2017 (54.9%, The Duchess, Guadeloupe, cask #22, 303 bottles)

Bellevue 19 yo 1998/2017 (54.9%, The Duchess, Guadeloupe, cask #22, 303 bottles) Five stars
We have no fear here… By the way, rhums from Marie-Galante are sometimes labelled as ‘Guadeloupe’ and sometimes as ‘Marie-Galante’, as the wee island is administratively part of Guadeloupe. Got it? Colour: dark amber. Nose: not the first time we’re trying some ’98 Bellevue, and not the first time we’re much pleased. This is a perfect slightly mentholated chocolaty profile, with superb whiffs of fresh cane juice, then prunes and raisins, then camphor and small berries. Impeccable. With water: wonderful! These whiffs of fresh peppermint just work a treat. Mouth (neat): luminous, zesty, cane-y, complex, citrusy, earthy… With water: amazing, a tad earthier, herbal, tense yet rich… This is one of the best rums in the world. Finish: very long, perfectly herbal, grassy, cane-y, slightly phenolic and smoky… Comments: exceptional agricole rum. I mean, rhum, from the Islay of the French Caribbean. I know, pushing it a wee bit…
SGP:462 - 90 points.

(Merci Francesco!)

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






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