Google Malternative rums, or not

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

August 12, 2018


Malternative rums, or not

Hopefully! Let’s see what we find, with the help of WF’s own mouser, Aston the Scottish fold (who couldn’t care less by the way, but he loves croquettes and I’ve got the keys…)

Abuelo XV (40%, OB, Panama, Napoléon Cognac Cask Finish, +/-2016)

Abuelo XV (40%, OB, Panama, Napoléon Cognac Cask Finish, +/-2016) Two stars
Well done Aston! I mean, come on, Napoléon… Why not Macron? By the way, in Spanish, abuelo seems to mean grandfather. The 12 was rather poor (WF 70) but the ‘Centuria’ has been better (WF 78). Colour: full gold. Nose: very fragrant, not dull, pretty complex, with subtle notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom, vetiver, ripe apricots, and juicy golden sultanas. Then rather the expected bananas and sandalwood. Not quite my preferred style, but I’m still finding this nose rather lovely. Mouth: there is a little too much sugar, for sure (or sweetening stuff, which might not be plain sugar), but other than that, this is more than acceptable, with some nice notes of tinned pineapples, then honey, then maple syrup. PX, vanilla syrup, arranged rum, cheap Sauternes… Finish: medium, too sugary this time. I think finishes ought to be dry, it’s always terrible when sugar’s lingering on your palate and makes you want to reach for your toothbrush. Comments: some sides are nice, but this one too has been sugared up to unnecessary levels. I’m sorry, grandpa.
SGP:720 - 70 points.

Panama? Panama!

The Taylor of Panama 13 yo 2004/2017 (59.3%, Kintra, cask #23, 249 bottles)

The Taylor of Panama 13 yo 2004/2017 (59.3%, Kintra, cask #23, 249 bottles) Two stars
I’m sure the funny name means something, I just haven’t got enough time to try to find out.  Colour: full gold. Nose: indeed, a whole different league, with much less aromatic sweetness, and rather more wood smoke, burnt molasses, and whiffs of moist cigars. There’s an earthiness that’s pretty pleasant, I have to say, but the very high strength may block it, let’s see. With water: more on cane juice and barbecued bananas, plus warm praline straight from your grandma’s oven, as well as molasses syrup sold as corn syrup which, in turn, was sold as proper honey. Oh forget about all that. Mouth (neat): better than the Abuelo, but we’re still in ron territories. There’s a lot of alcohol but the spirit is a little thin – well, seemingly. With water: light rum, pretty good rum. Bananas, tinned coconut water, a little caramel… Finish: short to medium. Not a fat texture. Comments: frankly, it’s very okay, as a spirit it’s just a tad empty. So, who’s that Taylor guy?
SGP:630 - 75 points.

Angostura ‘1919’ (40%, OB, Trinidad, +/-2018)

Angostura ‘1919’ (40%, OB, Trinidad, +/-2018) Two stars
This is the new livery. I have to say the wording ‘deluxe aged blend’ on the label is a little scary, sounds like the cheapest rum (or whisky for that matter) for Cameroon. Nothing against Cameroon, naturally. The latest 1919 I’ve tried (older livery, circa 2015) has been really very average (WF 70). Colour: gold. Nose: pretty nose, on sunflower oil, buttercream, hand soap, lilac, and a large pack of bonbons. Feels a bit ‘from the lab’, but that ain’t obligatorily bad. Not always. Mouth: ah, but this is very okay! Some flowery kind of liquid - I’m reminded of someone’s cold herbal teas, bananas sweets, mirabelle and apricot jams, quince jelly… Granted, there isn’t much body and the whole’s even a tad weak and too fragile, but at least it doesn’t taste like it’s been totally doctored, unlike many new brands that would just make any old alcoholic hippopotamus puke… well, you see what I mean. Finish: gets worse. Too weak and, this time, too sweet. Ah forget about the finish, finishes are always the justices of the peace, as we say in French. No good spirit without a good finish. Comments: we were having hopes, but those got partially shattered.
SGP:630 - 72 points.

Let’s try to get serious, if you don’t mind, and get back to Panama again…

Panama 13 yo 2004 (61.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #R9.1, bourbon barrels, 254 bottles, +/-2017)

Panama 13 yo 2004 (61.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #R9.1, bourbon barrels, 254 bottles, +/-2017) Three stars
This one’s nicknamed ‘Music for rockers of rum’, which makes us wonder, have they finally smoked all the geraniums up there in E-burgh? Yeah yeah, I know, they were pelargoniums, not geraniums… Colour: full gold. Nose: despite the high strength, this is as smooth as a baby’s bottom, with the mildest vanilla fudge and the most civilised sweet oakiness – which would involve that vanilla too. Very pleasant cane-iness, soft sponge cakes, and a wee bit of crunchy peanut butter. Some eucalyptus for sure. With water: some pine-y oak, eugenol and stuff, fir wood chips, a touch of pine tar, charcoal crayons… Mouth (neat): within this style, this is perfect, and I’m even impressed, while this is not my preferred style at all. See what I mean. Oranges, cane juice, a wee petroly side, and some rather big vanilla-ed notes, in a rather bourbony style. Do they have buffalos in Panama? With water: indeed, we’re navigating between rum and bourbon. US oak is playing matchmaker. Finish: medium, vanilla-ed, perhaps a tad thin and too sweet. Remember, this is Panama. Comments: may I suggest the board first comes up with the names, and only then tastes the spirits?
SGP:540 - 81 points.

Good, I think we’ve got some new rule – remember rules mean freedom – and that’ll be that no rum session will ever end without a Jamaican from now on. Angus MacRaild, RU listening?

Jamaica 16 yo 2000 (54%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #R7.1, refill bourbon barrel, 254 bottles, +/-2017)

Jamaica 16 yo 2000 (54%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #R7.1, refill bourbon barrel, 254 bottles, +/-2017) Four stars and a half
This ought to be Hampden, and so we have the highest hopes, since Hampden may well be WF’s favourite rum distillery. As for smoking the carpet and stuff, you’ll be happy to learn that they’ve baptized this baby ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ - look at the devastation that is caused by alcohol! Colour: straw. Nose: I’m hesitating between Motul and Veedol. And between gherkins and capers. This is, most naturally, impeccably Jamaican, and it’s rather a purer one. With water: oh yeah, Chinese general store circa 1980 (indeed been there), rubber, new wellies, new linoleum, bakelite… Mouth (neat): fantastic. UHU glue, nail polish remover, white spirit, diesel oil, Tippex, rotting bananas, and ‘stuff’. Extreme and perfect. With water: no water, it doesn’t swim well. Bah, 54% means nothing, you can take it. Finish: very long, glue-y, acetic, vinegary, full of perfect flaws. Comments: some Hs are a tad ‘purer’ and even funkier than this baby, but we’re flying very high again. Dry as a rock.
SGP:463 - 89 points.

(Lance, very mucho gracias compadre!)

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






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