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

October 14, 2018


More mad rums

As the two-penny headline says! And...


... 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 'empty', doctored, aromatised, hybridised, or tampered with, thank you – and peace!
Post Scriptum, Where there is no freedom of criticizing, there can be no genuine praise. -Beaumarchais.

Uitvlugt 20 yo 1998/2018 (48.8%, Silver Seal, cask #19, 220 bottles)

Uitvlugt 20 yo 1998/2018 (48.8%, Silver Seal, cask #19, 220 bottles) Three stars
I have to say we have moderate fears that this would be not good. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a lighter, cakier Uitvlugt, rather on Jaffa cakes, Cuban rum (really), and milk chocolate. We’re very far from any bold Dememaras here, this is extremely soft this far. With water: some fresh plywood, perhaps, varnish, cane juice, brioche… Mouth (neat): it’s good, but we’re rather around the milder French agricoles, with some caramel, maple syrup, panettone… It’s one of lighter Uitvlugt I could try, really. With water: even softer. Piece of cake, literally. Finish: medium, sweeter, cane-y, fair. Comments: don’t get me wrong, this is extremely fair rum, it’s just a bit fragile and undemanding given its pedigree. And its marvellous bottlers.
SGP:531 - 81 points.

More Demerara then…

Port Mourant 12 yo 2005/2018 (55.9%, Kintra, cask #96, 235 bottles)

Port Mourant 12 yo 2005/2018 (55.9%, Kintra, cask #96, 235 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: pale white wine. Muscadet ;-). Nose: there, pure gherkin and olive brine, and not much else. Not that we need anything else. Cane juice. With water: same. Plus diesel oil, brake fluid, snails. Emphasis on snails. Mouth (neat): high-power ultra-lemony and olive-y arrival, millimetric and even a little simple. But not too simple. Then soot and grass smoke. With water: ink and olives and sage and lemongrass and melissa and ink. That’s right, more ink. Finish: long, extremely well designed and defined. Perfect distillate. Comments: perfect distillate, I said. Lime and brine. No further comments needed.
SGP:363 - 89 points.

I know, that was a tad too telegraphic, perhaps…

Savanna 14 yo 2004/2018 (64.2%, OB, La Réunion, grand arôme, 837 bottles)

Savanna 14 yo 2004/2018 (64.2%, OB, La Réunion, grand arôme, 837 bottles) Four stars and a half
We had a great Savanna last Sunday! Here’s more… Colour: deep gold. Nose: sweet Krishna! There’s more glue than in a tube of glue, and more rotting fruits than at Walmart’s. This is hyper-acetic-lactic-bacterial, and this is exactly what we’re looking for in rum, even if I have to say that this baby’s really extreme. Octomore is for little girls by comparison. Loads of natural liquorice. With water: stunning grassy and smoky profile, with lit cigars and something like burning bananas. No, not quite bananas flambéed. Mouth (neat, while we start to tremble): it’s amazing, truly. Lorryloads of liquorice, and I just adore liquorice. Right, this is almost salted liquorice eau-de-vie. With water: extreme grassiness. Many things, concentrated and dried. Gherkins for sure. Finish: very long, thick, invasive. You just couldn’t get rid of it! Comments: extremely extreme, this would make the most extreme Jamaicans taste like Havana Club by comparison. Indeed, Octomore as well. Quite.
SGP:463 - 88 points.

Foursquare 13 yo 2005/2018 (59%, The Duchess, for Whisky and Rum am Zee, Barbados, cask #44)

Foursquare 13 yo 2005/2018 (59%, The Duchess, for Whisky and Rum am Zee, Barbados, cask #44) Three stars
We’ve got a lot of new(ish) Foursquare to try, and we haven’t even got the new officials, imagine. It is an invasion. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s an easy one, a cake-y one, one that’s pretty blendy, easy, pastry-like, and rather undemanding. In short, holidays. With water: same, pretty much. Nice but that is all. Chocolate, sugarcane, light fudge, coconut. Mouth (neat): indeed it’s no thick Foursquare, and it’s probably integrally or almost integrally ex-columns. Nothing against those of course, but aren’t they making oceans of this style all over South-America and the Caribbean? With water: same. Sweet, with some coconut water. Not quite a malternative, that’s for sure. Finish: medium, columny, a tad sugary. Coconut balls and marshmallows. Comments: all fine as a fine cocktail ingredient, but I’m not sure it could make for a fine sipper. But we’ll remain very positive…
SGP:630 - 80 points.

Foursquare 12 yo 2006/2018 (58.5%, Cadenhead, Barbados, barrel, MBFS)

Foursquare 12 yo 2006/2018 (58.5%, Cadenhead, Barbados, barrel, MBFS) Two stars
MBFS seems to mean column and batch, so single blend if I’m not mistaken. Colour: gold. Nose: not quite. Chocolate, popcorn, cake, pears. Pass. With water: sawdust, coconuts, pears. In short, spirit. Mouth (neat): more happening. Pineapple eau-de-vie (of course that does exist), cigarette tobacco, pears. Huge pears. That usually suggests a lack of maturation. With water: pears, really. Let’s not get into molleculy affairs, this wee spirit clearly needed… well, it needed rather a lot more. Finish: not that long. Comments: this was relatively ethanoly I’m afraid, butt let’s try to remain fair – since we love Williams pears.
SGP:520 - 72 points.

That’s one of the problems with rum, you can’t always fully trust names. Foursquare’s a good example, although extremely highly ranked in general, it could go from 92 points down to, very exceptionally, 60 in my book. Would that only be a matter of tropical vs. European ageing? Or a matter of proportion of batch distillation? I’m wondering if they shouldn’t change names depending on the stills that have been in use within the same distillery. Like in Scotland, remember, Garnheath vs. Glenflagler at Moffat, or Ladyburn at Girvan, or Ben Wyvis at Invergordon. But there, let’s try another one, because in general, most Foursquares are doing very extremely well at WF Towers…

Foursquare 12 yo 2005/2018 (59.8%, The Rum Mercenary, Barbados)

Foursquare 12 yo 2005/2018 (59.8%, The Rum Mercenary, Barbados) Three stars
Colour: deep gold. Nose: hey hey hey! Overripe bananas and tinned gherkins, olives, and then chocolate. The high strength seems to block it a bit… With water: pencil shavings, bourbon, vanilla. Where have the esters gone? Mouth (neat): yes and no. Coconut balls, popcorn, marshmallows. Really very sweet. With water: you have to be careful with water but if you don’t add too much, you could make of this rather average columny rum a good sipper worth 80 points – which is a lot given this style. Finish: medium, chocolaty. Sadly, loses points again, it’s all quite empty in the end. Comments: it’s perfectly drinkable, but it’s certainly not a proper malternatives. I understand why some distillers would be trying to control the use of their distillery names.
SGP:430 - 81 points.

Maybe this one…

Foursquare 14 yo 2002 (57.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #R6.1, ‘Spice at the Races’, Barbados, +/-2017)

Foursquare 14 yo 2002 (57.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #R6.1, ‘Spice at the Races’, Barbados, +/-2017) Two stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: a little thicker, with a little more grass, but it’s all rather ethanoly again. Not much luck today! With water: alcohol and grass juice, plus some rubbed pine needles. Mouth (neat): you do feel the pot stills, but it’s all rather harsh, brutal, and spirity. With water: a little better, with a few olives and this petroleumy side, but it lacks definition and the ethanoly side keeps it too harsh and hot. Finish: medium, a little bitter. Burnt things. Comments: holy smokes, it’s all been really tough today! Perhaps is it to be noted that the SMWS's Fourquare #R6.2 had been much more to my liking (WF 86).
SGP:351 - 75 points.

Too bad we haven’t got the newer OBs or semi-OBs on the table. Next time, hopefully, but let’ try to finish this on a high note, while staying in Barbados…

Finest Bajan Rum 21 yo 1986 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, Barbados, +/-2007)

Finest Bajan Rum 21 yo 1986 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, Barbados, +/-2007) Four stars
This baby from the ‘Rockley still’ style (W.I.R.D., or West Indies Rum Distillery) but it appears that no genuine Rockley Still made with the actual and pretty legendary Rockley Still have ever been available as single rum (according to proper experts). Colour: gold. Nose: a rather lovely combination involving cough syrup, balsamic/tarry liqueurs, crushed bananas, a drop of baiju, another one of aged mezcal, and then more and more of some kind of tar/mint cordials. Just a touch of resinous wood. Thuja? Yew? Mouth: excellent, minty indeed, camphory, sappy, pine-y, with many herbal notes, old liqueurs, chartreuse and bénédictine, fir needles and cones… And yet there remains some kind of rumness, cane juice, ripe bananas… There is a wee sweetness that may suggest that a little sauce (sugar) has been added some time, perhaps at birth, but that’s nothing. Finish: long, really rather pine-y. Rather tar in the aftertaste. Comments: a very interesting style, this bottling being rather different from Bristol’s 1986/2008. I really enjoy these balsamic notes.
SGP:561 - 87 points.

(With thanks to Francesco and Lance)

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