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

August 26, 2018


Our usual Sunday rum tasting

What shall we find today? Let’s see, rummage rummage… I’d bet there will be some Hampden again, if all goes well…

Kirk & Sweeney 23 yo (40%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2018)

Kirk & Sweeney 23 yo (40%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
Another scary bottle, although it reputation seems to be quite high. The age statement is hard to believe (doesn’t it remind us of a certain ‘Z’?), while the provenance makes us frown (most rums from the Domrep are usually heavily doctored). Now the decanter is really lovely, and I have to say it would look nice in our favourite Chinese restaurants, between the lucky cat with its solar-powered arm and the jade dragon that’s not really made of jade. Colour: amber. Nose: hold on, no wacky molasses, no unlikely two-pence liqueurs, rather a fine cane-iness and touches of café latte, although there would be a little too much bubblegum and marshmallows behind all that. Not too sure, let’s see… Mouth: pretty fine indeed, a little thin, but honest, not additived (as far as I can see), with notes of rum agricole, praline, chicory, dried bananas, raisins, candy, roasted pecans, oranges… It’s really easy, smooth, and not dull. Finish: short, but clean, cane-y, coffee-ish. More roasted nuts. Comments: looks like my fears were unfounded, this one’s really fine, even if it may lack character. Now at approx. 60€ a bottle, this just cannot be 23 years old. Maybe is there a drop of 23 yo inside?
SGP:430 - 79 points.

Let’s try another one from the Domrep…

Opthimus 21 yo (38%, OB, Dominican Republic, 2015)

Opthimus 21 yo (38%, OB, Dominican Republic, 2015)
Ouch! Some Opthimus (Opthimi?) have been rather to my liking a long time ago (the 25) but others have been way too fiddled with for me (read flavoured and sweetened up). The label says it’s ‘ron artesanal’, which we just won’t believe, Pinocchio. Colour: dark amber. Nose: pretty nice, I have to say, a little bourbony (fruity varnish, coconut, vanilla, popcorn) and pretty fresh, rather on tinned pineapples and golden syrup. Jaffa cakes, bananas flambéed. Nice, really. Mouth: this is where it goes all pear-shaped, with some rather vulgar sugar upfront, then pure cane syrup, molasses, corn syrup, young PX, parfait amour liqueur… This stuff calls for a lot of ice! Finish: medium, sticky, cloying, embarrassing. Another bottle that should come with a free toothbrush, if you ask me. Comments: seriously, the nose was pretty nice, and I’ve been having high hopes for a few seconds, but the palate is just sickly sweet. One for the Rubettes, perhaps.
SGP:710 – 60 points.

While we’re having sweeter rums, why not a funny Floridan that’s seen some Moscatel?

Florida 13 yo 2004/2018 (45%, Compagnie des Indes, moscatel cask finish, cask #FMSC1, 387 bottles)

Florida 13 yo 2004/2018 (45%, Compagnie des Indes, moscatel cask finish, cask #FMSC1, 387 bottles) Three stars
The name of the distillery is secret, but I’m sure we could find out, should we be able to spare some fifteen minutes. A moscatel finish, that’s funny, reminds of the first time we tried Caol Ila DE (a true ‘what?’ moment). Colour: gold. Nose: it’s pretty light, there’s some sultanas indeed, touches of bananas, sugar eggs, Haribo’s best, as well as a pleasant floral side, rather around honeysuckle and perhaps rosewater. Mouth: it’s a good sweet one, meaning that you wouldn’t actually find ‘sugar’ as such, although it’s quite sweet. Wee touches of small-berry muscat, Cointreau, honey, baklavas (orange blossom)… This works, even if we’re very far from my preferred styles. Finish: medium, very sweet I have to say, very bonbony. Comments: not a style that I usually enjoy, but I’m sure it’s perfect rum… for good people who do enjoy this style – which is, of course, perfectly and utterly fine.
SGP:720 - 80 points.

More funk please…

Caroni 2000/2018 ‘Navy Rum Extra-Strong’ (51.4%, La Maison and Velier, 100th anniversary, Trinidad)

Caroni 2000/2018 ‘Navy Rum Extra-Strong’ (51.4%, La Maison and Velier, 100th anniversary, Trinidad) Four stars and a half
This new baby spent its whole life in Trinidad, while the livery’s a replica of Tate & Lyle’s original bottling. Colour: deep gold. Nose: exactly as expected, a blend of petroly and cedary aromas. We’ve already tried some that had gone a little too much towards cedar wood (right, pencil shavings) but that’s not the case here, balance is rather perfect. Olive oil, liquorice wood, petrol/oil mixture for 2-stroke engines (ah those old Kawas…), then a combination of very ripe bananas and sweet spice mix, perhaps something Indonesian, garam masala... Great nose. With water: some mint, aniseed and eucalyptus coming out. The casks (and the climate) have been very active. Mouth (neat): it seems that someone’s been mad enough to let a blend of diesel oil and camphor mature in some kind of cedar wood cask. Or wasn’t it one of those exotic woods some are using to mature cachaça? On top of all that, there’s a lot of cinnamon. With water: more tar and smoke, I would say, and probably more oak as well. Finish: very long and very liquoricy. Notes of pastis, cinnamon, star anise, smoke (almost peat), brine, and again quite some cedar wood. Comments: the wood feels more than in any ‘European’ Caronis of similar ages, which may make it a little more segmenting, but I for one do enjoy this style a lot. But not too sure these parcels could take five more years in the tropics… By the way, this is extremely expensive (just south of 300€).
SGP:462 - 88 points.

You know about our new motto, right? Not a session without some Hampden…

Hampden Estate 7 yo (46%, OB, Jamaica, 2018)

Hampden Estate 7 yo (46%, OB, Jamaica, 2018) Four stars and a half
This is the new official. 100% pot still, naturally, and 100% un-doctored, or say un-dosed, or perhaps un-tampered-with. Colour: gold. Nose: game, set and match. Same feeling as when we found the first new Ardbeg 10. Remember, ‘Introducing Ten Years Old’? There is some gentleness, but also this exceptional combination that would have involved crushed olives (picholines are all the rage these days), tinned anchovies, liquid tar, and liquorice. It’s also a brighter, fresher spirit after the Caroni. Mouth: naturally. Actually, it’s not very complex, it’s even a tad narrow and kind of self-restrained, but what it does it does perfectly. More crushed anchovies and olives, liquorice, and smoky tar, then more lime juice. Excellent. Finish: long, salty, lemony, tarry. Comments: pretty exceptional, uncomplicated, and the price is right. Plus, it’s easier than some single casks that were sometimes having a ‘paint thinner’ side. There should be one bottle of this in just any home!
SGP:363 - 89 points.

Hampden Estate 7 yo ‘Overproof’ (60%, OB, Jamaica, 2018)

Hampden Estate 7 yo ‘Overproof’ (60%, OB, Jamaica, 2018) Four stars and a half
Not totally sure if this is the same rum, just bottled at a higher proof, or a whole different composition… Colour: gold. Nose: less expressive, or rather more closed than the 46%, which is totally normal at 60% vol. Perhaps more notes of plastic, new Nike sneakers, paraffin… I think it really needs water, and so matching conduct to words… With water: not exactly easier, rather a little more on plasticine, or brake fluid… Seriously, it’s much simpler to buy the bottle at 46% vol.! Mouth (neat): works better on the palate when neat, but it’s curiously sweet now, you would believe someone’s let a whole pack of liquorice allsorts dissolve in overproof vodka. So, with water: yep, we managed to almost recreate the 46% this time, but it’s really not easy to get the right spirit/water proportions. It’s usually much easier with malt whisky! Finish: long, salty, lemony, tarry. Comments: this bottle should come with a free pipette, if you ask me. Some excellent Hampden once again, but just between us, I believe 55% vol. would have been sufficient. Plus, the overproof version also needs a lot of oxygen. But yeah, it’s very great rum, of course, nothing new. Hampden is currently becoming Ardbeg, don’t you agree?
SGP:363 - 88 points.

(Merci beaucoup Fabrice)

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






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