Google Rums again, some malternative

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

September 9, 2018


Rums again, some malternative

We simply go on, while retaining the feeling that malternative-quality rum will remain the exception for a very long time. They have to act if they do not want whisky folks to go back to… whisky. Let’s see what we have… And totally at random…

Sparrow’s Premium Aged Rum (40%, OB, St. Vincent, +/-2017)

Sparrow’s Premium Aged Rum (40%, OB, St. Vincent, +/-2017)
Made by St. Vincent Distillers. Indeed the name ‘Sparrow’ does sound a bit dodgy, and certainly rather unserious, but this is not expensive rum. Colour: amber. Nose: a little empty, shall we say. Some cardboard and notes of banana skins, plus whiffs of old embrocations and molasses. All right, let’s move on… Mouth: feels flavoured. Mint, caraway, liquorice, raw alcohol, bonbons, lavender… Finish: sadly rather long, pine-y, flavoured with something. Comments: not sipping rum, but I still imagine someone could drink this neat. Over an iceberg.
SGP:770 – 30 points.

Let’s try to get serious...

Trinidad Rum 1999/2017 (45%, Samaroli, cask #1700002)

Trinidad Rum 1999/2017 (45%, Samaroli, cask #1700002) Four stars
Let’s hope it’s Caroni. Colour: pale gold. Nose: indeed, there’s some shoe polish and some soot, green tobacco, some asparagus, a little dust and a little clay, but it’s all rather shy this far. Mouth: no, very good. Lovely lime, lemon, olive oil, raw cabbage and cauliflowers, angelica, liquorice and gentian roots, green ginger… It’s the freshness that’s wonderful here. Finish: medium and wonderfully lemony. There’s even a touch of salt. Comments: the nose was a tad underwhelming, but the palate’s close to stunning because of the fantastic lemony freshness. But take care, this is dangerously drinkable. Perhaps a little expensive though…
SGP:563 - 86 points.

Courville ‘Rhum Vieux’ (45%, OB, Martinique, +/-1975)

Courville ‘Rhum Vieux’ (45%, OB, Martinique, +/-1975) Four stars
An old brand that disappeared a long time ago. It was made at Distillerie Thibault and it is a proper pre-appellation agricole. Colour: amber. Nose: just superb and indeed, totally agricole. Grass, liquorice, tar, olive oil, ripe bananas. Indeed, very agricole. There’s also this perfect earthiness, close to roots and even mushrooms, humus, seaweed… Mouth: almost bone dry and really very liquoricy. It is a blessing that all those old French distilleries were often bottling their makes at 45, 48 or even 50% vol. Wonderful notes of pine bonbons, camphor, more pine liqueur, always these earthy touches… Finish: some sweetness coming out, which is strange. A little too much sweet liquorice, I would say, but only God knows about what was happening ‘in the kitchens’ in the old days.  Comments: impressive old ‘regular’ agricole, I had thought it would have been a little fragile and too simple. How wrong was I!
SGP:562 - 86 points.

Mount Gay ‘Last Ward’ 10 yo 2007/2017 (59%, Habitation Velier, Barbados)

Mount Gay ‘Last Ward’ 10 yo 2007/2017 (59%, Habitation Velier, Barbados) Three stars
Nutshell: this is pot-still Mount Gay. Colour: amber. Nose: liquorice and caramel first, I would say, then touches of earth and mushroom. And yet it’s not properly earthy, as we’re also finding more and more vanilla and pencil shavings. Hard to pin down. With water: cedar wood, oak shavings, chocolaty fudge. Mouth (neat): lemon spirit aged in active American oak, or something around those ideas. It’s really two-faced, one being zesty and blade-y (lemon), the other one being rather fudge-y, vanilla-ed and chocolaty/oaky. With water: only ten years and we’re already touching the limits as far as oak’s concerned. Tea tannins, liquorice wood, pencil juice, all that. No, pencil juice doesn’t actually exist in real life, but you get the idea. Finish: long, oaky. Comments: very good. Anything Velier are doing is very good, they are the Porsche of the rum world. Now too much oak is too much oak, and as much as I understand the concept of tropical aging, I would say that only works as long as the oak’s not too active. A gut feeling, as roofers sometimes say.
SGP:551 - 82 points.

Balcones ‘Texas Rum’ (63.9%, OB, USA, +/-2018)

Balcones ‘Texas Rum’ (63.9%, OB, USA, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
Whaaat? Well this is made out of sourced molasses (not from Cuba, I’d wager) double-distilled in their pot stills. Colour: dark amber. Nose: this is molasses-based bourbon, really. Vanilla, sawdust, coconut water, liquorice allsorts, pinesap, roasted pecans. Pretty fine. With water: caramel and Chinese oyster sauce, then fermented plums and two tons of pipe tobacco. No, seriously, we’re nosing infused pipe tobacco, aren’t we? Mouth (neat): oh my god, what’s this? I didn’t know you could ferment and distil a mixture of pumpernickel and gingerbread. With water: better, but it’s heavy and rather too rich. Toffee and bettelmann cake. Finish: long, thick, coating, and it just wouldn’t leave you alone. Tobacco, ginger and honey in the aftertaste. Comments: really nice an friendly while being very spectacular, but I’m finding this heavy concoction a little tiring. But yeah, it’s nice and friendly…
SGP:740 - 78 points.

Who said no rum session without a Jamaican?...

Hampden 6 yo 2010/2016 ‘LROK’ (67%, Habitation Velier)

Hampden 6 yo 2010/2016 ‘LROK’ (67%, Habitation Velier, Jamaica) Four stars and a half
We’ve tried the one at 60% vol., and just loved it (WF 87). But this spirit contained only 375 g/hlpa esters when distilled, which is rather light…. Pff… Colour: gold. Nose: g/hlpas esters are like ppms peat, they don’t always mean much. Indeed I’m finding this properly estery, olive-y, tarry, diesely, earthy… And I’m finding some nice camphory side, as well as a few rotting fruits. Probably pineapples and bananas. With water: gherkins and capers in brine! Very bacterial, I would say. Mouth (neat): too strong. A false passage and you’re dead. With water: this works a treat. Liquorice, chocolate, toffee, salt, lime, capers, olives. Finish: very long, salty, olive-y. Comments: totally excellent, but I prefer this distillate with even less oak, so almost white and strictly ex-refill, for some even purer funk, George-Clinton-style. But that’s just me.
SGP:463 - 88 points.

(Fabrice and Paul, thank you!)

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






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