Google Rums, focusing on likely malternatives

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

May 6, 2018


Rums, focusing on likely malternatives

... Unless we find a lime duck (check the last one)...

Barbancourt 13 yo 2004/2017 (49.3%, The Rum Mercenary, Haiti)

Barbancourt 13 yo 2004/2017 (49.3%, The Rum Mercenary, Haiti) Four stars and a half
Wait, a rum mercenary, that’s what’s called a buccaneer, no? Let’s see whether this will be Barbancourt’s older, fatter style, or its newer, lighter one. Colour: straw. Nose: we’re extremely close to the cane here, this is almost pure freshly pressed cane juice. Add just one drop of banana liqueur and one drop of pineapple juice, if you will, and after three minutes, a drop of pumpkin seed oil. Mouth: yeah, very good. Its own style, both fresh and light, and yet rather fat and well textured underneath that. Very cane-y, for sure, with a touch of capers in brine and liquorice wood, as well as a little vegetal earth. Finish: medium, very precise and concise, purely on cane juice, with just a little orange this time. Comments: it’s not a fat monster of a rum, but it’s got plenty of cane-y character, even if it’s not high-proof artisanal Haitian clairin. Kudos to the buccaneer for having unearthed this perfect fresh Barbancourt.
SGP:642 - 88 points.

This started well…

Foursquare 9 yo 2007/2017 (46%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Barbados, 356 bottles)

Foursquare 9 yo 2007/2017 (46%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Barbados, 356 bottles) Three stars
I believe Hunter Laing are very successful with their rum range. Excuse me? Indeed, Foursquare as well… Colour: light gold. Nose: ah, we’re going towards malt whisky this time. I’d even mention malted barley, mind you, as well as leather, cigarette tobacco, pencil shavings, and perhaps carbon paper. I think this was ‘light’ Foursquare… Mouth: indeed, it’s rather ‘Cuban’ for a Bajan, on apple juice, vanilla, melons, and indeed barley water. Touches of pineapples, though. There’s also a delicate and rather complex herbal side that’s slow to take off, with some chamomile, honeysuckle… Finish: medium and almost short, with more apple juice and touches of cinnamon. Comments: I’d go as far as saying this is a much better Havana Club. Possibly all-column Foursquare.
SGP:540 - 82 points.

South Pacific 13 yo 2004/2018 (44%, Compagnie des Indes, Fiji, cask #FSP7, 330 bottles)

South Pacific 13 yo 2004/2018 (44%, Compagnie des Indes, Fiji, cask #FSP7, 330 bottles) Three stars
Indeed, one of those crazy Fijians rums, by some of the smartest bottlers there are. Not writing that because they’re French, not at all! Colour: pale gold. Nose: tinned pineapple syrup, oak shavings, Spanish yellow melons, a drop of coconut water, and then more and more marshmallows, fresh strawberries, and Morello cherries. In other words, it’s not one of those crazy estery Fijians, in fact, my bad. Mouth: it’s quite incredible that we would have been this close to that Foursquare that we just tried. Vanilla, soft banana notes, herbal teas, touches of gingerbread, just a tiny pinhead of caraway powder, pineapples, melons… It’s surprisingly soft. Finish: shortish, smooth, light. Apple pie with cinnamon from the oven. Comments: once again, the lighter side of an otherwise pretty boisterous distillery. Not easy to follow when they do both columns and pots! (I suppose)
SGP:441 - 82 points.

So you wanted esters?...

Worthy Park 10 yo 2007/2018 (57%, Excellence Rhum, Jamaica, 199 bottles)

Worthy Park 10 yo 2007/2018 (57%, Excellence Rhum, Jamaica, 199 bottles) Four stars and a half
Full proof Worthy Park, why would anyone complain? Colour: pale gold. Nose: insane. Smoked bananas covered with mint sauce and liquoricy pineapples just starting to rot – a bit. What I was not ready to find is a blend of strawberries an litchis. Is this some kind of smoked gewurz? With water: pinewood, cedar wood… Mouth (neat): amazing spirit. Extraordinary wood-spirit tango, with some eucalyptus, pink bananas, argan oil, amaretti, agave… and only God knows what else. Highly impressive, even if it’s partially oak-driven, and rather less ‘congeneric’ than other Worthy Parks. With water: indeed not an ester-bomb at all. Grass, bananas, soft oils… And something that would rather remind me of untouched Appletons. How bizarre, no? Finish: medium, a tad buttery, smooth, peaceful (with a nod to Bob Marley)… Some oak in the aftertaste. Comments: a complete surprise. I was ready to welcome a true bomb, but what I got is a perfect, very civilised Jamaican. It sure takes all sorts…
SGP:551 - 89 points.

Hampden 17 yo 2000/2018 (55.4, Berry Bros & Rudd for The Whisky Barrel, Jamaica, barrel #31, 220 bottles)

Hampden 17 yo 2000/2018 (55.4, Berry Bros & Rudd for The Whisky Barrel, Jamaica, barrel #31, 220 bottles) Five stars
Because we couldn’t end this very pleasant session with a ‘light’ rum… It's to be noted that young Angus already tried this one last week and just adored it. Colour: straw. Nose: yeah, there. Burning pinewood, crushed olives, capers, balsamic vinegar, tarragon, pizza spice oil, shoe polish… You see… With water: all woods being burned. Pine, fir, thuja, cedar, oak… Mouth (neat): a dirty, and yet extremely engaging half-rotten, half-brine-y monster of an extremely liquorice-y spirit. With water: totally love this distillate, as much as we used to love Ardbeg fifteen years ago. A brilliant deep conversationalist of a spirit. Finish: very long, varnishy now, which is normal, just a tad late. Comments: so, who’ll be the first to officially bottle a meta-monster, 50% Ardbeg and 50% Hampden? After all, life is so short…
SGP:463 - 90 points.

A fatter Barbancourt, some lighter Foursquare, South Pacific and Worthy Park, and an Hampden that actually delivered what we were expecting, this sure wasn’t a normal session!

But there is a bonus (so to speak…)

Bumbu (35%, OB, Barbados, +/-2018)

Bumbu (35%, OB, Barbados, +/-2018)
Ermnl… There’s ‘Bumbu rum co.’ in very big letters on the lovely bottle but this is not rum as defined by European regulations, although, and everybody’s counting on that I imagine, most retailers, both offline and online, are advertising it as such (while adding unproven age claims, unlikely production methods – the purest water in the world etc. - and a whole mix-up of errors, interpretations, and fairy tales.) That’s what’s cool today, brands don’t need to explicitly lie to you, thousands of people will do that for them, more or less naively, especially online. What’s more, it says on the bottle in much, much smaller hardly readable letters that it’s ‘rum with natural flavours’. So it’s a kind of doctored concoction, made at W.I.R.D. in Barbados (who’s gonna go control production?) out of rums from various countries. So not Barbados! And of course it comes with a very fishy story, as long as your arm, about a 400 years old recipe, while the killing word ‘craft’ is being used ad nauseam. Colour: caramel. Nose: caramel. Mouth: caramel and banana. Finish: caramel and vanillin. Comments: some extremely cloying simplistic spiced rum, but the marketers have been very smart, there is no doubt. Perhaps a wee spoonful over vanilla ice cream, after all?
SGP:800 - 15 points.

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






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