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

June 2, 2019


Big guns. I mean, rums.

Let’s drop the customary apéritif if you don’t mind… Or rather have an apéritif that would be bigger than the usual light-hearted ones…

Monny Musk 6 yo 1996/2002 (46%, Liquid Gold, Caribbean Reserve, Jamaica)

Monny Musk 6 yo 1996/2002 (46%, Liquid Gold, Caribbean Reserve, Jamaica) Three stars and a half
A little indie from before the indie rum bottlers started to bloom like dandelions in my garden. And before they started to care about the actual names of the distilleries (indeed, this ought to be Monymusk). Colour: whiter than white wine. Nose: it is a high-ester Monymusk, and a lovely one at that, rather on some kind of ashy, almost smoky olive brine, then steamed asparagus and Chinese dumplings, as well as the aforementioned dandelions. Wonderful freshness here. Mouth: a sugariness at first, as well as a few burnt notes that may have come from both young age and a lazy cask that did not filter out anything, but the briny and smoky notes are back, together with touches of rotting bananas and some bitterer herbs. Liquorice wood. Finish:  kind rather long, always a tad bitter, with some paraffin oil. A saltier aftertaste. Comments: not perfect and a little rough around the edges, I think, but I always enjoy these kinds of profiles.
SGP:462 - 84 points.

Diamond/Versailles 15 yo (59.2%, Kinghaven, Guyana, 2019)

Diamond/Versailles 15 yo (59.2%, Kinghaven, Guyana, 2019) Four stars
After a rather brilliant Foursquare, here’s another rum by our friends at Smögen in Sweden. And quite logically (really?) they did a fairly Zlatanian finishing in Swedish oak on it. It’s from the Versailles wooden pot still at Diamond. Colour: straw. Nose: loads of custard and fresh croissants, then mirabelle jam, with just a touch of caramelized oak and this slightly bourbony side from the Swedish oak. With water: a lot of shoe polish and church candles, with just a wee pile of fresh sawdust (from Ikea’s, naturally). Mouth (neat): very nice construction, not too unbalanced, not too bourbony, just very strong. Sweet spices. With water: great work on the oak (yes, Serge writing this), with some caraway, wax, soft ginger, vanilla, one small green olive, and a little salty grapefruit juice. Finish: rather long, the oak being a little louder now, especially the aftertaste is a tad tannic for me. Comments: an excellent Demerara nonetheless. In any case, I prefer more oak than more sugar in my rum!
SGP:462 - 86 points.

Bellevue 20 yo 1998/2019 (58.6%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil for The Whisky Barrel, Guadeloupe, 243 bottles)

Bellevue 20 yo 1998/2019 (58.6%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil for The Whisky Barrel, Guadeloupe, 243 bottles) Five stars
Bellevue is not extremely well-known outside rum’s chatting classes, but it sure is a Grand Cru. Top five, very hard to beat! Colour: dark amber. Nose: oh! Coffee, black olives, Cuban cigars, caraway, spearmint, camphor, teak oil, bananas flambéed, graphite oil, brake fluid, bicycle inner tubes, leatherette, new LPs, latex… It is an amazing rum, incredibly complex, even at almost 60% vol. With water: the best of all rum worlds, really. The estery side of the pot-still Jamaicans, the drier complexity of the agricoles, and the phenolic one of the… well we’ll see that later… Mouth (neat): incredibly rich, oily, camphory and mentholy, and yet all on dried fruits, dates, black raisins, pepper… Looks like this is another winner indeed, unless it wouldn’t swim well on our palates, let’s check that…  With water: best of agricole. Marmalade, aniseed, olives, ashes, oils, gingery spice mix, bananas and pineapples, dried fruits, tobacco, mint and liquorice… Finish: same for a long time. Comments: flipside, as I sometimes say, this was hardly a surprise. Brilliant rum, very complex. Loves water too.
SGP:452 - 91 points.

Caroni 21 yo 1998/2019 (55.8%, Valinch & Mallet, Trinidad, cask #19-2101R)

Caroni 21 yo 1998/2019 (55.8%, Valinch & Mallet, Trinidad, cask #19-2101R) Four stars and a half
This wee blotting to celebrate Valinch & Mallet’s 3rd Anniversary. Yeah, clear proof that one can go far without having lived long. Yet. Colour: very deep gold. Nose: very unusual. A large cup of smoking pu-erh tea, some cigarette smoke (menthol cigarettes), some eucalyptus wood, the wee-est whiffs of incense paper, and touches of some kind of artisanal smoky soap. Don’t they have such things on Islay? Do they have that in Trinidad & Tobago too? With water: fresh-sawn pinewood, eucalyptus, and more smoky/earthy pu-her tea. Rubbed banana leaves, perhaps. Mouth (neat): a rather powerful camphory woodiness at first, then really a lot of liquorice and pine resins. A drop of walnut stain (like). With water: I had feared it would have gotten woodier, which would have been excessive then, but the opposite happened. Earl grey, banana skin, café latte… Finish: medium, not the heaviest Caroni ever, but it does deliver till the end of the end. Walnut cake. Comments: totally excellent, and it managed to survive after one of those stunning Bellevues. Because make no mistake, in general and in my book, Bellevue’s in a whole different league than Caroni.
SGP:462 - 88 points.

That one was good, so perhaps another one by Valinch and Mallet?

Uitvlugt 20 yo 1998/2018 (59.2%, Valinch & Mallet, Guyana, cask #19-2001R, 221 bottles)

Uitvlugt 20 yo 1998/2018 (59.2%, Valinch & Mallet, Guyana, cask #19-2001R, 221 bottles) Four stars and a half
This one from the Port Mourant still. If I remember well, that wooden still was first moved from Port Morant to Uitvlugt, and only then from Uitvlugt to Diamond. Correct? Colour: deep gold. Nose: don’t hold your breath, this is as brilliant as expected. This is why those issues about ‘tropical aging’ are so controversial, many rums that matured in Scotland or Holland are actually way better than their ‘tropical’ counterparts, and anything by DDL or El Dorado goes to prove that. Remember, wood’s any aged spirit best friend, and worst enemy at the same time. Not to mention the sugary concoctions that many makers are adding to their own stocks, and that the Europeans would never use (right, unless we’re talking about a certain French company that’s totally lost its mind). So yeah, this Uitvlugt is superb. With water: Crayolas, plasticine, shoe polish, balsa wood, green gunpowder tea and a touch of oyster plant.  Love oyster plant. Mouth (neat): sublime, with this ‘good soap’ that’s often to be found in these rums – bordering paraffin – and really a lot of tarry, smoky wax, camphor, and perhaps green chartreuse. This is phat rum. With water: same profile, same kind of pleasant waxy soapiness. It takes water very well. Finish: long, saltier, rather herbal and tarry. Very salty aftertaste, with lemons doing a late check-in. Comments: one of those pretty extreme, very waxy and almost plastic-like Port Mourants. Perhaps not for Zacapa fans.
SGP:353 - 89 points.

(Merci Lucero)

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