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

March 24, 2019



A word of caution
Let me please remind you that my humble assessments of any spirits are done from the point of view of a malt whisky enthusiast who, what's more, is aboslutely not an expert in rum, brandy, tequila, vodka, gin or any other spirits. Thank you – and peace!


This is Sunday,
here’s our usual bag of rum

We’ll try to taste a few controversial ones again this time. Such as some brands that Joe Public loves while the cognoscenti just abhor them. A story about democracy, knowledge, willful ignorance and addiction to sugar… And perhaps digital narcissism. Now I know some industry folks keep complaining about how little the ‘bloggers’ know about rum, while themselves DO know, obviously. But that’s even worse, since despite the fact that they know a lot more about rum, they keep making the ugliest swills. Doesn’t that add insult to injury?!

Zacapa ‘Edicion Negra Solera Gran Reserva’ (43%, OB, Guatemala, +/-2018)

Zacapa ‘Edicion Negra Solera Gran Reserva’ (43%, OB, Guatemala, +/-2018)
I remember around 15 years ago, many retailers were saying that Zacapa was the best rum in the world, or a kind of Rolls Royce of rum. Amazing work by the brand’s PR forces, kudos! Now they’ve dropped the fake age statement on this bottling, but they keep calling this a ‘solera’. After all, some Scots are still doing the same up there. As for caramel in this one, don’t get me started. Colour: dark amber, nice work by the colourists. Nose: well, I have to say this is rather pretty, with a few herbs for starters (parsley, watercress), then some quality chocolate and coffee, toffee, praline, molasses, maple syrup… Nothing bad to say at this point, nothing at all. Mouth: much too sweet and plainly sugary, as expected. The beginning of the arrival was good, with some Cointreau and touches of ginger, but it fell apart, getting both too bitter and sugary. I don’t think you could sip this humble pumped-up juice without a lot of ice. Finish: pretty long and rather bitter. Very old walnuts. Comments: demands ice, that’s all I’ll say. Hard to drink when above 20°C. The last Zacapa I had tried, back in 2016, had been rather terrible (Centenario XO Solera Gran Reserva Especial – what a name - WF 50). This isn’t any better in my humble book, I’m afraid.
SGP:750 - 45 points.

Let’s remain in the same category… (again, in my opinion) …

Bacardi ‘Black Carta Negra’ (37.5%, OB, Puerto Rico, +/-2018)

Bacardi ‘Black Carta Negra’ (37.5%, OB, Puerto Rico, +/-2018) one star and a half
Hate it that they would have quoted ‘Santiago de Cuba’ in very bold letters on the label. According to the brand’s website, ‘Its rich, dark flavors develop in heavily charred oak barrels and are shaped through a secret blend of charcoals.’ We are happy with the reassurance. Other sources are mentioning the addition of some aguardiente. Pot still then, I presume, better news in that case. Now the low strength scares me… Colour: amber. Nose: artichoke cake, or something like that. Then burnt sugar and molasses, cardboard, and industrial chocolate. Say Mars bar. Really not much happening. Mouth: not too bad, there are some bananas and pineapples, so this is clearly kind of tropical. Some caramel too, molasses, a grassy touch (those aguardientes?) The problem is that the whole combo remains extremely weak. Finish: very short, but not unpleasant. Comments: I liked it that this baby’s not homicidally sugary. Not good, but not as bad as I had thought, that’s my personal opinion. Anyway, it’s cheap. And yeah, very light, a fly that fell into my glass (after I was finished, thank you fly) survived for three minutes, which goes to tell you how light it is.
SGP:420 - 68 points.

El Dorado ‘ICBU’ (40%, OB, Guyana, single barrel, +/-2017)

El Dorado ‘ICBU’ (40%, OB, Guyana, single barrel, +/-1997) Two stars
This one from Uitvlugt’s Savalle still at Diamond Distillery. It’s very strange that they would have bottled this at 40% vol. And frankly, the packaging is bad too. Let’s only hope they haven’t added any sugar. By the way, just like Zacapa, El Dorado does not deserve its good reputation if you ask me (miss, please cancel my flights to both Guyana and Guatemala!) Colour: gold. Nose: hey, no, some action! That is to say gherkins, olives, diesel oil, plastics, bananas, pineapples, new shoes, pastis, liquorice… It’s pretty complex! A very lovely nose, that’s for sure, but that’s not where some problems usually hide… Mouth: grappa. Seriously, grappa. Not de-stemmed, at that. Something must have happened, some cooking for sure, possibly some lab work… Gets then very dry, not unlike artisanal marc (Bourgogne, Jura). How bizarre indeed. Finish: short, grape-y, grassy. Comments: at least they did not add tons of sugar, whether at birth or when they bottled this cask.
SGP:560 - 72 points.

Uitvlugt, let’s talk…

Uitvlugt 26 yo 1991/2018 (55.3%, Berry Bros & Rudd, The Whisky Barrel, cask #38, 227 bottles)

Uitvlugt 26 yo 1991/2018 (55.3%, Berry Bros & Rudd, The Whisky Barrel, cask #38, 227 bottles) Four stars
Colour: straw (check!) Nose: burnt tyres (check!) Then caraway and ginger cake, cloves, dentist mix, strawberry cake, and a few rotting fruits. That’s always nice. With water: Mouth (neat): once again some funny duelling between the burnt side and the fruits, then the expected lime, olives, and gherkin brine. With water: same. more tyres (not burning this time), plastic bags (we’re sorry, turtles and whales), tarmac… With water: the strawberries are coming out again and would come with oranges starting to rot. Green grapefruits as well. Finish: long, a tad more bitter and perhaps sour. Comments: perhaps not the most immaculately immediate Uitvlugt, but still, it does fly pretty high.
SGP:463 - 85 points.

Oh, I have an idea… (I can hear you, “oh, nooooo…”)

O Reizinho 3 yo ‘Batch 1’ (52.6%, That Boutique-y Rum Company, Portugal/Madeira, 1936 bottles, 2018)

O Reizinho 3 yo ‘Batch 1’ (52.6%, That Boutique-y Rum Company, Portugal/Madeira, 1936 bottles, 2018) Three stars and a half
We had tried a white OB on March 12 and liked it quite a lot (WF 83). So we’re curious as ever… I’m not sure this is advertised as ‘agricole’, but indeed Madeira has got the appellation, just like Martinique. And unlike all the others who are simply stealing it. Colour: deep gold. Nose: someone must have smoked butterscotch in the neighbourhood. And added some lavender, juniper, thyme, liquorice and mustard seeds to the fire. Someone else would have then let the end result ferment, then distilled that wash, then let a few oranges infuse prior to filling. More or less. With water: those notes of new tyre. Or bicycle inner tube. Mouth (neat): very very good, and pretty ‘meta’. Not exactly rum as we know it, let me try to show you… Say you do a blend of several spirits of the world, like 1/3 young bourbon, 1/3 Hampden, 1/3 caraway eau-de-vie, and 1/3 anisette. I’ve noticed that’s four tiers, right. Then you further age all that in deep-charred virgin oak. Et voilà. With water: and it swims well, with lovely spicy touches, gingerbread, more caraway… Some active oak in action. Finish: long, very spicy. Seville oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: excellent spirit that spent its short life in dominant wood. Not my preferred style, but in this case that worked very well, no doubt about that. Even if the ‘agricole’ side has consequently been kind of offset. Many rum makers are doing that these days, which I regret. Musclebound oak killed many great whiskies, It’ll kill great rums too.
SGP:551 - 83 points.

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






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