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

April 14, 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!


Plastic surgery (Da doo rum rum)

Indeed, recycling my stupidest jokes. Now I have excuses, as I’ve got quite some flak sent to me because I had kind of liked Stroh 80 last time. Go blog about booze, they once said (before anyone called that ‘blogging’)…

Ron Espero ‘Anejo Especial’ (40%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2018)

Ron Espero ‘Anejo Especial’ (40%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2018)
By jove, some Dominican rum! I’m totally sure our friends over there are capable of making some excellent rum, but it seems that their production has been kind of hijacked by some crazy brand-builders who know that everything the general public wants is sugar. Now, with a name like Espero, there's still hope... Colour: gold. That’s nice. Nose: sawdust, coconut and vanilla, that’s less nice. Can you bourbonise rum too? That’s all, folks. Mouth: some horrible coconut and banana liqueur. Weak, poor, watery, extremely light. Finish: a kind of sugary sourness that would wreck your teeth. I’m sure the makers are in league with Colgate. Comments: madre de dios, is this bad!
SGP:810 - 29 points.

While we’re doing sugars…

Plantation Trinidad ‘Original Dark’ (40%, Plantation, Trinidad, +/-2018)

Plantation Trinidad ‘Original Dark’ (40%, Plantation, Trinidad, +/-2018)
This is ‘double aged’, you understand. What’s this new trick? And I have to say I never quite understood why my dear compatriots at Plantation/Ferrand always felt this compulsory need to bury the finest rums under tons of sugar (granted, or proprietary secret sugary sauces – if anyone says ‘but Champagne does it too’ again I’ll reach for my gun – sadly I haven’t got any gun). Even if, granted again, Joe Public keeps begging for sugar. I may have just given the answer, right. Colour: gold. Nose: very lovely nose, phenolic, petroly, very cane-y, almost perfect. A lot of tar, plastics, oils, in short, what we like in rum. Very well selected, Plantation! Mouth: good, there is some sugar, too much sugar, any added sugar is ‘too much’ anyway, but there are nice flavours underneath… But sadly, it becomes bittersweet, sour/sweet, vulgar, and simply bad. They wrecked another fine juice, I’m afraid. Finish: medium, sour, sweet, cloying. Comments: makes me think of that other guy who bought a wonderful ‘69 Porsche 911 and immediately changed the air intakes, added some custom-style spoilers, and painted it green and pink.
SGP:741 - 49 points.

Legendario ‘Dorado’ (38%, OB, Cuba, +/-2018)

Legendario ‘Dorado’ (38%, OB, Cuba, +/-2018)
We know what 38% means, it means junk. But onwards with hurrahs and glory, we fear nothing, especially since this is genuinely Cuban, while we love Cuba and the Cubans! (save your breath, S….) Oh while we’re at it, next time you’re in La Havana, go to the Saratoga Hotel, climb to the bar (not the rooftop) and ask for the Cuban whisky. They still have half a bottle, while the juice has become extremely rare. Anyway… Colour: gold. Nose: ermnlmnrsm… In general, sweet spirits do not exactly smell sweet. But this one does, it actually reeks of burnt sugars and assorted warm molasses. Which doesn’t bode well… Mouth: ah, no, it’s not that terrible. Some coffee, cane juice, Kahlua or Tia Maria, burnt cake… But it falls apart and gets too sugary indeed. Very weak structure, needs a lot of ice. Finish: short, but with nice caramel and liquorice. Comments: this is not our beloved Santiago De Cuba 11 yo, by far, but there is something honest to this humble little rum, even if I’d say the brand’s 'Añejo Blanco' is much better (WF 77).
SGP:420 - 62 points.

Look, something’s really bugging me with that Plantation Trinidad, let’s give the brand another chance…

Plantation Jamaica 2002 (42%, Plantation, +/-2016)

Plantation Jamaica 2002 (42%, Plantation, +/-2016) one star and a half
They call this one ‘grand terroir’, so I suppose it’s fully true to its origins, that is to say long-fermented, batch-distilled and, above all, natural and fully un-doctored. I believe it’s a blend of Long Pond and Clarendon. Colour: light gold. Nose: rather wonderful, full of olive brine, pickled fruits, gherkins, fermenting oranges, some tar, some liquorice, notes of tinned anchovies… In short, it’s pretty terroiry indeed and shock-full of Jamaican goodness. Very well composed, Plantation! Mouth: well well well, the arrival is rather nice indeed, very Jamaican, estery, with fermented fruits again and just the right amounts of olive-y brine, tapenade and even tar and earth. Beetroots (old Napo would have enjoyed this). But then, the expected and much feared sugary treatment starts to creep out and slowly invade your palate, leaving an unpleasant sugary feel. Like if someone would have served you one espresso with four or five sugar cubes inside. Now the good news is that they seem to have showed a bit of self-restraint with this one, or maybe is it the characterful distillate that manages to stay afloat? Finish: short, sadly sugary. That does not work at all. Comments: we’ve seen much, much worse and more liqueury, but once again, the sugar feels. But this time, it’s not exactly a Frankenstein of rum. Phew…
SGP:731 - 69 points.

Yeah, phew, I think we need a little pick-me-up...

J. Bally 2005 (43%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2017)

J. Bally 2005 (43%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2017) Four stars
Other vintages have been excellent in my book and would usually cruise along the 85-mark. Not talking about the single casks at cask strength, some were brilliant, a few excessively oaky but that’s only my own opinion. Anyway, let’s check what the French do better… Colour: deep gold. Nose: rather wonderful, perfectly balanced, with strictly nothing in excess. In other words, there’s just the right amount of cane juice, of praline, of vanilla, or oranges, of pineapples and mangos, of oak spices (ginger and cinnamon), and of tobacco and chocolate. Indeed, balance is the keyword here. Certainly not an ‘in-your-face’ rum, which is very refreshing, philosophically speaking. Mouth: indeed, no mad doctor rum, rather a grassy, very cane-y, earthy, and extremely liquorice-y rhum. We’re talking natural liquorice. That creates a feeling of very earthy menthol, perhaps mezcal and gentian, with a lovely freshness. I enjoy this a lot, we’re close to malt-whiskydom. Finish: medium, sweeter and spicier. We’re talking Grand-Marnier with cloves and ginger. More oak in the aftertaste, that had to happen. Comments: very good, I think, complex and elegant. I really enjoy all the liquorice, but naturally, should you hate liquorice, you’d better turn to something else.
SGP:452 - 86 points.

Once more, with rum and unless you already know a little bit, watch out for any heavy sugaring – or first talk to your doctor (no, not to the friendly brand ambassadors!)







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