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

December 8, 2019


Rums, limitless

Well, I suppose that was pretty self-explanatory, was it not? Indeed I’m having a go at empty web-writing, since we must keep up with the times (wha-a-at?)… Let’s see where the wind takes us…

Clairin Communal (43%, OB, Haiti, +/-2019)

Clairin Communal (43%, OB, Haiti, +/-2019) Four stars
I love Clairin. Hard places, great people (really, really great), true traditions, no unnecessary so-called ‘technologies’, proper raw materials, raw equipment, commitment to authenticity, no BS innovations, honesty, no junk ‘branding’, no lies, no stinky crowdfunding, just a little ‘push’ from some well-known Italians who are sometimes a little loud and even deafening (ciao, ragazzi) but always true to their values and committed to true quality. Colour: white. Nose: bl**dy hell! Olives, capers, new rubber boots, tinned sardines, rotting pineapples, tar liqueur, pencil eraser, plantains, acacia gum, seawater… Mouth: impeccable, evident, obvious, salty, fruity (rotting fruits), tarry, brine-y, lemony, and full of olives. Do they grow olives in Haiti? Finish: medium, perhaps a little sugary-ish. Demerara? Comments: not my business at all, but I would have bottled this perfect distillate at 46% vol. Other than that, it’s truly impeccable spirit despite the finish that was just a little sugary for me.
SGP:652 - 87 points.

Another characterful white perhaps…

Savanna ‘Créol Straight’ (67.2%, OB, La Réunion, 1350 bottles, 2019)

Savanna ‘Créol Straight’ (67.2%, OB, La Réunion, 1350 bottles, 2019) Four stars and a half
This was distilled in a Savalle still from canes harvested in 2018, and then bottled in May 2019, after a bit of rest. Colour: very very pale white wine. Nose: big fat o.l.i.v.e.s. at first, then a little rubber, shoe polish, and, yeah olive oil. I often mention olive oil, but here we’re having more olive oil than there is in olive oil. With water: few changes, just these touches of rotting bananas… Mouth (neat): a splendid mix of cologne and olive oil. I suppose the cologne comes from the super-high strength. With water: opens up like an oyster, with a lot of lemon and lime, more olive oil, capers, brine, and yeah, oysters.  Finish: long, tense, sharp, lemony, briny and even a little smoky. Comments: it’s a bit like if someone well-intentioned had poured a few litres of Caol Ila into the vatting tank. With very excellent results.
SGP:472 - 88 points.

From Savanna to…

Savanna 15 yo 2004/2019 ‘Port Cask Blend’ (49.2%, OB, La Réunion, cask #931, 922 bottles)

Savanna 15 yo 2004/2019 ‘Port Cask Blend’ (49.2%, OB, La Réunion, cask #931, 922 bottles) Four stars
This is a grand arôme (so high ester) from one ex-Cognac and one ex-Port casks. Not a finishing, so all should be fine. Oh and not properly a blend since this baby stems from one single distillery. Phew. And one single cask, which is a little bizarre given the fact that it’s a blend. Go figure… Colour: amber. Nose: this one’s more agricole, richer, a tad rounder (but this ain’t Zacapa), and really in the style of the best Guadeloupans. Olives, metal polish, overripe bananas, liquorice, a pleasant wee dustiness, some caraway from the casks… And no Port ‘as such’. Hurray. Then massive amounts of camphor and cough medicine. Mouth: very lovely, rich, and yet neither fat nor cloying, ridden with salty liquorice, floral essences and syrups (elderberries) and softer oak extracts bordering liquorice. Sweeter notes of goji berries. Finish: long, really rich, jammy. A feeling of tropical mulled wine, shall we say. Comments: no detectable Port, that’s great. Another top rum from the French island of La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean. Well, they’re not all like this one, sadly.
SGP:562 - 87 points.

Oh, for once…

Savanna 10 yo 2007 ‘Omaggio’ (55.1%, OB, cask #515, 740 bottles)

Savanna 10 yo 2007 ‘Omaggio’ (55.1%, OB, cask #515, 740 bottles) Four stars and a half
This grand arôme was finished in a cask of Savanna Herr for Velier. So it’s a self-finishing, shall we say, or a slightly masturbatory bottling. Colour: amber. Nose: unexpectedly gentler, a little cake-y, with some wax polish and tar, some blond pipe tobacco, a little weed smoke, and touches of gherkin brine. Having said that, it’s also the most Jamaican at this point. With water: Hampden, moscatel and Chartreuse. I’ll give you some time. Mouth (neat): not very far from the Port, only rather more medicinal. Ointments, mercurochrome, then liquorice and brine. I have to say I find it very good. With water: indeed. Perfect spices, ginger, caraway, cinnamon, all that plus dates and figs for good measure. Rum for Christmas. Finish: long, a tad drier, more on tar and liquorice. Comments: same ballpark once again. These Savannas grand arôme are pretty exceptional if you ask me, if not totally 90-material in my book.
SGP:552 - 88 points.

Let’s change region, completely.

FSPD 13 yo 2004/2018 (58.5%, Valinch & Mallet, Fiji, cask #18-1301R, 148 bottles)

FSPD 13 yo 2004/2018 (58.5%, Valinch & Mallet, Fiji, cask #18-1301R, 148 bottles) Three stars and a half
I believe FSPD stands for Fijian South Pacific Distillery, but I may be wrong. I’ve already come across some surprisingly good pot still Fijians. Colour: gold. Nose: peaches and mangos for a start, then pure cane juice, in an agricole-y style. It is not, so far, a high-ester Fijian and indeed you’d rather think you’re in Martinique. With water: even more so. Mouth (neat): really, Martinique or Guadeloupe, with a slightly thinner body. It hasn’t quite got the olive-y, tarry side that’s to be found in other South Pacifics. With water: ditto, although I am finding two or three black olives, as well as a little lemon and tar. Finish: rather long, prolonging all these feelings for a long time. A touch of menthol in the aftertaste. Comments: a lighter Fijian than usual, but I have to say they do this style very well.
SGP:451 - 83 points.

Another very good session. Rum is great as long as you avoid added C12H22O11 like the plague. That would be saccharose.

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