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

January 26, 2020


Five rums on a Sunday

Let’s see what we can find, there is some new stuff… Maybe this for starters, while wondering if the world of aged spirits isn't going around in circles these days. I mean, Scotch does rum finishes while rum's doing malt finishes. I say they should swap their practices...


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!

Opthimus 25 yo ‘finished in Malt Whisky’ (43%, OB, Oliver & Oliver, Dominican Republic, 2014)

Opthimus 25 yo ‘finished in Malt Whisky’ (43%, OB, Oliver & Oliver, Dominican Republic, 2014) Two stars and a half
It seems that this one was finished in Tomatin casks – why would anyone do that, I don’t know. And no one believes this is truly 25 years old, in the sense that the younger component would be at least 25, but who knows? Having said that I had tried an earlier 25 yo in 2010 that I really enjoyed despite a very low strength of 38% vol. Colour: office coffee. Nose: it is not too heady, it is not too malty either, what I’m finding rather consists in bananas and pineapples, plus soft molasses, honey, liquid caramel, and some nice notes of cane juice, cigars and liquorice. All classic stuff.  I have to say this is perfectly fine, probably one of my favourite Dominicans. But I’m no sucker for Dominican rums in general… Mouth: sadly way too sweet for me, but what’s behind that sweetness works well, with liquorice leading the pack, molasses, corn and maple syrups, and some candied cherries. Sadly, it tends to become both sticky and thin, which is bizarre, I agree. Starbucks’s latte with fifteen teaspoons of sugar per medium-sized cup (Grande).  Finish: very short, so not exactly cloying. Caramel. Comments: I’m disappointed because I had had a much better Ophtimus 25 a long time ago, but all things considered, this could have been much worse.
SGP:830 - 77 points.

Sugar? Let’s try this one…

Long Pond 2009/2019 ‘CRV’ (42.6%, Plantation for The Whisky Exchange, Jamaica, Tokaji finish, cask #2, 198 bottles)

Long Pond 2009/2019 ‘CRV’ (42.6%, Plantation for The Whisky Exchange, Jamaica, Tokaji finish, cask #2, 198 bottles) Two stars and a half
This baby was shipped to France and finished in Tokaji for one year. A very strange idea, but since Tokaji is usually very sweet, could be that they subsequently cancelled any plans to add any unnecessary syrups prior to bottling. In other words, one of the very rare cases where a Tokaji finish could have been a good idea ;-). Colour: gold. Nose: sour fruits. A very mild funkiness under pears, mead, and apricot and pineapple jams. Quite light and so a little un-Jamaican in that respect, but it’s not unpleasant to find an ultra-soft Long Pond. The jury’s still out. Mouth: not as much a sugar bomb as the Ophtimus, of course, but we’re still doing sweet and pretty sugary, syrupy and light. You do feel the sweet Tokaji, which would have added notes of sugared herbal tea. There’s even a feeling of Aperol spritz, mind you. Finish: rather short, with some cinchona and more Aperol. Comments: I don’t like my rums this sweet, but other than that, I won’t cry foul play here. It’s just a little un-TWE. Did someone lose a bet?
SGP:740 - 78 points.

Chairman’s Reserve 13 yo 2006/2019 (56.3%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, St. Lucia, bourbon, 286 bottles)

Chairman’s Reserve 13 yo 2006/2019 (56.3%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, St. Lucia, bourbon, 286 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: amber. Nose: now we’re talking! Great notes of cane juice, cakes, a touch of wood smoke, ripe bananas, menthol, liquorice, then a little cedar wood, touches of incense, ylang-ylang, a little earth… Hold on, are we dead sure this cask didn’t stem from La Martinique? Feels pretty agricole if you ask me. With water: damp earth, moss, and once again that wee smokiness that just works here. Pu-erh tea, cigars… That’s all for the better. This little St. Lucian really talks. Mouth (neat): really very lovely, tight and dense, with some spicy cake, sugar cane juice, pineapples and bananas in moderate quantities, quite a lot of liquorice once again, and rather a good deal of oak extracts (black tea). Works a treat indeed. With water: pretty perfect. Ripe bananas and liquorice tangoing to perfection. Finish: rather long, dry, with some coffee now, and always quite some liquorice. Comments: just tops, Mr. Chairman.
SGP:652 - 89 points.

Foursquare 13 yo 2005/2019 ‘MBFS’ (62%, Cadenhead, Barbados)

Foursquare 13 yo 2005/2019 ‘MBFS’ (62%, Cadenhead, Barbados) Four stars
This is, I believe, the distillery’s usual ‘single blend’ of pot and column rums. This could work very well after the very lovely St. Lucian which was, I think, a kind of single blend as well. Colour: amber. Nose: it is a little rounder and lighter, as if the ex-column part was larger in the mix. There are also more soft oaky tones, vanilla, cakes, or chocolate, but at 62% vol., it’s distorted anyway, you can’t quite get the real profile. So… With water: it’s pretty complex and rather on many different herbal teas, which is very Foursquare in my book. Wormwood, fennel, verbena, sandalwood… Mouth (neat): real punchy, with what could be coconut wine and other savage drinks. Let’s not take any more chances… With water: no savage drink, it’s even rather civilised, with a little sweetness (was it a tad ‘enhanced’ when it reached Europe?) and some cinnamon, a drop of muscat wine, candied oranges, dried pears, quinces… Finish: rather long, with some pepper beyond the sweetness. Schweppes at a proper strength ;-). Comments: wondering if the proportion of ex-column wasn’t a little higher than in most OBs, but other than that, it is an extremely fine Foursquare in my book. Well done Cadenhead.
SGP:641 - 85 points.

While we’re at Cadenhead’s once again…

Caroni 21 yo 1998/2019 ‘TMCG’ (61.5%, Cadenhead, Trinidad)

Caroni 21 yo 1998/2019 ‘TMCG’ (61.5%, Cadenhead, Trinidad) Four stars and a half
This mark may suggest this is ‘light’ Caroni (Main Caroni). Colour: amber. Nose: not very aromatic, rather a little metallic and herbal, with notes of old copper coins, some sour wine, and then really a whole humidor. It’s not unseen that we would find cigars in rums (or whiskies) but in this very case, you would believe they’ve thrown ten boxes of Partagas into the cask. Or rather Dutch Masters for that matter. That’s rather lovely. With water: same, plus pot-pourri and, maybe, half a mothball. Love love love all this tobacco. Mouth (neat): excellent, raw, tense, herbal, slightly acidic and fermentary (feels pot still, but it is column), wonderfully grassy and limey. Not an ounce of sweetness or fatness in there, which makes this sharp baby rather spectacular. With water: I find this excellent. Granted, it does not showcase 1000g esters/hlpa, but these cigars combine to perfection with the limes and the cane juice. In short, it is very tobacco-y. Finish: long, on just the same flavours. Even more lime and a little brine in the aftertaste. A feeling of salt remaining on your lips. Comments: not that this was a surprise, but… oh hell, it was. And I don’t think it is expensive.
SGP:562 - 89 points.

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