Google Light rums by good bottlers

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

May 17, 2020


Light rums by good bottlers

Always our wee quest throughout the rum world, looking for malternatives. We’ll try to have 'bad' rums by good bottlers today. For example – just an example indeed – Zacapa (bad) by Cadenhead (good). Do you have a proper grasp of the idea? First stop, Panama.

Panama 11 yo 2006/2017 (60%, Cave Guildive, Jack Daniels cask, cask #79, 232 bottles)

Panama 11 yo 2006/2017 (60%, Cave Guildive, Jack Daniels cask, cask #79, 232 bottles) Three stars and a half
Great little bottler aus der Schweiz! Colour: full gold. Nose: ah, this is smart. Sure you’ve got all this vanilla, the sugarcane, coconut, cakes and so on, all nice aromas but all structure-less, all flesh and no bones! But in the background, a careful nose will find some subtle floral tones, a few ripe figs, whiffs of blooming wisteria, and a little dough (bread) that would lead you to… malt whisky! With water: oh, some smoke, essential oils, embrocations, croissants… That’s very nice! Mouth (neat): very sweet, and very strong at that, but it would just burst with pineapples and mangos, a set-up that no one will ever find repulsive. With water: great selection, really. If this is Latino rum, I’m all for Latino rum. Ripe bananas, honey, pineapples, and even a proper backbone. Great selection indeed. Finish: short, but that was to be expected. Comments: coming up with such quality with rum from a multicolumn ethanol plant in Central America, I say bravo! Now the fresh Jack cask may have helped a wee bit.
SGP:730 - 84 points.

Travellers 12 yo 2007/2019 ‘MBT’ (64.1%, Cadenhead, Belize, barrel)

Travellers 12 yo 2007/2019 ‘MBT’ (64.1%, Cadenhead, Belize, barrel) Three stars and a half
I know, Traveller can be very good. Colour: orange, almost Donaldy orange. Nose: not much, a little vanilla, a little toasted oak, some nectar if not honey… But I’m sure that’s the lethally-high strength. With water: pineapple syrup, pineapple syrup, and pineapple syrup, plus some acacia honey. Not a drink, a sin. You could pour this over pancakes or crêpes.  Mouth (neat): Cadenhead, you’ll get a letter from our lawyer. Seriously, you do get a few herbs, Easter eggs, glucose syrup… With water: sweet and tidy, on jams and syrups. Quinces, guavas, bananas, pineapples… Once again its lacking body and structure, but that’s the fate of all high-column (too rectified) spirits. Finish: medium, pleasant, with touches of tangerines plus cane juice and honey. Comments: very good, just a notch less cane-y, less herbal than the Guildive.
SGP:730 - 83 points.

Perhaps another crazy one by Cadenhead… By the way, I’ve heard they are about to grow sugarcanes on the Mull of Kintyre. That’s cool, we’ll soon have some Springbank Rum! Of course I’m joking…

Dictador 26 yo 1993/2019 (65.3%, Cadenhead, Colombia)

Dictador 26 yo 1993/2019 (65.3%, Cadenhead, Colombia) Four stars
Apparently, this contains some of their Pot Still rum, a.k.a. ex-kettle distillation. Let’s just hope no one’s ever added any sugar throughout those 26 years, but we’ll soon find out. Colour: red mahogany. Nose: nice. Tamarind jam, ganache, raspberry jelly, and really a lot of alcohol that‘s got only one goal in life, burn your nostrils! With water: lovely coffee and awesome earthy teas and fruits, with a lot of oloroso-like aromas in the back. And Maggi. Fantastic. Mouth (neat): like this! Seriously! It’s pure jam and liquorice, and given that I’m a liquorice freak, well, I love this. It’s just that, err, cough, it is a little strong… With water: aaaahh yes! The best Dictador I’ve ever tasted, hands down. Coffee, tobacco, marmalade, cigars, tar, liquorice… That’s all perfect. There is a wee sugary side, but not sure it’s been ‘injected’; could be all natural IMHO. Finish: medium and not that short, it’s to believe that the pot still part did indeed add some texture. Black raisins and coffee  in the aftertaste. Comments: wow, Cadenhead! This is quite a coup, probably the best Dictador ever. Now, where are the girlz?
SGP:641 - 86 points.

Nicaragua 12 yo 2004 (57.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #R8.4, refill bourbon, ‘Campfire in NIcaragua’)

Nicaragua 12 yo 2004 (57.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #R8.4, refill bourbon, ‘Campfire in NIcaragua’)
As long as it’s not ‘Pesticides in Nicaragua’… Colour: amber. Nose: similar, fragrant, with some honey, molasses, pancake syrup, caramel, tarte tatin… Then a little spicy oak and toasts. With water: okay. Where’s the bottle of orange juice? Mouth (neat): the oak was fresh, there’s a bourbony side, varnish, coconut, vanilla… With water:  it crashes. Nothing left, we’re lost in the middle of Blandoland. Finish: short, but kind of not totlly unpleasant. Cheap chocolate from any supermarket’s own brand. Or there, trumpets please, Nutella! Comments: we have had hopes, but this is an empty spirit. Not flawed as such, but empty.
SGP:420 - 65 points.

Bodega Pedro Oliver 16 yo (52.3%, Single Cask Collection, Dominican Republic, solera system, +/-2016)

Bodega Pedro Oliver 16 yo (52.3%, Single Cask Collection, Dominican Republic, solera system, +/-2016) Two stars
How can you come up with an age statement with a solera? Anyway SCC are some very cool Austrian bottlers. Not heard much of them recently but I’m sure they’re thriving!. Cheez guys! Colour: orange amber. Nose: look, as long as they haven’t added tons of sugar, I’m fine with anything from the DomRep – or from Oliver’s. Cakes, brioches, milk chocolate, a little praline… No quibblings so far. With water: pleasant, cane-y, with welcome whiffs of hay and warm grass around the 15th of  August. Mouth (neat): powerful, sweet (not quite sugary), with notes of sweet malty beer. With water: loses steam. Please do not add water. Finish: the sugar comes out. Too bad. Comments: very acceptable, and at least no one’s used any botoxed marketing to pump-up this very humble juice.
SGP:720 - 72 points (which is good given the pedigree here!).

Do we have room for a last one?

Panama 9 yo 2008/2017 (60.9%, Compagnie des Indes, cask #PSC73, 275 bottles)

Panama 9 yo 2008/2017 (60.9%, Compagnie des Indes, cask #PSC73, 275 bottles) Two stars and a half
Not much news from these guys either, take heart, fine people! The distillery’s ‘secrete’ here, which is probably good otherwise they wouldn’t have sold one single bottle. I am joking, ok? Colour: gold. Nose: yeah well. Vanilla, vanillin, grass, tea. With water: mango cake, fresh molasses, and some vanilla. We’re okay at this point. Mouth (neat): this is good! Some tar, some liquorice, some olives, some cane juice! H.u.r.r.a.y.! With water: indeed, this is perfectly all right, balanced, grassy and fruity, with a good few phenols and stuff… Finish: seriously, it’s okay. One olive in the aftertaste, h.u.r.r.a.y. again! Comments: this is exactly what we’re expecting from an independent bottler, that he/she would release some single casks or small batches that are actually better than the brand’s usual output. Which, in the case of Panama, was not too difficult to do, but there, very well done.
SGP:561 - 79 points.

I’ll say it again, there are two main categories of spirits in this world. Pot Still and Column. Sure some fine people who’ve got high multiple columns will claim that they’re as good as proper pot stills or smaller columns but remember any fishmonger’s fish is always fresh as long as you ask him rather than his patrons. Seriously, in connoisseurdom there’s little room for columns much taller than the ones they have in Armagnac or in the West Indies. Yes, go, you may shoot now, this opinionated taster is ready (and armed)…

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