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

December 13, 2020


Malternative Sundays,
even more rums today

We’ll try to take it easy today (but we usually fail at that)… And at total random…

Eenie meenie minie moe.…

Zu Plun (50%, OB, Italy, +/-2019)

Zu Plun (50%, OB, Italy, +/-2019) Four stars
That’s right, rum from the Italian Dolomites, so Southern Tyrol, made from imported molasses and cane juice. Let’s put La Traviata on the stereo and proceed… Colour: white wine. Nose: lol, this ain’t rum on the nose, unless that would be cachaça kept in casks made out of one of those very resinous wild trees they use in Brazil. Sorry, the names escape me. Pine buds, fennel seeds, more pine buds, more fennel seeds, perhaps dill as well, sauna oils, softwood, limoncello (but naturally)… Mouth: it’s a very good drop, some kind of unsweetened limoncello indeed, with similar flavours, lime, dill, aniseed, fir buds… That’s all extremely pleasant, it’s just not rum at all. Finish: rather long, with more lemon, mint, and this thing some Alsatian friends sometimes make, celeriac eau-de-vie. An acquired taste, shall we say. Comments: wonderful aged eau-de-vie, just not rum. But I love it. But it’s not rum (adlib).
SGP:472 - 85 points.

Eenie meenie minie moe.…

Epris 17 yo 1999/2016 (46.9%, The Rum Cask, Cuba)

Epris 17 yo 1999/2016 (46.9%, The Rum Cask, Brazil) Four stars
You’ll be happy to learn that in French, ‘épris’ sort of means ‘infatuated’. It’s true that we’ve tried some excellent Epris in the past, but I haven’t seen any recent ones – maybe because of Trump? (enough!) Colour: light gold. Nose: light, slightly buttery, with notes of croissants and crushed bananas, then light herbs, oyster plant, perhaps asparagus, parsnips, damp sand on a beach, and rose petals… It’s all truly light, but certainly elegant and subtle. After a few minutes, some fennel, which I often found in Epris. Mouth: this sure couldn’t compete with Hampden, but there is some quality to this light, grassy and fresh make. Cactus, caviar lemon, wee herbs, angelica… Very good light rum. Finish: not too long but this mentholy grassiness works just well. Comments: Spanish-style ron al natural, without all the ugly make-up that they usually have to endure. Now it is a little un-commercial, as a consequence…
SGP:361 - 85 points.

Rummage rummage…

Clément ‘125th Anniversary Edition’ (40%, OB, Martinique, 2012)

Clément ‘125th Anniversary Edition’ (40%, OB, Martinique, 2012) Two stars
A bottle designed by a certain JonOne, a ‘street artist’. What I find troubling is that they would have bottled an anniversary bottling at 40% vol. That’s a little cheapo, no? Colour: gold. Nose: the Cuban was bigger. Bread, pastries, popcorn, green bananas… Feels a little sluggish and uninspired. Mouth: not too bad, with nice honeyed and cane-y notes, as well as sultanas and mead, but the low strength handicaps it. This is frustrating, because the juice clearly had potential. There’s a lovely grassy earthiness, for example. Finish: shortish. Nice touches of lime. Comments: such lower strengths only work with either much older spirits, or high-presence juices. Or stuff for mixing. IMHO.
SGP:451 - 76 points.

Eenie meenie minie moe.… Oh!

Neisson 15 yo 2004/2020 ‘Batch 3’ (48.7%, OB, Martinique, bourbon)

Neisson 15 yo 2004/2020 ‘Batch 3’ (48.7%, OB, Martinique, bourbon) Five stars
Do I need to tell about what I think of Neisson (except for a handful of young oak-doped cuvées)? I had loved the 15 batch 2 (WF 92) so hopes are high…  Colour: amber. Nose: I really believe Neisson gather the best of both major rum worlds, the subtler French agricole side, and the more massive molassy Demerara-Jamaica-Trinidad side. I love both and this is a perfect synthesis. Truffles, tar, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, dried bananas, liquorice, wormwood, tobacco, olives, seashells, pineapples, anchovies, ink, earth… You see? Mouth: very oaky, even extremely oaky, and yet it’s all a bed of roses, never drying even if there is a lot of black tea. Rosehip, lotus, black tobacco, jasmine tea, menthol and liquorice, pomegranates, oil and tar, camphor… It’s extremely rich, and yet never heavy or cloying. That’s complexity. Finish: long and incredibly ‘wide’. We sometimes say that these makes are ‘doing the peacock’s tail’, but I’m not sure this little juice will catch any females (wha-a-at?). Comments: I’m finding it a little less fruity than earlier batches, but quality remains extremely high. I deeply hope Covid won’t cause them any troubles, and that we’ll be allowed to fly to Martinique and Guadeloupe for leisure very soon. Cheers Neisson.
SGP:551 - 91 points.

Eenie meenie minie moe.…

Appleton Estate 21 yo 1999/2020 (63%, OB, Hearts Collection, Jamaica, 300 bottles)

Appleton Estate 21 yo 1999/2020 (63%, OB, Hearts Collection, Jamaica, 300 bottles) Four stars
More math here, as this has ‘855 g congeners /100 LAA’ (that’s per hectolitre pure alcohol a.k.a. hlpa) and stems from casks #407819 through #407830. Look we’ve been asking for more details for a least twenty years, so we shouldn’t complain and we shall not. By the way, we loved the 1994 in the same series, that was on November 29, 2020 (WF 91). Colour: dark red amber. Nose: as soon as they’re a little old, this babies that matured in the tropics tend to become over-woody, but on the other hand, when the distillates are big and  characterful, some kind of balance can be kept and lovers of all things spices and earths will keep cheering. Fern, mosses, varnish, pine needles, chocolate, tobacco, touch of benzine… With water: herbal side up, the rest down. No huge changes, to be honest. Mouth (neat): some sour and mentholy wood for sure, some lavender too, tons of liquorice… This is highly concentrated and bigly extractive, I think water is needed and that no one should even contemplate drinking this neat, unless you’re a cursed poet who’s tired of living. With water: remains very extractive, resinous, pine-y, extremely mentholy… I’m thinking of snuff. Finish: long, resinous, tannic, unsweet. Comments: this one was tougher than the fab 1994. Brilliant rum of course, but it is challenging. We’ll soon try the last one, we’ll see…
SGP:372 - 87 points.

PS: that was a rare all-pot still Appleton, it seems that we should expect some 100% pot still Foursquare too in the near future. Quite possibly the Obadele Thompson of rum!

Let’s take all the risks and try to find an easier au revoir… (for today)…

Jamaica 36 yo 1984/2020 (62.3%, Silver Seal, Clarendon area, cask #434043, 205 bottles)

Jamaica 36 yo 1984/2020 (62.3%, Silver Seal, Clarendon area, cask #434043, 205 bottles) Four stars
Some thirty-six years old rum at 62.3% vol., that should hint at tropical aging.  What’s sure is that these very old rums are extremely rare, and probably quite miraculous. Let’s try this one with the reverence and humility it deserves, while wondering if it is Monymusk or not (given that Velier had had more than one sister cask labelled as Monymusk in the past – are we good sleuths or not?) Colour: coffee. Nose: oh. We’re entering a torrefaction room that’s just been repainted. So coffee beans being roasted and fresh paint, plus white vinegar and capers. That’s more or less it at +/-62% vol. With water: new plastics and fresh paints, carbolineum, polystyrene, paint thinner... I do not know why, but this reminds of my first trip to China, in 1987 (but why am I telling you this?) Chinese grocery store, circa, well, 1987. Mouth (neat): huge and dithyrambic, and extremely acetic and vinegary. Concentrated walnut stain. You cannot just quaff it like that or you’ll burn your whole digestive system. With water: it remains totally huge, even at more or less 45% vol. Brutal stuff, most certainly not meant to be quaffed like this and probably designed as top dressing, but I’m speculating. What’s sure is that this is an old fighter, rather a Stallone of rum. Yeah, Steven Segal, if you like. Varnish, burnt beans, 100%, chocolate, raw liquorice extracts… Finish: long but extremely drying. Huge tannicity, we’re entering the danger zone… Comments: how do you score this extreme kind? We’ll say 85% as it is a kind of pivotal point between the pretty good and the rather great. Capeesh?
SGP:272 - 85 points.

Adios and ¡hasta mañana!

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