Google The hunt for malternative rums continues

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

August 30, 2020


The hunt for malternative rums continues

Let’s find interesting ones…

El Dorado ‘Versailles’ 2006/2018 (40%, OB, Guyana)

El Dorado ‘Versailles’ 2006/2018 (40%, OB, Guyana) Three stars
They had a superb official El Dorado Versailles 2002 back in 2015 (WF 90) but that one had been bottled at a much higher strength. These 40% are a little meh, aren’t they, but Versailles’ old single wooden still now located at Diamond is legendary. Colour: dark amber. Nose: perfect, love this, it’s full of lovage and roasted parsley, chestnut honey, English brown sauce, metal polish and engine oil, highly reduced caramel sauce, tar, liquorice… Looks like my fears were unfounded. Mouth: yes and no. Yes for the general very liquorice-y profile, no to the way it’s soon to nosedive, getting thin and extremely frustrating. Cooked caramel, tamarind, hot chocolate made with water rather than milk, glazed chestnuts, chestnut honey… The painting is lovely but the canvas is too thin, I would say. Finish: very short, leaving just touches of liquorice in your throat. Comments: what’s great is that I haven’t found any sugar in this one. A little more watts next time, please!
SGP:661 - 82 points.

Cihuatan 15 yo 2004/2019 (53.3%, OB, El Salvador, bourbon barrel, Exclusive to Premium Spirits Belgium, 228 bottles)

Cihuatan 15 yo 2004/2019 (53.3%, OB, El Salvador, bourbon barrel, Exclusive to Premium Spirits Belgium, 228 bottles) Four stars
A rather rare rum, it seems, which is talking to the Mayan gods when we’re not listening. That’s more or less its story as I understood it… A first to us, but there are so many rum brands that we’ve never, ever tried! Colour: gold. Nose: typical South-American, rather thin-bodied it seems, but certainly not light or too easy. Touches of tobacco, thyme tea, a little caramel and a little coffee, notes of burnt paper, molasses, charcoal… With water: more on dried grasses and herbs, hay, herbal teas, chamomile… That’s all pretty nice, especially since the burning charcoal is still there puffing in the background. Mouth (neat): a Spanish-style rum that I like, not too sweet, with good coffee and caramel, brownie, black nougat, marmalade… it really works despite the distillate’s relative thinness. With water: it rather reminds me of my favourite Cuban, Santiago de Cuba 11 years (WF 85). Finish: rather long, well-constructed, on molasses and honeys. Comments: I really enjoyed this one, and Vishnu knows this is not my preferred style of rum at all. Well done, Mayan gods! (did you buy that S.?)
SGP:541 - 85 points.

Foursquare 13 yo 2007/2020 (61.7%, Rasta Morris, cask #RM023, 239 bottles)

Foursquare 13 yo 2007/2020 (61.7%, Rasta Morris, cask #RM023, 239 bottles) Five stars
We’ve heard the very distinguished and talented bottler had chosen this brand name because one of his secret dreams was to sport dreadlocks like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. No, no fake news on WF! And yes my last will is written, dated and signed. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a subtle one it seems, you would almost believe this is Glenmo. Quite. Cakes, green bananas, cane juice, maple syrup, mountain honey, quinces, lime blossom… All gentleness despite the murderous ABV. Whiffs of lilies of the valley, perhaps wisteria. With water: water brings out sweet oak, vanilla, a touch of white asparagus, a little tapioca perhaps… It’s really not a petroly Foursquare at all, but this softer profile suits it well. Mouth (neat): very very good, tense and lime-y, this is almost lemon honey. It’s just a little too strong, cough, cough… With water: ah, the benzine comes out now, wee bits of olives, liquorice… But the lime-y core remains there. That’s excellent. Finish: medium and really very fresh. Perhaps a drop of absinth in the aftertaste. Comments: got to love a good barrel that behaves and never gets in the way. Excellent and totally a malternative in my Book of Jah.
SGP:551 - 90 points.

But of course, off to Jamaica…

Monymusk 24 yo 1995/2019 ‘EMB’ (67%, Velier, Villa Paradisetto, Jamaica)

Monymusk 24 yo 1995/2019 ‘EMB’ (67%, Velier, Villa Paradisetto, Jamaica) Five stars
EMB means this is a Plummer style, with moderate esters (125-175 grams per HLPA). The strength got totally lethal after 24 years in the tropics having said that, see you on the other side as Ozzy would have said… Colour: deep amber. Nose: I hadn’t found last week’s 2010 EMB extremely convincing, but this is something else, with magnificent tropical jams, especially mango jam, and some superb notes of honeysuckle honey. Now then again, 67% vol., you heard me right. With water: let’s let it simmer and whirl for a while… Right, it’s absolutely gorgeous, full of ripe bananas, mangos, papayas, aromatic herbs (verbena, wormwood, fennel), beeswax, honeys, oils (olive), drops of crisp sweet whites (Jurançon, sweet chenin, sweet riesling and such)… This is clearly a nose to marry. Mouth (neat): it’s superb, that’s all I’ll say just now. Stunning liquorice it seems, but quick… With water: you haven’t quite got the heavy tannins coming to the surface, which sometimes happens with some ullaged old rums aged in the tropics, rather a perfect tropical jamminess, some liquorice, a little tar, and just the faintest oaky grittiness. No problems. Finish: very long and curiously elegant. A complex tea mix with fruits and the softest spices. Only the aftertaste is a little tannic. Comments: to sum things up, this is some luminous tropical-fruity liquid liquorice. Never afraid.
SGP:662 - 91 points.

There’s a remaining slot I think…

Monymusk 22 yo 1997/2019 ‘EMB’ (67.9%, Giuseppe Begnoni, Jamaica, 442 bottles)

Monymusk 22 yo 1997/2019 ‘EMB’ (67.9%, Giuseppe Begnoni, Jamaica, 442 bottles) Four stars and a half
Right, this is an ‘EMB’ too but it says that the distillate contained 427.2 grams esters/HLPA. This is all way too complicated for me anyway, Scotch is so much simpler! By the way, Giuseppe Begnoni is a famous whisky collector and merchant from Bologna, Italy. It’s said that he’s choosing these strengths for his bottlings because ‘his Ferrari gains at least 50-hp whenever he pours a bottle or three into the gas tank.’ Again, no fake news on WF! (Mi scusi, Giuseppe). Colour: amber. Nose: indeed, more esters, more olives, capers, brine, liquorice, tar, leatherette, new tyres, crabs, seaweed… And it doesn’t even burn mind you. With water: typical estery Monymusk, less ‘blade-y’ than Hampden or Worthy Park, but with perfect tropical jam/salty liquorice and tar integration. Also old magazines, petrol, engine oil… and oranges! There are more oranges than elsewhere for sure. Mouth (neat): huge liquorice. Let’s move on… With water: salty fruit, tar, some raw chocolate, coffee beans, a little burnt wood, some salt… I have to say it’s not easy to have the amount of water right, as H2O also awakens the tannicity. Finish: long, salty, clearly phenolic, a tad rough and pretty espresso-y. Comments: a very tough baby and a reckless fighter. It will never give up easy!
SGP:563 - 89 points.

(Thank you a lot Robert)

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