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

September 12, 2021


Whiskyfun

Rumming away

Beenleigh
I agree that's a terrible headline too, but let's see what we've got on the tasting table… Mostly new indie stuff at rocket-fuel strength, actually, so wish me luck.

Black Tot 'Master Blender's Reserve Rum 2021' (54.5%, Elixir Distillers, blended rum, 6000 bottles)

Black Tot 'Master Blender's Reserve Rum 2021' (54.5%, Elixir Distillers, blended rum, 6000 bottles) Four stars and a half
I'm always finding it rather moving when very altruistic distillers and master blenders accept to part with their own reserves. By the way, for the first time distinguished Master Blender Oliver Chilton has added some Australian rum to the Black Tot composition; could that be Beenleigh? Other than that, it's all a 'British' rum with Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad. Colour: gold. Nose: you would almost believe you could read through this one on the nose, finding the Jamaican(s), Trinidadian, Bajan… It's pretty estery, diesely, with some meatiness (bacon) and quite some liquorice and star anise, then overripe bananas and fermenting pineapples. Touches of olives, which I always find very Jamaican (although I've never checked if they were growing olives in Jamaica) and a handful of raisins. With water: gets drier, on many herbal teas and even more liquorice (sticks). Very fresh allspice mix. Mouth (neat): ultra-classic rich British-style rum, with heavy liquorice, petrol and rotting topical fruits, and a spiciness that may stem from the Australian. Just a very wild and silly guess. With water: very good, a notch lighter perhaps (Barbados?) with those raisins coming to the front and a few violet sweets in the background. But liquorice keeps running the show. Finish: rather long and quite salty. A little more pipe tobacco, molasses, prunes and raisins. Comments: excellently constructed and very 'British Navy' indeed.  Why not also do a French Marine Nationale rhum, one of these days?
SGP:662 - 87 points.

You said Australian rum?...

Beenleigh 13 yo 2007/2021 (63.4%, The Duchess, Australia, cask #38)

Beenleigh 13 yo 2007/2021 (63.4%, The Duchess, Australia, cask #38) Four stars and a half
There's a lovely platypus on the label, but I believe the old Beenleigh distillery is not located in Tasmania, rather in Queensland. It really is an old rum distillery as it started fuming in the late 19th century. See the old advert above, it's from 1921 (Wikipedia). Colour: gold. Nose: sure it is a little hot and burning, with rather excessive varnishes and other rougher elements, but I have a good feeling… With water:  asparagus and fruit peelings, fresh bark, surely sugarcane dregs, Wulong tea, menthol, camphor, then bananas and diesel oil. Mouth (neat): a little rich and hot but there's something Guyanian to this one, seemingly. Varnish, petrol, green grapefruits, cane juice … With water: indeed, one of the softer Guyanians, but with more tropical fruits, pink bananas, papayas for sure, peaches, pomegranates… Finish: rather long, relatively softer than expected, but perfectly balanced. Awesome notes of fermenting sugarcane juice (vesou). Comments: not quite a surprise as I had already tried one or two very good indie Beenleighs. The OB I could try had been rather less convincing.

SGP:562 - 85 points.

Off to Agricoleland..

Père Labat 2013/2021 'Hiali' (57.5%, Tamosi, Marie-Galante, agricole, 287 bottles)

Père Labat 2013/2021 'Hiali' (57.5%, Tamosi, Marie-Galante, agricole, 287 bottles) Four stars and a half
We always like to mention the marvellous wee island of Marie-Galante but it is administratively part of Guadeloupe. Let's remember that Père Labat is made at Distillerie Poisson and that naturally, it's pure agricole (cane juice, colonnes créoles). Colour: light gold. Nose: surprisingly rounded, displaying a lot of butterscotch, custard and raisin-like notes, you would almost believe someone's just opened a dozen fresh panettones in the room. I have to say I wasn't quite expecting this, let's move on… With water: gets leafier, with more fruit peelings, also raisins and caramel…  Perhaps cognac wood? Mouth (neat): strong but super good, with more varnish and paint thinner, a little icing sugar, sweet cider, liquorice, lemon curd, raisins… With water: indeed, what wasn't in the nose is here on the palate, with some cane-iness, petroly elements, and a lot of liquorice. Finish: rather long, same, getting grassier towards the aftertaste. More fruit peelings. Comments: absolutely ex-cel-lent, perhaps just a tad softer and rounder than expected. Less 'straight agricole'.

SGP:651 - 86 points.

Clarendon 16 yo 2004/2020 (61%, Auld Alliance 10th Anniversary, Jamaica, cask #433883)

Clarendon 16 yo 2004/2020 (61%, Auld Alliance 10th Anniversary, Jamaica, cask #433883) Four stars and a half
Given the vintage, this should be 'old' Clarendon a.k.a. Monymusk from the Vendome still, not ethanoly rum from the huge triple column that was erected there in 2009 and that's capable of churning out close to 20Mio LPA for large brands such as Diageo's. This should be a bottling by Bristol Spirits. Colour: deep gold. Nose: starts varnishy and acetic, always a good sign in my book. Acetone, stewed artichokes, almond oil, marzipan… But careful, I drills holes into your nose. With water: banana cake, cigars, olives, a little horse dung, dried citrus skin (chen-pi), some engine oil… Mouth (neat): it drills holes into your tongue too, but I do get a gritty, very Jamaican salty olive-y and petroly home base. Let's add water before it's too late: huge salty, almost smoky development, moving towards mezcal and gentian, plus liquorice, tobacco and a little leather. No human being could be against that. Finish: very long, a little spicier. Caraway and ginger, fennel seeds and star anise in the aftertaste. Comments: rather epic high-ester rum, well in the top-dressing Jamaica style. Perhaps a little less immaculate than the top Hampdens or Worthy Parks. Water is mandatory.

SGP:563 - 89 points.

Let's stay in Jamaica…

New Yarmouth 26 yo 1994/2021 (63%, Rum Sponge, Jamaica, first fill barrel, 249 bottles)

New Yarmouth 26 yo 1994/2021 (63%, Rum Sponge, Jamaica, first fill barrel, 249 bottles) Four stars and a half
According to the owners, 'the finish lasts for the same length of time it takes to read the entirety of Ceefax through an early 1990s 26" Sony Triniton TV set.' All right. Unless I'm mistaken, New Yarmouth Distillery is where Appleton's dressers are made. Oh and according to this label, the fine Scots at Decadent Drinks/Rum Sponge, after quite some years of working with professional graphic designers, finally managed to restart their own Commodore 64. Well done! Colour: red amber. Nose: coal tar and peonies, roasted chestnuts, cedar wood, café latte and used engine oil. Everything's normal. To think that those murderous 63% vol. are not even 'natural' and that they reduced this baby! With water: I don't think it is a very funky New Yarmouth, I find it rather softer, on fudge, millionaire shortbread, sugar cane, banana skin, hay, earl grey, chamomile, other teas… Mouth (neat): excellent, rounded, fudge-y and coating, but boy is it strong. With water: this time there is rather more funk, but it all pretty gentle, ala light Caroni if that rings a bell. Maple syrup, cane syrup, a little cough medicine, eucalyptus… Very very nice, almost subtle once you manage to tame it (warning you need a six-pack of Evian). Finish: medium to long, very creamy, with a little more tar, liquorice, and earth. Those gentiany touches. Comments: extremely good and I seem to remember some older Appletons that were showing these traits.
SGP:552 - 89 points.

New Yarmouth 26 yo 1994/2021 (59.1%, Thompson Bros., Jamaica, 271 bottles)

New Yarmouth 26 yo 1994/2021 (59.1%, Thompson Bros., Jamaica, 271 bottles) Four stars and a half
This one could be similar. Colour: dark gold. Nose: close, obviously. Same provenance, same vintage, similar high strength, this is even a tad gentler, more on café latte and less on tar. Let's see what water does to it. With water: a little metal polish, otherwise tobacco and leather plus notes of stewed sweet carrots and pumpkin, or red kuri squashes. Mouth (neat): fruity, almost bonbony. Caramel sauce, fudge… They sometimes have whisky fudge in tourist shops (in Scotland, not in Jamaica) and this Jamaican reminds me of those. I'm also reminded of Belize's Travellers Distillery. With water: some earth, a little orange juice, cane syrup… It really is a gentle Jamaican. Finish: rather long, this time with liquorice rolls and liquorice allsorts. Some black tea and oak in the aftertaste, plus curious notes of baked eggplants. Comments: an intriguing old Jamaican. Pretty superb but I think the Sponge's kind of overshadowed it. I think I should have had this one first, mea Culpa.
SGP:651 - 86 points.

A last try at New Yarmouth 1994 and we're done.

New Yarmouth 26 yo 1994/2021 (67.9%, Malt, Grain & Cane, Jamaica, Japan exclusive, cask #435082)

New Yarmouth 26 yo 1994/2021 (67.9%, Malt, Grain & Cane, Jamaica, Japan exclusive, cask #435082) Four stars and a half
They all mention 'heavy Jamaican rum' w.r.t. these New Yarmouths but after the Clarendon, which was much more 'funky', they feel gentle as lambs and as sweet as lollipops. Colour: red amber. Nose: perhaps not this one, I do feel some paint thinner and even a little ammonia, but at almost 68% vol., I'm taking no chances. With water: this one too gets gentler and rounder, with oranges, cakes, liquorice and liquid caramel, but some tar is remining in the background, as well as, perhaps, half an olive. Carbon paper and paraffin. Mouth (neat): murder and damnation. That's the strength. If you insist, let's say over-infused mint tea, high-concentrated lemon juice and heavy-duty solvent. You shouldn't have insisted, cough, cough… With water: a higher acidity indeed, lemon juice, even gherkins, these olives that abound in Hampden whichever the marques, liquorice… Finish: really long, on similar notes. Comments: the thing is, at such high strength you need to add water, but when you add water and in theory, you should wait for at least twenty minutes before all molecules have mingled together as they should. I believe that's particularly crucial with this style of rum, where phenols and esters may play hide-and-seek. Tough job.

SGP:561 - 87 points.

These three New Yarmouths have been extremely tough, we may have overestimated our strength today, I think I need a dip, adios.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all rums we've tasted so far

 

 

 
   

 

 

 

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