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

July 24, 2022


Rums of the world this time again

Various rums today, which is easier and funnier to do than single-distillery or even single-country sessions. Next time we'll have old cognacs, and the next Sunday probably a large flight of Coronas. I mean, of Caronis. In the meantime…

The Flying Fijians, Fiji's national rugby team.


Clairin Le Rocher 2020 (47.2%, OB, La Maison & Velier, Haiti, +/-2021)

Clairin Le Rocher 2020 (47.2%, OB, La Maison & Velier, Haiti, +/-2021) Four stars
Some white rum from Haiti, well a clairin that was distilled from cane syrup rather than fresh cane juice, in pot stills. It is advertised as having been bottled at 'still strength', which would suggest, at 47.2%, that the second run has been very, very long and that the make should shelter many heavier congeners. Let's see… Colour: white. Nose: first a lot of medicinal alcohol, artisanal vodka (I used to know a Russian dentist who tended to make these kinds out of his 'professional stuff') with something burnt, some varnishes, then the expected olives and rotting bananas, plus a lot of fermenting cane juice, with a greasy side. Very aguardiente-ish, we're talking under-the-counter Cuban aguardiente. Mouth: quite bizarrely, it is not the wild kind of clairin I was expecting because of that 'still strength' mention, it's rather one that's full of liquorice allsorts and agave syrup rather than cane. Very intriguing, going then towards a lemon + olive combination, with even a feeling of those dry martinis that some English gentlemen seem to cherish. Finish: long and saltier, with a wee smokiness and always these lemons and olives. I just cannot not think of some mezcals. Comments: I was a little hesitant at first, but it unfolded rather beautifully. This, many ice cubes and 40°C in the shade. There is also a feeling of ready-made Ti'punch, perhaps.

SGP:661 - 86 points.

That one called for more clairin…

Clairin Sonson 2020 (51.1%, OB, La Maison & Velier, Haiti, +/-2021)

Clairin Sonson 2020 (51.1%, OB, La Maison & Velier, Haiti, +/-2021) Three stars
This one two was batch-distilled from cane syrup. Colour: white. Nose: fruitier yet and even more varnishy, with rather high esters and a very rotting-banana-y side. Pattex! With water: gets more acetic. Juniper, white vinegar, bits of tarragon… Mouth (neat): clearly gentler than the Rocher and rather reminiscent of caraway-led aquavits. Limoncello, caraway, varnish. With water: gets sweeter yet, almost liqueury. It reminds me of a drink… let me check WF's archive… There, kummel! Finish: same-ish, plus citronade. Comments: really good but I believe the Rocher was in a higher league. Vaval, Sajous and Casimir too, I would add.

SGP:661 – 82 points.

Since we were in Haiti… By the way, heard something of Barbancourt lately? Hope they're doing okay…

Haiti 2004/2018 (63.1%, LMDW, Transcontinental Rum Line for &Fine Spirits)

Haiti 2004/2018 (63.1%, LMDW, Transcontinental Rum Line for &Fine Spirits) Three stars and a half
Aged for less than one year in the tropics, and more than thirteen years in Europe. Wondering if the UK still counts as 'Europe' in that respect. Right, this is said to be some indie Barbancourt, but was it still pure pot still or ex-column? Or a mix of both? Colour: white wine. Nose: extremely pungent, would destroy your nose when sniffed at above 15°C. Tyre patch glue. With water: less glue and nail polish, more syrup, butterscotch, nougat, oriental pastries, baklavas… Mouth (neat): varnish, fruit juices and bonbons. And a lot of ethanol. Rather in the style of some unreduced Panamanians, Guatemalans or Nicaraguans, with that thinner body. With water: I would wager this is the best you could do within this lighter style. Drops of pastis, so basically, liquorice and aniseed, fennel… Finish: medium, rather fresh, a tad sugary and syrupy, still. Orange juice, aniseed and caraway in the aftertaste. Comments: absolutely not my preferred style, but as I said, possibly the best you could do within that style (which is not my favourite, eh).

SGP:640 - 84 points.

Let's move to… right, since we mentioned it, Panama…

Malecon 18 yo 1998 'Rare Proof' (51.7%, OB, Panama, +/-2017)

Malecon 18 yo 1998 'Rare Proof' (51.7%, OB, Panama, +/-2017) Two stars
Right, Malecon is not quite a friend of the house WF, Angus and yours truly have always found them weak and void of any smidgen of interest. But our soul is pure and our quest unachieved, so… As for why 51.7% would be a 'rare proof', I have no idea. Colour: full gold. Nose: Fanta and marmalade, citron liqueur and, indeed, triple-sec and limoncello. We do spot a pattern… With water: falls flat. Cheap milk chocolate perhaps. Mouth (neat): no no no. Cane syrup, Frappuccino, cheaper orange liqueur, caramel and airport fudge. With water: perhaps a notch better, but sugary. Marshmallows and sugar eggs. Finish: short, thin, sweet. Comments: probably not the utter catastrophe that we were fearing, but did they really need eighteen years to produce this simplistic little sweet rum? I would say only the Malecon 25 yo 'Reserva Imperial' was frankly more to my liking (WF 78).

SGP:730 - 70 points.

In truth it is a style that they make ten times better in Barbados…

W.I.R.D. 2000/2022 (47.8%, Plantation, Extreme Series, Barbados, 924 bottles)

W.I.R.D. 2000/2022 (47.8%, Plantation, Extreme Series, Barbados, 924 bottles) Five stars
Ex-pot still and certified without 'dosage'. Aged for 5 years in the tropics, then 16 years in continental Europe, including 2 years in Ferrand's cognac casks. Still wondering why they would do that, but there. Colour: light gold. Nose: fresh, with whiffs of aniseed, liquorice, absinth, seawater, broken branches, clams, wakame, paraffin, old tin-box, oysters… (all that in no particular order, as you may have noticed). And no cognac. Mouth: it's got this quasi-phenolic, deeper and fatter style that's a little uncommon in Barbados (according to my very meagre experience). Shoe polish, salmiak, salt (right, it triggers a saltiness), and even a wee feeling of peat smoke. Also, it's not often that I would find this many oysters in some rum. Excellent. Finish: rather long, salty, this time with a handful of olives and a touch of the blackest and most bitter chocolate. Comments: we do no politics, we're content with tasting what reaches our tulip glasses. What's not reaching them is of very little interest to us. Rather brilliant W.I.R.D., this.

SGP:463 - 90 points.

Not surprised, that's Plantation's top range. Anyway, kudos  and let's now try to find something that, in theory, could 'climb over' that little W.I.R.D… Perhaps this?

Enmore 29 yo 1991/2021 (51.2%, Nobilis Rum, Selected by Rum Exchange, cask #NR10, 191 bottles)

Enmore 29 yo 1991/2021 (51.2%, Nobilis Rum, Selected by Rum Exchange, cask #NR10, 191 bottles) Four stars and a half
From the single wooden Versailles still when it was still at Enmore, before being moved to Diamond, with a cask bearing the marque 'KFM' (which does not mean Kentucky Fried Molasses, mind you – ooh that was smart, S.) Colour: brownish amber. Nose: tons of fresh putty, teak oil, Barbour grease, pine resins, tar liqueur, pine-cone smoke, burning incense and lemon marmalade. More or less. With water: abundant tobaccos, cigars, cigarettes and pipes. Also pu-her tea and walnut stain. Mouth (neat): pure pine and oak syrup, extremely extractive, totally tannic, and yet rather appealing if you're not afraid of losing your tongue to the enemy. Right, I have to say the jury's still out. With water: very often, water would kill tannic spirits and make them just drying and flat. That's not what's happening here, as we've further moved towards thin mints and thyme tea. Finish: long, and perhaps a notch too tannic and piney indeed. I love this, but I couldn't possibly go as high as 90+. Comments: hugely extractive rum, perhaps not quite for the faint-hearted. Not exactly Bacardi Light at 37.5% vol.
SGP:472 – 88 points.

Why not Fiji as the last country we visit today?

South Pacific Distillery 16 yo 2001/2018 (57.4%, The Rum Cask, Fiji).

South Pacific Distillery 16 yo 2001/2018 (57.4%, The Rum Cask, Fiji) Five stars
Molasses in pot stills. Many have been excellent already. Plus, Fiji is a rugby country, just like Scotland. Oh, and France. Colour: gold. Nose: South Pacific has got this Worthy-Parkish side that we've often found rather exciting. Petrol, acetone, olives, carbon, engine oil, chalk, acidic fruits (right, lemons and star fruits), charcoal, roots… With water: salsify, eggplant and gentian, no? Mouth (neat): absolutely excellent, if a bit sharp, very zesty, with carbon, coffee dregs, the greenest green apples, turmeric, liquorice, salted water, Maggi… With water:  wham, case closed. Sublime salted fruits, chutneys, seafood, roots and tobaccos. Finish: long, on exactly the same flavours. Comments: not many folks know of this because Fiji is not in the Caribbean, but I say it is time the world would take notice. Unless the costs of transport keep skyrocketing, and boozes get more regional again… Now if I ever spot any Alsatian rums, I get out three shotguns and a rifle.
SGP:462 - 90 points.

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