Google Rums, starting with an odd one

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

May 22, 2022


  A word of caution
Let me please remind you that my humble assessments of any spirits are done from the point of view of a malt whisky enthusiast who, what's more, is aboslutely not an expert in rum, brandy, tequila, vodka, gin or any other spirits. Thank you – and peace!


Rums, starting with an odd one

Starting with a rather weird old apéritif that we were having deep in a deep box.

Van Der Hum (31%, OB, South Africa, +/-2000)

Van Der Hum (31%, OB, South Africa, +/-2000) Four stars
Glups, for many years, that is to say since I got this bottle, I've been considering this was 'Van De Rhum', so rhum, so rum. Looks like I was wrong once more, as apparently, this is actually a liqueur made with brandy, tangerines and herbs. In short, this is anything but rum. Bah, since we opened it… Colour: red brown. Nose: it's pretty much cola liqueur. Lemon, cola, caraway, ginger, juniper. Emphasis on cola and lemon. Why not!? We're talking proper cola soda, from a proper glass bottle. Mouth: love it. Yes, Serge speaking. Deep colaness, ginger and caraway, lemon and grapefruit, fennel seeds, liquorice, morello cherries, wormwood… The herbal part has been crafted with art and skill – South African monks, I would suppose? Finish: long, not too sweet given that this is a liqueur, with an awesome citrus and all herbs and spices singing in unison in the aftertaste. Comments: when you do whacky drinks, there are moments like this. Hope Van Der Hum still exist – and that they're doing double magnums. Yes, Serge still speaking.
SGP:670 - 86 points.

Good, let's do rum, randomly…

Foursquare 15 yo 2005/2021 (58%, Distilia, The Golden Age of Piracy, Barbados, cask #105, 262 bottles)

Foursquare 15 yo 2005/2021 (58%, Distilia, The Golden Age of Piracy, Barbados, cask #105, 262 bottles) Three stars
The golden age of piracy, that's right today, no? Bezos? Zuck? Tim? Colour: deep gold. Nose: typical, partly columny (fragrant peonies, dandelions) and partly heavy (cane honey, millionaire shortbread, blond turon…) Some varnish too, water is needed. With water: whoops, water rather locks it. Hay, crushed canes… Mouth (neat): a feeling of cabinetmaking (whatever) and truly loads of varnish. Water's more than needed here, it's crucial. With water: grassy and bonbony. Reminds of those lollipops that the Mexicans are making with agave juice (and, err, worms-that-are-not-worms). Green pepper. Finish: long and grassy. Not easy. Comments: indeed, this one was curiously grassy and austere. Very good – it is Foursquare after all - but I'm not too sure.

SGP:361 - 82 points.

Versailles 15 yo 2003/2019 (57%, Milano Rum Festival, Guyana, 270 bottles)

Versailles 15 yo 2003/2019 (57%, Milano Rum Festival, Guyana, 270 bottles) Four stars and a half
This was bottled by our good friends in Milano to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk. Good idea, that's how we are all walking anyway after we've had a good few Demeraras… Colour: light gold. Nose: this Versailles was distilled at Diamond. It's full of gasoline, spent engine oil, and just paraffin. With water: olives chiming in, some seawater, old boats, clay, tar… Mouth (neat): huge, salty, ashy, bitter, rather extreme. Somewhat in the style of some Clarendons. With water: got it! Grapefruits, olives, the bitterest liquorice, tar, and just seawater. Say the Mediterranean (pushing this a wee bit now). Finish: very long, salty, with the usual 'plastic wax' component and some tinned English gherkins in the aftertaste (God save the Queen!) Comments: totally excellent, if a little extreme and a tad too unpolished for someone who remains mainly a whisky enthusiast.

SGP:464 - 88 points.

Haven't we just mentioned Clarendon ?

Clarendon 14 yo 2007/2021 (58%, Sansibar and Shinanoya, Jamaica, barrel, 304 bottled)

Clarendon 14 yo 2007/2021 (58%, Sansibar and Shinanoya, Jamaica, barrel, 304 bottled) Three stars and a half
So a Germano-Japanese bottling. Lovely label, by the way. Remember Clarendon is Monymusk, and conversely. Colour: deep gold. Nose: some Clarendons have been a little too extreme to me, almost like if you would just crunch peppercorns. This one does display rather a lot of varnish and acetone at first nosing, also benzine, then rather crushed bananas and strawberries. Fruity molecules toying with us! With water: more sugarcane, orange cordials, caraway, liquorice and clove. You would almost believe someone's added a few bottles of Jaeger to this cask, while no one was watching. Mouth (neat): very heavy, extremely tarry and full of varnish and even salt. A feeling of potassium. Very high impact, not unlike other Clarendons that I could try recently. With water: still very huge. Black olives, very tarry liquorice, cedar shavings, high-strength peppermint liqueur… Finish: very long, even saltier and olive-y. Keeps biting you in the aftertaste. Comments: I find these more brutal and, perhaps, unbalanced than most Hampdens or Worthy Parks, but within this tougher, ultra-dry style, it sure is a finer example…
SGP:275 - 84 points.

Undisclosed Nicaragua 16 yo (55.3%, Sample X, 247 bottles, 2021)

Undisclosed Nicaragua 16 yo (55.3%, Sample X, 247 bottles, 2021) Three stars
This baby by Kintra and The Whisky Mercenary. Probably from Compañia Licorera (Flor de Caña). Colour: light amber. Nose: at the other end of the spectrum, as this is extremely soft and sweet, yet not exactly 'empty'. Lovely whiffs of fresh-roasted peanuts, pancake sauce, little sugar eggs, soft molasses, milk chocolate, coffee liqueur… With water: rather varnish and fresh sawdust popping out. Pencil shavings. Mouth (neat): really sweet, with an oak that's bringing a large part of the flavours, especially vanilla, toasted cake and nougat, as well as cinnamon and nutmeg. With water: a few acidic touches (grapefruits, orange drops) and an oakiness that keeps leading the pack. Finish: medium, with some orange peel and more fruit drops. An oaky bitterness in the aftertaste. Comments: a very good one within a style that's not exactly part of my favourites.

SGP:650 - 81 points.

West Indies Rum Distillery 14 yo 2007/2022 (58%, Plantation Extreme, Barbados, 2856 bottles)

West Indies Rum Distillery 14 yo 2007/2022 (58%, Plantation Extreme, Barbados, 2856 bottles) Three stars
I'm not sure I've really understood yet why these must be finished in ex-cognac wood, but it's true that this one's older brother, the recent WIRD 1986/2022 from Plantation's, has been very much to my liking (WF 91). Colour: gold. Nose: a very light one, it seems, almost Cuban-style. Hay, yellow melon, a very tiny drop of brine, a hint of vine peach (from the cognac casks?)… With water: some grassiness, otherwise much lightness. Mouth (neat): orange wine aged in oak, with a little varnish, curaçao, cane juice… With water: same. All things oranges and sugarcane running the show, with sides reminding me of French rhum de sucrerie – or rhum industriel. Finish: medium length. A little aniseed. Feels 100% ex-column, but I would need to double-check that part. Correction, there's some batch-rum in the mix. I wouldn't say that feels much. Comments: fascinatingly close to the Nicaraguan, just a tad grassier.

SGP:650 - 81 points.

Please, a heavier one… But a mystery at this point.

Caroni 'Employees 6th Release Blend #4' (66.8%, Velier, LMDW, Trinidad, +/-2022?) Five stars
Got to love this 'employees' series that's reminding us of Bruichladdich's own efforts back in the 2000s. Having said that, we haven't got any pictures of this one yet, all we know is that this label is 'green'. Should we get more information, we'll ammend acordingly. Colour: amber. Nose: oh, smoked nougat and chocolate! Plus the usual spent engine oil, tarmac, olives, menthol and liquorice. All as expected. With water: why is this nose this brilliant? We need an explanation! Apparently, someone's smoked some all-vitamin fruit juice. Mouth (neat): extremely thick, but even at this insane strength, this is utterly brilliant indeed. Pink bananas, guava juice, liquorice and diesel oil, perfectly synchronised. With water: gets piney and tarrier, and probably a tad less fruity. No problemo. Finish: extremely long, which ain't too good for our wee session. Death seat after this one! Comments: a monstrous Caroni. You would have thought the best casks had been bottled a long time ago. So, either that was not true, or they're very bad at checking casks. I would lean toward the first option. Now we need to see a bottle…
SGP:663 - 92 points.

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