Google Malternatives on Sunday, today more rum at random

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

September 7, 2014


Malternatives on Sunday,
today more rum at random

This might be a dangerous session, with heavy hitters before flattish sugar bombs, or old Jamaicans before young Guatemalans… Or maybe we’ll have luck? Or maybe better to keep the line up under control?

CaraÏbes (40%, Compagnie des Indes, blended rum, +/-2014)

CaraÏbes (40%, Compagnie des Indes, blended rum, +/-2014) Three stars and a halfPerfect, this is going to be easy. A lovely retro label on a brand new product (haven’t we seen that before?) that’s bottled in France. It’s a young blend of Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana – not too sure if it’s French Guyane or Guyana/Demerara, that is. Colour: gold. Nose: great, it’s a- fat and heavy blend, more or less Caroni style – although there just cannot be any Caroni inside. Great combination of smoky/tarry molasses, black olives, then lemon liqueur and citron liqueur, Corsican style. Much, much more personality so far than in many other blended rums, in my humble opinion. Mouth: yes indeed, it’s excellent, even if it’s rounder and sweeter on the palate. Bananas flambéed and liquorice with drops of tar liqueur and, again, a salty touch. Heavy honey. Finish: quite long but a little too sweet for me this time. A little too molassy, I’d say. Sugary aftertaste, which is less good. Comments: globally excellent, this one’s been composed by a skilled blender for sure. Only the finish was too sweet for me. SGP:632 - around 83 points.

You said Trinidad?...

Caroni 1998 (40%, Jean Boyer, Bullion, Trinidad, +/-2014)

Caroni 1998 (40%, Jean Boyer, Bullion, Trinidad, +/-2014) Four stars and a half Another French bottling, by pioneering whisky bottlers Jean Boyer. Colour: gold. Nose: oh, Caroni indeed! Burning tarred papers, linoleum, new tyres, old musty cellar, green olives, damp earth, kippers, old banana skin… What’s not to like? And the power is good at 40% vol. The palate might be another story… Mouth: my my… Why only 40% vol.? (no worries, I’ve got the answer.) But what a superb combo involving tapenade, plenty of tar and liquorice, smoked fish and meat, candy sugar, violet sweets, gherkin brine… This is absolutely perfect rum for whisky freaks. Correction, peat freaks. Finish: extremely long despite the low strength. Concentrated smoked tea, salt, salmiak and kippers. And yes, this is rum. Comments: love it. Can we have more, but at a higher strength? SGP:452 - around 89 points.

The only problem is that when Caronis pass, other rums pass away. Unless it’s more Caroni… 

Caroni 1996/2013 (43%, Bristol Classic Rum, Trinidad)

Caroni 1996/2013 (43%, Bristol Classic Rum, Trinidad) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: a sweeter, rounder version, with a little more sweet oak as well, more smoothness, more vanilla and bananas… In short, an easier Caroni. This baby might have been finished in some kind of sweet cask – if I remember well, it was. Strawberry jam, mango chutney… So yes, it’s a gentler Caroni, but quality’s there again, and so are the (lighter) tar, olives and liquorice. What’s so wrong with easiness? Mouth: no no no no no, we’re well at Caroni’s on the palate, and the 1998 and 1996 are pretty similar, even if this baby’s a notch sweeter and more candied. Bags and bags of smoked liquorice and olives in Grand-Marnier. We might have to try that one day. Love the tarry smoke. Finish: dangerously long, don’t eat delicate food after such a monster. Comments: one day we’ll do a large Caroni vs. Ardbeg session. One day! SGP:642 - around 87 points.

Who said that only Caroni can follow Caroni?...

Caroni 1991 (40%, Mezan, Trinidad, +/-2013)

Caroni 1991 (40%, Mezan, Trinidad, +/-2013) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: oh this is interesting. Quite strangely, we’re going downwards as far as phenols are concerned, this is well a lighter style, much more on crisp and clear tropical fruits. The tarry side remains there in the background, but melons and papayas are doing most of the talking, together with small bananas (the pink ones) and a little bit of tamarind. It seems that we did it all… backwards. Mouth: it’s heavy rum when compared to the schmaltzy Dominicans or South-Americans, but it’s, indeed, light and fruity rum when compared to the other Caronis we just had. Probably a cask of light-style Caroni, as they were doing both heavy and light when the distillery was alive. I find melon again, maybe apricots, pineapples, bananas and some light honey. Only a drop of tar liqueur in the background. Even the body’s lighter, it’s got less fatty heaviness. Finish: of medium length, but quite surprisingly, Caroni’s heavy style is back to add a worthy signature to this baby. Smoky olives, tar and ashes. Comments: a fun Caroni, even if it’s kind of schizophrenic. Liked the other ones better, though. SGP:632 – around 82 points.

It’s good that the Mezan was lighter, because that means that we can go on…

Trinidad Distillers 6 yo 2000/2006 (45%, Alambic Classique, Trinidad)

Trinidad Distillers 6 yo 2000/2006 (45%, Alambic Classique, Trinidad) Two stars and a half That’s right, more Trinidad, but this cannot be Caroni, as Caroni was closed in 1993. In fact, it’s most probably Angostura, so lighter column rum. Colour: white wine. Nose: oh-hum, this is much lighter indeed. It’s nice, but it’s light. Hay and sugarcane, overripe apples and bananas, herbal teas (lime tree), a touch of earth… It’s all delicate and pretty subtle, and I’m sure quality’s high, or Alambic Classique wouldn’t have bottled it. Let’s check the palate… Mouth: it’s okay. The higher strength makes it powerful, but the profile is narrow, rather on orange cake and sugar cane syrup. A touch of raspberry, melon, even apricots… So it’s good and it’s gentle, it’s just not characterful. A kind of Glenlivet of rum? Finish: medium length, rather on ripe plums this time. Mirabelle tart. Comments: good and even ‘perfect’, but probably forgettable. It’s true that the Caronis didn’t help… SGP:531 - around 78 points.

Good, there’s room for a last one. Let’s try to find a potential bomb…

Diamond 10 yo 2003/2014 (51.1%, Whisky-Fässle, Demerara)

Diamond 10 yo 2003/2014 (51.1%, Whisky-Fässle, Demerara) Four stars What, why isn’t this named Rum-Fässle? Seriously, whisky bottlers have already proven that they were good at finding worthy malternative spirits. I don’t know why, I have the feeling that this one will match our tastes… (no preconceptions, he once said.) Colour: red amber. Nose: I’d like to know with which stills this baby was made. I find it rather ‘Enmore’, with both a light and fruity style and a phenolic, almost petroly background. Honey cake? It’s quite superb but I simply do not believe that it was bottled at some measly 51.1% vol. Surely they were meaning 71.1%? With water: there, it opened up, with these typical notes of tarry liquorice and fruitcake. Mouth (neat): we’re sitting right between rum and whisky. Or Demerara and Speyside. Raisins aplenty and of all kinds, plus a very vivid feeling of pure Pedro Ximenez. Very thick stuff. With water: classic rum. Not much phenolicity (c’mon, S.!) and rather sweet honeyed dried fruits. Bananas. A drop of crème de menthe. Finish: long, sweet, well balanced when reduced. Comments: not one of the heavy tarry ones, but it really delivers and would please many a single malt drinker. The body’s perfect. SGP:631 - around 85 points.

(Thanks Christophe and Pierre)

More tasting notes Check the index of all rums I've tasted so far







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