Google A bag of seven new high-strength rums

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

September 30, 2018


A bag of seven new high-strength rums

As we often do, as they come… but selectively, because mind you, we’re getting less and less masochistic at WF Towers.

Foursquare 14 yo 2002 (56.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Barbados, #R6.2, refill bourbon, ‘My Thai spice in Bimshire’, 228 bottles)

Foursquare 14 yo 2002 (56.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Barbados, #R6.2, refill bourbon, ‘My Thai spice in Bimshire’, 228 bottles) Four stars
Probably European-aged Foursquare. Colour: white wine. Nose: this one’s rather post-stilly, with good overripe bananas and a serious deal of ink and tar, then new tyres and many other garage-y smells. What shall we do when we’ll all drive electric cars? No more engine oil? No more petroly analogies? With water: rather more new plastics, but that is something we enjoy (in this context, eh). Or brand new Hyundai ;-). Mouth (neat): huge rum, sweeter this time, with a few marshmallows at first, then overripe bananas and pineapples, and some salt, tar, liquorice and green olives. Some esters in there! With water: a few cooking herbs, sage, tarragon… It’s almost béarnaise sauce! Finish: rather long, on plastic, bananas, and more béarnaise. Seriously. Comments: perhaps not the most majestic Foursquare ever, but its aromatic hollows and bumps make it quite fascinating. Emphasis on ‘quite’.
SGP:462 - 86 points.

Well, this session started ‘bigger’ than expected, so we might want to tackle only heavier hitters after that very nice Foursquare…

Uitvlugt 1997/2018 (48.9%, The Wild Parrot, Guyana, cask #WP97489)

Uitvlugt 1997/2018 (48.9%, The Wild Parrot, Guyana, cask #WP97489) Four stars
Continental aging again. Colour: straw. Nose: ooh, another petroly one, this Uitvlugt being just grassier, more ‘organic’, more on mushroomy smells and perhaps pencil shavings, and more on fermentary notes, miso soup, tobacco, sourdough… All aromas that we enjoy a lot, naturally. Mouth: really very flavourful, feeling bigger than 49% vol., very olive-y, tertiary, tarry and lemony. A feeling of high-power mojito, only with a good few cls of used engine oil thrown in. And perhaps a little Ardbeg – and cough medicine made out of bitter roots. Finish: very long, a tad rubbery and peppery, so clearly harsher and even a tad drying. Loses a handful of points here. Comments: very extremely good, just the finish was a little jumbled and harsh, I would say.
SGP:363 - 85 points.

Savanna 10 yo 2007/2018 ‘Herr Japan Tribute’ (61.3%, OB, La Réunion, cask #218, 761 bottles)

Savanna 10 yo 2007/2018 ‘Herr Japan Tribute’ (61.3%, OB, La Réunion, cask #218, 761 bottles) Four stars and a half
This is very long fermentation Grand Arôme rum, distilled in copper columns on the French island of La Réunion, near Madagascar. We’ve already tried some brilliant Savannas. Colour: full gold. Nose: a lot of nail varnish remover at first sniffing, and then the most fantastic banana-y development. Utterly love these smells of fruit manure, fresh box of Cohibas, old balsamic vinegar, and well-aged Spanish ham. Exceptional bouquet, you could spend hours with your nose in the glass. With water: amazing how it would swim. Many subtle spices, very complex curry mixes, cedar and other special woods… Mouth (neat): holey featherless crow, this almost starts as baiju! There’s also really a lot of cloves, caraway seeds, varnishy notes again, rotting exotic fruits… Wouldn’t we have almost mentioned durian? Huge palate, really. With water: space and spice mix. Marvellously tertiary, fermentary, lactic, acidic… There’s really a lot happening in your glass, a whirlwind of flavours, really. Finish: very long, and not as oaky as I had feared. Cedary notes are not always the greatest sign, but all is fine here. Camphory bananas in the aftertaste, I would say. Comments: we’re bordering perfection now. Savanna’s sometimes a bit under the radar at some places, but they’re really worth your attention, I think.
SGP:552 - 88 points.

Since we’re in France…

Bellevue 20 yo 1998/2018 (55.2%, Silver Seal, Guadeloupe)

Bellevue 20 yo 1998/2018 (55.2%, Silver Seal, Guadeloupe) Five stars
In rum, parrots are all the rage, apparently. Well we do know that this honorable bottler does genuinely love parrots, and that he even owns some funny fellow. But shh, that’s private information… By the way, it’s cool that they would mention the fact that this was aged in Scotland and not on location in Guadeloupe on the label. Full transparency, that’s great. Colour: rich amber. Nose: amazing, at the very top of French rum. Fantastic roasted hazelnuts, mango jam, tiger balm, black olives, a drop of nail polish, dried bananas, orange cake… This is better civilised than the others, but it still kicks and screams. More and more heady liquorice after a while. With water: balsa wood, ylang-ylang, fresh cinnamon rolls… Mouth (neat): sweet Jesus, how good is this? It’s perfect rum, with just the best of all worlds. Liquorice’s unifying all this maelstrom of spices, smokes and fruits, and well, I just love this. With water: yeah, water does not push the wood! But it does push the whole towards several other aged spirits, Armagnac perhaps, whisky (that thing they make out of grains), aged plum eau-de-vie… Finish: long, firm, just perfect and typically ‘French Caribbean’. Except that not many French Caribbean rums are as great as this. Gotta love the best of Guadeloupe (and Marie-Galante). Comments: I think I just said all I wanted to say (ooh you racked your brain again, S.!).
SGP:662 - 90 points.

Let’s fly to Trinidad… And Tobago (not Tobacco, Mr. Funny)…

Caroni 20 yo 1998/2018 ‘Dennis X Gopaul’ (69.5%, Velier)

Caroni 20 yo 1998/2018 ‘Dennis X Gopaul’ (69.5%, Velier) Four stars
This one was fully matured in Trinidad. They’ve added pictures and the names of former distillery workers, which I find moving and very smart. Now, 69.5% vol...  Wish me luck! (but there will be even ‘worse’…) Colour: deep amber. Nose: it’s lighter Caroni, apparently, because I find no olives, no tar, and no dead mammals. Well you see what I mean. Having said that, these notes of chocolate cake, cane juice (wow!), and marrow and really very nice. But 69.5% mind you… With water: its relatively gentle, soft, even pretty smooth, cake-y… Indeed this is clearly a lighter style Caroni. Some sides remind me a bit of Barbancourt, really. Mouth (neat): I don’t know and I don’t want to know, because it just burns you. N  r ll  I s e  r, I  b rn . With water: some earthiness, sugar cane, and a drop of cologne. Finish: long, a tad spirity. Holly eau-de-vie (and I’m not making that up) and a little liquorice liqueur. Or heavily liquoriced pastis. Comments: it’s perhaps not quite one of those heavy Caronis that would tear you apart or make you sing Sinatra, but it’s still very high-quality rum in my humble little cane book.
SGP:452 - 86 points.

Let us try that again…

Caroni 22 yo 1996/2018 ‘John D Eversley’ (66.5%, Velier)

Caroni 22 yo 1996/2018 ‘John D Eversley’ (66.5%, Velier) Four stars and a half
This one too was fully aged in Trinidad. And the very engaging Mr. Eversley seems to mean it! Colour: dark reddish amber. Nose: it’s a soft one again, but this time we’re all going into subtleties, this is almost Mozartian. Perfect croissants, cakes, breads, cane cake, banana jam, earl grey, old Bensons (and Hedges), apricot jam, Danish… Wonderful, really. Really a civilised Caroni, one that you could offer to a lady (S., come on, you can’t say that anymore!) With water: proper agricole! I know that cannot be, but still… Mouth (neat): magic. Makes you cough, of course, and sure the oak may have taken over, but there is a fullness that just clicks. Hard to explain. Let’s try water: yep, lemons, citrons, green olives, tar, artichokes, candle wax… There, everything’s back to normal. Finish: long  saltier, with some kinds of tarry/brine-y lemons. Some varnish too. Comments: super good, just a bit hard to tame. You see, you have to get the amount of water right, as always with any high-power tropically-aged rums. They’re almost weapons, you know.
SGP:462 - 89 points.

Only 66% or even 69% vol.? I mean, LOL!...

Caroni 17 yo 2000/2017 (70.4%, The Whisky Exchange, cask #R4008, 238 bottles)

Caroni 17 yo 2000/2017 (70.4%, The Whisky Exchange, cask #R4008, 238 bottles) Four stars
Some very late-period Caroni bottled at an insanely high strength. Utterly love it that at 70.4% vol., someone in pre-Brexit London (or in Genoa?) has felt the need to add this to the label: ‘Full Proof’. But it’s true that there was doubt… Colour: amber. Nose: not even afraid! This is almost smooth and mild, slightly petroly, a little olive-y, certainly a little tarry, and quite cake-y, but other than that, we manage, as they say in D.C. Perhaps a drop of Maggi. Or lovage juice. With water: feels Japanese, seriously. Where do these notes of sake come from? Love the ripe pears though, but that’s a bit Yamazaki, isn’t it? This is really funny, I’d swear I’ve tried quite a few ex-bourbon Yamazaki Owner’s Casks that were like this. Mouth (neat): please-do-not-take-more-than-one-drop! No, really, it’s unpleasant at this strength. Where have I put my pipette?... With water: there, back to civilisation, but frankly, we’re rather wandering throughout Japanese malt territories. Or am I dreaming? The oak’s very present, you have to like that. Oh let’s say it, as much as I’m all in favour of tropical aging ‘philosophically’ or even ‘socially’, or ‘historically’, I think there are issues too. Simply because long story short, molecules from the wood simply don’t evaporate, so concentration is the enemy here. Good, that’s to be discussed later… Finish: extremely long, just a wee bit coarse perhaps. Lighter style Caroni in any case. Comments: okay London, attempted murder, this is going to cost you…
SGP:451 - 86 points.

Good, I may need a wee rest before I start to yodel…

(Thank you Lance!)

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






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