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

May 5, 2019


Rums for real, or making amend

I mean, proper rum, without any dodgy sauces, dosages, sweeteners, unlikely concoctions, or proprietary liqueurs. In short, pure rum. Well, hopefully… Well, we may fail here and there, we’re no rum experts…

Don Papa ‘Rare Cask’ (50.5%, OB, Philippines, for Chat Noir, +/-2018)

Don Papa ‘Rare Cask’ (50.5%, OB, Philippines, for Chat Noir, +/-2018) Two stars
There’s a lot of gibberish on the front and back labels, and indeed we all remember both the NAS and the 10yo are unapologetically sugared-up, so not actual rums. Yeah, pure crookery, but I’ve heard good things about these rare casks, from trustworthy people. Let’s make up our own mind… Colour: amber. Nose: frankly, it’s OK. It reminds me a bit of that Azeri tar liqueur, Balsam, and of burnt pinewood, with touches of liquorice and burned bananas. Teak oil, fresh thuja wood… It’s not un-nice, really, I am positively surprised. With water: same. Caramel, pineapple and banana liqueurs, ylang-ylang, hibiscus… A tad regressive, in truth, but really ‘nice’. Mouth (neat): it’s okay! There is some added sugar and sweet concoctions from ‘the lab’, but this time we’re above, say any average South-Americans, such as Cacique and buddies. It’s just that there’s no middle, it tends to nosedive after just fifteen seconds. Burnt wood, bananas, triple-sec, clove… With water: really, it’s okay, we’re safe, we survived it, and even enjoyed it. Finish: very short, that’s its weaker point. Some sugar in the aftertaste. Comments: nice effort, way above the putrid swill they’re putting out otherwise. The 10 yo is totally terrible, and not recommended by dentists. Oh well…
SGP:630 - 75 points.

Plantation ‘Xamayca Special Dry’ (43%, Plantation, Jamaica, +/-2018)

Plantation ‘Xamayca Special Dry’ (43%, Plantation, Jamaica, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
A blend of Clarendon and Long Pond that, contrarily to what Plantation are doing most of the times, was not sugared-up. Right, not dosaged. Well that’s what their rep told me, let us check that, don’t we owe them a few points anyway? (ha!)… Colour: gold. Nose: no, it’s fully on rotten fruits, mucky smells, olives, rotting gherkins, liquorice, mud, horse saddle, and tarmac. So far, so good, no problems, all is fine, we couldn’t possibly complain. But… Mouth: no buts, there’s no detectable added sugar, just a bizarre kind of burnt pinewood liqueur or something. Other than that, we’re having the usual tar, liquorice, rotting bananas, and black olives. And just the right amount of ‘funk’, although this would not quite be of Parliament quality. Finish: medium to short, very okay, brine-y, slightly smoky. Comments: not pristinely Jamaican and far from Hampden, but not bad at all, in my humble opinion. That’s right, after Don Papa, I rather enjoyed a rum by Plantation. Kind of. Need I see a shrink?
SGP:642 - 78 points.

Another brand I’ve been treating very badly in the past…

Dictador 38 yo ‘Best of 1980’ (45%, OB, Colombia, cask #EX-W232, 300 bottles, 2018)

Dictador 38 yo ‘Best of 1980’ (45%, OB, Colombia, cask #EX-W232, 300 bottles, 2018) Three stars
We’ve been making much fun of Dictador in the past, not least because of the very sexy hostesses they always need to ‘display’ at festivals, but it seems that the figures here are totally genuine. Indeed, these 38 years may well be real, mind you! Colour: deep amber. Nose: well, this IS sexy indeed. Peach jam, chocolate sauce, honeysuckle, toffee, café latte, melon and mango jellies… It’s rather fresh and expressive, probably not as complex as any whisky or brandy (or rum) would be at this age, but there, it’s really nice. Thirty-eight? Why not… Mouth: hard to say. What’s sure is that there’s a lot of liquorice, wood spices, jams, toffees, fudges, coffees… There’s even a little ham, but the 38 years just do not feel, as this remains some pretty simple rum. Kahlùa. Finish: short, but not sweet. Coffee and nice touches of earth and liquorice. Comments: a good thing is that there’s no added sugar that I can find using my personal alcoholmeter and hydrometer. That would be my tongue and palate. In truth, this is extremely fine rum. But very old rum? Perhaps…
SGP:640 - 82 points.

Good, we’ve found some good Don Papa, Plantation, and Dictador, wasn’t that great work? Not that I would want to toot my own horn here, but there… And now, back to normality…

Savanna 2007/2018 (63.9%, The Wild Parrot, La Réunion, grand arôme, cask #WP07639)

Savanna 2007/2018 (63.9%, The Wild Parrot, La Réunion, grand arôme, cask #WP07639) Four stars
Be careful, this Frenchy rum should rock our souls… And remember, grand arôme suggests high esters. Colour: full gold. Nose: not that big, it’s even kind of timid, shy, self-restrained… It’s the oak that does that, there’s a layer of vanilla that kind of protects it. Let’s break that! With water: yeazza! Varnish, nail polish, Chinese plastics, bakelite, vinyl, new car, wax tablecloths… and bananas. Phew. Mouth (neat): hugely petroly and floral at the same time. That’s Savanna’s thing, you won’t find this combination anywhere else. Brine, tar, lime, orange blossom, pine wood, ink, and litres of diesel oil. Indeed this is not unlike drinking diesel oil – I imagine. With water: more fruitiness, bananas, mangos, dried litchis and longans, rambutans… and plastics again. Plus a lot of salty liquorice, more and more of that. Crazy rum. Finish: long, a tad bitter and tarry, petroly, tarmacky (!), with some oak spices in the aftertaste… Comments: Savanna is extreme. It’s the Jamaican of the Indian ocean (thanks Bertrand), I would say, but it’s got its singularities, especially this floral side. Très bon.
SGP:453 - 87 points.

And a last one…

Worthy Park 10 yo 2008/2019 (59.5%, Thompson Bros., Jamaica, 245 bottles)

Worthy Park 10 yo 2008/2019 (59.5%, Thompson Bros., Jamaica, 245 bottles) Four stars
Whether this was aged in Jamaica or in Glasgow is their problem. Colour: gold. Nose: oh, tarry asparagus and fresh butter and watercress! And several kinds of green olives! I totally love this nose so far, it’s so pure, so well-delimited, so brilliantly carved out! Nothing to add, let’s go on… With water: yup. Feels young at 10, so probably Scottish aging, but the end result works. Lemon blossom, lavender, rosewood, violet sweets… Mouth (neat): amazing. Teak oil, liquorice, black pepper, smoke, black olives, tabasco, Worcester sauce, vanillin, marshmallows… Indeed it is a tad unlikely at times (olives and marshmallows, right) but that may be because of the very high strength, let us see. With water: all is well in the best of worlds. Lavender, liquorice, smoked meats, olives, violet sweets. Violettes de Toulouse. By the way, when I mention lavender or violets, that’s got nothing to do with the very ugly puke-y Bowmores from the 1980s, or I would tell you. Finish: long, but it loses points because of some vanilla from the oak that’s a little unnecessary, I would say. Feels like some young American rye here and there, but no worries at all, it’s great, great rum. Spicier aftertaste. Comments: yup (is that all, S.?)
SGP:462 - 87 points.

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