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

September 8, 2019


Total Malternatives

Or murder in Turckheim. Well, not obligatorily, as we’ll carefully avoid anything dosed-up, sweetened-up, tampered with, or recklessly blended away. And as they were all always saying, we do not want brands, we want distilleries.

Trinidad Fernandes 9 yo 2009/2019 (46%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil)

Trinidad Fernandes 9 yo 2009/2019 (46%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil) Three stars
Fernandes, that’s new to me. Let’s do a bit of googling… Ah, right, that’s one of Angostura’s brands. On their website the owners do state that it’s ‘authentic pure Trinidadian rum with distinctive packaging’. All right then… Colour: white wine. Nose: ah, some action! I had feared this would be a little ble(a)ndish. Notes of engine grease, cane juice, new plastic, a slight meaty side (mutton?) as well as a few not-too-ripe bananas. So far so nice. Mouth: but it really is good! Why do we always have to rely on the indies? No added sugar that I can detect, some coffee though, more sugar cane as well as a lighter molasse-y side, and some grassier savours, grass, banana skins, touches of liquorice. The body’s not too big having said that, but it isn’t weak either. Finish: a little short, which was to be expected. Comments: a good introductory rum for good folks who only know the sugared ones (Diplo, Papa, Zac, Plantation, and so on) or the thin ones (Havana Club, Bacardi and stuff). A good bridge to salvation, in other words.
SGP:451 - 82 points.

Since we’re killing some devils…

Hampden 10 yo 2007/2018 (46%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Jamaica, 438 bottles)

Hampden 10 yo 2007/2018 (46%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, Jamaica, 438 bottles) Four stars and a half
A Hampden by HL that was bottled at a lighter strength, thank you mucho, we needed a break after the various Jamaican monsters at 60+. Colour: white wine. Nose: naturally. Olives, dirty grasses, petrol, brine, gherkins, carbon, concrete, and of course, quite a lot of acetone. Just what we enjoy a lot. Mouth: I’m really glad they bottled this at some reasonable 46%, not sure it wouldn’t have been deemed illegal by many authorities and councils when bottled at natural strength. Huge liquorice, crushed olives kept in chilli oil, dust, rotten bananas, listerine, gentian, glue. No one would ever understand why we love glue and acetone so much (in rum, that is). Finish: long, but a little shorter than usual, and that’s the lower strength. Comments: could be that 48% would work even better, but that’s only a very personal feeling. Super good, as expected.
SGP:462 - 88 points.

Let’s sail to Marie-Galante…

Bielle 2008/2017 (55%, Cave Guildive, Marie-Galante, bourbon cask)

Bielle 2008/2017 (55%, Cave Guildive, Marie-Galante, bourbon cask) Four stars
On of the summums of rhum agricole if you ask me. Remember, Marie-Galante, tiny island, administratively part of Guadeloupe, but with its own terroir and ways. Colour: gold. Nose: oh this is very different, and extremely floral at first nosing. Not sure I’ve ever met this style at Bielle’s, could be the bourbon barrel. Ylang-ylang plus really a lot of vanilla and pencil shavings, then old-style plastics (before someone smart started to worry about phthalates and bisphenol), dandelions, pollen, custard, even a little coconut oil… Some bourbons aren’t far away. With water: lol! Chlorine, bandages, iodine, mercurochrome, Vichy salty waters... Mouth (neat): what? Caraway galore, violet sweets, huge amounts of juniper, sloe, and other ‘funny’ spices and small fruits. Another first to me! Wasn’t this rather teak wood? Or something exotic from the Brazilian forests (which they sometimes use for cachaça?) With water: cologne and clove water, mouthwash, caraway, fir liqueur… Finish: long, very spicy, and now, some tequila notes! Comments: it’s as if the cask had sheltered a different drink before. Not bourbon! It’s funny and good in this context, but if we ever encounter these aromas in whisky, now that the SWA have loosened-up the regulations, I pick up my gun. I mean, my small slingshot.
SGP:561 - 85 points.

Back to Jamaica…

Jamaican Rum 12 yo 2007/2019 (57%, Thompson Bros/Bar Tre, Hiroshima, 268 bottles)

Jamaican Rum 12 yo 2007/2019 (57%, Thompson Bros/Bar Tre, Hiroshima, 268 bottles) Four stars and a half
Lovely label! I’ve heard from a high-ranked source at Thompson’s that this was Monymusk. Colour: white wine.

Nose: I have to say we’ve ‘met’ more higher-ester Monymusks since quite a few months. No complains, this is another fine example. Wonderful blend of mint tea with chamomile, also leather polish, also camphor, and one crushed green olive. Almost a ready-made martini ;-). Pine wood smoke. With water: really very nice, very fresh, rather complex, elegant, subtle, refreshing… I short, exactly not Boris Johnson, if I may. Mouth (neat): another odd one after the Bielle, and once again we shan’t complain. Terpenes, saps, crunching pine needles, black olives and liquorice, concentrated lime juice… With water: wonderfully lemony and bitterer this time, with favours that are rather to be seen in old Cognacs. Some kind of grassier rancio, perhaps? Sounds odd but this is pretty odd, beautifully odd. Finish: long, sappy, and saltier. Some salted cough medicine and a little tar. Comments: as they say, a computer would ever select this from a palettised warehouse. Real people in booze, please!
SGP:472 - 89 points.

And a last one from the Thompsons’…

Diamond ‘Versailles’ 15 yo 2003/2019 (67%, Thompson Bros. for the 10th Anniversary of Rum & Whisky Kyoto, Guyana, 234 bottles)

Diamond ‘Versailles’ 15 yo 2003/2019 (67%, Thompson Bros. for the 10th Anniversary of Rum & Whisky Kyoto, Guyana, 234 bottles) Four stars and a half
Wonderful label again. I suppose this is rum from Guyana shipped to Scotland, matured and bottled there, and then shipped to Japan. And I’m sure quite some European or American rum enthusiasts will then let some bottles being shipped back to them. Makes your head spin, does it not? What would Miss Thunberg say? Hate to be a killjoy, having said that (yeah right). Colour: gold. Nose: some subtle cakes and quite some cane syrup at first, before it would start to display really a lot of smoked ham.  A few pencil shavings, nothing too serious. With water: remains relatively gentle, while some lovely citrus starts to rise to your impatient nostrils (oh, S., please!) Hints of muddy papers and cardboard, and ink of course. Mouth (neat): well, it was rather gentle on the nose, but it kicks and hits on the palate. Huge grapefruits, salted olives, and pine-y oils. Could be that this is worth the airline tickets, after all. Oh and at 67% vol., at least they’re not moving water. With (local) water: yes, impeccable brine, olives, liquorice, salt, and lemons. Very bright, tart, and vertical. Finish: long, blade-y clean, and saltier. It’s to be wondered if the distilleries do not sometimes use seawater to reduce their new makes before filling. Actually, we did blend some whisky with water from the Loch Indaal around 20 years ago, still have a bottle of that. Not bad! Comments: ship a bottle to young Greta! Or start to use sailboats?
SGP:362 - 89 points.

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