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

January 3, 2021


The New Year’s first five rums

We’ve tried quite a few brandies in the last weeks of December, so time for rum. Still looking for malternatives… But first, as usual, a little aperitif…

Bayou ‘Single Barrel’ (40%, OB, USA, +/-2020)

Bayou ‘Single Barrel’ (40%, OB, USA, +/-2020) Two stars and a half
This one’s distilled in Louisiana out of molasses made out of local sugarcanes. Sadly, it’s been matured in ex-rye casks (for two years and a half) and bottled at 40% vol. I suppose we shouldn’t expect much, but let’s see… Colour: deep gold. Nose: oak and pumpernickel at first, then rather mead and raisins as well as hints of… malt whisky. Gingerbread. Perhaps a little light but the composition rather works. We’re sitting right between rum and malt, actually, as if this was some kind of metaspirit. Mouth: nice, rather rich arrival, on honey, mead and indeed, rather Latino rum although I’m not finding any excessive sweetness. Tends to become thin though, while I wouldn’t claim everything is perfectly well integrated, especially the oak. Nicer notes of ginger cake and liquorice coming out after thirty seconds but it wouldn’t pick up steam again. Finish: rather short, dry, with a touch of sugar and a bit of salty anchovy in the aftertaste. A bit of black olive too. Comments: hope they’ll issue some other expressions at higher strengths, slightly older age, and no in rye. There sure is some potential, camarade. And also try to make some agricole style, since this is Louisiana?
SGP:441 - 78 points.

Foursquare 2011/2019 ‘MBFS’ (54.4%, Barikenn, Barbados, bourbon, 279 bottles)

Foursquare 2011/2019 ‘MBFS’ (54.4%, Barikenn, Barbados, bourbon, 279 bottles) Four stars
This is one of Foursquare’s traditional ‘single blends’, the proportions of which they wouldn’t tell you even if you play Mariah Carey on eleven. This cask first spent 5 years in the tropics, then 3.5 years in Europe. Barikenn are small French indie bottlers from Brittany, and very cool people it seems. Colour: gold. Nose: a little glue and a little sugarcane syrup at first, then rather almond paste, gingerbread and beeswax. I have the impression that water would be welcome, even if it’s not that strong… With water: works a treat as this baby would rather gear towards honeys, melon jam, agave syrup and honeysuckle, with just a tiny drop of olive oil. No more varnish, but perhaps a little diesel oil, which I always find cool. And perhaps a drop of elderberry syrup. Mouth (neat): a little sweet (Fanta), with a little corn syrup and indeed this varnishy side, on a rather grassy foundation. A feeling of peppered limoncello, molasses honey... I suppose water will help on the palate too. With water: sure it does. Cappuccino, butterscotch, turon, cane syrup, a wee touch of banana beer and some triple-sec. Rather an easy Foursquare, one that goes down extremely well once you’ve added a little H2O. Finish: medium, rounded, slightly syrupy, with a honeyed and cappuccino-y aftertaste Comments: easy and very good. You could quaff this instead of anything from Starbucks’ (where bucks are stars). Very well selected, Barikenn!
SGP:641 - 87 points.

Uitvlugt 27 yo 1993/2020 (50.1%, The Duchess, Guyana, cask #5, 189 bottles)

Uitvlugt 27 yo 1993/2020 (50.1%, The Duchess, Guyana, cask #5, 189 bottles) Five stars
I’ve often noticed that rums that would display lovely photographs or paintings, or drawings of animals, especially birds, were better than the others. Why that? Because of a better care for Nature? Aesthetics? Good sentiments? Colour: gold. Nose: I love them all. Kerosene, olive brine, liquorice, lime, tar and bergamots, that just is a perfect combination in my book. What’s more, the 27 years have rounded it off, without taking any fiery aromas away. With water: liquorice tar brine olives paraffin mint eucalyptus. Mouth (neat): yes, excellent. Some kind of mentholated and liquorice-ised (what?) hay spirit (ever tried to let ferment and distil hay? You should!) Lovely salty liquorice, bits of anchovies and olives, and then even more liquorice. I just adore liquorice, I’m glad Haribo have revived an old French brand called ‘Zan’ – but why am I telling you this? With water: a bigger saltiness and more assorted citrus. Some tobacco too, liquorice marshmallows, even oysters… Finish: rather long and perfect. Comments: perfect but the sample was too small. May we get a double magnum next time? I-am-joking.
SGP:463 - 91 points.

Caroni 18 yo 1996/2014 (43%, Compagnie des Indes, cask #SC3, 456 bottles)

Caroni 18 yo 1996/2014 (43%, Compagnie des Indes, cask #SC3, 456 bottles) Four stars
Why haven’t I tried this one before? I find it quite cool to be able to try some lower-strength monsters from time to time. No, that’s not exactly the same as bringing it down to 43% vol. yourself. Colour: straw. Nose: reduction further emphasises on the ‘dirty’ side of Caroni, with more old waters, metals, cardboards, rainwater in an old barrel in a corner of the garden, shoe polish and Barbour grease, mutton suet, seal oil… Well I wouldn’t want to make you feel nauseous now, you know… Old candles in an old drawer. Mouth: same feelings of rum that’s a little off, dirty, stale in the better sense, grassy, fermentary, with some ginger wine, parsnips and turnips, baled eggplants, even… moussaka! That’s Caroni – probably one of lighter marques, or styles. Good fun to be had with this one, and a perfect conversation piece with your friends, after a good meal. Finish: medium, with a handful of sweets, then tinned sardines. Yes I know. Which is even funnier. Comments: good fun indeed. Feels wrecked at times, and yet it sure isn’t.
SGP:662 - 85 points.

Rum ‘Mden’ 1997/2020 (55.6%, The Whisky Jury, Jamaica, cask #TWJ-HA-01, 241 bottles)

Rum ‘Mden’ 1997/2020 (55.6%, The Whisky Jury, Jamaica, cask #TWJ-HA-01, 241 bottles) Five stars
It’s too obvious that this is Appleton! Colour: gold. Nose: let’s not try to be funny, this sure should be Hampden. Huge ashes, brake fluid, crushed fresh olives, carbon dust (careful with that), huge varnish and acetone, myrtle, crushed holly berries (and the eau-de-vie made thereof), and other pretty wacky Hampdeny aromas. Probably a ‘high-ester’ mark. With water: acetone, carbon paper, ammonia, brake-pad dust, tar, ink, the wildest olive oil… In other words, it’s as smooth as the smoothest rose petals. Quite. Mouth (neat): extreme varnish, green lemon and green olives, marginally tamed by those 22 or 23 years spent in wood. Eating cigar ashes sprinkled with the most acidic lemon juices and nail polish removers. Brutally lovable, or lovably brutal. Have I mentioned deep-salted Dutch liquorice? With water: I love this. This baby’s even got notes of burnt plastics and electronics now (two-year-old iPhone – just joking). Finish: long, salty, lemony, olive-y, petroly, gritty, rough. Pickled capers and samphires. The aftertaste is a little smoother though… Comments: I’ve been exaggerating, it is not that extreme, but drinking +/-20yo Hampden today is like drinking +/-20 yo Ardbeg or Port Ellen around the year 2000. Same with Worthy Park. Do what you want with that, while I’m sipping this glory away with confidence and hope (what?)...
SGP:375 - 92 points.

Let’s put an end to this before I start quoting Bob Marley.

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