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

March 26, 2023


  A word of caution
Let me please remind you that my humble assessments of any spirits are done from the point of view of a malt whisky enthusiast who, what's more, is aboslutely not an expert in rum, brandy, tequila, vodka, gin or any other spirits. Thank you – and peace!


A little bag of little and big rums

Whiskyfun in Cuba (WF archive). Click here for a free wallpaper!
Remember the good old times of free wallpapers?


I promise we'll have a super-large bag of cognacs next Sunday, some extremely old! But in the meantime, this is another rum day…



Boukman 'Botanical Rum' (45%, OB, Haiti, spiced rum, +/-2022)

Boukman 'Botanical Rum' (45%, OB, Haiti, spiced rum, +/-2022) Two stars and a half
This is not anything by Chanel, it seems that this is Haitian clairin enhanced with various local botanicals and 'wild barks', and not sweetened. Sounds good, after al!, especially since the main label urges us to 'Listen to the voice of freedom rising in our hearts'. We're all game! Colour: gold. Nose: between absinth, rooibos tea, aquavit and gin. Certainly not unpleasant, but perhaps a little uncertain, or at least hard to categorise, should we need to do that. I wouldn't shout 'rum!' Mouth: it's not sweetened but it feels a little sweetened. This time we're flying between gentian cordial (Suze, Avèze), genepy, verbena liqueur, vermouths, wild carrots, caraway (aquavit indeed), gingerbread, cinnamon, chocolate, butterscotch, and unknown herbs. Forgot to mention citrus, which is big in there. Finish: medium, nice, even more citrusy. Citric gin aged in oak, with some vanilla. Comments: I don't quite know what to make of this drink. I really enjoy some sides, I'm just wondering how, where and when I would sip this intriguing concoction.
SGP:472 - 78 points.

Eminente 7 yo 'Reserva' (41.3%, OB, Cuba, 2022)

Eminente 7 yo 'Reserva' (41.3%, OB, Cuba, 2022) Three stars
A newish brand out of Cuba. Never saw it last time I was there, but it's true that that was five or six years ago. Perhaps a tad overpackaged and thus pretty un-Cuban, but there, let's see what gives, the truth lies in our glasses… Colour: deep gold. Nose: there's this profile that's pretty much on stewed vegetables and that indeed reeks of Cuba (think Sancti Spiritus). Notes of new plastics, new iPhone (but who would need that), artichokes, turnips and parsnips, fresh cane, asparagus… Those are all things I like, mind you. Great that it wouldn't smell of pineapple liqueur, unlike so many new brands. Mouth: feels really honest, not made in a lab, with delicate notes of sweet vegetables, sweet potato, carrot cake, fennel and dill, light citrus, angelica… All good, if a little too light on your palate. Finish: short, but what we get is clean, on lime, fennel and aniseed. Eggplant. Comments: respect, Your Eminence!
SGP:551 - 82 points.

Something completely different…

Skeldon 24 yo 1997 'SWR' (48.4%, S.B.S. for France, Guyana, 213 bottles, +/-2022)

Skeldon 24 yo 1997 'SWR' (48.4%, S.B.S. for France, Guyana, 213 bottles, +/-2022) Three stars and a half
I've always been believing that the only 'available' Skeldons had been distilled in the 1970s. What I gather now is that Skeldon Distillery stopped 'burning' in 1960 already, and that Uitvlugt and then Diamond went on making some 'Skeldon' in a Savalle column. The marque SWR means 'Skeldon William Ross', but I don't know if that Savalle still they've been using had originally been at Skeldon. Isn't Demerara complicated? Colour: deep red amber. Nose: varnish and new wardrobe straight from that famous Swedish maker, plus peonies, apricot jam, old bourbon (from Buffalo Trace), zwetschke tart, butterscotch and toffee, plus Nescafé, candy sugar and mocha. Mouth: it's a jammy rum, full of flower jellies too, ridden with ganaches and fruity chocolates just as well, toasted oak, roasted peanuts and more bourbon and Nescafé. It's actually a pretty light Demerara, rather geared towards marmalade and chocolate after a while. Finish: short to medium, with something, err, Cuban and bourbon-like!. But please no politics … Thinks old Havana Club, or perhaps some Travellers? Some chocolate. Comments: I was expecting something a little heavier and deeper, but it's still very, very good. Intriguing and really worth it.

SGP:551 - 84 points.

Enmore 29 yo 1992/2022 (58.4%, Rum Sponge, Guyana, 244 bottles)

Enmore 29 yo 1992/2022 (58.4%, Rum Sponge, Guyana, 244 bottles) Five stars
This baby partly aged in the tropics, then in Europe. The colour alone is pretty enticing. Colour: red amber. Nose: you have to bow, you cannot fight back. Menthol, Port Ellen (right), Blue Mountain coffee, plus varnish and hashish (S., down with rich rhymes!) With water: rather sublime. Onion soup, tar, liquorice, tobacco, nail polish, black olives, etc. And washing powder (true). Mouth (neat): extra-special. Petrol for two-stroke engines, plasticine, aniseed, Schwartzwalder cake, kirschwasser, black toffee and liquorice… With water: I find it exceptional, or is it just me? And it's even rather drinkable. Finish: long, a tiny tad drying and tannic, but after all, it's 29 year old rum. Great notes of old pineapple cordial in the aftertaste, plus liquorice. Comments: good fun, the label would make you believe that this is an easy sipper to down around the pool in the midst of summer, while it's rather a beast for late night tastings near the fireplace. This is misleading advertising, Mister Sponge! But it's true that this Enmore is so good…
SGP:562 - 91 points.

Let's jump to Jamaica…

New Yarmouth 27 yo 1994/2022 (57.1%, Precious Liquors, Lime House, Jamaica, cask #2211, 292 bottles)

New Yarmouth 27 yo 1994/2022 (57.1%, Precious Liquors, Lime House, Jamaica, cask #2211, 292 bottles) Four stars and a half
Caution is requested, in my short experience these little New Yarmouths can make for the most extreme Jamaican rums ever bottled. Colour: deep gold. Nose: a little hard to decipher but at this high strength, that's more than normal. Earthy oranges? Some broom too, white melon, ylang-ylang, iris… What's sure is that there's tons of liquorice allsorts. With water: more varnishes, also more custard, honeys, glue (our trustworthy UHU), new plywood, stuff from IKEA's… (not the meatballs that they make out of visitors who never found their way out). Mouth (neat): sandalwood, nectarines, blood oranges, peppermint liqueur (Get), liquorice wood, cinnamon liqueur… With water: some sweet chemicals, varnishes, polishes, fruity molecules, aldehydes, acetates… The thing is, I like this a lot. Finish: long and varnishy. Lovely! Some welcome olives in the aftertaste. Comments: it was not monstrous at all, after all. Careful with the amount of water you're adding.

SGP:662 - 88 points.

Perhaps a Clarendon…

Clarendon 21 yo 1999/2020 (56.2%, Flensburg Rum Company, Jamaica, 257 bottles)

Clarendon 21 yo 1999/2020 (56.2%, Flensburg Rum Company, Jamaica, 257 bottles) Four stars and a half
Remember, Clarendon means Monymusk, and the other way 'round. Colour: straw. Nose: this one's pretty elegant, rather on roasted sesame oil, linseed oil, then vine peaches, agave, engine oil, lanolin, lady's moisturiser, green bananas… Many subtler aromas in there, lovely. With water: white asparagus and preserved palm hearts. Tell me about something unusual! Mouth (neat): excellent, very salty and very fruity. Those small white pineapples, stewed in seawater (and why not?) and with some avocado juice and orange quarters. Something clearly smoked. It's unusual, I've never tasted 'this', it is very awesome. With water: back to a fairly lighter classic petrol + olives + rotting fruit combination, certainly not unseen in Jamaica. Finish: long, with more citrus. Olives and lemons, brine, some varnish. Comments: this note was short but the rum is big, yet superbly balanced and not 'extreme'.

SGP:652 - 89 points.

Good, a wee Caroni and we're done.

Caroni 23 yo 1996/2019 'The Last' (61.9%, Velier, 5,522 bottles)

Caroni 23 yo 1996/2019 'The Last' (61.9%, Velier, Trinidad, 5,522 bottles) Five stars
With the wonderful colonne that looks like Notre-Dame on the label. This from 24 barrels, aged in Trinidad till 2008, then at Diamond until bottling. Now the question would remain, 'the last what?' Colour: reddish amber. Nose: chocolate first, then acetone, balsamico and ratafia, then olive oil and salted liquorice. Let's not forget that this was bottled at 61.9%. Some greases and a bag of black olives. With water: we tamed it, it became gentler, most obedient, pretty soft. Mind you, it's still not Bacardi. Yeah, or Bumbu or Don Papa, Pernod's and Diageo's new darlings (a move that I still cannot fathom). Mouth (neat): ripe wild strawberries, liquorice, wine vinegar, model glue, rotting oranges, olives of all kinds, tar liqueur and nail polish remover. Not that we'd drink that on a daily basis, mind you. I mean, nail polish remover. With water: menthol, liquorice, brine, olives, tar, and even more liquorice. No subtleties, but it's perfect. I've often noticed that large small batches do erase those subtleties (say north of 15 casks) while on the contrary, true small batches, like 3-5 casks, do highlight them. Only a personal feeling, mind you. Finish: long, tops, sweet, easy. Soft liquorice all over the place. Comments: it rather tastes like 'a great official bottling'. Of course it is/was excellent.

SGP:563 - 90 points.

(Thanks Klaus and Rob)

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