Google Fom Don Papa to Versailles

Serge whiskyfun
Thousands of tastings,
all the music,
all the rambligs
and all the fun


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2023


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

January 8, 2023


From Don Papa to Versailles

Well, this will rather be some proper rums plus a spirit drink.

(Picture of the old Darboussier sugar factory - sucrerie - in Guadeloupe. Photograph Aristol)




Don Papa 'Baroko' (40%, OB, Spirit Drink, Philippines, +/-2022)
In the EU, and possibly elsewhere as well, the label for this other marketing wizardry by Don Papa claims it's a 'Spirit Drink' but naturally, most websites, including those of the poshest online retailers, will tell you it is 'Rum'. That's lying by delegation, which many brands that, for example, use 'solera numbers' in lieu of age statements are doing ad nauseam as well. Not guilty, your honour! Having said that, these new brands, including that 'Bumbu' that Pernod just bought up (really!) are hugely successful so in a way, they deserve some respect. At least some marketing respect, or recognition. After all, 'To each according to his needs', said Karl Marx, and people are addicted to sugar. Colour: deep gold. Nose: you're right, you could say I'm guilty as well since I'm trying this horrendous liquid within a rum line-up, instead of a funny 'worst booze of the world' session that we might do later in Summer. This is some kind of curaçao, flavoured with a lot of vanillin and possibly several strange molecules. It is extremely heady, but it is not rum. Mouth: cane syrup and pineapple liqueur, fifty-fifty. Cough mixture for kids, vanillin indeed, Toplexil, banana cream, strawberry yoghurt. To be totally honest, I don't think anyone, including the makers, are expecting you to sip this without a ton of ice... Finish: long and cloying but that's the sugar. More curaçao and quite some Bailey's. Comments: since so many parties are advertising this as 'rum', we'll score it as if it were 'rum', while as 'rum', it is very bad. As a liqueur that you would drink on a lot of crushed ice, I would say there's probably much worse around.
SGP:920 - 45 points.

Darboussier 6 yo (45%, OB, Guadeloupe, +/-2022)

Darboussier 6 yo (45%, OB, Guadeloupe, +/-2022) Four stars
This rum de sucrerie, a.k.a. industriel or traditionnel, is made from molasses in columns. That doesn't mean that it is obligatorily inferior to agricole. Having said that, there used to be a Distillerie Darboussier indeed, which was attached to a now derelict sugar factory, but it doesn't exist anymore, so Darboussier's become a brand, probably produced by Distillerie Bonne-Mère in Sainte-Rose. Colour: orangey amber. Nose: interesting nose, pretty unusual, absolutely not 'bland' as so many molasses/column rums can be, with rather some tar and tyres at first, some menthol, marmalade, then tangerine liqueur and a little lychee. Herbs, chartreuse, verbena and liquorice would then chime in. It's funny that some aspects would be close to the Don Papa's, only one hundred times more complex and, well, appealing. Excellent surprise on the nose, although I remember we've already tried some very nice indie Bonne-Mère. Mouth: very heavy liquorice at first, but I do love liquorice. Then tropical jams, some caramel, a saltiness, a good deal of esters (some light funk ala Steely Dan, ha) and more liquorice. A very specific earthiness, perhaps some kind of flower compost? Finish: pretty long, with some burnt sugar, tar, liquorice and once again a floral side. Rotting bananas and some olives in the aftertaste. Comments: not one that you could easily put into a box (figuratively), but I'm fond of this unusual style.
SGP:652 - 85 points.

Chairman's Reserve 13 yo 2008/2022 (56.9%, OB for Rhum Attitude, St. Lucia, cask #0885112008, 227) Chairman's Reserve 13 yo 2008/2022 (56.9%, OB for Rhum Attitude, St. Lucia, cask #0885112008, 227)

Chairman's Reserve 13 yo 2008/2022 (56.9%, OB for Rhum Attitude, St. Lucia, cask #0885112008, 227) Four stars and a half
The independent island of St. Lucia/Ste Lucie lies just south of Martinique. Chairman's Reserve is said to be a blend of pot still and column rums done by St. Lucia Distillers, but this very bottling is purely ex-Coffey column. We've already tried several excellent ones. Colour: amber. Nose: it's got that large amount of varnish that some bourbons may display (Pappy), plus unusual vegetables (eggplant, artichoke) and vast quantities of crushed bananas. Geared towards cakes after that, various muffins, biscuits… There is some tar in the background, the whole remaining dry and austere. Which we enjoy! With water: the varnish is still there. Polished hardwoods, earth, softer cigars, new humidor (cedarwood)… Mouth (neat): fruity and floral, but with many twists and turns. Lilies and bananas, fudge, oranges, Bénédictine, candy sugar… At times you would think of a Distillery in Barbados that starts with a F (amended, it used to say with a B!). With water: the sugar cane grew bigger in the mix, there's also some perfect butterscotch, more fudge, some liquorice and some black tea English-style. Finish: medium, with some cappuccino, still a little varnishy side, sugar cane, tar, liquorice, ultra-ripe (but not rotten) bananas… Chocolate and liquorice in the drier aftertaste, a tiny salty touch too. Comments: splendid, and I don't think it was easy to come after the surprising Darboussier. But so, no single drop of ex-pot-still in there?

SGP:552 - 89 points.

Off to Jamaica…

WP 2007/2022 (59.1%, The Whisky Jury, Jamaica, refill barrel, cask #29, 271 bottles)

WP 2007/2022 (59.1%, The Whisky Jury, Jamaica, refill barrel, cask #29, 271 bottles) Four stars
WP, WP… What could this be? No marque that I can find, having said that. Colour: amber. Nose: I have the impression that it would be a pretty 'light' marque, such as WPEL or WPL… It is a little strong but garden herbs and leaves seem to be running the place, plus a little new plastic (new electronics) and roots. A little varnish too, as usual. With water: fruitier. Peelings, apricot kernels, plum eau-de-vie, kirsch… Some green tea too. Very, very moderate tarriness and oliveness. Mouth (neat): some saltiness, some acetone, some lemon squash, perhaps sorrel and cress, grapefruit skins, a drop of pineapple wine, strawberry gum… I'm not sure I would have said 'WP', but I'm finding this excellent. With water: more fresh citrus, herbal teas, light mint tea, a little vanilla… Would tend to become grassier. Finish: medium, light for WP. Oranges and grass. Some grittier oak in the aftertaste, plus the tiniest olives and lemons there is. Comments: an awesome, grassy, unusually lightly-funky WP. 
SGP:462 - 87 points.

Micro-Batch #1 13 yo (58.7%, Rest & Be Thankful, Jamaica, 1,182 bottles, 2022)

Micro-Batch #1 13 yo (58.7%, Rest & Be Thankful, Jamaica, 1,182 bottles, 2022) Five stars
This is 'pure blended Jamaican rum'; not 100% sure that's a shameless oxymoron having said that, although this is not a 'self-blend'. It contains New Yarmouth, Long Pond, Clarendon and some secret rum from Lluidas Vale, which cannot not be Worthy Park. Colour: gold. Nose: 1. Iove parsley, lovage and coriander. 2. There are massive amounts of parsley, lovage and coriander in there. With water: classic carbon dust, brine, olives, green lemons, oysters, tar, tomato leaves, geranium flowers… Mouth (neat): moderate amounts of fresh paint and varnish, rather some focaccia alle olive and quite some liquorice, lemon and tar. Extremely 'Jamaican', but with some softness. A few jelly babies and beans and crocodiles (cassis, lemon, orange, pineapple…) With water: epitomically Jamaican. Some seawater and rather more mineral dust, carbon, clay, some coaltar… Finish: a little softer. Tropical fruits about to start to begin to rot, liquorice, tar, and a perfect salty signature. Olives and seawater. A little menthol too, cough embrocation… Comments: it was a smart idea to blend rums that are relatively similar. No one does that, not even in Whisky. Ever heard of some 'beg + Laga + Laph + Caol Ila blended malt?

SGP:563 - 90 points.

Versailles at Enmore 36 yo 1985/2022 'MEV' (50.4%, Distilia, Greenheart Collection, Guyana)

Versailles at Enmore 36 yo 1985/2022 'MEV' (50.4%, Distilia, Greenheart Collection, Guyana) Five stars
What is this madness? It is to be remembered that Versailles Distillery's old single wooden pot still was moved to Enmore Distillery in 1974, when so many distilleries got closed (1974 was Guyana's 1983). The wood used to build that still was local 'greenheart', hence the name of this wee collection. Enmore Distillery got closed in 1994, this still moved to Uitvlugt Distillery, then to Diamond Distillery in 1999 when Uitvlugt got closed in its turn. Stories that would remind us whisky folk of Inverleven's gear. Colour: gold. Nose: on petrol! And many woods, pine, fir, cedar, eucalyptus, thuja… Some complex savoury soup in the background, with some sorrel, sage, marrow, chives, leek… With water: old pencil shavings, furniture polish, stock cubes, dill, seaweed, parsley, putties, grooming hair grease (gomina), hair tonic… This is almost like crossing into uncharted territory! Mouth: clay and mint, pickled small citrus, anchovies, tarragon, green walnuts, a feeling of very old manzanilla topped with mint, tar and liquorice… Some sides remind me of some sides (pff…) of some early 1970s vintages Ardbegs. That's probably the tar (and the anchovies). With water: all on greases, citrus and herbs, myriads of them. It is like those old Ardbegs, that is to say both compact and 'one', and very complex and 'fractal'. Now the oneness remains all along, it would never quite do 'the peacock's tail', as we say in wine. Finish: medium, with the coastal, maritime part being on the front this time. Some medicinal touches in the aftertaste. Comments: superb. The obvious oak had been perfectly digested. By the way, the marque MEV means Main Enmore Versailles, I believe it is an European broker's marque, but I could well be wrong here.

SGP:463 - 92 points.

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







Whiskyfun's Home