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

June 18, 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!



Yet another rum Sunday
(from Nicaragua to Grenada)

I can't seem to remember why we had decided that malternatives would be tasted on Sundays. Nothing to do with the church, I can assure you. But as usual, we'll do easies, nasties, and heavies, possibly in that order.

Médine Distillery, Mauritius (
Business Magazine)




Flor de Cana 14 yo (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2022)

Flor de Cana 14 yo (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2022) one star and a half
This one's carbon-neutral and fair-trade certified, as it says on the label. It's cool that they would have started all that 14 years ago already, no? No? I would suppose some countermeasures were needed, after all the stories about the cane fields and all that. Colour: amber gold. Nose: light. Caramel, fudge, milk chocolate, nuts, cane syrup, Nutella. Not a lot happening, but no problems, we're content with the fact that we do not increase global warming when trying this one. Mouth: typical light 'Spanish-style' ron, surely thin but not too sweet this time, with some earthy caramel, sugarcane syrup and… Well that's pretty all. Finish: short, with some triple-sec, Cointreau… Too much sugar in the aftertaste, that's the difficult part(. Comments: the fourteen years don't feel at all, but I swear this tasting note was fair-taste certified. Meaning that we wash our glasses by hand, that we make minimal use of water, and that our second-hand 2017 Macintosh is put on low-consumption mode. This wee rum was not bad.

SGP:740 - 69 points.

Damoiseau 'VO Rhum Vieux Agricole' (42%, OB, Guadeloupe, +/-2021)

Damoiseau 'VO Rhum Vieux Agricole' (42%, OB, Guadeloupe, +/-2021) Four stars
In my book, this young expression used to be a little light ten years ago. But this is 2023 and it is back on the tasting table… And remember that in booze speak, VO means Very Old, so barely aged. Colour: gold. Nose: dandelions, sémillon (Sauternes), mirabelles, in short all things yellow. Lovely fresh and fragrant – and uncomplicated - nose. Mouth: good, more on oranges, lime blossom tea, honeysuckle, yuzu, tangerines. Where does all this citrus come from? Enzymes? Finish: medium, fresh, very citrusy. More mineral aftertaste (basalt), a little oak and nutmeg. Comments: in case you haven't noticed, I find this fresh little Balvenie-y VO excellent. But it's true that this is La Guadeloupe…

SGP:651 - 85 points.

Penny Blue 2006-2008/2022 (55%, Navigate World Whisky, Mauritius, casks #57-#136, 84 bottles)

Penny Blue 2006-2008/2022 (55%, Navigate World Whisky, Mauritius, casks #57-#136, 84 bottles) Four stars
A lovely multi-vintage bottle from Medine Distillery for our friends in South Africa. Colour: deep gold. Nose: they've always been making rum on Maurice, but it seems that things improved mucho lately. For example, this is less clean than in the old days (remember the existential question, is rum dirty ? Only if it's done right!) The earthiness is superb, the tars and menthols are perfect, and the salty, meaty sauces do add a lot of complexity. I'm thinking Maggi. With water: and pencil shavings. Mouth (neat): olives, tar and liquorice are pointing the tips of their noses, as they say on Maurice (what?)  The rest is classic, pepper, rubber, plum jam… With water: salty olives, caramel, black nougat, pancake sauce… That's rather the old way. Finish: long, mentholy, with some honeys too, propolis… Comments: one of the best Mauritians I've ever tried, but indeed I haven't tried hundreds, regrettably. Just between us, older Mauritians used to be nasty sugar bombs. Not Penny Blue, though, I remember BBR were having some very good ones quite a few years ago already.

SGP:562 - 87 points.

Travellers 13 yo 2007/2021 (61.8%, Sample X, Belize, 259 bottles)

Travellers 13 yo 2007/2021 (61.8%, Sample X, Belize, 259 bottles) Four stars
Sample X is a brand by the excellent Whisky/Rum Mercenary. I'm sorry I'm a little late with this one. Colour: deep gold. Nose: in my humble book, Travellers is often pretty close to Foursquare, really. This very one's pretty floral, it's got triple-sec, buttercups, honeysuckle, light white nougat, whiffs of church incense (amen) and that thing that works like Proust's madeleine, Armenian Paper. But whoops, just noticed the ABV… With water: vanilla, fresh sawdust, maple syrup, fudge. Easy. Mouth (neat): focused, on Cointreau aged in oak and kept at 70% vol. More or less. Big vanilla. With water: liquid nougat, pistachio syrup (another sin), sesame syrup as well (yet another sin…) Finish: medium, on sweet nuts. I'm reminded of that killing chocolate bar called Snickers, by Mars Incorporated. Don't we all remain kids forever? Comments: I think I'll send an invoice to Mars Incorporated. After all, some call me an influencer (where have I put my gun?)

SGP:651 - 87 points.

Let's push the esters…

Enmore 1994/2021 'REV' (48.5%, S.B.S., Guyana, cask #1423, 124 bottles)

Enmore 1994/2021 'REV' (48.5%, S.B.S., Guyana, cask #1423, 124 bottles) Five stars
The marque stands for Rum Enmore Versailles, so Versailles' wooden pot still when it was at Enmore. Colour: red amber. Nose: huge varnish, embrocations, 'old' acetone, turpentine, thuja wood… All things that I cherish and love. With water (although that's not needed): liquorice! Mouth (neat): extraordinary. Some black-olive-and-heavy-liquorice-driven spirit. I need not say more. With water: it needs no water. Finish: long. Comments: I've decided to keep this note short and, hopefully, sweet. Salted liquorice alert!
SGP:462 - 91 points.

Please another Versailles, your majesty…

Guyana 2012/2022 'VSG' (62.3%, Barikenn, Guyana, 246 bottles)

Guyana 2012/2022 'VSG' (62.3%, Barikenn, Guyana, 246 bottles) Five stars
From the same wooden still, after it was moved to Diamond Distillery, the only remaining distillery in Guyana. Colour: gold. Nose: a pilot's rum, as there's so much tarmac, warm tyres, then young cognac, ointments, liquorice, brake fluid, new leather… With water: waxed paper, new books, tar and rubber… Isn't it funny that descriptors that would suggest that any whisky was faulty would work this well with rum? Mouth (neat): high-precision lime concentrate and liquorice juice, plus cellulosic varnish and thyme oil. A tad stubborn perhaps, but deep down it's good. With water: salty butter, caramels and Breton fudge (why Breton, S.?) Finish: sadly. Comments: I totally hate it that such a young rum would be this good. I've heard the Versailles still was one hundred years old, well, here's to the next hundred years!
SGP:463 - 90 points.

Last one please…

Long Pond 24 yo 1998/2022 'ITP' (56%, Rest and Be Thankful, LMDW exclusive, Jamaica, barrel, 178 bottles)

Long Pond 24 yo 1998/2022 'ITP' (56%, Rest and Be Thankful, LMDW exclusive, Jamaica, barrel, 178 bottles) Four stars and a half
I think we've already written that they should do T-shirts. ITP, that's 60-120 grams esters per hlpa, so pretty low. But we're not ester freaks (are we not?) Colour: light gold. Nose: bicycle inner tube and rubber bands, then paint, ink, charcoal and drawing gum and linseed oil. This one's culturally impeccable (oh-my-God). With water: ink, chalk, concrete. We're almost on Islay. Mouth (neat): in my book, Long Pond hasn't quite got the depth of Worthy Park or Hampden, but there are exceptions. Lovely lime, fennel, pointed cabbage, aniseed, bone-dry white wine (Mosel sylvaner) and just charcoal and liquorice wood. Absolutely awe-inspiring. With water: mud, olives, cough syrup, whelks (my favourite animals) and green lemons. Finish: long and saltier yet. Comments: it's just that the Guyanians (well, the Versailles) were more complex, more elegant… But this Long Pond was as good as any. It's so hard to build acceptable line-ups!

SGP:472 - 89 points.

As you may imagine, if we're having this last one after some Guyanese (cheers Lance) and even a Jamaican, that's because we have faith in it. In all fields, brands and manufacturers will try to justify their primarily economic or practical choices with somewhat twisted arguments. "The origin of raw materials doesn't matter because distillation destroys the differences." "We use hyperactive casks because in whisky, only the wood matters." "We buy our molasses from abroad because the aging location is the most important factor." "We add sugar because our ancestors always did." "The different types of sugarcane or barley are of little importance because they can't be detected when tasting the spirits." And so on. However, a part of the new wave of distillers thinks differently and tries to make more qualitative choices than economic ones as selling points. It's up to the consumer to follow them and reward them by not being falsely conservative and stingy! The most glaring example is undoubtedly Waterford in Ireland and its 'kind of' twin distillery on the island of Grenada, the highly disruptive Renegade, which we shall try now...

Renegade 'Etudes – Pearls' (55%, OB, Grenada, 2022)

Renegade 'Etudes – Pearls' (55%, OB, MicrOrigin, terroir 'Flats', single field 'Grapefruit', Grenada, 2022) Five stars
In a way, it is 'agricole' but distilled in pot stills, not in colonnes créoles. What's sure is that the closest concept 'in spirit' is that of the best Martiniquais or Guadeloupeans, that is to say own cane fields, fresh juice, and the isolated use of several cane varietals and fields or 'terroirs'. In any case, this is a single field from a single farm (Pearls, in the coastal plains) and single varietal rum (Yellow Lady, reminds me of Jose Feliciano, ha). I would add that I'm a little late but that's because of the several glasses and samples of Pearls I've got within the last months, which I've just drunk while sharing them with friends. Yeah, tell me about a 'blogger' but remember, people over spirits, always. Colour: gold. Nose: this is obviously young but they managed to limit the oak impact as such, it is not overtly extractive at all, there are just a few discreet pencil shavings. What pleases me most is the appearance of black olives and diesel oil, engine grease, rotting pineapples and bananas (love this), tiny touches of acetone and some kind of liquoricy fudge. A little dirty earth  too, which is another favourite at WF Towers. In short, it's pure but it's absolutely not clean. I know what I'm trying to say. With water: a little charcoal, a little capsicum, tomato leaves… Mouth (neat): now I remember why I drank it all. Wonderful pink grapefruits, touch of varnish, our friends the olives, liquorice, brine, green pepper, gherkins, capers, tiny bit of salmiak… And back to grapefruit (I swear I wrote this before I learned that the name of the field was 'Grapefruit'). With water: all salty elements to the front stage. Finish: long but no further changes, which is normal as this is only one or two. I was afraid those pencil shavings would be back and run the show, but no. More pepper and even chilli in the aftertaste, was to be expected. Purity and precision preserved. Comments: after all, they just do at Renegade what they did at Waterford. Easy (yeah right). Oh and I've noticed that other distillers were starting to frown, I say that's a good sign. Love this juice but sadly, it drinks too well; at a pretty moderate price, that can be a problem. Of course not.
SGP:562 - 90 points.

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







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