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

November 11, 2023



Notice. On this November 11, armistice day, we are taking advantage of the slot of Angus, who is having a break, to get a bit ahead because we have massive quantities of rum to taste in the coming weeks. And we're not complaining... On that note, Angus will join us in a few days at Château Whiskyfun, and we have planned a very short duo tasting, but one like you've never seen before, neither here nor elsewhere. Seriously. Peace.


  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!


It's rum madness

Hooray, I have finally completely recovered from Whisky Live Paris. Yes I know, it's been fifteen days already, but actually, it's not so much Whisky Live that's the problem, it's the Cocktail Street that follows where they serve you hundreds, what am I saying, thousands of versions of daiquiris, just to give you an example. Neisson daiquiri, Hampden daiquiri, Santiago daiquiri, Caroni daiquiri... Anyway, you see the problem, you're basically redoing all the rums you've tasted during the day, but in their daiquiri version. And believe me, all resistance is futile. Finally, here we are again, ready for more rums. As for daiquiris, we'll see about that at Whisky Live 2024, God willing...

Another mad invention they have at LMDW



Depaz 'Cuvée Victor Depaz' (41%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2022)

Depaz 'Cuvée Victor Depaz' (41%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2022) Four stars
Depaz is good rum. Colour: gold. Nose: very aromatic, very much on cane syrup and just cane juice, then moist marzipan (with rum inside) and a combo maple syrup + manuka honey. Some earthy incense then, ylang-ylang, lilies of the valley, a little menthol, half a glass of sauternes… Indeed, it is extremely aromatic, but it would never get heady. Mouth: very amusing arrival, with an unusual spicy earthiness, rather a lot of cinnamon (raw and as liqueur), ripe pineapple, liquorice, gewurztraminer and sauternes, lichees, a little caramel…. In a way, there's so much happening that you would believe it was a good idea to keep it a 41% vol. Finish: medium, on similar notes of incense, oranges, sweet white wine, honey, rose pastries, Turkish delights… Caramel and fudge in the aftertaste. Comments: really a lot happening. Probably the most boisterous side of agricole. Having said that, you can have Depaz at 55% vol. too.
SGP:760 - 85 points.

Kaniché 'XO Double Wood' (40%, OB, Barbados, +/-2023)

Kaniché 'XO Double Wood' (40%, OB, Barbados, +/-2023) Three stars
Aged in bourbon and finished in cognac wood and in the Cognac region by Maison Ferrand. Nose: it's pretty dry, rather on coffee and chocolate, with a few leaves, orange zests and just English black tea. The whole is light. I would add a little leather and some orange water to this description. Mouth: a little sweetened, with some liqueur, not much body, a little caramel, coffee liqueur… It's actually not that sugary, but the thinness is a handicap. Finish: short, sweet, on more coffee liqueur. Comments: very light, feeling more like 35%. Not exactly bad, but it would need barrows of crushed ice and a slice of lemon. And a small paper umbrella. And Kid Creole. And the Coconuts.
SGP:420 - 60 points.

Off-Road Rhum 'Series #03.1' (49%, Vagabond Spirits, Marie-Galante, agricole, 200 bottles, 2023)

Off-Road Rhum 'Series #03.1' (49%, Vagabond Spirits, Marie-Galante, agricole, 200 bottles, 2023) Four stars and a half
Two barrels from Bielle, submerged in the ocean off the coast of Brest in Brittany, where they remained underwater for about ten months. Upon retrieval, each barrel had lost 10 degrees alcohol (for example, one of them went from 45% to 35%). The two barrels were then blended, and it is now hoped (by us) that the salinity of Bielle has been further increased by the Atlantic. Colour: gold. Nose: Bielle, only with more olives, liquorice, fir wood smoke,  otherwise lavender and violets, cinnamon, karite butter, Demerara sugar… I'm not sure it's on the nose that the most 'oceanic' impact is to be felt. We've already tried a few 'floated casks' from wrecked ships, or even bottles that had sunken hundreds of years earlier, it was never the nose that had changed the most, provided the juices had remained potable. Mouth: and voilà, seawater and rum. Not too sure how the exchanges occurred, probably with some kind of osmosis, but I totally love the end result, even if it is a little extreme, with a lot of salt starting to play with your lips. But I'm sure Bielle was the right choice. Don't do this with Diplo! So, we have black olives all over the place, perhaps urchins (really, urchins), some smoky cane, salted fudge, salted butterscotch, sour wines, drop of retsina, umami sauce for sure, smoked kippers, oyster sauce… Well, I'm afraid it grows on you. Finish: rather long, ultra-dry, salty, liquorice-y, still cane-y. Comments: crazy stuff that would rock your world, especially if you love your rums bone-dy. It really grows on you, I think I'll drink more with some Belgian shrimp croquettes.
SGP:373 - 89 points.

We can imagine distilleries that would build barrel pools, all filled with saltwater to various degrees. Honestly, I've also tasted submerged wines, and it wasn't great. But this is something else, especially if you like salted liquorice. Let's move on...

Well, since we had a strange Barbadian, let's try another one, more classic...

Doorly's 14 yo (48%, OB, Barbados, +/-2023)

Doorly's 14 yo (48%, OB, Barbados, +/-2023) Four stars and a half
Doorly's is one of Foursquare's brands. Colour: amber. Nose: not the first time that I have the impression that by using molasses and blending column and pot still, they often manage (not saying that was their goal) to create some kind of 'agricole' rum. This one's got the same kind of waxy polishes, slightly salty, almost olive-y touches, the slightly heady floralness, the crème brûlée, the tarte tatin, these slightly 'burnt' touches, this earthiness… Now, yes I know Barbadian rum existed way before the French started to make agricole rum, thanks to Napo and the British navy (or the other way 'round). Mouth: excellent, bold, salty, full of liquorice and smoke, cigars, burnt caramel, varnish and olives, some lavender (sweets), aniseed, caraway and cloves… I'm wondering if you wouldn't achieve some rather similar results if you would let some yellow chartreuse age for a decade or so in active wood. Like, in a proper ex-solera manzanilla butt. Seriously, I find this Doorly's just perfect and, perhaps, a little 'funkier' than the Foursquares. But not too sure about that part… Finish: long, with a little pepper, one olive, some orange juice and some caraway. Comments: I even like the blue parrot on the label. Is that an ara? What would the rum world do without parrots? In any case, this Doorly's was extremely convincing.
SGP:562 - 89 points.

We're going to make a big leap from Barbados to... Thailand. We can afford it, we don't use any kerosene (but it's true that sometimes there are notes of kerosene in our spirits).

Chalong Bay 'Lunar Series' (60.7%, OB, LMDW New Vibrations, Thailand, Shochu cask, 2023)

Chalong Bay 'Lunar Series' (60.7%, OB, LMDW New Vibrations, Thailand, Shochu cask, 2023) Five stars
Pure cane juice. To think that not so long ago, the Thai state was prohibiting any spirits bottled at above 40% vol. I also remember the first Chalong I tried really impressed me – at 40% vol. Colour: white wine. Nose: pure fermentary cane wine, vesou, pears, cherries, Jerusalem artichoke eau-de-vie (worth trying), varnish, diesel oil, drop of ammonia, lemon, even formic acid… May sound horrible but I just love all this. With water: rotting pineapples and bananas, that's just brilliant. Mouth: insane earthy cane, citrus, capers, tar… With water: immaculately salty. Oysters, olives, lime, lemon, grapefruit, yuzu, liquorice… Finish: long, incredibly clean, some total 'clear line spirit'. Comments: I'm not 100% sure I got the shochu part. Mea maxima Culpa. The rest I adored.
SGP:462 - 90 points.

Renegade 2 yo 2021/2023 (55%, Habitation Velier, Grenada, 3,000 bottles)

Renegade 2 yo 2021/2023 (55%, Habitation Velier, Grenada, 3,000 bottles) Five stars
From the double-retort pot still. It's always a very good sign when the sleuths at Velier choose a new distillery to add to their catalogue. Even if in this case, there is no notion of micro-terroir or single-farm as the official versions generally advertise. Well, anyway, it's always your tasting glass that is right. Colour: or. Nose: noooh! Who made this? Who did the vatting? Who decided to add black olives, Danish salty liquorice, gherkin brine and rotting animals of all kinds? And pipe smoke? With water: a lot of petrol and, guess what, kerosene. And these magical olives. Mouth (neat): pot still major. Crayons, engine oil, salty tar, rotting mangos, glues… With water: more glue, acetone, seawater, rotten zwetschke, samphire… Finish: very long, petroly, salty. Rotting fruits in the aftertaste. Bottled gasoline. Comments: the wilder, more Jamaican (if you will) side of Renegade. Our first indie Renegade and the most brutal of them all so far. It's all a little punk here, is it not.
SGP:454 - 90 points.

Good, a little Jamaican and we call this a session…

Hampden 'Great House Distillery Edition 2023' (57%, OB, Jamaica)

Hampden 'Great House Distillery Edition 2023' (57%, OB, Jamaica) Five stars
This is a blend of various vintages and marques. In a way, this would be their 'château' expression. We haven't got enough room or slots for every vintage, but we did try the 2020 and thought it was utterly brilliant (WF 91). Colour: gold. Nose: natürlich. Yeasts, gherkins, olives, benzine, glue, carbolineum, creosote and tar. With water: a few gentler notes, such as rotten bananas and natto (a tiny bit), otherwise high-bacterial stuff. Mouth (neat): higher marques at the forefront, with massive amounts of glue, varnish, acetone, vinegars and just 'gritty stuff'. Not one single fruit, flower or even vegetable, it's all about whacky things and petroly stuffs. With water: a little ginger tonic (that's right) otherwise olives and bone-dry riesling. Finish: same. Long, salty, acetic, very dry, still a little hot. Some pink grapefruit in the aftertaste (hurray). Comments: I don't know why I love this, I think I should get a doctor.
SGP:363 - 91 points.

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







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