Google Rum is back on WF

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

April 23, 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!


Rum is back on WF

Tarlac, Philippines (Photograph P199)

After three Sundays full of glorious cognacs, time to try a few rums again, starting with some simpler, mandatory apéritif because as I wrote somewhere else, I believe it is extremely tricky when you try the best, or noblest spirits first within a line-up, they often make for bad starting points. I'd love to use some reference(s) as I often do with whisky, but I'd first need to find some good, appropriate 'benchmark rums'. We'll think about it…

Bacardi 10 yo 'Gran Reserva Diez' (40%, OB, Puerto Rico, +/-2022)

Bacardi 10 yo 'Gran Reserva Diez' (40%, OB, Puerto Rico, +/-2022) one star and a half
Not a regular at Castillo WF, the closest expression I've tried was a 8 years old back in 2016. 'Not too bad, but totally forgettable – WF 70'. Colour: gold. Nose: incredibly light, with some apple juice, hints of ripe bananas and pears, caramel, a little praline and a bit of metal (old copper coins). Nots of tarte tatin too, which is nicer, it would improve a little bit over time. Mouth: a little sweet and sour, pretty honeyed, with a little mead, hay, coffee liqueur, and this spirity side that's often to be found in the lightest rums in my meagre experience. I find it difficult to enjoy, it was probably never meant to be a sipper. Finish: short, with only a little sugarcane syrup remaining. Coffee liqueur in the aftertaste, which is a tad cloying. Comments: not very motivating. I find it rather weak and yet difficult – but the bottle is lovely!
SGP:320 - 68 points.

Don Q 'Anejo' (40%, OB, Puerto Rico, +/-2021)

Perhaps another apéritif from Puerto Rico…

Don Q 'Anejo' (40%, OB, Puerto Rico, +/-2021)
We had tried their 'Gran Anejo' back in 2017; same ballpark as those Bacardis (WF 70). Colour: gold. Nose: this one too is very light, quite close to the Bacardi, only without the praline and the tarte tatin. Grass, pears, corn syrup, touches of amaretto… Mouth: unpleasantly spirity, yet extremely thin, more sugary than that Bacardi. Some kind of sweet herbal liqueur, some caramel, some sourness (fermenting apple juice)… Finish: virtually none. A little caramel and grass. Sour beer in the aftertaste. Comments: not much to say. It's not exactly foul.
SGP:520 - 65 points.

Let's get serious.

Foursquare 13 yo 2009/2022 (60.7%, Dram Mor, cask #3, 295 bottles)

Foursquare 13 yo 2009/2022 (60.7%, Dram Mor, cask #3, 295 bottles) Four stars
This baby first matured on location for 8 years in ex-bourbon barrels, then for 5 years in Bonnie Scotland, in some ex-malt cask. Colour: gold. Nose: if I wanted to provoke people I would say it's close to the Bacardi, only a thousand times nicer. But that feeling may come from the very high strength. Nougat and popcorn, that praline, some natural vanilla, honeys, maple syrup… With water: some subtle herbal teas, pistachios, sesame oil… I have the impression that the proportion of ex-column rum in this self-blended Foursquare is higher than usual. Mouth (neat): Bacardi + lemon, only ten thousand times better. A very nice citric side, some vanilla... With water: easy, on coconut and vanilla, with some orange cordial in the background. Not a heavier Foursquare indeed. Finish: medium, soft, on more vanilla, coconut water and banana. Citrus in the aftertaste, which just always works. Quite some pepper too. Comments: some lighter FS and another world, already.

SGP:530 - 85 points.

Let's try another one…

Foursquare 11 yo 2010/2022 (61.1%, The Colours of Rum, No. 18, 259 bottles)

Foursquare 11 yo 2010/2022 (61.1%, The Colours of Rum, No. 18, 259 bottles) Four stars
Same cask-bill, first bourbon in Barbados, then ex-malt in Scotland. Colour: light gold. Nose: very close, only a tad straighter and fatter at the same time, but at 60+%, who would tell? With water: very similar. Also touches of asparagus, wild leek… Mouth (neat): hot, grassier than its bro, with more lemon as well. Coconut, vanilla, cane juice, grapefruit. With water: citrus-led, pomelos, more grapefruit… It is a little zestier than the lovely Dram Mor. Finish: medium, pretty complex now, on various herbal teas, liquorice… And citrus of course. Comments: I like this one a notch better because of the citrus. I also have the feeling that more breathing would do it much good.

SGP:530 - 86 points.

Luisita 6 yo 2016/2022 (62%, Tarlac Distillery, Precious Liquors, Philippines, PX butt, cask #1003)

Luisita 6 yo 2016/2022 (62%, Tarlac Distillery, Precious Liquors, Philippines, PX butt, cask #1003) Four stars
This is brand new, made by a large old sugar estate in Tarlac, Philippines. They have been making 'neutral' rum for many decades, so I suppose they're Don Papa's suppliers. But this is said to be very different, let's see… Colour: red amber. Nose: feels like pot-still, while I'm happy to report that this has got nothing to do with 'said brand'. It is rather heavy, full of tarmac, liquorice, petrol, engine oil, olives, rotting bananas, neoprene, peonies and wisteria… With water: olives and tar! Mouth (neat): heavy again, shock-full of liquorices of all kinds, petroly as it should be (why that, S.?) and with awesome touches of caraway and cardamom in the background. Excellent. With water: some sweeter fruits coming out, as jams. Medlars, jujubes… Do those grow in Tarlac? A few touches of pencil shavings, some chocolate, some coffee liqueur too. Finish: long, rich not thick, more on molasses but always with rather a lot of tar and liquorice. The PX behaved, it seems. Comments: the coating reminds me of some Mauritians, while the core's rather closer to a heavy Demerara's. A great surprise. There's also an ex-bourbon, I can't wait, it may be approaching the 90-mark…

SGP:562 - 87 points.

May 7 Update : bad guess, the Distillery behind Luisita never supplied Don Papa, who rather source their spirit from Ginebra San Miguel, who are large Philippinian, err… gin makers (which may explain a lot). Thank you, Randall.

More unusual origins…

Engenho Novo 2016/2022 (53.4%, Barikenn, Madeira, Port cask, 284 bottles)

Engenho Novo 2016/2022 (53.4%, Barikenn, Madeira, Port cask, 284 bottles) Four stars
It doesn't say on the label, but Madeira is the only other island that's got the right to use the controlled appellation 'agricole'. It is, indeed, pure cane juice rum from a small distillery on the south coast of the island. Oh and let's say using Port wood makes sense here, given that both products are stemming from Portugal. There. Colour: full gold. Nose: I find it less 'loco' than other Madeiran rums, but that may be the Port wood. Some fresh cane juice but also a lot of Demerara sugar, black nougat, millionaire shortbread (how Scottish indeed), a little pinewood, some softer vegetal tar, patchouli, perhaps hibiscus… With water: awesome. Changes direction, goes towards earthy meats, Chinese mushrooms, raspberry vinegar, cigars… Mouth (neat): rich, I would suppose you could call it 'Porty', as it is full of cassis, elderberry jam (marvellous when made by some stars such as Christine Ferber in Niedermorschwihr), old woods… I'm wondering if you couldn't use it to make some kind of kir royal with champagne. With water: it takes water very well, even if the Port is kind of keeping the lead. Yet balance remains perfect. Finish: pretty long, naturally sweet – because of the Port – although there would be a feeling of malmsey too. Comments: I'm never in favour of wine in my spirits, but this time it worked a treat. Another great surprise today.
SGP:751 - 87 points.

Let's make our last one a Hampden, as we often do.

HD 2007/2022 (62.3%, The Many Faces of Rum, The Whisky Jury for The Purist and Care For Craft Spirits, Jamaica, refill hogshead, cask #8)

HD 2007/2022 (62.3%, The Many Faces of Rum, The Whisky Jury for The Purist and Care For Craft Spirits, Jamaica, refill hogshead, cask #8) Five stars
Fully aged on the continent. The green entity on the label looks like any French DHL representative, only much kinder. Colour: white wine. Nose: wham! Pure gherkin brine, black olives, acetone, carbon dust, samphires, tar and concentrated lemon juice. Probably a high marque. With water: whiffs of ammonia coming out, glue, epoxy… Mouth (neat): simply evident. Varnish and banana liqueur, more acetone, nail polish, salted fish, olives, tar… Actually, it's rather a clean one and I find more bananas and papayas than usual. Funny molecules! With water: and voilà, perfection. I'm even finding it a little daiquiri-y. Finish: long, not eternal, rather on the fruitier side again. Those bananas and papayas… Tar and olives back in the aftertaste. Comments: simply superlative, without 'too much oak'. Almost some readymade high-rank Jamaican daiquiri.

SGP:653 - 91 points.

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







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