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

July 9, 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!



Rums on Sunday

San Antao

San Antao, Cabo Verde (Lonely Planet)


First, a grogue from Cabo Verde.



Sodade 'Botanic Joao' (40.8%, OB, Cabo Verde, grogue, 700 bottles, +/-2023)

Sodade 'Botanic Joao' (40.8%, OB, Cabo Verde, grogue, 700 bottles, +/-2023) Four stars
Right, I'm not sure this is pure grogue but we love grogue anyway. This is red cane 'rhum' fermented for 12 (twelve!) days with lemongrass, ginger, mint and basil. Not too sure at which stage they added those distinguished vegetals, having said that, but let's try it. It's made in Cha de Pedras on the island of Santo Antão. Colour: light gold. Nose: amazingly entrancing, very fermentary, feeling a little sweet indeed but this feeling of having many fermenting fruits in your glass is perfect. Pineapple wine, rhubarb wine, agave syrup… Amazing nose, really. Mouth: a little sweet, but not sugary at all, see what I mean? Bags of liquorice, half-rotten banana (which I love), lemongrass indeed, pineapple… Finish: long, sweet indeed but not sickly so. Pineapples and rosehip tea. I have to say the aftertaste is a tad syrupy, though, which makes it a little too long. Comments: a very treacherous grogue. You would believe it was bottled at 15% vol. and consequently, gulp down your bottle within minutes (and when on ice, within seconds). Do not. Huge fan of this crazy spirit.
SGP:750 - 86 points.

Good, you may remember we've had an excellent Hardy 'Vieux' a few weeks ago. Good news, we've now got its XO counterpart…

G. Hardy 'Rhum Vieux XO' (43%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2023)

G. Hardy 'Rhum Vieux XO' (43%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2023) Four stars and a half
Love the label that's probably been done by a little nephew around the year 1965. Remember Hardy's made at Saint James. Colour: deep gold. Nose: a very distinctive kind of old agricole, rather on shoe polish, old furniture, pine tar, engine oil, thuja wood, old varnish, Chinese lacquer, then parsley, chives, tarragon… this nose is just exceptional. Mouth: a tad less flabbergasting on the palate – the opposite would have been impossible – but should you enjoy your liquorice blended with lime and pine resin, this is for you. Lovely varnish and wood glue. Some pencil shavings too. Finish: extremely long at just 43% vol. Lovely liquorice and varnish. Some bitterness in the aftertaste. Comments: very impressive. Oh and don't ever change the label – and I hope the little nephew has grown all right.

SGP: 472- 88 points.

We might be a little fast today. But since we're in Martinique…

Château Depaz 'Les 100 Ans' (45%, OB, Martinique, agricole, 1,400 bottles, 2022)

Château Depaz 'Les 100 Ans' (45%, OB, Martinique, agricole, 1,400 bottles, 2022) Four stars
Ten casks from three rather young vintages to celebrate their centenary. It is a lovely art-déco bottle but everyone's using it these days. Right, not quite everyone… yet. The canes here are grown on volcanic soils. Colour: deep gold. Nose: star anise first, liquorice second, earthy marmalade and citrus liqueurs third. Then many aromatic herbs and flowers, wormwood for sure, elderflowers, verbena… And whiffs of old books and magazines, with a rather lovely dusty side. Oak and cedar shavings in the background. Mouth: rather tight, think limoncello aged in pinewood (yeah right, give them ideas), then more caney but always led by citrus, oranges, pink grapefruits, and of course, liquorice. It is not very wide, but it is not very old either. Finish: long, spicier, woodier. Cinnamon mints and cedarwood, ginger… Comments: it's been a tad tough after the very surprising Hardy XO, but it turned out extremely all right. Mind you, 100 years, we're only 20. Well, almost 21.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

Renegade 'Etudes – New Bacolet' (55%, OB, MicrOrigin, terroir 'Upper Combe', Farm 'Goat Hill', Grenada, +/-2023)

Renegade 'Etudes – New Bacolet' (55%, OB, MicrOrigin, terroir 'Upper Combe', Farm 'Goat Hill', Grenada, +/-2023) Four stars and a half
Lacalome Red (that's the cane varietal, not the name of the manageress), distilled in pot stills. We've loved the 'Pearls' the other day, but it is the first time we're trying this New Bacolet after a bit of aging in wood. Colour: straw. Nose: sameish rotting things and petrol. Ripe pineapples macerated in diesel oil, with a little olive oil and a few black truffles. Once again, a feeling of high precision, with some freshness and even a coastal side (but I'm sure they will tell us it's grown high in the mountains). With water: oh, no changes. Mouth (neat): more paint here, grapefruits, gloss varnish, green gooseberries, rhubarb… It's tight and pretty vertical, perhaps a tad acetic. With water: and there, anchovies in brine, sardines, olives, pickled lemons, peat smoke (peat smoke?) and salted liquorice. Finish: long, salty, liquoricy. Comments: I'm having the Pearls in another glass as we speak, it is widely different, probably a little fatter, easier and more 'immediate', while this Bacolet would be tighter and brighter. Not the same rums at all, I'd almost dare say there's more differences than between different Jamaican distilleries. Speaking of which…

SGP:462 - 89 points.

Jamaican Rum 10 yo 'MJH3' (56.5%%, Watt Rum, Belgian Exclusive, The Nectar, barrel, 2023)

Jamaican Rum 10 yo 'MJH3' (56.5%%, Watt Rum, Belgian Exclusive, The Nectar, barrel, 2023) Five stars
Why Belgium again? But the country's gonna drown if we're not careful! This should be Hampden. Colour: gold. Nose: feels middle-estery, with some cider vinegar, varnish, new-sawn pinewood, green lemons, carbon and linoleum. Oh and langoustines. With water: wood varnish, a new delivery at Ikea's, formica, sawn plywood, then white vinegar, olives and capers… Mouth (neat): sharp, ultra-lemony, with some acetone and ashes. With water: same. Pure ultra-tight Hampdenness, lime, ashes, varnish, lamp petrol, tar. Finish: same for a rather long time. Comments: first, it did not destroy the Renegade at all, and second, I'd love to try this with shrimp croquettes. That was a secret message to our Belgian friends on the coast. Message over.
SGP:363 - 90 points.

So, MJH3, he said… Phoo, we'll soon all need PhDs in this game, but this one spirit could be lethal at almost 60.00% vol…

HD 10 yo 2012 'MJH3' (59.9%, The Whisky Blues, cask #40, barrel, 235 bottles)

HD 10 yo 2012 'MJH3' (59.9%, The Whisky Blues, cask #40, barrel, 235 bottles) Four stars and a half
Blues or hardcore death metal de la muerte? Colour: gold. Nose: it's a little rounder, with a little more vanilla, a tad more oak impact, a little more bourbonness… But we're splitting hairs, nutshell, we're still at Ikea's when they're getting all the wonderful new stuff that's full of glue, varnish and plywood. And which we love in our glass. With water: sauvignon blanc at its bestest, as they say. Very green, very stalky. Mouth (neat): hell and putrefaction, this is strong. Salted glue (I imagine) and lemon concentrate blended with crude oil (I imagine). Death metal spirit for spielers, indeed. With water: wonderful classic Hampden, shall we say, but it might be a tad too salty. Indeed, it is very, very, and I mean very salty, you'd almost believe some beach sand shrimps are going to jump out of your tasting glass. Finish: long, tight, lovely, chemical, difficult. Huge varnish in the aftertaste. Comments: it was not really high-ester, but it was e.x.t.r.e.m.e.
SGP:363 - 89 points.

Good, a very last one and something I've always wanted to do, try some proper Grand Arôme after a proper extreme Jamaican… Without a net.

Grand Arôme 8 yo 2013/2021 (55.6%, Rom de Luxe, La Réunion, cask #8, 304 bottles)

Grand Arôme 8 yo 2013/2021 (55.6%, Rom de Luxe, La Réunion, cask #8, 304 bottles) Two stars and a half
Some secret French high-ester (500gr/hlpa+) rhum from Savanna (whoops), matured or finished in red wine wood (which might be the tricky part). Red wine vs. grand arôme? We have no fear here, have we. Colour: apricot. Nose: there's probably five times more esters in this one than in the Hampdens we've just tried, but the red wine is mellowing everything down, which is absolutely not unpleasant as we're finding tons of juicy ripe peaches and quite some patchouli and incense. We're about to put Donovan on the stereo, by the way… With water: apricot cake? Pears poached in sweet wine? Peonies? Mouth (neat): I believe the cask pushed the rhum towards cognacness, really. More preserved peaches, melons, even raisins and overripe bananas… With water: rather weird now. I mean, it's now tough and unusual, very spicy, peppery, with some chilli even. Don't get me wrong, it remains a fine hot and punchy rum, and indeed I know more about, say French bees than about rum/rhum, but I believe they've gone a little too far here, with peppers and chilli take over now. Finish: long and difficult. Too much tannicity, too much pepper. Comments: some ups and some downs, but I believe first the Hampdens, and then the red wine cask just killed the baby. Please no red wine (if I may).

SGP:372 - 79 points.

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







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