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

March 12, 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!

Simply more rum
(sun- glasses needed)

Climbing up the ladder, as we almost always do..

(French magazine ad, circa 1937)



Thoreau (40%, OB, blended spirit, +/-2022)

Thoreau (40%, OB, blended spirit, +/-2022)
Comes with unlikely stories and statements as well as a fluo label that would hurt your eyes. Where have I put my sunglasses? Many people have already tried to blend various spirits and come up with a kind of meta-drink that would have conquered the world. Rums, whiskies, applejacks, wine brandies, even teas, even wines… Naturally, everyone was having a first at their times but I haven't witnessed any success yet (which always translates into 'no batch #2'). This time they've dared mixing 70% rum from Guatemala (holly Suzy!…) with 30% young cognac VSOP (phew!) Let's see whether they have murdered that little cognac or not… It's all good fun anyway and at 40% vol., it cannot be too serious anyway. Colour: gold. Nose: hello? Some buttered popcorn and distant echoes of cane juice. Extremely light. Mouth: I think I'll go read a book. Finish: short and sugary. Empty aftertaste. Comments: not repulsive (it couldn't be) but I believe this is the lightest and emptiest spirit since Glenkinchie's Jackson's Row. Having said that, I rather think this was some kind of prank by students. Good one, fellows, you made my day.

SGP:710 - 50 points.
PS: I'll try this one again, could be that something wasn't right

Bologne 'Gold' (40%, OB, Guadeloupe, rhum ambré, +/-2022)

Bologne 'Gold' (40%, OB, Guadeloupe, rhum ambré, +/-2022)
This is agricole, aged for only a few years. Perhaps two? I'm not well-acquainted with Bologne, I believe the name remains a little obscure. Colour: gold. Nose: not an extravagant spirit either, but there is a delicate cane and some pleasant whiffs of hay in the midst of some hot summer. Dried flowers, perhaps a pinhead of varnish and paint… It's whispering rhum… Mouth: a little honey, pancake sauce, triple-sec, then some lime and lemon that lift it, but it remains very light and quasi-unnoticeable. Finish: short, rather on sweet apples and with a drop of icewine (which became a Canadian thing lately). Comments: it's really light. I doubt it's meant for sipping while discussing Heidegger and Nietzsche.

SGP:530 - 65 points.

Saint James 'VSOP' (43%, OB, Martinique, Agricole, +/-2022)

Saint James 'VSOP' (43%, OB, Martinique, Agricole, +/-2022) Three stars and a half
We've tried many Saint James, including some extraordinarily old ones, but never this little VSOP. It's good that they would bottle at 43%. vol., as the last percent always make all the difference says the wise man. Colour: amber (probably coloured). Nose: reeks of caramelly agricoleness, with some flowers (hibiscus and ylang-ylang, also simpler dandelions) and some liquorice, ripe bananas, butterscotch, some soft wood… It's very commercial, in the best sense of that word. Mouth: rum's Dalmore, if I may. Oranges, caramel, liquorice, triple-sec, chocolate, toasted oak, roasted peanuts… In short, no quibbles and no complains. Finish: medium, a tad more on the oaky side but also with some good meatiness. Beef jerky. Toffee and chocolate in the aftertaste. Comments: smartly made. Classic easy, but certainly not dull agricole. Good presence, rather in the style of their excellent 12 yo.

SGP:462 – 83 points.

Martinique Rhum 4 yo (58%, FRC, small batch, 2022)

Martinique Rhum 4 yo (58%, FRC, small batch, 2022) Four stars
I don't think it says it is agricole, maybe is it traditionnel? This baby was fully matured in the tropics, in French oak. Colour: dark amber. Nose: young rums and rhums need to breathe a lot, especially when bottled at nearly 60% vol. Some chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate toffee, walnut stain, dark caramel… I think water is needed. With water: some metal polish, that old kettle (no, no names), plus chocolate just all over the place. Visiting a chocolate factory, then a working cooperage. Mouth (neat): it's heavy and hot. Toffee and pepper. With water: you have to be careful; it is not the best swimmer ever. Keep it at 50%+ and you'll enjoy this chocolaty sugarcane and the massive loads of muscovado. And the toffees. Finish: long, with once again this intriguing little metallic touch. Comments: some very chocolaty extravaganza made in Martinique. I'm wondering if you couldn't blend it with fresh cream and make some superb alexandra-like cocktail with this young boy.

SGP:451 - 85 points.

Off to Guyana…

Uitvlugt 24 yo 1997/2022 (46.6%, Dràm Mor, Guyana, cask #14, 141 bottles)

Uitvlugt 24 yo 1997/2022 (46.6%, Dràm Mor, Guyana, cask #14, 141 bottles) Four stars and a half
An unusually light strength here, I think we caught a break. Colour: gold. Nose: iron shavings, shoe polish, spent engine oil, olive oil, gherkin juice and just a little vanilla, this feels like home indeed. Forgot to mention rotting bananas (naturally). Mouth: this salty make always wins. More olives, capers, fried bacon, anchovies (anchoïade) and this glue-y side, varnishes, then peppered lemon juice. Finish: long, mentholy, with more liquorice as well. Some eucalyptus, inhalation oils and pastis. Comments: probably from the Port Mourant double wooden pot still, which was to be moved from Uitvlugt to Diamond distillery later on, in the year 2000. Excellent.
SGP:453 - 88 points.

To Jamaica...

Great House Distillery 13 yo 2007/2021 (66.1%, The Duchess, Jamaica, cask #18)

Great House Distillery 13 yo 2007/2021 (66.1%, The Duchess, Jamaica, cask #18) Five stars
The name Great House, a little bird told me, suggests this would be Hmpdn. In no way could this be bad news, Hmpdn clearly being the Rrdbg of rum. Colour: light gold. Nose: high marque, super-long fermentation, carbon paper, brake-pad dust, varnish and vinegar, glue, new Chinese plastics and just green and black olives. With water: rotting things and more new plastics, varnishes, olives and pickled wakame. Mouth (neat): massive. Lemons carbon tar gherkins cucumbers and olives. With water: these whacky rotting fruits. Like rotten oranges, fermenting plums and all that. And more nasty oily plastics yet. Finish: very long, gherkins-dominated, almost a little sadistic. Concentrated lime juice and rotten bananas in the aftertaste. Comments: not needed, we'll all get a break.

SGP:463 - 91 points.

Why not some very old Long Pond?

Long Pond 38 yo 1983/2022 (52.5%, Distilia, The Golden Age of Piracy, Charles Vane, Jamaica, cask #8, 108 bottles)

Long Pond 38 yo 1983/2022 (52.5%, Distilia, The Golden Age of Piracy, Charles Vane, Jamaica, cask #8, 108 bottles) Four stars and a half
Some Long Pond that would be almost 40 years old? How's that even possible? Thanks to continental ageing I would suppose. As for that Charles Vane fellow, he was a British pirate busy with attacking French ships (bad) and British ships just as well (better – hey I'm joking!) Colour: full gold. Nose: the freshness is incredible. You do still smell the cane fields, the fresh molasses, this aniseed and this fennel, and even these brand new vinyl records, why not Bob Marley's as he had only left this world two years earlier, in 1981. No ganja, though. With water: superb, with some diesel oil, machine grease, plus a little parsley and lovage. Some very vegetal tarriness. Mouth (neat): flabbergasting, even 'a tiny bit too strong' after 38 years. No signs of over-ageing whatsoever, having said that it's rather low-ester Long Pond, certainly no TEC-*. Some wonderful pineapples, as syrups, liqueur and just jams. With water: it may have started to lose a little knack, after all, which can't be too surprising. More sweet grasses and citrus, less phenolic tars. Finish: medium, perhaps even a tad short. I believe this fab old rum is about to say goodbye now, after 38 years. Comments: a bit bell-shaped, which is very normal after all. There's certainly an emotional contribution to the global assessment here, but after all, let's remember the Long Pond 1941/1999 by Gordon & MacPhail that was still easily fetching 92 points after 58 years in wood.

SGP:652 - 89 points.

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







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