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

April 30, 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 rums

As usual, kicking this off with some apéritifs…




New Grove 5 yo 'Old Tradition' (40%, OB, Mauritius, +/-2022)

New Grove 5 yo 'Old Tradition' (40%, OB, Mauritius, +/-2022) Three stars
Remember, tradition does not mean to look after the ash, but to keep the flame alive (Jean Jaurès). We really enjoyed New Grove's 'bourbon' expression last month 'WF 80). This is rhum traditionnel, so not agricole or agricole-style. Colour: gold. Nose: awesome whiffs of tangerines! Behind them, some sugarcane juice, flowers (or ylang-ylang), a little charcoal, then oranges from the trees (orange trees, obviously). I very much enjoy these oranges and tangerines in this nose. Mouth: pretty good. Sadly many Mauritians are doséed-up, and this one may be too but they've kept it very moderate. It's just that you need to enjoy triple-sec, curaçao, Cointreau, Grand-Marnier and compadres. Finish: medium, rather too sugary now, but I'm rather a fan of the core. A little tar and even a salty touch in the aftertaste.  Comments: could we have a clean one too?
SGP:741 - 81 points.

Longueteau 'Symphonie' (49.5%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2021)

Longueteau 'Symphonie' (49.5%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2021) Three stars and a half
No age and funny names, the disease is striking rum too. Colour: deep gold. Nose: sweet curries, sweet paprika, oranges, rye, muscovado, caramel, butterscotch, garden earth… Good work with the casks, somewhat reminiscent of Glenmorangie's older experiments with new American oak, Ozark, Chinkapin and all those. In short it really feels, but it works. Mouth: very modern, oak-led, spicy and sweet, concoctiony (is that a proper word?) but again, very well made. More curry, nutmeg, paprika, cinnamon, oak honey (honeydew)… It sure is a little tiring but no one is saying you should have more than a wee glass at a time. Finish: rather long and very 'Indian'. Curries, masala, tamarind chutney… Comments: it sure does feel 'lab' but I think they did it very well. Quercus Imperator!

SGP:662 - 84 points.

Since we're in Guadeloupe…

Bielle 2014/2021 'Brut de Fût' (56.9%, OB, Marie-Galante, agricole)

Bielle 2014/2021 'Brut de Fût' (56.9%, OB, Marie-Galante, agricole) Four stars and a half
Seven years old, colonne Savalle, and oh, remember Marie-Galante is part of Guadeloupe; administratively speaking (hate to speak administratively). One of my favourite rum distilleries… Colour: gold. Nose: typical touches of aniseed, pastis, fennel, sauvignon blanc… Then liquorice, always with a lot of freshness, slate and clay, mint, garden peat, geranium flowers, damsons… It is very complex, fresh, entrancing… With water: some kind of metallic earth, spent engine oil, copper polish, silverware, Barbour grease… Where's all this coming from? Not from the colonne Savalle, I would suppose. Mouth (neat): fabulous. Medicinal and liquoricy at first, then more citrusy, then frankly jammy (marmalade, mirabelles, quince jelly and all that)… It started coastal and fresh and got then much thicker and jammier. Much fun here. With water: please only a little water, or it'll disband. Lovely cinnamon, rhubarb, something both vegetal and tarry (palm hearts). Finish: long. Please don't add any waters at all. Some fizzy pepperiness. Comments: Bielle – Neisson, or Neisson – Bielle. I know what I'm trying to say. It would have made it to 90 or more without the complicated reduction/finish on the palate.

SGP:652 - 88 points.

Bellevue 1998/2022 (53.9%, The Colours of Rum, Guadeloupe, cask #16, 249 bottles)Bellevue 1998/2022 (53.9%, The Colours of Rum, Guadeloupe, cask #16, 249 bottles)

Bellevue 1998/2022 (53.9%, The Colours of Rum, Guadeloupe, cask #16, 249 bottles) Five stars
Six years in the tropics, the rest in Europe. I don't think this is a bad combo for organoleptical purposes, but it may be 'politically'. This is ex-refill rum cask (h.u.r.r.a.y.) Colour: deep gold. Nose: fully on Bellevue's Jamaican side. Olives, gherkins, tar, liquorice, gauze, grapefruit skins, kerosene… With water: metal polish, putty, carbolineum, ultra-ripe bananas. Mouth (neat): very extraordinarily medicinal (did I make my point?) Stupendous camphors, eucalyptus, tars and liquorice. Drop of brine, drop of lemon juice, perfecto. With water: don't add any water to these rums. In this very case, just a few drops of Vittel unleashed a hoard of strawberries. It's not that I'm against strawberries, but in my rum, no thanks. Having said that, this is common in peated whiskies too. Finish: long, with more citrus and earth. Comments: what I've learnt, fully empirically, is that rums are much harder to reduce correctly than whiskies. Basically, when in doubt, always forbear.

SGP:652 - 90 points.

Enmore 1994/2020 'VSG' (51.4%, Rum Artesanal, Guyana, cask #197, 249 bottles)

Enmore 1994/2020 'VSG' (51.4%, Rum Artesanal, Guyana, cask #197, 249 bottles) Four stars and a half
So from the famous Versailles still when it was at Enmore Distillery. Only good feelings here and now. Colour: dark red amber. Nose: pinewood, blood oranges, pomelos marmalade (another sin), wholegrain bread, pumpernickel, menthol, chocolate (guanaja), some soft chilli, pizza sauce (I know)… With water: perhaps a bit too much towards oakiness now, walnut stain, cigar boxes, old fireplace… Mouth (neat): high woodiness, no problems at all in this context. Lorry-loads of liquorice, pink grapefruits and Szechuan pepper in the back. Some woody chocolateness. With water: it's still standing (hi Sir Elton) but once again, careful with water. Finish: long, on prunes, old armagnac, oak… Chocolate, olives and lemons in the aftertaste. Comments: brilliant, if perhaps already a wee bit 'on the other side'.

SGP:562 - 89 points.

Shall we push it all a little further?...

Enmore 31 yo 1991/2022 (48.4%, Precious Liquors & Whisky Paris, Guyana, cask #68, 168 bottles)

Enmore 31 yo 1991/2022 (48.4%, Precious Liquors & Whisky Paris, Guyana, cask #68, 168 bottles) Five stars
This is a 'Versailles at Enmore' too. Colour: dark red amber. Nose: new-sawn cherrywood, cigar humidor, old embrocations, castor oil, new tyres, varnish, petrichor, prunes… Seriously, we always say that old spirits converge, and this is just more proof. Old Ténarèze! Mouth: sublime oak and pine essences, paint, charcoal, thyme oil, burnt woods… It sure bites your tongue a little bit, and it sure isn't a model of balance, and it is pretty extreme indeed, and you have to enjoy anything piney and resinous… But the distillate could take it. I remember some very old Irish by Cadenhead that had become similarly piney to the extreme, and rather undrinkable because the distillates were very light and just couldn't stand this much oak. Quite the opposite with these old Enmore/Versailles. In short, a charming monster. Finish: long, very piney and resinous. Comments: a charming monster indeed, as long as you enjoy challenges, as I do.

SGP:382- 90 points.

Happy Sunday to you, cheers!

(Gracias, Rob)

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