Aug 242016
St. Nicholas Abbey 5 Year Old Single Cask Rum - Review

Might be heresy to say so, but I thought it better than the same company’s eight year old. (#297 / 82/100) *** One of the reasons why the St. Nicholas Abbey Five year old gets the full etched-bottle treatment of the 8, 10, 12, 15 and 18 year olds (which are all remarkably good for 40% rums and earned good reviews from across the spectrum, including mine), is because the company is justifiably proud of this being the first rums they made from entirely their own matured stocks.  Previously they were ageing FourSquare rums to make the originals noted above [Click here for the full review…]

Aug 232016
Boote Star Demerara Proprietor Reserve 20 Year Old Rum - Review

The finishing regime of this rum may not work for all comers, but does at least create a decent aged product from a well-known still. (#296 / 84/100) *** This is quite an international rum – made in Guyana, shipped to the UK by an Italian importer and bottled by a Dutch company. Boote Star is a Dutch bottler (actually called the Associated Distillers Group), about which there is maddeningly little hard information, aside from the fact that (a) they also have a ten year old, and (b) they appear to have sourced the rum from an Italian distributor and distiller [Click here for the full review…]

Aug 172016
Rhum Rhum Libération Vieux Agricole 2012 - Review

Maybe not quite a second banana to the Integrale from the same year, but not the whole one either. (#295 / 86/100) *** In theory, the only real difference between the Libération Integrale and the one I’m looking at here is the strength (and, if you’re picky about such things, the title).  The Integrale was a quiet stunner of a rhum, one of the best agricoles for its price and age, yet it seems odd to say that its lower strength sibling falls so much shorter of the mark.  Can that really be just about proof?  I tasted them side [Click here for the full review…]

Aug 132016
Rhum J.M. 1845 Cuvée du Fondateur - Review

After a tough day at work, the Cuvée 1845 is a balm to the exhausted mind. (#294 / 88/100) *** Even at 42% ABV, The Rhum J.M. Cuvée makes a statement for agricoles that is worth listening to.  It finds a balance between body, mouthfeel, taste, spiciness and warmth in a way that reminds us that agricoles should not be taken as merely a small subset of the greater rumworld, but should hold a place in the pantheon second to none. While these days my preferences run mostly towards stronger, full proof rums, I must say that there’s nothing about [Click here for the full review…]

Aug 072016
Rhum Saint James (Martiniqe 1970s/1980s)

Rumanicas Review 024 Like with many old rhums one is sent or which one finds in shadowed corners of sleepy back-alley shops, it’s almost impossible to track down the provenance of rhums like this one.  I mean, do a search on “Rhum St James 47%” and see how far that gets you.  As far I know this is not a millesime (it’s not the superb 1979, or the 1976 for example), not a massively aged old rhum (in fact, its profile suggests the opposite), and was noted simply as being from the 1970s or 1980s.  Not much to be going [Click here for the full review…]

Aug 032016
Companie des Indes Caraïbes - Review

Lack of oomph and added sugar make it a good rum for the unadventurous general market. (#293 / 82/100) *** Your appreciation and philosophy of rum can be gauged by your reaction to Compagnie des Indes Caraïbes edition, which was one of the first rums Florent Beuchet made.  It’s still in production, garnering reviews that are across the spectrum – some like it, some don’t. Most agree it’s okay.  I think it’s one of the few missteps CDI ever made, and shows a maker still experimenting, still finding his feet.  Brutally speaking, it’s a fail compared to the glittering panoply [Click here for the full review…]

Aug 032016
Nine Leaves "Clear" Rum 2015 - Review

A quite serviceable, unmessed-with white rum from Japan, steering a delicate middle course between sleaze and decorum with less than complete success. (#292 / 84/100) *** Nine Leaves, that always-interesting one man operation out of Japan, doesn’t find much favour with Serge Valentin, who has consistently scored their rums low, but I’ve always kinda liked them myself.  The 2015 edition of the “Clear” is a case in point, and showcases the move of some rum makers into white, unaged, unfiltered, full-proof, pot still products.  The aren’t for everyone, of course, and may never find broad acceptance, since they always feel [Click here for the full review…]

Jul 282016
La Favorite Cuvée Spéciale 1995 (La Confrérie Du Rhum) - Review

A delectable rhum, of an age we don’t see very often these days. (#291 / 89/100) *** Anyone who thinks agricoles are an afterthought in the rum world and should only be taken when one runs out of the more common brown-based stuff, would do well to sample what La Confrérie Du Rhum and La Favorite issued last year. La Confrérie is actually not a company — translating into “The Brotherhood of Rum”, it is the largest Facebook rum group currently in existence —  its French language antecedents don’t stop it numbering nearly sixteen thousand members when last I looked [Click here for the full review…]

Jul 252016
Three More Cachaças from Delicana

#290 In 2014 I looked at three very different aged cachaças from Delicana, the German maker of Brazilian rums; I had met the owner, Bert Ostermann, who has had a love affair with the country lasting many years at the Berlin Rumfest and we had a long and pleasant conversation.  The central theme of his work was to age his rums in local woods, which gave them a piquant, off-base profile that at the time I didn’t care for – indeed, I scored the youngest of these rums the best, because I felt that the peculiar tastes of the wood had not had [Click here for the full review…]

Jul 252016
Jamel Cachaça - Review

Original enough to make it worth buying just to experience it.  Nose is startling, taste a lot better. (#289 / 81/100) *** In trying the Jamel, Leblon and Sagatiba cachaças together this one stood out quite markedly, even more so when ranked against the German company Delicana’s three local-wood-aged variants that I’ve also tried.  The L’Esprit Brazilian rum might have set the bar high and remains the one I prefer the most (so far) but if you stick with it, this one is pretty damned good too…and this is one of those times that if they did add something in, [Click here for the full review…]

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