Nov 252015
Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum - Review

Leave aside the hype and controversy, and try this without preconceptions. You may be surprised, intrigued and even pleased with the result.  I was, I was and I wasn’t, not entirely…but you might be. (#242. 83/100) *** If by now you are not aware that Lost Spirits out of California has developed a “molecular reactor” that supposedly mimics the ageing of a twenty year rum in six days, then you have not been paying attention (or aren’t that deep into rum geekdom).  The idea is not itself altogether new, and detractors have sniffed that snake oil sellers have been talking [Click here for the full review…]

Nov 242015
Velier Port Mourant 1974 33 Year Old Rum

Rumaniacs Review 012 The Velier retrospectives continue.  So sad they’re out of production, and that DDL aren’t letting Luca take any more barrels from their old stocks.  The dinosaurs like this one continue to be collector’s items…the good Lord only knows where the 1972 is at these days. I last looked at this lovely rum back in 2013, when I was able to get a bottle into Calgary (bought in 2012, don’t get me started on the headaches that took), and its rep has only grown since then. Colour – mahogany Strength 54.5% Nose – Just lovely, so very distinctive. The DDL Single [Click here for the full review…]

Nov 162015
Clairin Vaval Rhum - Review

Looks like water but goes down like a charge of cheerfully boosted C4. You won’t mistake it for any other rhum…except maybe its cousins. (#241 / 84.5/100) *** Full of get-up-and-go instilled by the momentous encounter that was the Sajous, I sprang for both the Casimir and the Vaval (plus a Sajous of my own) at the first available opportunity.  Because come on, originality and going off the reservation in the rum world are vanishing ideals, and it’s not often that a rhum is so amazingly, shockingly off-base that it’s in another ballpark altogether. Such a rhum was the Clairin [Click here for the full review…]

Nov 122015
Ron Cacique Antiguo - Review

Supposedly more premium, but not a whole lot better than the 500. (#240 / 84/100) *** Here’s a poster child of why a rum reviewer has to have the beady-eyed practicality of a jaded streetwalker. Age, style, marketing, pamphlets, labels, word of mouth, all count for nothing, and all is evaluated without recourse to what anyone else says. After reviewing the €35 Cacique 500 as well as the Veroes Añejo from Venezuela, and checking around to see what else I could buy from that country, I felt it was only fair to pick up something a little higher up on [Click here for the full review…]

Nov 082015
Velier UF30E 1985 27 Year Old Rum

Rumaniacs Review 011 Time to address the brontosaurii of Velier for a few Rumaniacs write ups, since the samples are there. UF30E is a bit “young” for inclusion into the Rumaniacs pantheon, but it is out of production, so let’s have it. The code stands for Uitvlugt Field #30 East, or some such, which would puzzle even someone from Mudland (like, umm…well, me).  Never mind.  With an outturn of 814 bottles from three barrels, it remains one of the best rums from Velier I’ve ever sampled.  And while I thought had overpraised it back in 2013, it turns out I may have [Click here for the full review…]

Nov 052015
Compagnie des Indes Indonesia 10 Year Old Rum - Review

In Berlin in 2015, I tasted thirty or so rums at the RumFest. But I only bought one. This one. (#239 / 86/100) Why did I get this rum? Well, occasionally I get bored with rums that seem to go noplace special, don’t venture beyond their own self prescribed limits. I like originality, the whiff of something new. And so I go far afield and back in time, sniffing out old rums — a 30+ year old Demerara, maybe), different ones (clairins anyone?) and those from varied locations like, oh, Madagascar. I’m still looking for Swaziland; was enthralled to know that [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 282015
Rhum des Plantations St. James 1885

Rumanicas Review 010 Yes, you read that right. 1885.  Holy molasses this thing is old. How can anyone even begin to assess a spirit that was made so incredibly long ago? I’m literally in awe. What was going on back then anyway? Sino French war in Vietnam; the Mahdist army overran Khartoum and killed General Gordon; AT&T was incorporated in New York; Gottlieb Daimler patented his engine; the North West rebellion in Canada; the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York harbour; the Third Anglo-Burmese war…and St. James began bottling its vintages that year, same year as they introduced the square [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 262015
St. Nicholas Abbey 15 Year Old Rum - Review

An expensive, luxurious, silky, almost-heavy, near-masterpiece of assembly. This dethrones the $400 Panamonte XXV as maybe the best 40% rum I’ve ever tried. For half the price. (#238. 88/100) *** It’s been just over four years since I reviewed the St. Nicholas Abbey’s 8, 10 and 12 year olds, and I liked them all, a lot. They were soft, warm, well-made Bajan rums (initial distillate provided by R. L. Seale of Four Square), redolent of much history and heritage — the plantation itself is as much of interest as the rum they make. Ever since then I’ve been trying to [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 222015
Black Tot: Last Consignment Naval Rum - Review

Bottled history.  Nothing more, nothing less. (#237. 87/100) *** “The heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good,” remarked Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I remembered that bit of wisdom before embarking on our tryst with this rum.  And to ensure that my long anticipation for the Tot wasn’t bending my feeble mind (I bought the bottle 2014, and tasted it for the first time almost a full year later) I tempered my judgement by trying it three times, with the Skeldon 1973 32 year old, BBR 1977 36 year old, a Velier Caroni and the Samaroli Barbados 1986.  Just to be [Click here for the full review…]

Oct 192015
Rhum J. Bally 6 Ans

Rumanicas Review 009 Oh, tough one to research.  Loads of 1929 and 1930s photos out there, rien on this one. Not a millesime, because J. Bally helpfully places the year on that little smiley label at the top for those.  But with that fading old-style label, maybe pre-1980s?  Earlier? Not sure.  Still, J. Bally’s original domicile on Plantation Lajus du Carbet was closed back in 1989 (current rhums are made at a consolidated site at Plantation Simon using the original recipe), so at least we have something suitably aged here.  Whatever.  It was a neat little piece of history to [Click here for the full review…]

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