Apr 172015
Velier Caroni 1994 Heavy Trinidad Rum - Review

  This Caroni isn’t the strongest one in the rumosphere but it conforms to most of the expectations taste-wise – a shade more dark and it could probably be used to surface a road somewhere. A good to great exemplar from the closed distillery. (#211. 87/100) *** This is one of five or six rums I bought in an effort to raise the profile of the now-defunct Caroni Distillery from Trinidad. That it was made by Velier didn’t hurt either, of course, because almost alone among the rums makers out there, Luca Gargano has the distinction of making just about all [Click here for the full review…]

Apr 082015
Bristol Spirits Caroni 1989 19 Year Old Rum - Review

Another, slightly lesser brother from the same mother. It stands in the shadow of the company’s magnificent 34 Year Old. (#210 / 85/100) *** It’s possible that Bristol Spirits decided to play it safe (again) with the 43% expression from the closed Caroni Distillery of Trinidad…y’know, give it a wider audience than the drop-down-dead-of-old-age 34 year old 1974 variation which would dig a deep hole in both your wallet and your marriage. Or maybe that’s how the barrel played out when it came time to bottle the liquor (notice that 2008 was the same year they produced the 1974, so [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 312015
Bristol Spirits Reserve Rum of Peru 8 Years Old - Review

A clean, warm and smooth rum from Peru, which is extremely accessible to anyone who doesn’t like cask strength rums. (#209. 86/100) *** Into the shadowed world of dronish and often-boring label design, the screaming green of the Peruano stands out like a neon tarantula on a wedding cake.  It’s an assault on the visual cortex that can’t help but make you catch your breath, mutter an amused “wtf?” and move in for a closer look. Not that this has anything to do with the quality of the rum inside, of course.  I merely bring up the point to remark [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 242015
J. Bally Rhum Ambrè Agricole - Review

Young, rambunctious, uncoordinated, somewhat raw, and a riot in a mix of any kind.  Even neat it has a funky, raw charm all its own. In that, it’s an agricole all the way through. (#208. 83/100) *** The J Bally Ambrè Agricole is a young rhum that is still finding its legs, and places its origins in an estate on Martinique that stretches back to 1670, when the Lajus sugar plantation was founded.  It was one of those rhums from a company that has long had its place in the roll call of honour of the French West Indies – [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 182015
Ron Maja 12 Year Old Rum - Review

  This is definitely a rum to chillax with. A solid, relaxed and very pleasant Salvadorean rum which should be given some attention…even if it’s actually from Panama. (#207. 83/100) *** Assume you were a new outfit in a country A and were making a new rum whose brand was once owned and which was once made, by your family; you sourced distillate from another country, B; used that country B’s facilities to make and age the finished product; and hired a Master Blender, also from that B country.  Now, the question is, whose rum is it? A or B? [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 112015
Velier EHPM (Enmore and Port Mourant) 1998 16 Year Old Rum - Review

An assembly of two rums that are great on their own, made even better by being blended before ageing. (#206. 91/100) *** Permit me a brief box-ticking here: Velier issues cask strength monsters akin to top end whiskies (but which cost less); they hearken to individual distilleries, sometimes to individual stills within that distillery; and Luca Gargano, the maitre, has stocks of Guyanese rums and the Trini Caronis that beggar the imagination; and while occasionally there are rums that don’t quite ascend to the brilliance of others, the overall oevre is one of enormous collective quality. Here, Velier has taken [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 062015
How to Start Reviewing Rums - Part 5

Part 5 – Keeping things going So let’s sum up the preceding four parts.[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] Understand what you’re getting into, and why you’re doing it Go with a comfortable writing style that suits you Design a nice look to your site Know how to taste, score, note and write (and practice a lot) Know your rums and the larger world around them Sample around extensively (safely!!! I am not advocating rampant boozing) Be courteous Be consistent If you’ve made it to fifty or more reviews, passed a year of writing, then it’s reasonable to [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 052015
How to Start Reviewing Rums - Part 4

    Part 4 – Which rums to start with In conceptual and generalized terms, this series has so far covered the startup philosophy, the website and postings, and added pointers on sampling and reviewing.  Today I move into more familiar territory. I have a feeling quite a few people were waiting for this post.  Alas, no, this isn’t entirely what you thought it would be, because making such a list is a tricky, even controversial, subject to opinions varying as widely as the Pacific. I’d suggest that you begin with what’s available to you easily and at a relatively [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 052015
How to Start Reviewing Rums - Part 3

  Part 3 – Sampling, and the review itself In the first part of this series I discussed figuring out how to get your head around what to write, and followed that up in Part 2 with some general remarks on how to deal with your actual website postings. Today I continue in a similar vein about tasting, scoring and the conceptuals of a review. *** When I taste I scribble my initial notes immediately; then I have to retaste, usually with other rums in play as controls or comparators, then score.  Then I have to turn the whole thing [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 042015
How to Start Reviewing Rums - Part 2

Part 2 – The Website, writing and your postings Yesterday I wrote about getting the mental philosophy of what you’re doing straight, sort of like getting your battle preparations right. In this part, I speak to your website, your writing and the attitude towards interacting with the world. In no particular order of importance, then: 1. Hardly needs to be said, but design your website for the long term, and organize your space neatly.  This is one of those elementary things that is often and surprisingly overlooked. Maximize useful space at the left and right with widgets, links, categories or [Click here for the full review…]

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