Feb 232015
 

D3S_8915

An entry level rum with some unusual and remarkably pleasant flavours that one has to work too hard to find in the raw scrape of underaged alcohol.

(#204. 81/100)

***

One of the things I noted when nosing this dark mahogany-red rum from the German outfit Alt-Enderle, was the baking spices that presented themselves almost immediately. At 43% strength there was no real savagery here, and I didn’t bother letting it rest before trying it (when you practice on cask-strength muscle-twitching bodybuilders, anything under 50% seems easy), and all I remarked on at the inception was how many different, mild, spiced up elements there were. Cinnamon, vanilla and smoke were in evidence from the get go, but also nutmeg, and some cloves. It was quite an interesting experience, to be honest.

I won’t pretend that all was sunshine and roses, of course.  The rum had been aged for only a year, and some of that youth was evident on the mouthfeel, where sharp and raw alcohol notes almost obliterated what could have been a much more interesting sipping experience.  It also dampened the flavours, though I detected vanilla, more cinnamon and nutmeg (as from the nose), followed by some cloves, orange peel, some raisins and a plummy note, wound about with a faint tannic taste, all blending reasonably into the whole. No joy on the finish, I’m afraid, and this was the weakest part of the entire drink – short and sharp, giving little back aside from some more vanilla and caramel hints.

D3S_8916

The molasses from this intriguing rum hailed from India, which may account for that oomphed-up mommy’s-kitchen profile, unusual in island specific rums.  I remember noting something similar in the profiles of Amrut Old Port and the Old Monk Very Old Vatted, though I never wrote about the latter, being a little too loaded at the time to recall my own name, let alone tasting specifics…it may be another example of something noticeably distinct, like Bundaberg is, or the other Indian rums.  To make sure, however, I emailed the company asking whether anything was added to the rum to enhance the flavour profile (still waiting…).

Like Old Man Spirits, Alt-Enderle is a German company which makes rums among other spirits.  Established in 1991, they are located about a hundred kilometers south-east of Frankfurt, and it seems to be a fairly small operation.  They do however make rums from molasses imported from other countries – Thailand and Paraguay are two current examples.  I’m not sure what their philosophy really is regarding rum – like most micro distilleries, they appear to toss them off almost as afterthoughts in their quest to make other liquors like (in this case), whiskies, absinthe, herbal liqueurs and brandies. They distill the molasses themselves — a photo on their website suggests they have a copper still — and set the resultant to age in barrels sourced from the Caribbean.

D3S_8919

Putting all impressions together, I’m scoring this rum at 81, and naming it an entry level spirit. But be advised, it’s not entirely a bad product, and should not be casually written off like yesterday’s fish. The “India” had some real originality in the tastes and aromas– they were distinct, if faint, and points have to be given for that. I have a feeling that the barrels are part of the reason it was not better than it could have been. When told that the rum was aged in Caribbean barrels, some of which were thirty years old, this is not to be considered a point of pride, as I remarked to the booth agent, but of concern, as it suggested dead wood with not much more to impart than maybe some good advice.

Was it a cost cutting measure?  Hard to say.  My own advice here would be to age the rum a little more (and take the hit on maturation and warehousing costs), in barrels with a little more zest left in them.  This rum is a decent starter drink, good for a mix somewhere (especially since it’s not added-to with those spices) …but it could also have been better.

 

Other notes

  • €45 for a 500ml bottle.
  • Aside from the marketing blurb on the back label, there’s a quote: “It’s not enough to be different…one must also be better.”  I like that thought.

 

Mar 242013
 

First posted 30 July 2010 on Liquoirature. #032

Pungent, full and pleasant to drink.  Amrut may be taking the whisky world by storm, but I think this may have been the real shot across the bows

***

Didn’t Clint and the Last Hippie just post good reviews of Amrut’s fusion whisky the other day?  In researching the second of three new rums for the July 2010 gathering, I discovered (much to my surprise), that the same company out of Bangalore India, makes this very capable young rum called Old Port (I can’t get any details on ageing, distillation methods or composition for this baby, alas). Now India having spoken English longer than America, being a British colony ever since Clive in 1757 (look up Plassey, ye historically challenged ones), I sort of expect the whisky production (and definitely gin), but this was the first rum from there I had ever managed to snag.  This is the dark side of having so little choice, here in Calgary: you grab anything new with a price tag and hope for the best, and in your hurry to elbow the other guy out of the way, you don’t read the label carefully enough. I should have picked up the reference.

The bottle is short and squat, and the dark brown liquid sloshes invitingly within.  The nose is candied caramel, and the molasses from which it is made comes through clearly.  It smells a bit like a spiced rum, to be honest, sweet and thick.  Neat, that caramel charges at you right out of the gate, and you also get hints of cinnamon, and a spicy undertone of some kind.  There’s something unidentifiable buried under there, that spicy note which harkens to muscatel grapes, bananas or perhaps prunes, and I can only attribute that to either the distillation method, the source cane (remember how the Bundie blew us all away because of its crazy taste utterly at odds with our conceptions of rum?  same thing here, but in a much much better way) or some subtle spice addition in the blend that gives Old Port Deluxe a distinctive taste and bite all its own.  Whatever it is, I liked it, and the the overall texture and taste in the mouth were pleasant and tasted of just enough sweet. The burn on the back of the throat was a sort of dark rich caramel, deep yet not sharp. It’s not entirely successful as a sipping rum – lack of care in making this a successful marriage of flavours and tastes mitigate against that – but as mixer, I thought it was excellent

Amrut distillery was founded in 1948 (that would be the year the British left), and since India is the second largest sugar cane producer in the world after Brazil, is it any surprise they have made some kind of spirit out of it? For the most part and for many years they served the local “country hooch”  market, but have in recent years branched out international… primarily in fine whiskies.  The rum component of their production – the part that isn’t for internal consumption – is still relatively unknown.  In part this is because of the craziness of the Indian liquor landscape: there are thirty-three states in India and each has its own liquor policy – Ghandi’s philosophy on prohibition make booze illegal in Gujerat, for example. The sugar lobby prevents local country spirits from being legalized;  import taxes on foreign liquor are stupendously high…and yet the horribly large shot serving preferred in places like the Punjab makes India one of the largest tippling nations in the world. The British influence makes whisky preferred to rum as a sign of the upper classes (poor rum – no respect on the shelves of Calgary, and now none in the tastes of India either…sigh)

From country hooch, local tipple, flavoured vodkas, gins, brandies and whiskies, all based on molasses, to premium whiskies like Fusion and its counterparts is quite a step.  But I have to tell you that the rum as a whole wasn’t bad at all, and I liked it a lot.  It didn’t really have much competition that evening – el Dorado Five and the disappointing Mount Gay Extra Old – so it turned out to be the sleeper of the evening, in my opinion.  With the gradually increasing prescence of this 60+ year old distillery on the world liquor stage, all I can say is I look forward to their premium offerings to come: Curt was impressed with their whiskies, but I gotta tell you, if this was an example of their rums, they are worth watching in the future for something really stellar.

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