Jan 122015
Depaz Rhum Vieux VSOP Agricole Reserve Speciale - Review

Complex, yes. Quality, not entirely. (#197. 65/100) *** Although the Depaz VSOP Reserve Speciale is noted as being a complex agricole, not much except perhaps the taste of the reddish brown rhum deriving from the Plantation de la Montagne Pelee really works for me as it should, which just goes to show that not every single spirit hailing from a part of the world supposedly making only top-end products can be as good as it is meant to be.  Part of the issue here (I hesitate to say “problem”) is that all sensations go by too fleetingly for any real [Click here for the full review…]

Jan 082015
Karukera Rhum 2004 Vieux Double Maturation - Review

A rich, argicole rum of a depth and flavour I savoured for literally hours – it almost qualifies as the perfect comfort drink, and for sure it’s the best sub-10 year old rum I’ve ever tried. (#196. 75/100) *** Karukera in Guadeloupe is a distillery for whom I have grown to have a great deal of respect: I was not won over by their Vieux Reserve Speciale, but the 1997 Millesime was something else again, and I often drifted back to it when looking for an agricole baseline, or a control.  On the strength of that positive experience, I decided [Click here for the full review…]

Jan 032015
Velier Diamond 1999 15 Year Old Rum - Review

Velier has created a heated, tasty, toasty Demerara rum that in my opinion takes its place alongside the UF30E and the Skeldon 1973 as one of the best rums they have ever made. *** (#195. 85/100) More than “42”, here’s the answer some of the great and grand questions of the universe.  When asked by the inquiring, “What makes anything you say worth hearing?” or “Why should I sleep with you?” or “Why’s the front door smashed in?”, all you need to do is smile, shrug, and point to this rum. Velier’s rums sometimes seem similar when described (look how [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 282014
Silver Seal Caroni 1997 14 Year Old Trinidad Rum - Review

A surprising, dry, sharp and flavourful rum, yet somewhat missing of the high bar set by the Caronis made by other Italians. It’s got too many conflicting components, good in themselves, failing to cohere. (#194. 71/100) *** Readily available, cheaper and often excellent “everyone has one in his bar” rums dot the North American reviewing landscape, and every blogger usually begins his or her writing with such standards (European bloggers like Cyril, Marco and Henrik do not, for other reasons). Just like all film lovers eventually come to Ozu, sooner or later all us web scriveners move towards the craft [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 132014
Rivière-du-Mât Traditionel Vieux Grande Réserve Rum - Review

A tasty, svelte, supple rum like this brings home the point of how widespread the world of rum is, how we are too often satisfied with too little, and why should demand more. Even at 40%, this rum is quite a drinking experience. (#193. 70/100) Réunion? Quick, place that on a map. Casting around for something to look at to close out 2014, I settled on this sprightly and supple forty percenter.  This was not just because I wanted to cast a geographically wider net (though this is also true) – but because when you see a good rum, you [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 092014
Barangài Rum (Caroni) Sherrywood Cask 1997 16 Year Old - Review

This is the second in a series of about six Caroni rums which I bought in mid-2014. It’s a solidly impressive rum, and quite a sophisticated, tasty bruiser. (#192. 73/100) Barangài?  What the hell is this? I asked myself, when scouring the online shoppes to come up with another Caroni perhaps worthy of purchase.  I found out that the word is not a title or the maker’s name (as I had initially surmised) but refers to an old descriptor used by the islanders for ships of medium capacity: I suppose a caravel, or a carrack, or a ballinger would be [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 052014
Nine Leaves Angel's Half (French Oak Cask) Rum - Review

A Japanese pot still rum of clout and flavour, perhaps needing some more ageing to score better and reach a wider audience. (#191. 65/100) *** In five years of writing about rum, I’ve seen quite a few new rum-making enterprises come across my radar: Elements, Koloa, Downslope, Ocean’s readily spring to mind.  Now they are joined by a new outfit called Nine Leaves, which may be unique in that it’s a distillery, a bottler, and a distributor, all run by one person: Mr. Yoshiharu Takeuchi, who operates in the Shiga Prefecture of Japan (the company was formed in 2013). At [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 012014
Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 57% Rum - Review

  If strength and atavism are your things, the Jamaica Pot Still 57% won’t disappoint; a shot or two of this, and you’ll feel your nostrils dilate as you search around for a stone to bash a rhino with, before eating a freshly-caught, still-twitching deer. It’s that intense. (#190. 72/100) The 57% pot still Jamaican rum from Rum Nation represents a departure for the company in a number of ways (not including the bottle shape, introduced for the 2014 season).  It is the first rum the company has produced that is over 100 proof, it’s the first rum they’ve not [Click here for the full review…]

Nov 262014
Dzama Rhum Vieux Millésimé 1998 10 Year Old - Review

A remarkably well balanced and tasty rum from the Indian Ocean (#189. 75/100) *** In spite of the prevailing belief that rums are Caribbean almost by definition, it’s axiomatic that many other nations and regions produce them.  Over the years I’ve found that the most readily identifiable and distinctive (I don’t say “best”) products, products that have a flavour profile all their own, usually hail from some distant part of the world where climatic and soil conditions are far removed from the norm: consider, for example the Bundaberg, the Old Monk, or even the Tanduay.  Now sure, flavourings are sometimes [Click here for the full review…]

Nov 202014
Oceans Rum Atlantic Limited Edition 1997 - Review

  A rum potentially seventeen years old, undone by trying to be all things to all drinkers. (#188 / 63/100) *** Ocean’s Rum Atlantic Limited Edition 1997 is made (or at least aged) in the Canary Islands, not the first place you’d think about when considering a rum of any kind.  Probably thinking that less was not more, and more might be good enough, the makers came up with this rather startling combo of components hailing from seven (yes, seven) different rum-making locations, and trotted out the 43% result as the “Atlantic” Limited Edition (the meaning of the 1997 is [Click here for the full review…]