May 092017
 
Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Jamaican Rum (1980s)

Rumaniacs Review #037 Tasting all these Appletons together and side by side is an instructive exercise.  The profile remains remarkably stable at its core, while presenting some interesting diversions from the main theme, like a James Bond movie or a Sherlock Holmes short story. We smile at and are comfortable with the similarities, know the form, and sniff around for variations. This 12 year old is from the 1980s, still retains the tinfoil screw-on cap, and its provenance can be gauged from the barroom style bottle and black label, instead of the current consistent presentation and callypigian shape (I told you [Click here for the full review…]


May 082017
 
Appleton Estate V/X Jamaican Rum (1980s/1990s)

Rumaniacs Review #036 The second in a small series on a few older Appletons. The V/X is not a sipping rum (and never was), but more of a mixing agent with just enough jagged edges, undeveloped taste and uncouth to make it shine in a cocktail (and always has been).  This may be why it was my tipple of choice in the years when I first arrived in Canada: it was clearly a cut above the boring Lamb’s and Bacardi cocktail fodder that flew off the overpriced LCBO shelves, even in those simpler times when two-ingredient hooch was what passed [Click here for the full review…]


May 072017
 
Cadenhead Caribbean Distilleries Ltd "PDW" 1972 Guyanese 29 Year Old Rum - Review

Think of the great and noble Demerara rum marques and a few initials come to mind. PM.  EHP. VSG. ICBU.  PDW. PDwhat? I spent days trolling around trying to find out what those initials meant and came up dry. I was left thinking that if Cadenhead doesn’t get its act together, it’s going to be a running joke that they’re clueless as to how to name their rums, and maybe I’ll solicit lottery entries for best guess what these initials represent. But that’s just me and somewhat irrelevant, so let’s just rewind to the beginning. Caribbean Distillers Limited was and [Click here for the full review…]


May 042017
 
Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Jamaican Rum (1990s)

Rumaniacs Review #035 This is the first of what will be seven Appleton Estate historical rums, which I’ll post faster than usual, because they’re of a series.  In going through them, what they all go to show is that while Appleton may be losing some ground to other, newer, more nimble upstarts (some even from Jamaica), their own reputation is well-deserved, and rooted in some very impressive rums…some of which are even extraordinary. My first pass at the Appleton 21 year old came around 2012, and I wasn’t entirely in love with it, for all its age.  Rereading my review (after making my [Click here for the full review…]


May 022017
 
Cadenhead Sancti Spiritus "ADC" 1998 Cuban 14 Year Old Rum - Review

#361 The Sancti Spiritus distillery in Central Cuba, also known as Paraiso, has been making rums since 1946, and other than its history (see “other notes” below) there is remarkably little hard information about its operations, its size, volume or exports on hand. Aside from what must be substantial local production which we don’t see, they may be better known for the relatively new Ron Paraiso brand, as well as from the labels of independent bottlers like Compagnie des Indes, Kill Divil, Bristol Spirits, the Whisky Agency, and, here, W.M.Cadenhead.  Based on what one sees for sale online, barrels seem [Click here for the full review…]


Apr 302017
 
Havana Club Añejo Reserva (1980s)

Rumaniacs Review #034 By now we are all aware of the two different kinds of Havana Club.  This rum is the one from Cuba, not the Bacardi version made in “not Cuba” and hails from the 1980s which, coincidentally, is when I started drinking DDL’s King of Diamonds (a useless factoid, I know).  No point rehashing well-known details of the brand, so off we go. Colour – Amber Strength – 40% Nose – Oh well, very nice indeed, quite a few steps ahead of the Facundo Paraiso.  Dare I say “the real deal”?  Better not.  Initially it smells very crisp and [Click here for the full review…]


Apr 272017
 
Velier La Bonne Intention (LBI) 1998 Full Proof Old Demerara Rum - Review

#360 The LBI 1998 starts out with a nose that is on the good side of remarkable, but not quite edging into wow! territory.  That’s not at all a criticism, just an observation that it lacks the sort of rabid uniqueness that characterizes many of Velier’s legendary rums, and therefore this one may be among the most accessible “regular rum” profiles ever made by the company (if one discounts the earlier 40% offerings like the LBI 1985 or the Enmore 1987 that were bottled by Breitenstock and can’t really be considered part of the oeuvre).  It starts with deep acetones, nail [Click here for the full review…]


Apr 242017
 
Cachaça Agacana - Review

#359 “Aguacana” is as good a term for this cachaça as any other, denoting as it does “water of the cane”  There are few titles more appropriate, because at 37.5% you’re really not getting very much out of the Brazilian drink, and even in a mix I sort of wonder what the point is and how well something this frail would fare in a caipirinha.  I’m aware that it’s somewhat snobby, but seriously, 37.5% is edging out of spirits territory altogether and into some kind of never-never land of “please don’t hurt me” for the timid, and my preferences don’t [Click here for the full review…]


Apr 202017
 
Ron Canalero Añejo - Review

“Dale paso al placer” reads the bottle label, which translates into “Give way to pleasure.”  Obeying that would encourage me to give away the bottle. #358 If the Panamanians (and other rums made in the light Spanish style), don’t up their act soon, I have a feeling they’ll be left behind in an era where tougher, more muscular, and more original rums — many of which are pot still based — are being made both by independent bottlers and more farsighted big distillers in other parts of the Caribbean.  There’ll always be a market for standard strength rums – low price [Click here for the full review…]


Apr 172017
 
Zuidam Flying Dutchman White Rum - Review

#357 The blurbs about the rum refer to this as being made from “very pure” cane molasses (as opposed to, I’m guessing, very impure or merely pure molasses).  Said molasses are fermented for two weeks using two different yeast strains, triple distilled in copper pot stills; from which the rum is taken at 80% ABV, diluted down to 60% and then laid to rest for a minimum of six months to a year in charred oak barrels before being filtered to within an inch of its life to produce this 40% clear mixing agent.  It’s a relatively new rum on [Click here for the full review…]


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