Mar 152016
Appleton Estate "Extra" Jamaican Rum (1980s)

*** Rumaniacs Review 020 The tinfoil cap and chubby, callypigian bottle (trust me, that’s a word worth knowing), give this away as a rum made within living memory, even if some of us weren’t drinking back then (or drinking much). The “Extra” evolved into the modern 12 year old…alas I didn’t have any on hand at the time I tried this ‘Maniacs sample so I couldn’t do a comparison, though some of my friends think it’s as good or better. It ain’ no quattie, I could tell you that. Colour – dark amber (darker than the current 12 year old, actually) [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 132016
Cadenhead Green Label Demerara Rum 1975 33 Year Old - Review

It’s instructive to drink the Norse Cask and the Cadenhead in tandem.  The two are so similar except in one key respect, that depending on where one’s preferences lie, either one could be a favourite Demerara for life. (#260. 87.5/100) *** The online commentary on last week’s Norse Cask 1975 32 year old rum showed that there was and remains enormous interest for very old Guyanese rums, with some enthusiasts avidly collecting similar vintages and comparing them for super-detailed analyses on the tiniest variations (or so the story-teller in me supposes).  For the benefit of those laser-focused ladies and gentlemen, [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 082016
Norse Cask Collection Demerara 1975 32 Year Old Rum - Review

Sometimes amazing rums come into being, made by people you’ve never heard of, blindsiding you with creative genius. Here’s one from Denmark. (#259. 91/100) *** Often, writing about a rum that is good with flashes of great leaves me with the vague feeling of dissatisfaction, because it seems that with a little more effort and imagination and maybe even chutzpah, it could have scored higher, been more, wowed my socks off.  How often have I written “excellent work, but…”?  The Danish made Norsk Cask, which I bought together with Henrik of Rumcorner, was a rum that neatly sidestepped those concerns [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 032016
Old Demera Rum (1950s)

Rumaniacs Review 019 So this is a rum from British Guiana in pre-Independence days, distilled for E.H. Keeling & Son in London.  These days such rums are not strictly unicorns, because that would suppose we know something about them – here, their makers have long since been forgotten, the bottles drained, the labels faded, and they were not made for a discerning audience.  Yet the rums still turn up here and there like old-fashioned, tarnished gems in your late Grandmother’s Edwardian jewellry box, whose story and origin have been lost because no-one ever thought to remember.  Sad really. Perhaps here we can recall [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 012016
Samaroli Barbados 1986 (WIRR) 20 Year Old Rum - Review

A Bajan rum you’re unlikely to either forget, or get much more of, in the years to come.  It’s among the most original rums from Barbados I’ve ever tried, even if it doesn’t quite come up to snuff taken as a whole. (#258. 86/100) *** I wish I could find more Samarolis from the early days. There aren’t enough from that maker in the world, and like most craft bottlers, their wares go up in price with every passing year.  I was lucky enough to buy this remarkable Bajan rum online, and for a twenty year old rum from one [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 262016
Samaroli Demerara 1994 12 Year Old Dark Rum - Review

A very well blended, original melange of traditional Demerara flavours that comes up to the bar without effort, but doesn’t jump over. (#257. 86.5/100) *** It is a curious matter that although Samaroli may well be the first independent bottler to dabble in the issuing of year-specific, country-specific craft rums (they began with whiskies back in 1968), somehow they never seem to quite get the respect or street cred that its inheritors like Velier, RN, CDI and others do.  Few of their rums grace the review pages of the blogosphere, and yet, those that show up have all gotten pretty [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 152016
Rhum St. Gilles (1960s/1970s)

Rumaniacs Review 018 This is a tough rhum to track down, so there’s not much I can tell you aside from noting that the brand no longer exists…I don’t even know when they went belly up.  If my searches are any good, an ex-Carmelite priest called Reverend St. Gilles opened the small plantation in the 17th century (the company itself published a book about him in 1948). In their time prior to the 1980s, La Compagnie du Rhum Saint Gilles exported several varieties of rhum from Martinique to France and Italy, for distributors like Stock and Raphael.  My sample was neither the 45% [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 132016
Nine Leaves Angel's Half (American Oak) Spring 2015 Release

Little Lord Fauntleroy in a bottle. (#256 / 84/100) *** Back in 2014 I first encountered rums from the Japanese company Nine Leaves, and was impressed enough to not only write about the company in one of my Makers profiles, but resolved to not let Mr. Takeuchi’s work escape me a second year in a row.  So said, so done…I’ve tried four more of the company’s rums, and begin working through the resultant reviews with the American Oak version, bottled in Spring 2015. As an aside, Mr. Takeuchi has certainly managed to elevate his company’s profile in 2014-2015.  Presenting in [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 102016
Neisson Rhum Agricole Extra Vieux - Review

A fascinating introduction into the twists and turns an agricole rhum profile can take (#255. 84/100) *** To the extent that agricoles have their own flavour profile, they haven’t surprised me much yet.  My tastes were formed by products from Clemente, Rum Nation, Damoiseau, Depaz, J. Bally, Trois Rivieres and others, and there were always those herbal and grassy notes to them and displayed similar general characteristics. That was until I ran through four Neissons one after the other…and was forced to conclude that agricoles can be just as fascinating and unusual as any other sugar cane drink.  Seriously – [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 072016
Rum Cask Fiji 2003 10 Year Old Rum - Review

Rum Cask makes a slightly better Fijian rum, of the four I’ve tried. (#254. 82/100) *** Rum Cask is another one of the smaller independent bottlers – out of western Germany in this instance, very close to the French border –  who do the usual craft bottling thing. They act as both distributors of whisky and rum, and at some point they fell to dabbling in their own marques, issuing cask strength rums from Belize, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Cuba Grenada, and more, including Fiji, which may be something of an afterthought. In what is probably a coincidence, they issued a ten [Click here for the full review…]

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