Dec 202016
Rum Nation Small Batch Collection - Enmore 2002 14 Year Old - Review

*** #328 It really is amazing how many different ways there are to express the outturn from a single Guyanese still, Enmore or Port Mourant or any of the others  We might have to approach them like James Bond movies (or Sherlock Holmes short stories)…enjoying the similarities while searching for points of variation, which gives us the rare rum equivalents of  masterpieces like Skyfall versus occasionally indifferent efforts like A View to a Kill. Rum Nation’s first serious foray into multiple-edition small-batch cask strength rums probably deserve to be tried as a trio, the way, for example, DDL’s three amigos [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 192016
A History of the Heisenberg Distillery and the Caputo 1973

It is a little known fact that in the 1800s, several small families whose names were to become intertwined with the history of unknown, unspeakable and unmentionable rum, started to arrive in what was then British Guiana. The Heisens may have been the first; and from this line descended the Heisenberg Distillery, as well as the all but disappeared Alban estate run by a branch of the family begun by Grogger Heisen, later to become the Banban marque; and coiling among them all were the Fagnants, illegitimate, piratical rum makers of ill-repute who claimed without justification or evidence, to be [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 182016
Rum Nation Small Batch Collection - Diamond 2005 11 Year Old - Review

#327 What a change just a few years have wrought. Back in 2009-2010, cask strength rums were hardly on the horizon, “full proof” drinks were primarily Renegade at 46% with a few dust-gatherers from independent bottlers like Secret Treasures, Cadenhead, Berry Bros., or Samaroli making exactly zero waves in North America, and Velier’s superlative rums issued almost a decade earlier known to few outside Italy.  Rum Nation took two years to sell a pair of 1974 and a 1975 25 year old Jamaican rums bottled at 45%….and they were around since 1999! As 2016 comes to a close, observe the [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 142016
Ryoma Japanese 7 Year Old Rum - Review

An essay in Oriental and Caribbean fusion #326 Outside the cognoscenti, the rabid fanbase or deep-field researchers, few know (or care) much about rums from outside the Western hemisphere.  Yet rums from India and Thailand and Australia are massive sellers in the East, to say nothing of the emergent makers from Japan.  Nine Leaves is the newest outfit from the Land of the Rising Sun to garner major accolades in the larger rumiverse, but rum has been made from locally grown sugar for a very long time, and it’s no surprise that other companies have been quietly doing business in [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 112016
Compagnie des Indes Enmore 1988 27 Year Old Rum - Review

Single word summary – superlative. #325 Compagnie des Indes burst in the scene in late 2014, which may be a rather melodramatic turn of phrase, but quite apt. The first of their line that I tried was the Cuban 1998 15 year old, which enthused me about the company immensely, and as the years moved on I’ve sampled up and down the range, from the less than stellar blends, to an Indonesian and a Fijian, and to more standard Jamaicans (with more coming). In all that time they have rarely made a bad rum, and if they eschew the tropical [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 062016
Ron Aldea Tradición 22 Year Old Rum - Review

A unassuming and ultimately flawed 22 year old rum #324 As one goes through the line of the various Ron Aldeas, which are serviceable mid-tier rums, one notices that the clear agricole profile gets progressively more lost, which I attribute to primarily the strategy of using variously toasted barrels in varying proportions.  Depending on whether you want an agricole-style rum to taste like one, this may not be to your liking.  This rum does not hail from the French islands or subject to the AOC (its influences are more Spanish than anything else), and therefore what we are tasting is [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 052016
Ron Aldea Familia 15 Year Old Rum - Review

A decent fifteen year old faux-agricole trying to moving away from its origins. #323 Sorry, but “Chairman’s Select Hidden Treasure,” “Special Top Brass Only Reserve,” “Family Laid Away” casks, you know the kind of special rums to which I refer…stuff like this just makes me smile.  Largely because I see it as nothing more than a name applied so as to move product.  Of course, in the old days of landed estates run by the plantocracy, such special hooch really was made, exclusively for the caudillos and the nobility, for the chairman, business titans, princes, presidents, political hacks, Government apparatchiks, [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 042016
Ron Aldea Superior 10 Year Old Rum - Review

#322 With respect to companies which don’t want to make (or be seen to make) spiced or flavoured sugar bombs, it’s always instructive to observe the techniques that they use to avoid the dreaded “A” word. Some play with ageing or blends, some with finishing (the new El Dorado 15 year old series comes to mind), some with unorthodox schemes (like Lost Spirits or 7 Fathoms), some with toasting, but all are trying to do the same thing – impart an extra smidgen of taste to their rum, without actually adding anything to it, which I’m sure makes any rum [Click here for the full review…]

Dec 012016
Mauritius Club Rum 2014 (Sherry Finish) - Review

Too young, too dressed up, when it didn’t need to be #321 The Mauritius Club Rum 2014 (Sherry Finish) is an interesting essay in the craft, and for my money, slightly better than the Gold of Mauritius Dark rum I looked before. The sherry finishing makes its own statement and adds that extra fillip of flavour which elevates the whole experience in a way that drowning the Gold in port casks for a year did not.  Note that there’s a strange disconnect between what I was told in 2015 by the brand rep, who informed me it was aged three [Click here for the full review…]

Nov 302016
Gold of Mauritius Dark Rum - Review

Good with dessert. #320 You’d think that with the various encomiums the rum has gotten that it’s some kind of diamond in the rough, an undiscovered masterpiece of the blender’s art. “Incredibly rich…mouth watering…a cracker,” enthused Drinks Enthusiast; and the comments of Master of Malt (which one should take with a pinch of salt), are almost all four- and five-star hosannas. Me, I think that although it has a nifty squared off bottle and a cool simple label, beyond that there’s not much to shout about, though admittedly it has its points of originality in simplicity that must be acknowledged. [Click here for the full review…]

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