Nov 092016
 
Matugga Gold Rum - Review

A less than impressive Jamaican wannabe rum that’s actually from Africa #315 In one of those coincidences that occasionally crop up, one of my Gallic colleagues texted me as I was putting together the write up for the Matugga, and asked me what I thought of it. “Mediocre,” was the terse response, given the comparators I had on hand that day against which I was rating it, and the almost finished review – but in retrospect that was perhaps too dismissive, since it’s not entirely a bad rum, and both the good and the bad should be acknowledged, in spite [Click here for the full review…]


Nov 062016
 
Compagnie des Indes Jamaica 2007 7 Year Old Rum - Review

A stunning fullproof Jamaican #314 When a bunch of us were dissecting the 2016 Berlin RumFest, we all noted something interesting – the rums which seemed to be making the biggest splash and gaining some of the best accolades were the Jamaicans, as if they were charging out of the gate and making up for lost time. Certainly the visibility of the island has been increasing in the last year or two what with the issuance of new rums from previously marginal distilleries (Clarendon, Hampden, Innswood, Longpond, Worthy Park), and the appearance of new variations at various festivals.  And many [Click here for the full review…]


Nov 032016
 
Rum Nation Jamaica 1990 23 Year Old Supreme Lord VII - Review

We should be grateful that some makers still have sufficient stocks to permit the issuance of rums old enough to vote – we sure won’t see many of them much longer.  This one does fans of the Jamaican rums no dishonour – it’s great. #313 With the recent 2016 release of the 1991 Jamaica SL VIII, which really is just about as good as they say and maybe even better than this one, I rummaged around my bag of tasting notes and remembered I had a bottle from that island from a year or two back knocking about and gathering [Click here for the full review…]


Oct 302016
 
Black Joe Jamaican Rum (1980s)

Rumaniacs Review 025 In spite of the recent (2015-2016) resurgent charge of Jamaicans on the world rum scene, an older rum like this reminds us that for a long time they were actually rather quiescent, and exported a lot for rebottling overseas – to Italy in this case, where a small outfit named Illva Saronno produced the Black Joe in the 1980s. The company, founded in 1922, primarily produces Amaretto, bitters and Sicilian wines (“Illva” is an acronym which stands for Industria Lombarda Liquori Vini e Affini – they are located just north of Genoa).  I imagine that they were into “fantasy [Click here for the full review…]


Oct 292016
 
R. L. Seale's Finest Barbados 10 YO Rum (FourSquare) - Review

Overrated.  Apologies to lovers of the rum, but it’s a mediocre ten year old in a cool bottle. #312 The R.L. Seale 10 year old is a sort of old stalwart in the pantheon of Barbados hooch.  Sooner or later everyone passes by it, and it’s considered a benchmark against which, in the past, many Barbadian rums were rated, one of the basket of rums that defined the entire Bajan style.  In this day of independent bottlers and full proof offerings, to say nothing of FourSquare’s own tinkering and varied expressions, it starts to show something of its age.  And [Click here for the full review…]


Oct 242016
 
Don Papa 7 Year Old Rum - Review

Caner’s Rum Quality Inverse Square Conjecture: quality of rum is inversely proportional to the square of the sum of [ glitziness of website plus design of the label ]. #311 The presentation and advertising and marketing of this rum is all about fancy bottle and label design, gorgeous visuals, and words to make you giddy with anticipation.  It nails all aspects of those. Everything else is secondary, except the rum itself, which is tertiary.   Just to set the stage: I honestly thought my amigo Henrik, in his savage takedown of the rum, was exaggerating his despite. However, intrigued, I begged [Click here for the full review…]


Oct 102016
 
Berlin RumFest 2016 - Update #11

October 10th, 2016 Last post before bailing tomorrow morning. Direct flight to Frankfurt and then ICE train to Berlin.  Yes, I could fly but, like Sheldon Cooper, I love trains.  More space, bigger windows, better view, less common, no airport hassles.  I’ve been moving through international airports since I was a kid in the early 1970s and the changes are not all for the better – they’ve become impersonal and overcrowded zoos without a decent bar in sight.  Nothing to do with rums, just thought I’d mention it. Grandma Caner has all in readiness. Sample bottles check, tasting glasses check, [Click here for the full review…]


Oct 092016
 
Ron Aldea Caña Pura White Rum - Review

The confusion as to what this white is meant for – a soft mixing rum, or an intro to individualistic macho – makes it, paradoxically enough, falter at both. #310 You can imagine my surprise when I ran through the Ron Aldea line of rums from the Canary Islands last year, and after talking to the genial guy at the booth at my usual inordinate length, realized with astonishment that here was Santiago Bronchales, who previously was deeply involved with Ocean’s Atlantic, a rum I had thought was perhaps too overambitious for its own good, if reasonably drinkable.  Once he realized [Click here for the full review…]


Oct 072016
 
Berlin RumFest 2016 Update #10

October 7th 2016 Got sidetracked last time.  So…who’s exhibiting this time around?  Velier is still a miss (I think they lack a distributor in Germany or something).  JM…J. Bally…Real McCoy…RumFire….By the Dutch and their arrack; there’s an amusingly named new one from Mauritius called Lazy Dodo, along with Gold of Mauritius; I think all the old stalwarts are likely to be there, including Mount Gay and Rum Nation and the Compagnie. Plus the Dominican Republic and the Panamanians. I really have to take a look at the Origines series. I intend to see what the fuss about Don Papa is [Click here for the full review…]


Oct 052016
 
Berlin RumFest 2016 - Update #9

October 4th, 2016 Was tempted to apply to be one of the judges, then changed my mind.  Last year I spoke to one of them after he came tottering out of the tasting room, listing sharply to port like a sailor doing a hornpipe, crossed eyes dull and glazed (well…I exaggerate a little), and he remarked rather incoherently that perhaps tasting 60 or more rums in two days was a tad excessive. Matt Pietrek wrote about his judging experiences in Miami and what that was like, and re-reading his article makes me say to myself, “Better skip the idea.”  I [Click here for the full review…]


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