Mar 242015
J. Bally Rhum Ambrè Agricole - Review

Young, rambunctious, uncoordinated, somewhat raw, and a riot in a mix of any kind.  Even neat it has a funky, raw charm all its own. In that, it’s an agricole all the way through. (#208. 83/100) *** The J Bally Ambrè Agricole is a young rhum that is still finding its legs, and places its origins in an estate on Martinique that stretches back to 1670, when the Lajus sugar plantation was founded.  It was one of those rhums from a company that has long had its place in the roll call of honour of the French West Indies – [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 182015
Ron Maja 12 Year Old Rum - Review

  This is definitely a rum to chillax with. A solid, relaxed and very pleasant Salvadorean rum which should be given some attention…even if it’s actually from Panama. (#207. 83/100) *** Assume you were a new outfit in a country A and were making a new rum whose brand was once owned and which was once made, by your family; you sourced distillate from another country, B; used that country B’s facilities to make and age the finished product; and hired a Master Blender, also from that B country.  Now, the question is, whose rum is it? A or B? [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 112015
Velier EHPM (Enmore and Port Mourant) 1998 16 Year Old Rum - Review

An assembly of two rums that are great on their own, made even better by being blended before ageing. (#206. 91/100) *** Permit me a brief box-ticking here: Velier issues cask strength monsters akin to top end whiskies (but which cost less); they hearken to individual distilleries, sometimes to individual stills within that distillery; and Luca Gargano, the maitre, has stocks of Guyanese rums and the Trini Caronis that beggar the imagination; and while occasionally there are rums that don’t quite ascend to the brilliance of others, the overall oevre is one of enormous collective quality. Here, Velier has taken [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 062015
How to Start Reviewing Rums - Part 5

Part 5 – Keeping things going So let’s sum up the preceding four parts.[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] Understand what you’re getting into, and why you’re doing it Go with a comfortable writing style that suits you Design a nice look to your site Know how to taste, score, note and write (and practice a lot) Know your rums and the larger world around them Sample around extensively (safely!!! I am not advocating rampant boozing) Be courteous Be consistent If you’ve made it to fifty or more reviews, passed a year of writing, then it’s reasonable to [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 052015
How to Start Reviewing Rums - Part 4

    Part 4 – Which rums to start with In conceptual and generalized terms, this series has so far covered the startup philosophy, the website and postings, and added pointers on sampling and reviewing.  Today I move into more familiar territory. I have a feeling quite a few people were waiting for this post.  Alas, no, this isn’t entirely what you thought it would be, because making such a list is a tricky, even controversial, subject to opinions varying as widely as the Pacific. I’d suggest that you begin with what’s available to you easily and at a relatively [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 052015
How to Start Reviewing Rums - Part 3

  Part 3 – Sampling, and the review itself In the first part of this series I discussed figuring out how to get your head around what to write, and followed that up in Part 2 with some general remarks on how to deal with your actual website postings. Today I continue in a similar vein about tasting, scoring and the conceptuals of a review. *** When I taste I scribble my initial notes immediately; then I have to retaste, usually with other rums in play as controls or comparators, then score.  Then I have to turn the whole thing [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 042015
How to Start Reviewing Rums - Part 2

Part 2 – The Website, writing and your postings Yesterday I wrote about getting the mental philosophy of what you’re doing straight, sort of like getting your battle preparations right. In this part, I speak to your website, your writing and the attitude towards interacting with the world. In no particular order of importance, then: 1. Hardly needs to be said, but design your website for the long term, and organize your space neatly.  This is one of those elementary things that is often and surprisingly overlooked. Maximize useful space at the left and right with widgets, links, categories or [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 032015
How to Start Reviewing Rums - Part 1

Introduction There are a lot of people who write engagingly and have an interest in rum, and some of them, not unnaturally, want to start their own website regarding matters of the cane. Some want to review rums; others want to blog about cocktails; in other cases the new bloggers address themselves to spirits in general.  After a while, hits go up, production goes up, and the site takes off.  And then, in some cases, it slides into a moribund state of somnolescence. It’s because I wish we had more rummies out there that I decided to put together some [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 032015
Rhum J.M. 1995 Très Vieux 15 Year Old - Review

A unique fifteen year old agricole that lacks something of the deep dark depth of the Damoiseau 1980 I so liked, but is a great and tasty example of the style nevertheless…as long as your tastes run that way. (#205. 86/100) *** As adolescents, among our most fervent wishes was to have coitus without interruptus the way a hobbit has breakfast: whenever possible, preferably all the time, twice daily if we could manage it (well, what teenager hasn’t?)  But as the years wound on, some reality entered that little fantasy: the truth is that unlimited anything gets boring after a [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 232015
Alt-Enderle "India" Rum - Review

An entry level rum with some unusual and remarkably pleasant flavours that one has to work too hard to find in the raw scrape of underaged alcohol. (#204. 81/100) *** One of the things I noted when nosing this dark mahogany-red rum from the German outfit Alt-Enderle, was the baking spices that presented themselves almost immediately. At 43% strength there was no real savagery here, and I didn’t bother letting it rest before trying it (when you practice on cask-strength muscle-twitching bodybuilders, anything under 50% seems easy), and all I remarked on at the inception was how many different, mild, [Click here for the full review…]

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