Oct 152015
Sunset Very Strong Overproof Rum - Review

Hulk no like puny rum.  Hulk smash. The last and strongest of the overproof howitzers batters my glass. (#235. 84/100) *** It’s a giant of a drink, the most powerful commercial rum ever made, a gurgling frisson of hot-snot turbo-charged proofage.  0.5% additional points of proof and the black clothes squad with silenced helicopters and full SWAT gear would be rapelling down to my apartment searching for weaponized rum. It skirts jail-time illegality by a whisker, and I can truly say the only reason I bought it was anal-retentive machismo and the desire to say I had. Like every 151 [Click here for the full review…]

Sep 272015
L'Esprit Epris 13 Year Old Brazilian Rum - Review

If originality and straying off the beaten path of the rumworld is your thing, wander no further.  The thing is just a few stops short of being stunning. (#234. 85/100) *** This is one of the rare occasions where I tasted a rum blind, knowing absolutely nothing at all about it before I started…really, absolutely zilch. Not the country, not the company, not the distillate. I blame this on the pad I crash at in Berlin which has no wi-fi, no internet, no elevator, and what passes for hi-tech is an East-German era rotary dial phone.  So the situation when [Click here for the full review…]

Sep 202015
Chantal Comte La Tour de L'Or Martinique Rhum - Review

An agricole that bends the rules just enough to be original, without dishonouring its antecedents. What a remarkable rhum. (#233. 86/100) *** In between the larger and more well known independent bottlers lurk smaller operators pursuing their own vision. Some, like Old Man Spirits, or Delicana, fight the good fight without undue recognition or perhaps even real commercial success.  Others seem to find a more workable middle road. Chantal Comte is one of these, an eponymous company run by a bright and vivacious lady who Cyril of DuRhum interviewed earlier in 2015.  I first saw some of her products in [Click here for the full review…]

Sep 142015
Cuvée Homère Clément Rhum Vieux Agricole Hors d'Âge  - Review

An unaggressive, bright and clear, sipping-quality rhum agricole that can serve as a bridge between traditional molasses rum and agricoles. (#232 / 85/100) *** Clément holds the dubious distinction of providing one of the first agricoles I ever tried.  That was five years (and some change) ago. At the time when I tried that Tres Vieux XO, just about the top of their range, I remember the clarity and smooth brightness of it, and how it flirted with a molasses profile without ever stepping over the  line.  That rhum was a blend of three exceptional years’ production…the Hors D’Age I [Click here for the full review…]

Sep 072015
Samaroli Nicaragua 1995 10 Year Old Rum - Review

This is a rum that reaffirms my faith in the Nicaraguan rums.  Nothing need be added to it, nothing can be taken away. There’s a purity and minimalism of construction here that is almost zen. (#231. 88/100) *** The sheer range  of flavours emanating from the glass that held the Samaroli Nicaragua 1995 tickled my nose and astonished my mind.  Few light coloured rums I’ve tried in the last six years were ever this rich right out of the gate.  For a person whose background in Nicaraguan rum trends more to the Flor de Caña range (of which the 21 [Click here for the full review…]

Sep 032015
Bristol Spirits Port Mourant 1999 14 Year Old Rum - Review

It’s all a little bit, well, funky.  There’s an element of crazy about, it, perhaps deliberately created, perhaps not, which is almost in defiant contrast to more traditional PMs.  All things considered, this rum raises my ire and hurts my heart, both at the same time.  In it I see all that craft makers aspire to, while somehow failing to realize both its and their own potential. (#230 / 84/100) *** Last time around I looked at the quietly impressive PM 1990, which I tasted in conjunction with the PM 1999.  You’d think that with core distillate being the same, and with [Click here for the full review…]

Aug 272015
Bristol Spirits Port Mourant 1990  17 Year Old Rum - Review

A love note from Bristol to lovers of Guyanese PM-still rums (#229. 88/100) Bristol Spirits is that independent bottler out of the UK which started life in 1993. Their barrel selection from the various countries around the Caribbean has created an enviable track record of limited bottlings; I’ll always have good memories of the PM 1980, and the subsequent editions of the 1990 and 1999 were rums I’ve been keeping an eye out for on the basis of that positive experience. All of these were made, of course, using the Port Mourant distillate – in this particular instance they didn’t [Click here for the full review…]

Aug 252015
Opinion: In Defense of Rum Bloggers

  “I don’t read a lot of blogs because, well, most of them are written by people who aren’t qualified to piss in the ocean,” remarked Ed Hamilton on his blog The Ministry of Rum on July 7th 2015.  To say I was surprised at such a blanket indictment of the majority of the rum blogging community would be an understatement.  He’s not the only one to make such a statement in the recent past: when I wrote a five part series on how to start reviewing rums earlier this year, in an effort to provide some advice on new [Click here for the full review…]

Aug 242015
Velier Diamond-PM Experimental 1995 19 Year Old - Review

While I loved the single-minded, furious purity of the PM and Diamond rums individually, I could not find fault with what was accomplished by marrying them off. (#228 / 89.5/100) *** In a time where conglomerates rule the roost, where even old distilleries with respected antecedents produce supposedly high-end rums that aren’t always, the wonderment is that rums like Veliers can still be made.  The craft makers are the sharp end of the spear – many are artists who cater only to those who want the pure rum experience…they live in their own corner of the rumworld, have small sales [Click here for the full review…]

Aug 182015
Cacique 500 Ron Extra Añejo - Review

As appealing and soft as a pair of slippers on a cold evening (#227 / 83/100) * Nosing this golden brown forty percenter was like revisiting a place in the mind. The soft sweet scents transported me back to the first time I tried the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva on a dark, bitterly cold and wintry evening.  This rum, made by the same outfit as the DRE, was quite similar: caramel, toffee, unsweetened chocolate and salted butter on rye bread.  There was a slight salty-sweet note here that hinted at soya, or even tequila, but very much in the background, and [Click here for the full review…]

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