Rumaniacs Review 015 | 0415
Happy New Year, everyone. 2016 is upon us, I assume everyone is all sobered up, and today we continue our examination of older Veliers…the 1982 Blairmont in this case. I’ve looked at the 1991 edition before and I thought it was exceptional at the time, but that one was half as old as this lovingly aged monster supposedly taken off the French Savalle still in Guyana (the box may be a misprint unless it was referring to a now destroyed pot still). Both are excellent, though.
For those who are interested, Blairmont is a sugar estate on the west bank of the Berbice River in Guyana, founded by Lambert Blair in the early 1800s, and which closed in 1962. I used to pass by the sugar factory in my youth when visiting a cattle ranch nearby. The still from Blairmont — one of them, at any rate — was probably transferred to Uitvlugt and thence to Diamond (see Marco’s magnificent dissertation on the distilleries of Guyana for more information).
Colour – dark amber
Strength – 60.4%
Nose – Intense and thrumming with raw power; deep red winey notes, cherries, prunes, figs. Sweetness is kept under strict control, it’s lightly salty, redolent of dark fruits, coffee, and an odd twist of cream cheese spread over toasted rye bread, dill and some other unidentifiable grassy notes. “Sumptuous” would not be out of place to describe this amazing nose.
Palate – Initially dry and sere, cardboard and pumpernicklel or other dark breads fresh from the oven. At once musky and clear, reminds me a little of the Skeldon. Flowers and lighter white wine notes, raisins, honey, black grapes, really nicely welded together under the torch of well-controlled oaky notes, which, surprising for this kind of age, don’t dominate at all but remain nicely in the background.
Finish – Long and succulent, and an invitation to breathe deep and slow. More grapes, flowers, salt crackers, dark fruit, christmas cake, even a bit of licorice that had gone unnoticed before.
Thoughts – I’m always amazed when a full proof rum manages to rein in its own power and exuberance without scratching your face off, though why I should be surprised with this company after all I’ve tried from their stocks is a mystery. Short version – a fantastic, old, bold rum, of which far too little was ever made. It’s better than the 1991, I think, and one can only sigh with regret that so few remain.