Rumaniacs Review #097 | 0621
As far as I can tell, Dr. Sangster arrived in Jamaica to lecture at UWI in 1967, got sidetracked into the rum business, and died in 2001. During his time on the island, Dr. Sangster did more to popularize rum cream and spiced / infused rums (pineapple, coconut, orange, etc – there were some 20+ varieties) than promote pure rums themselves, but he was also known for his blends, like Conquering Lion Overproof and this one, the Old Jamaica DeLuxe Gold which is definitely off the grid and, in a curious way, also quite modern.
It is unknown from where he sourced his base stock. Given that this DeLuxe Gold rum was noted as comprising pot still distillate and being a blend, it could possibly be Hampden, Worthy Park or maybe even Appleton themselves or, from the profile, Longpond – or some combination, who knows? I think that it was likely between 2-5 years old, but that’s just a guess. References are slim at best, historical background almost nonexistent. The usual problem with these old rums. Note that after Dr. Sangster relocated to the Great Distillery in the Sky, his brand was acquired post-2001 by J. Wray & Nephew who do not use the name for anything except the rum liqueurs. The various blends have been discontinued.
Colour – Gold-amber
Strength – 57%
Nose – Opens with the scents of a midden heap and rotting bananas (which is not as bad as it sounds, believe me). Bad watermelons, the over-cloying reek of genteel corruption, like an unwashed rum strumpet covering it over with expensive perfume. Acetones, paint thinner, nail polish remover. That is definitely some pot still action. Apples, grapefruits, pineapples, very sharp and crisp. Overripe peaches in tinned syrup, yellow soft squishy mangoes. The amalgam of aromas doesn’t entirely work, and it’s not completely to my taste…but intriguing nevertheless It has a curious indeterminate nature to it, that makes it difficult to say whether it’s WP or Hampden or New Yarmouth or what have you.
Palate – Salty black olives, a shade sharp and tannic, with cinnamon caramel, vanilla. Develops into something fruity and flowery. Sharp and rough flavours in need of better balance and sanding down, very like the JB Charley, if that had ever been aged and boosted up with some additional esterification. Dirthy, earthy, loamy, musky, sweaty, meaty. Really quite an original, and if that was what Sangster was after — to amp up the ester count and then twist it to make it scream — he sure succeeded.
Finish – Shortish, dark off-fruits, vaguely sweet, briny, a few spices and musky earth tones.
Thoughts – I could not help but think of the Velier Longponds, especially the last two, because the Sangster’s is not a rum most people would like unless they were wading hip-deep into the Jamaican dunder pits and loved the resultant hogo bombs. It falls into the same category as the TECC (but not quite the TECA which is reliably reported to hail from a parallel rumiverse) – a regular high ester funky hogo-centric bastard that’s been tilted ever-so-slightly into near madness without completely losing its charm. It’s not my thing and I won’t score it to the rafters…but major points for the sheer defiant courage it took to bottle rotting garbage badassery without apology.