Apr 182021
 
Depaz Rhum Agricole Blanc - Review

When most people spend money on rhum agricoles, they tend to go for the upscale aged (“vieux”) editions, those handily aged expressions or millesimes which have tamed the raw white juice dripping off the still by ageing them for several years. Consumers like the smooth sipping experience of an aged brown spirit, and not many consider that while such rhums do indeed taste lovely and are worth their price tag, the ageing process does take away something too – some of the fresh, snappy bite of a white rhum that hasn’t yet been altered in any way by wood-spirit interaction [Click here for the full review…]


Apr 112021
 
That Boutique-y Rum Co. Engenhos do Norte Madeira 7 Year Old Rum - Review

After a decade of observing the (mostly Europe-based) independent bottlers, I think it can be said with some assurance that they tend to stick with The Tried and True in their first years. In other words, they source and release rums from the canonical distilleries in the familiar countries – Guyana, Barbados, St. Lucia, or Jamaica, with occasional fliers from Belize, Cuba, Fiji, Australia or Trinidad being seen as second order efforts. When it comes to distinguishing themselves from the herd, few show much real imagination.  Oh, for sure the Compagnie des Indes releases private blends like the Boulet de [Click here for the full review…]


Apr 082021
 
1423 S.B.S. Jamaica 2000 (Hampden) 16 Year Old Rum - Review

2016 seems like such a long time ago with respect to Hampden rums.  Back then we got them in dribs and drabs, from scotch whisky makers (who could rarely be bothered to mention the distillery) and the occasional indie bottler like Berry Bros. & Rudd, Compagnie des Indes, Rom Deluxe, Renegade or Murray McDavid. That all changed in 2018 when Velier concluded a deal to be their worldwide distributor and the PR machine roared into overdrive.  Since then, Hampden has become one of the boutique rums du jour, and they sell out almost as fast as the Foursquare ECS rums. [Click here for the full review…]


Apr 042021
 
Saint James Rhum Blanc Agricole "Imperial Blanc" - Review

Back in 2019 before the world changed, I was fortunate enough (and for the first time ever), to get a “blogger” badge at the Berlin Rumfest.  This did not, of course, class with the far cooler “Exhibitor” or “Judge” badge that others ostentatiously wore front and center.  Nor did it come with any kind of perks: I did not get let in free; it conferred no free samples or extra goodies; I was not plied with hats, shirts, glasses, and the thing absolutely did not give free entrance to master classes and seminars. In fact, it was so small and [Click here for the full review…]


Mar 312021
 
Barrels & Butts, Casks & Kegs: The Containers of Rum

Introduction Although most of us are aware of the fact that rum, like many other spirits, is aged in barrels, it’s not always clear how large (or small) those barrels actually are, why they are called what they are, or what their original functions were. We just hear “barrels”, visualize a cylindrical container made of of wooden staves held in place by three bands, and think American oak, Limousin, French, amburana, or what have you, and move on. Occasionally we would read something like “refill barrel” or “hogshead” and if we have any more in depth queries, a trip to [Click here for the full review…]


Mar 302021
 
Under Construction - Repairs Underway

The site is completely functional and you can read and access everything through the menus above – but navigation via the links, categories, tags and so on, is currently non-functional and being repaired. That’s a lot of work and will take several weeks, even a month or two. When this sign disappears, it will all be fixed.  Sorry about the inconvenience. NB: All FB “likes” are gone.  If you liked a post before and happen across it again, do me a favour and like it again.  It does nothing except flip a counter here and won’t redirect you anywhere – [Click here for the full review…]


Mar 292021
 
Naga Triple Wood Small Batch Indonesian Rum - Review

  Indonesia is the region where sugar cane originated and gave rise to the proto-rums of yesteryear, which have their genesis in arrack, a distillate first identified by the Dutch and Portuguese in the town of Batavia (now Jakarta, the capital). After being practically unknown to the larger rum drinking public for a long time, arrack and local rums are now slowly being shown to western audiences, most notably from By The Dutch and their Batavia Arrack, and the little company of Naga which produced the rum we’re looking at today. Based in Indonesia, Naga is a rum company formed [Click here for the full review…]


Mar 122021
 
Chamarel  VS Premium 3 Year Old Rum - Review

Let’s quickly run down the tasting notes for the Chamarel youthful aged expression, the VS.  This is the most junior of the company’s aged pantheon – named, one would presume, after the brandy designators of VS, VSOP, XO and so on. The VS supposedly stands for “Very Superior”, but that just goes to show the French had marketing departments in their old maisons for centuries before Madison Avenue was invented, because overall, the rum didn’t exactly wow my socks off. It smells, right off the bat, of toast — literally.  Lots of toast. Also coconut shavings, vanilla, and cereals that [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 10:43 pm  Uncategorized
Mar 082021
 
Chamarel Premium Classic Unaged White Rum - Review

La Rhumerie de Chamarel, that Mauritius outfit we last saw when I reviewed their 44% pot-still white, doesn’t sit on its laurels with a self satisfied smirk and think it has achieved something.  Not at all.  In point of fact it has a couple more whites, both cane juice derived and distilled on their Barbet columnar still: one at 42º (the “Classic 42”) for cocktails like a mojito, and the other delivering a sharper 52º and clearly meant for the islanders’ own beloved Ti-punch. Chamarel distillery is situated in a small valley in the south west of Mauritius, cultivates its [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 5:16 am  Uncategorized
Mar 042021
 
SMWS R8.3 Nicaragua 2004 12 YO Rum ("Fruit and Nut Case") - Review

If two rums from the same company were made the exact same way on the same still, there are just a few things that would explain any profile variations. There’s the still settings themselves, because one rum might have different “cuts” than the other, or from higher or lower plate; there’s the proof point, stronger or weaker, at which either is bottled; and then there’s the barrel strategy, which is to say, the barrel itself and the duration of the rum’s slumber therein. Last week I looked at a 12 year old Flor de Caña Nicaraguan rum from Compañía Licorera [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 3:19 am  Uncategorized
Mar 012021
 
Revisiting the Flor de Caña "Centenario" 12 YO Rum

Nearly ten years ago, I was rather indifferent to Flor de Cana’s 12 year old rum.  It wasn’t as cool as the older expressions like the 18 for sipping, and was outdone by the 7 year old for a more assertive a cocktail. The 12 YO made a decent drink…except insofar as I thought it was somewhat unfinished mid range rum which didn’t seem to be either flesh or fowl.  A decade has now passed, and the brand has lost both brownie points and market lustre with consumers. The 2015 Chronic Kidney Disease matter has died down, but the peculiar [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 3:33 am  Uncategorized
Feb 252021
 
SMWS R6.1 Barbados 2002 14 Year Old Rum ("Spice At The Races") - Review

Back in 2013 when I wrote about the Scotch Malt Whisky Association’s release R3.4 Barbados 2002 10YO “Makes You Strong Like  Lion”, several people went on FB and passed the word around that it wasn’t a Foursquare rum, which was hardly needed since I noted in the review that it was from WIRD, and the Rockley Still. Four years later the SMWS did however, decide that the famed Barbados company shouldn’t be left out and bottled an aged rum from Foursquare (the first of two), named it R6.1, and gave it one of their usual amusing titles of “Spice At [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 1:11 am  Uncategorized
Feb 222021
 
Havana Club Silver Dry White Rum (Cuban)(1980s-1990s)

Rumaniacs Review #124 | 0803 There were several varieties of the standard white Havana Club mixer: strengths varied from 37.5% to 40%, the labels changed from saying “El Ron de Cuba” to “Mix Freely” and in the early 2000s this old workhorse of the bartending scene, which had been in existence at least since the 1970s and produced all over the world, was finally retired, to be replaced by the Anejo Blanco.  From the label design I’m hazarding a guess mine came from the early 1990s (it lacks the pictures of the 1996 and 1997 medals it won that were [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 1:26 am  Uncategorized
Feb 172021
 
Opinion - The Implications of Superfast Ageing and the Alteration of Rum

This is a completely theoretical “what-if?” about the implications for the rum world if the technological process of superfast ageing were ever to be perfected. Ever since ageing of spirits became a thing, people have been trying to make it faster in a sort of half-assed time-travel wish-fulfilment. They’ve tried the adding of wood chips, smaller barrels, keeping the barrels in motion, dosage, temperature control, music, ultrasound, etc etc – all in an effort to have the taste of a 20 year old rum stuffed inside a spirit made the day before yesterday. Take Rational Spirits’ Cuban Inspired rum I [Click here for the full review…]


Feb 152021
 
Rational Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum - Review

Remember Lost Spirits? No? This was the company that made rumbles a few years ago, by using a proprietary “flash ageing” process developed by its founder, Bryan Davis, to promote “super fast ageing”. In theory, the chemical reactor Davis built would create a spirit that would taste like a twenty year old mature product, when in fact only a week old. Most sniffed condescendingly, made remarks about charlatans and snake oil sellers, sneered about how it had been tried and failed many times throughout history (usually to con the unwary and fleece the innocent) and walked away…but I was intrigued [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 2:15 am  Uncategorized
Feb 112021
 
Compagnie des Indes New Yarmouth 2005 12 YO Jamaica Rum - Review

With the rise of the New Jamaican and their distillery offerings, it is instructive to remember that indies still have a pretty good handle on the good stuff too. We keep seeing new aged releases from Monymusk, Clarendon, Long Pond from makers big and small.  Velier continues to add new Hampden releases (or whole new collections) every time we turn around and Worthy Park is always around putting out really good pot still juice for those who know the difference.  Lastly there’s New Yarmouth, which is the distillery in Clarendon Parish which is part of Appleton (not to be confused [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 4:17 am  Uncategorized
Feb 082021
 
German Overseas Rum (1920s / 1930s)

Rumaniacs Review #123 | #800 Here is a rum that defies easy tracing.  It predates us all, and almost everything about it remains educated conjecture and guesswork — even the name, assuming it has one.  It was bought by the German firm of Gerb. Hoff Weinkeller in 1941 from Wilhelm Roggemann in Hamburg (essentially that’s what the typewritten text on the label says – WR were wine and spirits merchants, no longer extant); Rene van Hoven, in whose collection the bottle currently sits gathering yet more dust, told me that all the research he had done on tax stamps, invoices, [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 3:38 am  Uncategorized
Feb 042021
 
Hamilton St. Lucia  2007 7 Year Old Pot Still Rum - Review

Given the backward Prohibition-era-style rules governing alcohol in the US, Americans rightly sigh with envy when they see the rum selections in Europe. To get their favourite rums, they have to use any number of workarounds: bite the bullet and go over in person to buy some; have somebody mule it; come to an arrangement with a local liquor store in their state; or, heaven forbid, courier it – a tricky and not hazard-free process, I assure you.   But occasionally the situation goes in reverse, and it’s the Europeans who grumble at the luck of the Yanks. Ed Hamilton’s little [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 3:50 am  Uncategorized
Feb 012021
 
Rhum Rhum PMG Rhum Blanc Agricole 56º- Review

Although the Rhum Rhum PMG is essentially a rhum made at Bielle distillery on Guadeloupe, it uses a Mueller still imported there by Luca Gargano when he envisioned producing a new (or very old) type of rhum agricole, back in 2005. He wanted to try making a double distilled rhum hearkening back to the pre-creole-still days, and provide a profile like that of a Pére Labat pot still rhum he had once been impressed with and never forgot. Co-opting Gianni Capovilla into his scheme (at the time Capovilla was creating a reputation for himself playing around with brandy, grappa and [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 4:28 am  Uncategorized
Jan 282021
 
Cadenhead "1842 Living Cask" Caribbean Blended Rum - Review

Every now and then a reviewer has to bite the bullet and admit that he’s got a rum to write about which is so peculiar and so rare and so unknown (though not necessarily so good) that few will have ever heard of it, fewer will ever get it, and it’s likely that nobody will ever care since the tasting notes are pointless.  Cadenhead’s 2016 release of the Caribbean Rum blend (unofficially named “Living Cask” or “1842” because of the number on the label) is one of these.   Why is it so unknown? Well, because it’s rare, for one — [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 12:59 am  Uncategorized