Jan 262022
 
JimmyRum "Silver" Premium Australian Spirit, Batch No. 4 - Review

There’s a sly sort of insouciant Aussie humour at work in the JimmyRum distillery, not the least the name itself.  More serious-minded folks would name the company “McPherson’s” or “Victoria Distillery” or some other such portentous title meant to demonstrate respectful gravitas and a profound commitment to the momentous task of distilling top drawer Australian rum. The names of the staff would be reverently listed with their titles, background, experience and commitment to rum, and the whole business would just reek of Ultra Serious.   In place of that we get that playful name, a tongue-in-cheek nod to the founder, a [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 242022
 
Opinion - Plantation's 3-Star Rum: Not Yet In Decline

This essay is a companion price to the review of the Plantation 3 Stars White Rum. You have to go back to around 2011 to understand something of the regard in which Plantation 3-Stars white continues to be held. Then, just as the renaissance of rum was gathering a head of steam, just as cask strength pure single rums were getting noticed, at a time when unaged white rums were hardly taken seriously outside the French islands, bartenders were faced with a dearth of workhorse mixing rums that weren’t just some boring column-still vodka wannabes. They were working with and [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 242022
 
Plantation 3 Stars White Rum - Review

The Plantation 3-Star rum is part of the “bar classics” range of Plantation’s stable, which includes well-regarded rums like the OFTD, Original Dark and Stiggin’s Fancy.  Of course the whole “3 star” business is just marketing – it’s meant to symbolize three stars of the Caribbean rumworld whose rums from a part of the blend: Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados.  This conveniently elides the stars of Guyana, Martinique, St. Lucia and many others, but ok, whatever.  Ditto for the “World Best Cellar Master” – uh huh. Still, Plantation’s webpage for the rum provides a nice level of detail for those who [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 202022
 
Beenleigh 3 YO White Australian Rum - Review

For years, Bundaberg was considered the Australian rum, synonymous with the country, emblematic of its distilling ethos, loved and hated in equal measure for its peculiar and offbeat profile (including by Australians). Yet in 2022 its star has lost some twinkle, it rarely comes up in conversation outside Queensland (where it sells like crazy), and another distillery has emerged to take the laurels of the international scene – Beenleigh.  Scouring through my previous notes about Beenleigh (see historical section below), it seems that even though VOK Beverages got a controlling interest in the enterprise back in 2003, they contented themselves [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 182022
 
Other Sugar Cane Spirits - Kokuto Shochu (Japan)

  Shochu, along with awamori, is the oldest distilled spirit made in Japan, just about all of it in the south island of Kyushu and its surrounding islands, and so distinct that several varieties have their own geographical protections. It’s versatile, interesting, very drinkable, and is becoming even more popular than sake in the last years, especially in Japan, where most of it is consumed. And while the focus of my work is rum, and the point of this article is to highlight local spirits based on sugar cane, I must be clear that the cane spirit known as kokuto [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 162022
 
Letter of Marque Hampden (DOK) 2009 8 YO Jamaican Rum - Review

DOK.  The initials which have now become a word, have such a sense of menace.  They have all the unfriendly finality of an axe thunking into an executioner’s block. And perhaps this was deliberate, because a DOK rum (I give a delicious shiver) is at the trembling razor’s edge of esterland, 1600 g/hlpa, something so torrid and intense that it is used to calm down cask strength neutral alcohol before being sold to Scotch lovers, and those only now getting into rum. Richard Seale is famous for his exasperation about DOK-weenies and fangeeks who wax rhapsodic about these things, because [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 122022
 
Novo Fogo "Tanager" Cachaça - Review

Over the last years, one of the inescapable conclusions I’ve come to is that rums that dare to be different or faithfully rep their terroire without reference to others, will always and only get niche acknowledgement from that sliver of the rumisphere that knows and understands the varieties of rum and is not reluctant to try something on the blank edges of the map. Wider acceptance by the larger mass of the rum buying public, though…that may be harder. This is perhaps why some of the more artisanal cane derived spirits of the day – aguardientes, grogues, clairins, charandas, kokuto [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 102022
 
Samaroli 2004 11 Year Old Haitian Rum - Review

When we think of Haiti two names in rum immediately spring to mind: clairins and Barbancourt.  This pair of diametrically opposite rum making styles dominate the conversation to such an extent that it is often overlooked that there are other distilleries on the island, like Barik / Moscoso, Agriterra / Himbert, Distillerie de la Rue (Nazon), Distillerie Lacrete, La Distillerie 1716, Beauvoir Leriche and Janel Mendard (among others).  Granted most of these don’t do much branded work, stay within their regional market, or they sell bulk rum only (often clairins or their lookalikes that punch up lesser rums made by [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 222021
 
Taking Some Time Off...

I’m taking some time off and away from writing, and if this cartoon goes up, it’s because I’m tasting as much as I can over the Christmas season when Mrs. Caner, Grandma Caner and the Little Big Caner allow me some time to do that. Have a great Christmas, everyone, and enjoy the holidays. Share this…FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditemail


Dec 192021
 
Bounty "Spirit of St. Lucia" Rum (1970s-1980s)

Rumaniacs Review R-131 | 873 Bounty Rum — not to be confused with the South Pacific Distillery rum of the same name — was the first branded rum produced by St. Lucia Distillers in 1972 when the combine was formed through the consolidation of the Dennery Distillery (which was owned by the Barnard family) and the distillery run by the Geest family at Roseau Bay.  The rum was considered the workhorse of the brand, a step down from the subsequent releases of the Chairman’s Reserve, Admiral Rodney and other blends of greater perceived cachet and exclusivity that came into prominence [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 162021
 
J.M. "Jungle" Rhum Agricole Blanc Edition Limitee (2017) - Review

These days I rarely comment any longer on a bottle’s appearance – there was a time when I actually scored it as part of the review, though common sense suggested that it cease after the pointlessness of the practice became self-evident – but here I really must remark on the striking distinctiveness of the design. In colour and form it reminds me of Henri Rousseau’s savagely childish yet iconic jungle scenes. You sure won’t pass this bottle on a shelf if you see it. But what is it? The Martinique distillery of J.M. is of course not an unknown quantity [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 122021
 
Key Rums of the World - Clarke's Court Pure White Overproof (Grenada)

There are four operations making rum in Grenada – Renegade (the new kid on the block, operating since 2021), Westerhall, Rivers Antoine and Clarke’s Court, the last of which was formed in 1937, operating under the umbrella of the Grenada Sugar Factory (the largest on the island) and named after an estate of the same name in the southern parish of St. George’s.  This title in turn derived from two separate sources: Gedney Clarke, who bought the Woodlands estate from the French in the late 1700s, and a bay called “Court Bay” included with the property (this in turn was [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 082021
 
Velier 70th Anniv. St. Lucia Distillers "Warren Khong" 2010 7 YO Rum - Review

It’s the Red Queen’s race, I sometimes think: top dogs in the indie scene have to keep on inventing and innovating to maintain their lead, release ever-older or fancier bottlings, enthuse the fans, show how cool they are, all to remain in the same place — and none, perhaps, know this as well as Velier, whose various “series” go back a decade or more and keep the bar set really high. The legendary Demeraras, Caronis and Habitations, the Indian Ocean series, Endemic Birds, Foursquare Collaborations, 70th Anniversary, Appleton Hearts, True Explorer, Rhum Rhum, NRJ…the list just keeps growing. But the [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 052021
 
SMWS R1.4 Monymusk 1991 21 YO Jamaican Rum ("Gets The Juices Flowing") - Review

Nobody ever accused the Scotch Malt whisky Society of being in a hurry: although they began releasing rums as far back as 2001 (three unnamed releases, from Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados), they seemed none too happy or enthusiastic with the results, for they waited another ten years before issuing another Jamaican (the R1.2 “Rhubarb and Goose-gogs”), then two more in 2012 during Glenmorangie’s tenure at the helm…and then we hung around watching another seven years go by (and new owners take over) before the R1.5 “A Little Extravagant” came out the door in 2019.  As you can imagine, the first [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 022021
 
Bielle Rhum Vieux Agricole Brut de Fût 2003 - Review

2003 was clearly a good year for the small Marie Galante distillery of Bielle, since there are several different editions of that year’s rhums on the market: a Hors d’Age 52.9%, a Vieux 9 YO at 49%, a Millésime 2003 Brut de Fût 8YO at 52.8% and yet another special release at 53.1%.  Varying ages and strengths, but one doesn’t release that many iterations of a single year without some sort of belief in the underlying quality of the distillate made in that year. Taking this version out for a spin demonstrates that that belief is not mere wishful thinking [Click here for the full review…]


Nov 292021
 
Rum Nation Panama 2008 10 YO Limited Edition Rum - Review

It’s easy to sneer at standard strength rums in a time of sullen cask-strength hoods issued north of 60%, 70% or even 80%.  Those have tastes that attack and maul your extremities, aromas that lunge into your nose with intent to maim, and profiles that burst at the seams with all sorts of…well, something.  Badassery, maybe. In contrast, forty-percenters are considered meek and mild, barely sniffable, weak, easy and not altogether “serious”. Best leave them to the Spanish style roneros. They can have ‘em – here we deal in proof, pard. Rather than simply issuing such soft multi-country blends, Rum [Click here for the full review…]


Nov 252021
 
Velier Caroni Extra Strong 1998 17 YO Blended Trinidad Rum - Review

What is there to say about either Velier or Caroni, that hasn’t been said so many times before?  It seems almost superfluous to repeat the story but for the sake of those new to the saga, here’s the basics: Caroni was a Trinidadian sugar factory and distillery which, after many ups and downs related to the vicissitudes of the sugar industry, finally closed in 2003. In late 2004 Luca Gargano, the boss of Velier, came upon and subsequently bought, many hundreds (if not thousands) of barrels that had been destined for auctioning or fire sale disposal (for the sake of [Click here for the full review…]


Nov 222021
 
Scarlet Ibis Blended Trinidad Rum - Review

The Scarlet Ibis rum is not as well known as it was a decade ago, but that it continues to be in production at all is a testament to its overall utility and perceived worth in the bar scene. That said, it remains something of an unknown quantity to the mass of rum drinkers, sharing negative mindspace with, oh, say, Sea Wynde or Edwin Charley, which had their moment in the Age of Blends but have now fallen from common knowledge.  In a few more years they’ll join all those other rums that recede into vague memory if a greater [Click here for the full review…]


Nov 172021
 
Opinion - Canny or Crazy? Dark Matter's Auction Prices

What the hell just happened? Did somebody really just pay five figures for a bottle of rum from a new distillery? No more than a year ago when he took an astonished look at where rum prices were going on Rum Auctioneer, Ian Burrel humorously if rather crudely remarked that you could bottle RS’s piss and still get a buyer and even more of it was Luca’s (and I was told of one rum commentator who would probably thank them both for with tears in his eyes and buy all he could get irrespective). Now, we may have hit a [Click here for the full review…]


Nov 152021
 
Rom Deluxe RDL #5 - Worthy Park (2017)(Jamaica, WP 7 YO)

Rumaniacs Review #130 | 0864 Today we’ll look at the propenultimate rum which the Danish company Rom Deluxe released in their initial forays into their local rum scene.  Six of the seven rums (the seventh being a special release for a client in 2020) were bottled in 2016-2017 after which the “line” ceased. They were all unlabelled and not sold to commercial establishments on a consistent basis, but taken around to tastings, friends, retailers and served as something of an introduction to the tiny company back before they got “serious”. I wonder if they made any money off them. This [Click here for the full review…]