Mar 292024
Retribution Distillers 2 YO (So far) Aged Rum - Review

It’s not often that a rum aged just a few years that remains in development is as good or better than its own unaged white predecessor, but somehow, Retribution from the UK has done a fair dinkum job of it. Their white rum was unpretentious, eager to please and a decent drink that did not try to rearrange your innards (as so many feral whites try to do), and I quite liked it.  Its slightly aged cousin is just a smidgen better, and it still isn’t finished or in open release yet. Retribution is a small distillery in Frome (a [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 242024
Retribution Distilling Co. Unaged White Rum (Batch #2) - Review

For a distillery with a name as ominous as Retribution, the owner and distiller or record is actually a fairly genial, easy going gent, who gives off vibes of an avuncular uncle who retires after a hard day’s work wherever, to his cottage in the countryside, where the faithful hound fetches his slippers. Or so the story teller in me supposes. The man behind the company is Richard Lock, who incorporated the micro distillery in 2019 after deciding to go beyond the beers he had been making to that point. His first product was a gin, released in February 2020, [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 202024
FNQ (Mt. Uncle) Distillery Iridium "X" 10 YO Australian Rum – Review

We’ve heard of both Iridium and Mount Uncle Distillery before: there’s a five year old of that brand that was part of the 2021 advent calendar, and while I didn’t care overmuch for it, I did comment that at a higher strength might make it a better drink. The company – which spun off the rum making business into a separate little outfit called FNQ Rum Company – clearly knew that already, because with this one they amped up the age to 10 years, jacked the strength to 47% and then probably thinking something else was required, aged it in [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 152024
San Juan Artisan Distillers Ron Pepón Blanco Puerto Rican Rum - Review

In the previous review I remarked that the slightly aged añejo from the relatively new San Juan Artisan Distillers in Puerto Rico, did not impress me very much. This was in spite of the fact that on paper they looked like they had all the plant, equipment, and resources they needed to make something better. A fair number of online comments supported this view: most thought it was a barrel thing, although I did get one remark that resonated, stating (paraphrased) that it’s not a good idea to assume that the physical pieces alone are what make the product great [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 102024
San Juan Artisan Distillers Ron Pepón Añejo Puerto Rican Rum - Review

The stats by themselves are enough to make a committed rum geek shed a happy tear. It’s from a new distillery in the Caribbean, committed to making artisanal rum from sugar cane it grows itself. It’s pot still distillation: and not just any pot stills, but the charentais cognac stills that Moet Hennesy sold after abandoning their grandiose project to make rums in Trinidad with the aborted Ten Cane brand. Cane juice agricole style rums. Ageing in ex Bourbon casks for between two and three years. 43% ABV, so more than standard proof. No additives. I mean, you read all [Click here for the full review…]

Mar 032024
L'Esprit Foursquare 2005 15 YO Barbados Rum - Review

It’s not entirely clear why the little Brittany-based independent bottler L’ESprit – for which I have retained an enormous fondness over the years – advertises so little and keeps such a low profile. One never sees them at rum festivals, Tristan Prodhomme is practically unknown among the pantheon of small-company personalities, the company is more wedded to whisky than to rum…and yet the rums this one little outfit does release have a really good track record, people do treasure the ones they get and I would always take a second look myself, if one crossed my path: it’s one of [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 272024
Mad Monkey Distillery Pure Single Rum "Tawny Cask" Batch #2 (Australia) - Review

One thing I have always enjoyed about the Australian distilleries (aside from their cool origin stories) is the irreverent naming. While many are completely straightforward owners’ or geographical names, there are some that enjoy a cheeky wink too, like Brix, Tin Shed, Boatrocker, Red Hen, Jimmy Rum or Winding Road. And of course there are those that take it even further, with names as evocative as Devil’s Thumb, Hoochery, Hippocampus…or Mad Monkey, the subject of today’s review. Below this quick review is a more in depth company backgrounder: for now, what do we have in the glass? The tech sheet [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 232024
Hampden Estate 2016 5YO LROK "The Younger" Jamaican Rum - Review

By now little needs to be said about Hampden Estate, the famed Jamaican distillery that had its coming out party in 2018, a distribution deal with Velier, and a seemingly a new series of rums to collect just about every single year. For all its variety though, their presentation is pretty consistent and you can usually tell one at a glance just by looking at a label. Said labels conforming to all the usual Velier standards, and providing pretty much all the background details you could hope for. In this case we’re dealing with five year old rum released in [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 162024
Archie Rose Distilling Co. "White Cane" Batch #2 Unaged Rum (Australia) - Review

“Oh wow!” I wrote with a sort of delighted and startled surprise when first nosing Archie Rose’s 40% white rum they called White Cane. I had not tried anything from the distillery before – indeed, I knew very little about it — but the rich and oily scent of a mechanic’s shop fumigated with vanilla flavoured acetones was really not what I had expected as an opening salvo. And it didn’t stop there, because the seeming light ‘n’ easy aromas it started out with contained quite a bit more oomph than was initially apparent – once it opened it up [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 142024
Ways of Sunlight

Ways of Sunlight, published in 1957, is a collection of short stories written by the Trinidadian novelist Samuel Selvon, and was the Liquorature Book Club selection for July 2012, chosen by yours truly, largely because I had long been a fan of not only the book itself (having read during my school years), but because I was curious how the Canadian crew would handle short story collections in general and a Caribbean author outside their experience specifically (Stephen King seemed too easy, really). Ways of Sunlight is divided into two main parts, one dealing with life in 1940s and 1950s [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 122024
Savanna Rhum Traditionnel Vieux 2004 9 YO “Intense” (Porto) - Review

It’s about time to clear up a backlog of older tasting notes that have been shoved to the back by newer and more exciting releases, and so for the next few weeks we’ll try to push some reviews of older expressions out the door. Today we’re going to go back and look at Savanna, that Reunion based distillery which has had a fair amount of good press over the last five years, though perhaps more remaining more popular and well known in Europe than the Americas. What distinguishes Savanna is the range of what they make. Many distilleries have ranges [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 092024
Lord Byron Distillery 2020 3YO Pure Single Rum (Australia) - Review

We’ve met this distillery before, a mere hundred reviews or so ago. Founded by the husband and wife team of Brian and Helen Restall in 2016, they have slowly built quite a repertoire of spirits (he likes dark ones, she prefers light so maybe there’s some kind of Jack Sprat vibe going on here) – standard rums, white ones, spiced ones, the 2021 release of the 2-3 YO 55.5% Pure Single Rum I enjoyed and a brutal 63% “fire cane” I really want to try, plus gin, falernum, limoncello and vodka, which covers the bases nicely. So here they are [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 062024
Caves do Barrocão Rhum Fantasia (Portugal)(1970s)

Rumaniacs Review R-162 | #1055 Fantasias as a class of rum have pretty much faded from public view, only resurrected periodically in retrospectives like this one – these days spiced rums and spirit liqueurs hog attention and wallets. Yet they were popular, once, mostly in Europe around the 1950s to 1970s. By the eighties the style had started to diminish in popularity and the rise of standards and production regulation at a country- or regional level, as well as the emergence of a “pure” rum culture probably caused is eventual demise…though not it’s complete extinction.. What Fantasia rums were, was [Click here for the full review…]

Feb 012024
Cabarita Spirits "Oro" Barrel Aged  Cane Spirit (Batch #2)(Australia)  - Review

Cabarita Spirits is the Australian equivalent of Nine Leaves, or so I like telling myself, and Keri Algar, the Spanish-born New Zealander  who is the owner, may live in one of the prettiest places on earth, close to Cabarita Beach in the Tweed Shire of New South Wales (Husk Distillers are also in the neighbourhood). Like Yoshi-san in Japan before he did a runner on us, she is also chief cook and bottle washer, to say nothing of the entire procurement department, sales force, accounting section, maintenance manager, head distiller, bottling line and managing director all rolled into one. No, [Click here for the full review…]

Jan 282024
Bayou White Louisiana Rum (USA) - Review

Consider for a moment the distinctive bottle shape and sleek label design ethos of the Bayou Louisiana white rum.  The crystal clear white and green motifs (call me an overly-visual imagineer if you will) hints at cane juice, grass, and sunshine and channels thoughts of a clean and tasty white rum in fine style. Just as well that this is all in my head because while the text tells you the usual stats, little of the images and sense of what they represent, is real. The company making the rum is called Louisiana Spirits LLC: it was founded in 2011 [Click here for the full review…]

Jan 232024
Black Gate Distillery Australian Dark Rum (Shiraz Cask) - Review

Black Gate distillery is an outfit to keep an eye on. The husband and wife team of Genise and Brian Hollingsworth made waves (to me, at any rate) with their 52% Dark Overproof back in 2021 and in 2023 they have come close yet again with this lovely Shiraz-cask-aged number – which doesn’t reimagine the rumiverse so much as take lots of what’s good with it and re-engineer it into a taste that’s uniquely their own.  Let’s just refresh our memories: located in central New South Wales, Black Gate was founded in 2009 in the small rural town of Mendooran. [Click here for the full review…]

Jan 192024
Romero Distilling Co. Sherry Finished Amber Rum (Canada) - Review

Although I tried all three standard expressions of the Romero Distilling Co. at the Rocky Mountain Food and Drink show in Calgary in 2023, I had already bought all of them before, and this came in useful when double checking my quickly scribbled notes on the “Amber.” That was the one which I had almost bypassed in favour of the “Dark” and the extraordinary full proof Sherry Cask edition — which I still think is one of the best Canadian rums I’ve had to date. A quick recap: the Calgary-based Romero Distilling Company was founded in 2018 by Diego Romero, [Click here for the full review…]

Jan 152024
Island Coast Spirits "Island Coast" Tasmanian Rum - Review

Once again we start the new year off with a series of rums from the Australian Advent Calendar, 2023 Edition.  First issued by the Australian rum-loving couple Mr. & Mrs. Rum in 2021, not in 2022 and now again for 2023, it answers what we out west have been wondering about for years (well…at least I have) – what’s going on with the rums being made in Australia over and beyond Bundaberg, which everyone cheerfully loathes and Beenleigh which everyone likes? Twenty four rums in the calendar, a whole raft of new and old distilleries strutting their stuff, and let [Click here for the full review…]

Jan 082024
Flor de Caña 12 YO Rum - Review

This is the third time I am coming to the famed Nicaraguan rum producer’s 12 year old rum.  The first occasion was in 2011 when I was still somewhat wet behind the ears: then, I commented that it was a bridge between the sipping quality older expressions and the younger mixers of the bartender’s arsenal. In 2017 I picked up another bottle to see if my opinions had changed significantly after additional years of tasting and writing, a wider and somewhat more experienced palate and a better sense of the global nature of rums. They hadn’t. It scored around the [Click here for the full review…]

Jan 052024
Rewinding 2023: The Year in Rum

Speaking from my solitary spot in the rumiverse, 2023 was in many ways a year of challenges and changes and oddly enough, also of maintaining the status quo and holding the line. It was an exciting year with many new experiences and many new rums, and while I could not attend quite as many festivals as I might have preferred — or met as many friends, colleagues, aficionados and rum people as I wanted to — in many respects the year was a success on other levels and I really can’t complain except for one thing: I didn’t get to [Click here for the full review…]