Jul 292021
 
Worthy Park 2012 Special Cask Double Matured "Oloroso" Jamaican Rum - Review

Depending on who you talk to, it’s a toss up whether Hampden or Worthy Park is the best of the New Jamaican distilleries. Appleton / J. Wray is the market leader (in both sales and recognition); Longpond, Monymusk, New Yarmouth and Clarendon have some brand awareness from Jamaican rum cultists and indie bottlers – though of course your average Joe could care less, let alone distinguish among them –  but when it comes to artisanal pot still rums, it’s all down to those two. Hampden has a distribution arrangement with Velier (you can see Velier’s design ethos in all their [Click here for the full review…]


Jul 262021
 
Key Rums of The World - Rhum de Père Labat Rhum Doré

Having gone through their aged expressions, millesimes, and young blends from the Poisson-Pere Labat distillery on Marie Galante over the last few years, it is my considered opinion that when it comes to the best intersection of value for money, the surprise standout is not either the 3 year old or the 8 year old (which, since they sit smack in the middle tend to be shoo-ins for the honours of this series), or any of the more upscale millesimes (though those are quite good) but the rather unremarked and seemingly unremarkable two year old called the Doré, which I [Click here for the full review…]


Jul 222021
 
Velier Père Labat Rhum Vieux Agricole Marie Galante 2010 7 YO - Review

  Poisson-Père Labat, who worked for the most part with blancs, blends and mid range rhums, came late to the party of millesime expressions – at least, so far as I have been able to establish – and you’d be hard pressed to find any identifiable years’ rhums before 1985.  Even now I don’t see the distillery releasing them very often, though of late they seem to be upping their game and have two or three top end single casks on sale right now. But that has not stopped others from working with the concept, and in 2017 Velier got [Click here for the full review…]


Jul 192021
 
Rhum de Père Labat 8 YO Tres Vieux - Review

  There is a certain whimsy about a piscatorially titled distillery. “Poisson”, the small distillery also referred to as Père Labat is located on the west side of Marie Galante (the small island to the south of Guadeloupe) and means “fish” in French — which is, I’m sure you’ll grant, a rather odd name.  Initially, I had thought that the estate was called that to commemorate the fishermen who might once have plied their trade on the nearby coastland, but no, nothing like that. It was given the name of the woman, Catherine Poisson, who bought the land from the [Click here for the full review…]


Jul 152021
 
Poisson / Pere Labat - Marie Galante

Distillerie Poisson-Père Labat on Guadeloupe’s southern island of Marie Galante is named after the 17th century Dominican friar who modernized sugar making technology in the French islands (he was the proprietor of the Domaine de Fonds-Saint-Jacques on Martinique and owned slaves there, which leads to a complex and problematic legacy). Poisson is a small distillery on the extreme west of Marie Galante, balancing off Bellevue in the east and Bielle and Capovilla in the centre , and it has a history dating back at least two centuries. Sugar cane cultivation on Guadeloupe and Marie Galante has in fact been around [Click here for the full review…]


Jul 122021
 
Rhum de Père Labat 3 YO Rhum Vieux Agricole - Review

With all the publicity and attendant pictures, conversations, comments, posts and other media razzamatazz attendant on the big agricole makers of the French Caribbean islands, we sometimes overlook the smaller rhum makers there. Like their more famous siblings, they have also been around for decades and centuries and although they remain not so well known, not so warmly endorsed and not so widely trumpeted, they quietly chug along year in and year out, and make their own juice…maybe unheralded and unsung, but a boss drink by any standard. One of these places is Distillerie Poisson-Père Labat on Guadeloupe’s southern island [Click here for the full review…]


Jul 082021
 
Transcontinental Rum Line Belize 2005 12 Year Old Rum - Review

After a successful debut in around 2016, the Transcontinental Rum Line, the indie bottler offshoot of La Maison du Whisky in Paris, has faded some from public view, though they continued to release rums as late as 2020).  That said, with current distribution in the US and parts of Asia, it may see something of a resurgence with that increased awareness. And that’s a good thing: as with all indies of a diverse portfolio of rums it’s a bit hit or miss, but overall they have done pretty well. La Maison was formed by Georges Bénitah in 1956, and has [Click here for the full review…]


Jul 062021
 
Samaroli Fiji 2001 (South Pacific Distillery) 13 YO Rum - Review

Seeing this screaming violent neon-pink bubble-gum label glaring out from where it squats sullenly in the backbar, one could be forgiven for thinking one had warped back into the 1980s or something, complete with laser shows, tight jeans, big hair and bigger shoulders.  It’s not a rum one is likely to overlook on a shelf, which of course may be the point. But no, it’s just a rum distilled in 2001 and released in 2014, and is one of at least seven casks (probably more) which Samaroli picked up from South Pacific Distillers on Fiji, the only distillery on the [Click here for the full review…]


Jul 012021
 
Moon Import Guyana "Remember" 2015 Edition - Review

When I looked at Moon Import’s middling Jamaica rum there was no background information as to which one of the several Jamaican distilleries made it – but here, since Guyana only has the one, we can move on and start complaining about a separate issue unique to the country, namely, which still does it come from? One can only sigh and acknowledge that a reviewer’s job is never done. The “Remember” series was begun in 2015 by Moon Imports, an Italian independent bottler formed in 1980 by the Genoese Pepi Mongiardino, a sometime disciple of that grand old man, Sylvano [Click here for the full review…]


Jun 282021
 
Moon Import Jamaica "Remember" 2015 Edition - Review

  In 2015, Moon Imports, one of the well known if somewhat second-tier Italian independent bottlers which was founded in 1980, released a new collection of rums called “Remember”, which at the time comprised of four rums – one each from Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana.  With the exception of the agricole makers, Cuba and St. Lucia, then, the initial line represented the big guns of the Caribbean rum world. What exactly was to be “remembered” was another matter, mind you, since the rums were too recent and relatively young to commemorate anything or represent any kind of old tradition.  [Click here for the full review…]


Jun 212021
 
L’Esprit Barbancourt 2004 12 Year Old Haitian Rhum (Standard Proof) - Review

Over the last decade or so, there has been an ever increasing stable of small independent bottlers popping up.  Some produce one iteration of a rum and then fold; others associate themselves with a celebrity and produce rums in quantity, often blended, catering to the mid-to-low tiers of consumption; and some combine sales of blends with sales of high end single cask bottlings. Few stay exclusively with just releasing a few hundred bottles of a cask every now and then, because such releases are perhaps the hardest to market effectively and make money from. There is a crowded market already, [Click here for the full review…]


Jun 172021
 
William Hinton Edição Limitada Unaged White Rum (2017) - Review

  Recapping some background for William Hinton — it is a Madeira based distillery with antecedents as far back as 1845; at one point, in the 1920s, it was the largest sugar factory on the island if not in Europe – but in 1986 it ceased operations for two decades, , and was then restarted in 2006 under the name Engenho Novo da Madeira, still making branded rum under the Hinton banner.  They make their own rums as well as exporting bulk elsewhere, which is how Fabio Rossi picked a few up for his Rare Rums collection back in 2017. [Click here for the full review…]


Jun 142021
 
William Hinton White Agricole Rum (Madeira) - Review

William Hinton from Madeira is not a name to conjure with in the annals of rum, but this is not the first time they have come up for mention – their distillery produced the Engenho Novo da Madeira rum that Rum Nation released with some fanfare back in 2017. The following year the company of Engenho Novo, Hinton’s new incarnation (and not to be confused with Engenhos do Norte, producer of the “970 Agricola”) released some rums for themselves, and we’ll be looking at these over the next week or so. Hinton classify their rums into three tiers: (1) the [Click here for the full review…]


Jun 102021
 
Bristol Spirits Labourdonnais Mauritius White Rhum - Review

As I remarked in a review opener last year, the UK indie Bristol Spirits appears to have fallen somewhat out of fashion of late, and its releases are not held up as ecstatically as they used to be, nor are reviews of their products either forthcoming or swooned over the way they used to be (that may be a function of the current pandemic as well). However, neither that nor the somewhat moribund website of the company should be taken as an indicator of any loss of focus or lack of activity. Mr. John Barret, the owner, with whom I [Click here for the full review…]


Jun 082021
 
Revisiting the Stroh 80º / 160

The Stroh 160 is the North American version of the famed Austrian 80º punch in the face.  In Austria, where it was first made in 1832 by Sebastian Stroh when he came up with the “secret combo of herbs and spices” (sound familiar?), it remains a cultural institution and has actually got some form of a protected designation there. In Europe it is seen as a bartender’s mix for ski resorts because of its use in the hunter’s punch, or Jagertee, while in the US its use centers around cocktails like Polynesian- or tropical- themed drinks that require an overproof [Click here for the full review…]


Jun 032021
 
Penny Blue XO Mauritius Rum (Batch #002) - Review

This is a rum whose label tickles the trivia gene lurking within me.  So in the interest of science and the perhaps boring rehash of stuff some of you already know but some of you don’t, let’s go through the background and the details First of all, that name. Like Fabio Rossi of Rum Nation putting the pictures of the old stamps he once collected on the labels of his rums, the makers of Penny Blue did the same. Not to be confused with the Two-Penny Blue issued in the UK (the second postage stamp ever made (in 1840, following [Click here for the full review…]


May 312021
 
Key Rums of the World - Doorly's 12 YO (Barbados)

In my own rather middling 2017 review of the Doorly’s 12 I remarked “It’s a well-made, serviceable, standard-proof rum for those who have never gone further (and don’t want to)…and remains a rum of enduring popularity.”  Rereading that review, re-tasting the rum, and thinking about all the developments in the rumworld between then and now, I would not change the review – but must concede that it works precisely because of those things that at the time I sniffed at, and retains its widespread appeal to both new drinkers and old in a way that cannot easily be discounted.   We’re [Click here for the full review…]


May 272021
 
Cadenhead's Guyana Rum "VSG" 1990 Enmore Distillery 13 YO - Review

Cadenhead’s defiantly massive codpiece, this 73.6% Mudland slugger, was among the strongest rums they ever unleashed upon an unsuspecting public, in 2003 ; it took no prisoners and provided no apologies and was stubbornly, intransigently, mulishly what it was – an undiluted can of pure whup-ass.  It must have scared the living bejeezus out of so many people when it was released, that all existing bottles were carefully hidden and buried and squirelled away, and blood oaths were sworn to preserve forever the silence of the grave upon its owners.  Few rums this powerful outside the famed 151s were ever [Click here for the full review…]


May 242021
 
Rhumerie de la Reunion (Savanna) "Varangue" Rhum Grand Arôme - 1990s

Rumaniacs Review #R-125 | 0823 Many of the rhums from the Reunion Island distillery of Savanna are a high-ester rum-geek’s dreams and fantasies: they are molasses-based, and benefit from longer fermentation times and a pass through their Savalle copper column still. The term for these rhums with congener levels greater than 800g/HLPA and minimum ester levels of 500g/HLPA is Grand Arôme, but Savanna has branded them with other names, now and in the past.  Since 2003 or so they have been called the Lontan series of rums — this is a play on the French creole words long temps or [Click here for the full review…]


May 202021
 
1423 S.B.S. Barbados (WIRD) 2000 16 YO Rum - Review

These days, most rumistas are aware of the Scandinavian company 1423 and their upscale rum brand of the SBS (Single Barrel Selections, even though they sometimes aren’t). In the last five years this small Danish outfit has become a much bigger Danish outfit, not just bottling the upmarket connoisseur’s series of the cask strength single barrel releases, but whole blended lines like the Compañero rums, and occasionally horse trading barrels and supplies with other companies (the Romdeluxe R.1 Wild Tiger, for example, was originally a 1423 import). But back when this Barbadian rum came on the scene in 2016, they [Click here for the full review…]