Jan 212021
 
Opinion - Flipping: Love, Loathe Or Leave It

Flipping at is most basic is simply reselling, and mostly seen as akin to scalping tickets. A seller has a bottle of a rum which is sold out of the stores that a buyer wants , and a bargain is struck usually at a markup. It’s a sale. Its specificity arises because of the practice of buying a (usually newly released) rum alight with a buzz and hype: not to enjoy, but to resell at a profit – in other words, introducing yet another intermediary with sticky finger between the distillery of origin and the consumer. Unsurprisingly, flippers have become [Click here for the full review…]


Jan 182021
 
Ron Malecon Reserva Imperial 25 YO Rum - Review

We’ve been here before. We’ve tried a rum with this name, researched its background, been baffled by its opaqueness, made our displeasure known, then yawned and shook our heads and moved on. And still the issues that that one raised, remain. The Malecon Reserva Imperial 25 year old suffers from many of the same defects of its 1979 cousin, most of which have to do with disclosure and some of which have to do with its nature. It astounds me that in this day and age we still have to put up with this kind of crap. The little we [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 4:52 am  Uncategorized
Jan 142021
 
Oliver & Oliver Ron Presidente 23 Solera - Review

Ahh, that magical number of 23, so beloved of rum drinking lovers of sweet, so despised by those who only go for the “pure”.  Is there any pair of digits more guaranteed to raise the blood pressure of those who want to make an example of Rum Gone Wrong? Surely, after the decades of crap Zacapa kept and keeps getting, no promoter or brand owner worth their salt would suggest using it on a label for their own product? Alas, such is not the case.  Although existing in the shadow of its much-more-famous Guatemalan cousin, Ron Presidente is supposedly made [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 5:10 am  Uncategorized
Jan 112021
 
Moon Import Guadeloupe 1998 12 Year Old Rhum - Review

The rum starts slowly.  I don’t get much at the inception. Bananas, ripe; pineapples, oversweet; papayas, dark cherries, nice….and a touch of beetroot, odd. Not my thing, this rather thin series of tastes — it develops too lethargically, is too dim, lacks punch. I wait ten minutes more to make sure I’m not overreacting…perhaps there’s more? Well, yes and no. These aromas fade somewhat, to be replaced by something sprightly and sparkling – fanta, sprite, red grapefruit, lemon zest – but overall the integration is poor, and doesn’t meld well and remains too lazily easygoing, like some kind of clever [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 4:25 am  Uncategorized
Jan 072021
 
Clarke's Court No. 37 Limited Edition 8YO Grenada Rum - Review

The Masters of Malt blurb for the Grenada-distilled Clarke’s Court No. 37 rum contains two sentences that make one both smile and ask more questions. A “blended Caribbean rum” which is “the thirteenth limited release rum from Clarke’s Court.” And as if trying to top that, they go on to say “The rum was designed to be supplied to exclusive social events” and both just reek of some marketing intern making ad copy in his sleep, evidently unable to come up with anything more interesting about this equally lackadaisical rum. Why not a “Grenadian” rum, one wonders. And, if this [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 11:58 am  Uncategorized
Jan 042021
 
Dzama 6 Year Old Madagascar Rum - Review

The Dzama 6 year old rum from the island of Madagascar sits between the modest 3 and 5 year old rums, rubs shoulders with an 8 YO, and looks up to the more exclusive 10 YO and 15 YO expressions; the company has been busy expanding the range since I first tried their 3 year old back in 2014. Unsurprisingly, the local market share of the company’s spirits is a massive 60% or so – they make a bit of everything alcoholic and are a very diversified drinks conglomerate – their prime market remains Madagascar itself with exports to Europe, [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 10:04 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 302020
 
Habitation Velier Forsyth's Pot Still Unaged White Rum (WPE) (2017) - Review

Hampden gets so many kudos these days from its relationship with Velier —  the slick marketing, the yellow boxes, the Endemic Bird series, the great tastes, the sheer range of them all — that to some extent it seems like Worthy Park is the poor red haired stepchild of the glint in the milkman’s eye, running behind dem Big Boy picking up footprints. Yet Worthy Park is no stranger to really good rums of its own, also pot still made, and clearly distinguishable to one who loves the New Jamaicans. They are not just any Jamaicans…they’re Worthy Park, dammit. They [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 3:23 am  Uncategorized
Dec 282020
 
SMWS R9.2 Panama 2004 12 YO Rum ("Paddington Bear's First Sip") - Review

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has always had a peculiar turn when it comes to labels and tasting notes. The original bottlings didn’t always have permission to use the distillery names on the bottlings — at the time, blends were big, and distilleries did not always want their names to be associated with some off-the-wall, left-field bottle from a strange outfit, when this might shed a poor light on what they were more famed for…the consistency of their blends. This led the SMWS to the use of numerical identifiers for their outturns, and a whimsically titled name that had [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 4:57 am  Uncategorized
Dec 232020
 
Ron 1914 "Interoceánico" 15 Year Old Panama Rum - Review

Here’s my personally imaginative take on how the (fictitious) Board of Blenders from Consorcio Licorero Nacional (CLN) presented their results to the good folks at Rum of Panama Corp (registered in Panama in 2016) about the rum they intended to make for them at Las Cabras in Herrera. “We will make a true Panamanian Rum to represent the year the Canal was opened in 1914!” they say, high fiving and chest bumping themselves in congratulation at this perspicacious stroke of marketing genius. “But CLN is originally from Venezuela, isn’t it?” comes the confused question.”Shouldn’t you perhaps pay homage to something [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 10:48 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 212020
 
Ron Vacilón Anejo Gran Reserva 15 YO Cuban Rum - Review

The Cuban-made Vacilón brand was launched in 2016 (as a relaunch of an apparently very popular brand from the 1950s) and has been making the rounds of the various rum festivals off and on.  It’s part of the brand’s “luxury range” of 15 / 18 / 25 year old rums, which is fine, except that  as usual, there’s very little to actually go on about the production details – which remains one of the more annoying things about latin rons in general, hardly unique to Cuba.  Suffice to say, it is made by Destilería Heriberto Duquesne attached to the local [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 1:53 am  Uncategorized
Dec 212020
 
Opinion: Tony Sachs should not be asking...

When non-knowledgeable list-makers who pepper the pages of equally clueless online magazines with their silly compendia ask for advice and help, I can tolerate it, but not from this guy, who I read quite a lot of and respect a whole lot more. He should not be asking, in such vague terms, to get for free what he’s paid to write. On December 8th 2020, spirits writer Tony Sachs posed this question on the Ministry of Rum Forum on FB: “Hey all, picking your collective brain for an article I’m writing about the 21 best rums of the 21st century [Click here for the full review…]


Dec 172020
 
Hoochery Distillery Ord River Overproof Australian Rum - Review

Hoochery Distillery’s name derives from, as you might imagine, the word “hooch”, a slang term for moonshine, or illegal liquor, popular during Prohibition. Some references place the word’s origin as even earlier, with the Hoochinoo Native American tribe of Alaska, who supposedly – and unusually – made their own liquor. Whatever the case, a hoochery is a now apparently trademarked word for a low-end small-scale distillery making (you guessed it) hooch, specifically in Australia, which has a long history of formalizing words from the vernacular in new and charming ways.   The distillery itself was established in 1993 in north-western Australia’s [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 2:19 am  Uncategorized
Dec 142020
 
Coruba Blanca Extra Light White Rum (1970s)

Rumaniacs Review #122 | 0785 The original Basel-based trading house behind this long-surviving rum was formed in 1889 by Jules Fiechter and Peter Bataglia, who dealt with cognac and rum under the trading enterprise of (what else?) Fiechter & Bataglia.  In 1898 Bataglia moved back to France, and a new partner named Georges Schmidt bought in and the company was renamed with an equal lack of imagination to Fiechter & Schmidt and concerned itself with wines and cognac.  The first world war nearly bankrupted them, but they survived, and in the interwar years with the relaxation of border controls and [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 5:18 am  Uncategorized
Dec 092020
 
Veritas White Blended Rum (Foursquare/Hampden) - Review

In commenting on the two-country blend of the Veneragua, Dwayne Stewart, a long time correspondent of mine, asked rather tartly whether another such blend by the Compagnie could be named Jamados.  It was a funny, if apropos remark, and then my thought went in another direction, and I commented that “I think [such a] blend’s finer aspects will be lost on [most]. They could dissect the Veritas down to the ground, but not this one.” It’s a measure of the rise of Barbados and the New Jamaicans that nobody reading that will ask what I’m talking about or what “Veritas” [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 9:36 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 072020
 
Compagnie des Indes Veneragua 2018 13 Year Old Blended Rum - Review

In spite of being better known for the exceptional single cask line that made the name of the Compagnie des Indes (at least, with this writer), it was the later blends that sold a lot better and moved off the shelves with more alacrity. Independent bottlers are businessmen, and while sentiment may have them prefer the tuxedo-crowd snoot-rums, it’s the low-end tanker loads that keep the company afloat (a matter not restricted to the Compagnie) and therefore get made. Compagnie des Indes has a whole lot more blends than is immediately apparent: the Darklice, Dominidad, Kaiman, Latino, Caraibes and Boulet [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 4:14 am  Uncategorized
Dec 032020
 
Rum Nation Small Batch Rare Rums - Caroni 1997 21 Year Old  - Review

Any independent bottler who’s been around for a few years always has rums at various tiers of quality, or premiumness.  Most of this has to do with increasingly elaborate packaging, marketing campaigns, price (of course) or just the hype surrounding the bottle. Though of course once we see a price tag in the hundreds (or thousands), and an age in the third decade or more, we tend to perk up and pay attention anyway without any prodding, right? Rum Nation, a fomerly Italian-based IB has always been on board with this practice. Even back in 2011 when I bought their [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 5:04 am  Uncategorized
Nov 302020
 
Chamarel Premium Double Distilled White Rum - Review

It says “rum” on the label, but for all intents and purposes we should be calling it rhum. Chamarel made it out of cane juice on the island of Mauritius, and it’s an easy-going, sweet-smelling, good-tempered cane juice rhum that got wrung out of a pot still on the island and somehow didn’t turn into some foul-smelling, cantankerous harridan in the process.  That’s probably deliberate, because had they done so, while it might have enthused the fanboys of unaged white lightning made in the backwoods, it might also cost a sale or two among the less adventurously minded. Suffice to [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 5:36 am  Uncategorized
Nov 262020
 
Naga Double Cask Aged Indonesia Rum - Review

The Naga double-cask aged rum is part of the company’s standard lineup without any fancy whistles and bells, and when you nose it, you get a sensory impression both hauntingly familiar and obscurely strange. Even dialled-down and wispy as it is, it reminds one of chocolate, very ripe dark cherries, Fanta, sweet caramel, bonbons, and delicate perfumed flowers; and it’s the extras beneath all that which add piquancy and puzzlement: white pepper, a foamy Guinness stout, and a gamey, meaty smell which is fortunately quite faint.  The rum, bottled at 40%, exists outside the comforting confines of the Caribbean and [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 5:26 am  Uncategorized
Nov 232020
 
Velier Diamond / Versailles (SVSG) 18 Year Old Rum - Review

Sooner or later in these reviews, I always end up circling back to Velier, and for preference, it’s usually the rums from the Age of the Demeraras.  It’s not that I have anything against the Caronis in their near-infinite variations, the Habitation’s pot still range, or the series of the New Hampdens, Villa Paradisetto or 70th anniversary. And I have a soft spot for even the smaller and more exactingly selected outturns of one-offs like the Courcelles or the Basseterre rums. It’s just that the Demeraras speak to me more, and remind me of the impact a then-relatively-unknown indie bottler [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 2:18 am  Uncategorized
Nov 192020
 
Samaroli Grenada 1993 22 Year Old Rum - Review

Recently I was observed to be writing more reviews of obscure rums nobody ever hears about (or can get) than the commonly favoured tipple and new releases favoured by the commenterati.  That’s a completely fair thing to say, because I do. Not because I want to be behind the times — I’m gutted I couldn’t try the three new pot-still Appletons from Velier so many people are waxing rhapsodical about, for example —  it’s more a factor of my current location, and inability to travel and the cancellation of the entire 2020 rumfest season. It’s also as a somewhat deliberate [Click here for the full review…]


 Posted by at 2:49 am  Uncategorized