Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Medley of sample reviews! Back in action!

It is(was) middle of roughly middle of the April when i started writing this. The allergies are killing me and it’s time to catch up on some of the samples. Then I was on-and-off sick with a nasty cold for a month. Everything in excess, right?

I’ve recently had a lovely tasting of things from Single Cask Nation which bottles lovely things… If you willing to afford paying their prices.
Cameronbridge 26, Refill Sherry — Dark, sherried and quite delicious. Coffee, chocolate, wood. — Score: Yay
Benrinnes 10, refill bourbon — Lovely and fruity nose, peppery palate. — Score: Meh+
Linkwood 13, American (Wine) Cask — Fantastic, lovely red fruits galore! $150 is kinda obscene cost though — Score: Yay
Inchgower 10, ‘Double Cask’, Ex-bourbon & Sherry — Really lovely sherried malt of unidentifiable origin — Score: Yay-
Caol Ila 8, ex-bourbon — Sweet, fruity and smoky in the best Caol Ila fashion — Score: Yay

Hubert Calvados 30, Pays d’Auge, K&L SP, 49%
Honestly no idea what I’m getting into here. This is a calvados from 1993, selected by K&L. Obviously I’m looking at it from whiskey-drinker’s perspective. Thanks David K for the sample. The nose is very armagnac-style and oozes of woodiness. There’s a note of old apple skins that plays well with the vanilla there. More and more wood on the palate, there’s also an odd soap-like note that I detect that probably something that’s inherent to calvados, that’s akin to a wax or paraffin flavor. The strange note is present through the entire experience, but not unwelcome. Medium length vanilla, spice and sweetness in the aftertaste follows. Overall: My sample was enjoyable though I cannot see reaching for this with regularity. Much much better than any other apple brandy I’ve tried… but that’s a very short list that I’ve sampled of that particular spirit. Value: At $99 this is basically a steal for the quality and age.
Read more here:
Score: B-

Gregarious Grump 30 Year Old Fine Bois Cognac, 1991, 52.9%
Another sample courtesy friend DavidK… Another sample from Chris Hart’s bottling company. This time a 30 year old cognac from 1991. Probably from Comandon domaine though that’s not a guarantee. As usual the disclaimer about whiskey-drinkers perspective, don’t take me too seriously, blah blah. The nose is dried fruits, vanilla extract, *strong* wood varnish. Strong wood notes continues into the palate, then thankfully opens up into tropical fruits and exotic spices… Followed by ‘dusty’ (tannic) finish that thankfully doesn’t quite overwhelm. Overall: This is a treat to those that like cognacs. Yet, it’s unlike typical light cognac style. Blind, I’d say it was armagnac. Either way, great drinker; it’s very enjoyable for those that like the woody brandies. Value: K&L cleared them out at $97 which is a fantastic value. The original MSRP is arguably still good in retrospect of tasting it.
https://www.klwines. … cognac-750ml/1667424
Score: B+

Old Forester (10) 1924, 50%
It’s a small sample, so I’ll be brief on this one. Also, thank you friend Michael! Nose is woody vanilla, with a touch of varnish in a good way. Palate is excellent bourbon, wood, spices, vanilla. Nothing too strong, nothing too weak. Overall: Excellent bourbon. Value: At MSRP of $115 it’s a touch steep… But this is competing with highly desired and allocated bottles here.
Score: A-

Pursuit United Bourbon, Small Batch, 54%
Continuing the theme of bourbon reviews. A blend of straight bourbon whiskeys here. Corn-forward nose with caramel and toasted wood notes. Enjoyable palate that delivers more or less all the typical bourbon notes, baking spices, cinnamon, vanilla and toasted corn. Lots of wood and complexity with plethora of primary notes, yet some of the funky grain eithers still remain. Peppery, spicy, slightly woody finish. Few drops of water helps with the palate. Overall: Enjoyable but too young blend. It really can use some more time to mellow out and let more of the funk disappear. Enjoyable and but not outstanding at the same time Value: About $70 is about average for high proof bourbon blend.
Score: B-

Ironroot Harbinger, 57.5%
A straight bourbon whiskey from Texas distillery? Does it go? It goes! Toasted vanilla and wood caramel nose. This smells somewhat… festive with mulled spice notes, without the wine. Enjoyable typical-bourbon palate with good balance of spice, wood and no offputting flavors. More of that toasted vanilla wood. An interesting eucalyptus and mint note shows up that I would associate with malted rye too. Interestingly, more of the malted rye notes in the aftertaste together with typical bourbon flavors. Water makes it sweeter, I wouldn’t bother as it drinks below its proof anyways. Overall: Surprisingly enjoyable. Nothing mind-bending, but a well-executed high proofer that’s got enough of the age and flavors to not lose in its category. There’s no way to compete with ECBP but this is sort of a similar thing in spirit. Value: ~$65, a reasonable price for this.
Score: B

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof 118.4, 59.2%
A woodford reserve? High proof? Perhaps a decent one? Nose is deeply toasted wood and nutty caramel, very cologne-like. Sweet, nutty, woody, vanilla-forward palate. Slightly bitter baking spices around off the aftertaste. With water, some of the bitterness recedes, leaving few sweeter notes in the aftertaste. Overall: A very enjoyable Woodford Reserve pour. I’m reasonably pleased with this batch and it’s well worth trying. Obviously, the profile varies somewhat with each iteration. Value: At $109-119 it’s not particularly good deal. If it was at $99, it’d be passable value. I would certainly not pay sticker price for it but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
Score: A-

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown

Sunday, October 1, 2023

RUM from a whisky-drinker’s perspective

The first two samples are from friend Max. Thank you Max!

Cadenhead Green Label Rum, 50%
Bottled circa 2010 is my only information. Caribbean rum blend. Sourced from NoIdea Lands. Likely the standard suspects of Barbados, Guyana, and Jamaica being the bulk of the blend, plus some others. It sure smells like a blend of Guyana and Jamaica. Sweet vanilla, funk, medicinal notes, light mint. The palate is mostly the same as the nose, toasted vanilla notes, a touch of funk. Aftertaste brings a solid core of wood right at the edge of bitterness and mint notes from the nose make a reappearance. Overall: Enjoyingly sippable yet not outstanding while neat, this flavor profile seems to have too much going on in the palate department leaving a confused and unfocused impression. I feel that I would prefer it better in a mixed drink, even though I don’t really know how to make a good rum drink. Value: N/A.
Not sure if it’s this but… Let’s assume that this is it:
Score: B- (Rum)

Mauritius 2005, Holmes Cay, 50%
Now we’re talking! A 15 years rum from far-far-away aged in ex-cognac casks. Very wood-forward with strong toasted vanilla undercurrent nose that thankfully doesn’t overwhelm. Smells like vanilla extract to be honest. Awesome! More wood and vanilla on the palate initially, then all sorts of tropical and orchard fruit come out in a fruit punch-like boquiet. Coconut, mango, peaches, the secondary notes are very fruity, in part thanks to the cognac casks. More tropical fruit punch on the aftertaste with wood notes coming full circle and balancing out the fruits with a slightly bitter note that’s full of baking spice. Overall: This is a flavor pop-tart. A fruity center, surrounded by near-bitter woodiness. Solidly enjoyable and proofed about right as any more would make it overwhelmingly oaky. Few drops of water help a lot here to scale wood notes back. It also scales back the flavor. This is almost a shame, as there’s a perfectly balanced ex-cognac rum that seemed to have been lost somewhere on the way. Value: Priced at $85 this is a solid deal for a far-off source and reasonably enjoyable cask combination.
Likely this: https://www.bittersa … ask-barrel-proof-rum
Score: B+

Camikara 12, Indian Rum, 50%
Indian Rum? What? Is that even a thing? I guess it was/is a thing with a quick google. But is it good or bad? Small batch from Patiala, Punjab, India. Batch number 3, though none of the other batches that I’m aware have made it to US. Pure cane juice rum, no color, additives, non-chill filtration. This smells somewhere between a banana pie and a glass of eggnog. The palate is more of those nosing notes, slight rum funk, caramelized bananas, slightly woody vanilla, eggnog spices and sweetness in solid balance. Aftertaste is medium long and brings forward milk chocolate, more spice and, unsurprisingly, vanilla notes sans sugar which wraps up the experience nicely. Overall: I love this. It makes me think of a spiced banana syrup or perhaps dried banana snack. Something in the balance of oak, spices, vanilla and sweetness really clicks in this rum for me. Utterly enjoyable and very dessert like. Value: Priced between $85 and $95 this is very very solid price for what you get.
Score: A

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Bardstown Discovery 6 & Toasted Rye, Velier Sassafras, High West Prairie Carcavelos; Mixed Bag Part 2

Part 2 of the below post to make it less lengthy.

Bardstown Discovery Series #6, 55.55%
This is the “One with the Dickel in it” bottling. Let’s go! Mashbills and percentages are disclosed and published online in many places, so I won’t repeat them here. For better or worse, this is 16% Dickel that’s 17 years old… Which is to be fair rather respectable age for bourbon. The color is near-perfect chestnut. Straight out of the bottle there’s a touch of pecans on the nose, but that disappears after few minutes, leaving cologne-forward notes. There are certainly some nuttiness but it leans towards toasted bits of jam and crust from a berry pie. Let’s add some pecans on top of same pie before baking and… you get the picture. The palate is ripe with toasted cherry wood. There’s something about burnt cherry pie filling in the glass. Lots of toasted oak, cinnamon, cloves, and perhaps torched sugar with the overall profile leaning towards burnt, rather than caramelized. The aftertaste is a bit of a wash unfortunately with pecans coming back as well as that slightly bitter baking spice note letting itselves be known. Few drops of water calm the aftertaste down somewhat but it tones down everything across the board equally… Water is a preference here. Overall: Enjoyable all the way to aftertaste but instead of aftertaste elevating the experience this goes into the burnt notes. Quite drinkable and will likely please most bourbon lovers that want that firm kentucky hug in the aftertaste. The Dickel isn’t really a huge factor here, unless one is a staunch fan of Buffalo Trace products as this certainly leans to the Kentucky+Tennessee nutty style. Surprisingly, there’s some cherry on the palate and perhaps even on the nose, but that aftertaste firmly sticks it back into Tennessee for better or worse. Value: MSRP is too high at ~$120+, should be $99 IMHO… though their packaging and bottle design are well done.
Score: B

Bardstown Blended Rye x West Virginia Great Barrel Co, 55%
This is a weird one that’s for sure. 6 year MGP rye, aged in re-toasted cherrywood/oak hybrid casks, blended with 12 year old Canadian whiskey? What-a-mix! This is certainly off a beaten path for a reasonably well established company. Let’s try anyways! Disclaimer: This s a neck pour so there could be a some changes down the line once oxigen does its thing. The nose is fairly typical MGP rye, toasted wood with old varnish that’s been in the sun, medicinal pine forest, a bit of fermented/pickled dill in the background. The palate is rather sweet, with cherry notes coming in, sweet toasted vanilla and woody oak, gentle baking spices, and aromatic bitters notes. More of the same palate notes are in the aftertaste. Overall: Very enjoyable, despite the uncommon premise. This drinks like a very strong manhattan, or high rye bourbon rather than blended rye. In short, the more I drink it, the more I seem to enjoy it. I like a little more cherry in my manhattan though I’m still enjoying the experience. It doesn’t get too hot or too bitter or too rye-ish, preferring to back off that flavor peak just before becoming too much. This is certainly flavorful, interesting bottling. Value: I’ve picked this up at about $130 from Costco which for the spec seems a bit overpriced, as seems to be the norm with other ‘premium’ Bardstown bottles. Let’s set it as slightly above average on value here.
Score: B+

Velier Sassafras, Foursquare Barbados Rum, 14 year old, 61%
A sample from friend Charu. Bottled in November 2020 as one of 6000 bottles. This 14 year old bottling was aged 3 years in ex-bourbon and then 11 years in ex-cognac casks. It needs time to breathe in the glass, yet the notes I’m smelling all the way from the table surface are already amazing. The nose is toasted vanilla oak, touch of cigar tobacco, very light mint and… fruity perfume. The longer I leave it in the glass, the more perfume-forward it becomes. I’ll be honest with you, it’s really a cognac cask speaking with the fruits but it doesn’t detract from the experience. The palate… is pretty much everything from the nose… turned up to 11. The aftertaste… is… same as palate, gently fading with some barrel spice instead of fruity sweetness of a brandy. Overall: An astonishingly amazing and cohesive experience that’s very hard to duplicate in another bottling. Granted, this is a rum that’s wearing a woody cognac cape at the end of the day. I imagine when tasted blindly it could be hard to identify this as a rum and to call out a off-profile cognac instead. Still, the layers of flavor are great and there’s literally nothing to complain about in the glass. Borderline singular experience. Value: This is where it gets tricky… Originally priced at ~$200, and currently going for ~$450 on secondary… this isn’t a particularly great deal at first glance… yet considering that similar bourbon/cognac foursquares (ie 2006) are ~$1k on auctions and flavor-comparable cognacs are priced in the thousands… This is perhaps a worthwhile endeavor to chase down a bottle or a sample if your budget allows.
Score: A+

High West American Prairie Bourbon, K&L SP, Carcavelos Cask, 50.1%
This is a blend of straight bourbons, finished for 8 months in Carcavelos (White, somewhat spicy, port) and selected by K&L wines. Cask number is 18341. The nose is restrained and at best can be described as sweet & woody-something. There are toasted sugar, sweet spices, some vanilla, oak of course, yet none of it really stands out. The palate is thin on texture but rich in flavor. Lots of sugars, caramelized flavors, some wood, the sweetness doesn’t overwhelm but instead combines well with vanilla and spice. Aftertaste is rather szechuan-peppery, and surprisingly dry, providing a good contrast to the palate and nose. It’s not the most complex or the longest but pleasant enough to let it do its thing. Overall: Well this is an interesting one, I was expecting an everyday drinker and I’ve arguably gotten one. The port notes work surprisingly well with youthful (~2 year old) spirit in hiding bad things and bolstering spice and sweetness. In the end I’m left with enjoyable, casual, dessert pour which does not skimp on sweet & spicy peppers. Value: I’ve picked it up at $55… That’s a decent price for something like this. Let’s call it a good deal for Cask Select High West Bourbon for this price.
Score: B+

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Old Potrero, Remus Gatsby, Tequila, Rums; Mixed Bag

Mixed bag of samples. I believe this takes care of anything that I’ve got open or a sample of that’s not a scotch.

Origin — Age — Score — Notes


- Saint Lucia 2006, Chairman’s/Smuggler’s Cove SP, 51% — 14 years — C+ — Very medicinally funky, minty woodiness. Intense, borderline bitter but relents at the right time. Would be unpleasant if higher proof. Mix it
- Saint Lucia 2009, Chairman’s/Florida Rum Society SP, 57.7% — 11 years — B+ — Sweet caramel, vanilla and a touch of mint are balancing the wood nicely. This is well balanced, enjoyable sipper that drinks under it’s proof. Well played.
- Panama, Grander Toasted Oak, Florida Rum Society SP, 63.7% — 11 years — B — A little water needed. Very wood & vanilla caramel-forward. Warm spice hug afterwards. Enjoyable but over-casked, giving it a confused identity.

Tequila Ocho Tasting

- Tequila Ocho Plata 2022 — 0 — B- — Fresh, mineral, citrus and lime peel.
- Tequila Ocho Reposado 2022 — 8w+8d — B — Aged 72 days. Ocho being 8… Got it? Caramel, rosemary, black pepper, spiced orange peel, vegetable stew.
- Tequila Ocho Añejo 2021 — 1y+1d — B- — Savoury, earthy, mineral, anise, orange peel, black pepper, touch of mint.
- Tequila Ocho Extra Añejo 2018 — 3y+1d — B — Sweet and mineral, light and fruity, almond notes, herbs, light pepper dust.
- Tequila Ocho Reposado Barrel Select 2022 45.5% — N/A — B+ — Likely 72 days. Aged in Widow Jane Casks. Sweet candy, orange peel, white pepper, anice. Solid stuff. By far the best of the lineup.

Remus Gatsby Reserve 2022, MGP: 15 y/o, 48.9%
A small sample courtesy of friend Michael. This is of course a 15 year old MGP extra ‘premium’ version of the limited Remus release. The nose is caramel and wood and some fennel surprisingly and overall rather deep. Closest approximation of the palate I can come up with is ‘velvety smooth’ or ‘polished to perfection’. We’ve got brown sugar, vanilla, almost no bitterness even though wood is felt through and at 15 years of age, it certainly could have been over-oaked, but it’s not. Long aftertaste lingers with sichuan peppers, more vanilla sugars, gentle baking spices. Overall: This is in one word… ‘Decadent’! Bloody good and well done MGP/Remus. One of the best bourbons I’ve tried. It only lacks a few more points of proof to be spectacular; 107 proof isn’t out of reach here. Supposedly, this is cask strength, but it really needs a little bit of oomph to soar; it glides instead. Value: The MSRP of $200+ is a little bitey… but considering a slew of questionably premium releases from other well known distillers at same or higher price… It’s a ‘perhaps worth it’ at sub $250.
Score: A

Old Potrero Malted Rye, 7y 3mo, Single Cask Port Finish 64.48%
Old Potrero Single Malt Single Cask, this is port cask finished and 7 years and 3 months of age. The nose is full of ripe red fruits and sweetness backed by malted rye pine, eucalyptus wood and fennel. The palate is very sweet and woody, it’s got lots of funk but the wood seems to be nearing bitterness here which somewhat spoils the balance. Aftertaste starts sweet from the palate, then veers into tobacco and gobs of sichuan pepper and then comes back into sweet fruit syrup yet again. Water is needed here… And it blooms with water! Overall: As typical with Old Potrero, this is an absolute flavor bomb that’s influenced by port cask, adding a number of red fruits to the assault on the senses! The nose and aftertaste are fantastic but I’m finding myself swallowing it down a touch too fast in order to avoid that bitter note on the palate. To be clear, this is purely cask issue as I’ve encountered similar balance issues in the past. Few drops of water tone down that middle and it becomes very enjoyable dessert pour. Value: N/A
Score: B- (B /w water)

Old Potrero Malted Rye, 8y 7mo, Non-Chill Filtered 64.72%
Old Potrero Single Malt Single Cask, non-chill filtered and 8 years and 7 months of age. The nose is unapologetic, concentrated, toasted wood. The backing notes are familiar pine, eucalyptus and toasted vanilla. The palate is hot, lots of wood, yet again toasted vanilla, mint, eucalyptus. Really dark and quite similar to varnish in some ways it’s yet again near-bitter. On the very welcome positive, it’s got a velvety texture and mouthfeel. The aftertaste is more burnt sugar and continues from the palate. Overall: This is more or less everything I enjoy in Old Potrero Malted Rye in a reasonable balance. The bitterness note is yet again hard to get away from at the proof and age, but few water drops really calm it down without losing too much if it gets too overwhelming. Value: Priced at ~$90 in various retailers these are no longer awesome deals as they were a year or two ago, so this price is about average on the market though still a worth checking out the flavor bomb that these bottles are.
Score: B+

Old Potrero S-b-S: The winner is non-chill-filtered sample, easy win for this pairing. As flavor balance of single casks is variable this result should not be considered the rule.

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Plantation, Foursquare 2009, El Dorado, Gregarious Grump, Rums!

So Gregarious Grump is the label by Kris Hart of Houston Whiskey Group… Same person that is behind Prideful Goat… Except the Grump is for rums and brandies… I got some samples. Let’s do it.

Guyana (Diamond) 2003, 16 years old , Gregarious Grump, 46.8%
The nose is woody with caramel vanilla, light mint. Very solid toasted vanilla and wood shavings core on the palate, bordering on light varnish bitterness, not overly sweet and lower proof makes it imminently sippable though. Long warm and light minty aftertaste. Overall: I like Guyanese rum. This bottling is somewhat inconspicuous in among plenty of other casks but an excellent casual drinker. Value: N/A
Score: B+

Guyana (Diamond) 2003, 16 years old , Gregarious Grump, 54.5%
The nose intensity is amped up, to almost vanilla extract levels. The palate is full of sweet vanilla syrup, wood shavings, toasted oak. Excellent dessert balance that leans towards custard notes. Somewhat short, but yet again sweet and lightly spiced aftertaste follows. Overall: Right up my alley on sweetness and overall balance. Imagine cinnamon-dusted vanilla custard cake. Excellent nightcap here. Value: N/A
Score: A-

Guyana (Diamond) 2006, 16 years old , Gregarious Grump, 52.1%
Pine resin and mint on the nose. More pine resin, this time with brown sugar, dark honey, a touch of bitterness that doesn’t overwhelm the palate. Medium length aftertaste that’s genty fading into balanced and lightly spiced hard candies. Overall: A standout of the tasting here… Easy A! Excellent stuff. This is totally up my alley. Value: N/A
Score: A

Belize (Travelers) 2006, 14 years old, Gregarious Grump, 65.1%
Dark sugar molasses and vanilla is the name of the game here. The nose is nearly burnt sugar. More highly toasted bitterness on the palate, backed and balanced by sweetness, a touch of fermenting funk, vanilla, dark wood, tons of baking spices. Long sweet aftertaste follows with cinnamon, cloves and a touch of star anise. Overall: Excellent stuff, even if a touch bitter in its flavor profile and balance. Value: N/A
Score: B+

Jamaica (Long Pond) 1998, 22 years old, Plantation (K&L Store Pick) Single Cask, 49.4%
Filled into a used barrel and aged tropically for 18 years before being sent to France for finishing. After 2 years in old cognac barrels, the rum was transferred into ex-Bardstown Bourbon Company barrels which had previously held their wonderful Fusion bourbon. For what it’s worth that conflicts with the label… but I’ll trust the seller’s blurb more here. The nose is fragrant funk, musky sweet cologne. The palate, is wound up tight and yet incredibly complex with multiple layers of flavor going through real fast on the tongue. It’s like very tropical rum flavor together… jammed into very tight band. A veritable rum flavor rainbow I surf across. Very long mellow and sweet aftertaste follows with light sweetness funk and mint that calms down the palate after the crazy race that is the palate. It’s proof is about right out of the bottle with water not adding much to the experience but arguably diluting the flavor somewhat. Overall: This is crazily enjoyable, a little too sweet for some but darn it’s really tasty in a spiced custard pie kind of way. Value: Prices at $130… it’s pretty solid value considering lots of less reputable (or dishonest) rums are priced at much higher point.
Score: A-

Panama, 8 years old, Grander, @SFWBSS PS, 49.6%
Alrighty, so this is a bit cheat-y but I gotta record this. This was a great bottle, I’ve drank it as my daily driver on vacation. Panama Grander is solid tiki pour. Value: This was priced at $40! A steal!
Score: B+

Jamaica (New Yarmouth) 1994, 27 years old, Gregarious Grump, 67.5%
That proof is fire and is shockingly high after 27 years in a cask. Also shocking it doesn’t drink anywhere near that proof but at a relatively ‘gentle’ 60 or so. The nose is vanilla bomb with some old wood varnish notes. The palate is multilayered, complex, cinnamon vanilla creme brulee with a LOT of toasted sugar on top. Very long, slowly fading sweet aftertaste follows full of gentle spice and yet again cinnamon. Overall: This is Cinnamon Toast Crunch in a glass! I’m really enjoying drinking but it’s got such layered and complex character that it really requires some contemplation between sips. A true definition of a ’sipper’. Value: It’s MSRP ~$200 (since I got a bottle on sale for about $155). I’d say at 200 it’s a tough call but at the sale price it’s worth it. It’s not every day you can casually come across excellent single cask of that age.
Score: A

Barbados (Foursquare) 2009, 12 year old, Exceptional Selection XVII, 60%
This is a blend of pot and column still distillate tropically aged in ex-bourbon casks. Smells like toasted sugar, tropical fruits, and lots and lots of bourbon spices. The palate is… full of toasted sugar, tropical fruits, and bourbon spices. The aftertaste is… full of tropical fruits and bourbon spices gently fading. Overall: Absolutely excellent. There’s not much to complain here, though perhaps 60% abv is a little hot on its own and needs a drop of water in there. Additionally, it’s a touch… of a one-note… A very excellent note it is but there are no layered flavor harmony here, just excellence in execution. Value: This was ~$90-100, and Foursquare distillery originals provide excellent value here.
Score: A-

Guyana (El Dorado) 2009, 12 years old, Single Still “Versailles” Cask Strength, 56.2%
The stand out of the 2022 SF Rumfest for me. This is… Interesting. Distilled in the wooden pot still and bottled at cask strength this rm has been colored with caramel prior to aging because… Nobody knows why. My own speculative guess involves the theory that it wasn’t supposed to be bottled at cask proof originally and instead intended for lower-proofed general consumer market. Yet, here we are, with enthusiast-level bottle. The color is dark… Like dark chestnut. The nose is near-burnt coconut caramel all the way. The palate… start sweet, turns into near-bitter, and then the plethora of spices hit. Everything from citrus to, raspberries, to tropical fruits all together with the alcohol, dusted by cloves and nutmeg. The aftertaste is all of that secondary flavors with leche fruits and mango mostly winning though they still end up competing with a touch of caramelized sugar. This is all about riding that aftertaste here. Overall: A literally ball of flavor that hits right in the face. This has one unfortunate flaw and that is the caramel coloring… With age that caramel is perceived to be driving some of the flavor notes so mentally it’s hard to get over that visual of everything riding that coloring train. Basically, must like aged caramel to enjoy it, but if you do… It’s a banger. Value: This was $139 which is mediocre pricing for a 12 year rum when looked at blindly… But since I’ve already tried, it wasn’t a blind purchase.
Score: A

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown