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. https://www.gregariousgrump.com/rums

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

Saturday, October 8, 2022

The Rum Task/Marathon…

Loooooooots of Rum samples. Mostly single cask or limited releases. Little time. Will post whatever info I’ve got on the bottles that is relevant. Some just say ‘mystery’. Quick notes for everything !

Origin — Age — Score — Notes

- Appleton Estate (Jamaica) 1994, 60% — 26 years — A- — Funky, medicinal, minty, woody, touch too intense, though in a good way.
- Samaroli, “Spanish Sand” (Belize), 48% — 12 — A — Delicious, wonderful balance, cheers all around
- Samaroli, Venezuela Rum 2005, 48% — 14 — B — Wood, vanilla but is rather dry and flat for a rum. Like licking a seasoned 2×4.
- Dictador (Columbia), Episode 1 American Oak, 2001, 41% — N/A — C+ — This is NOT the Port Cask release. Dark molasses, almost savoury, nutty, and toasty. Needs more proof… or cut with something lighter and proofier. Great nose. Everything else is too thin.
- Holmes Cay (Trinidad), Ten Cane, 2012, 59.1% — 10 — C- — Grassy, minty, light for the proof, herbal. Feels like there’s some green cane in there.
- SBS Single Cask (Antigua) 2015, 64.9% — 7 — B- — Funk, wood, vanilla, leather, huge alcohol punch.
- Black Tot (Blend) 2021, 54.5% — N/A (Blend) — A — This is great. Some of the best notes from Jamaican mint profile mixed with Foursquare-like flavor bomb.
- Black Tot, “Last Consignment”, 54.3% — N/A — Unicorn… (For me: ~B)https://blacktot.com … ot-last-consignment/ Earthy, savoury, wood, leather, tons of tobacco, borderline bitter, super concentrated. Amazing nose. Unicorn experience… not for everyone.
- Uitvlugt (Guyana) “Silent Ambassador” 1994, 51.9% — 22 — C+ — Grassy, peppery, warming, spicy, funky, sweet vanilla and dry leather without much wood in the mix. Not my preferred palate though. After a bit of time, it’s either growing on me or my taste buds are dying. Strong grassy = (agricole green cane juice) note on nose… Mostly hidden on palate, comes back in aftertaste… Age helps a lot to balance out the grass notes.
- Velier Hampden “LFCH” (Jamaica) Pot Still 2011, 60.5% — 7 — B — Funk Funk Funk. Nose like an old Tiki Stand, complete with grimy torches and wood all around. Flinchingly hot, a little young. Vanilla, sugar, spices, heat, dried mango in the aftertaste? Light funk that doesn’t overwhelm.
- Velier Last Ward (Barbados) Mount Gay, Pot Still 2009, 64% — 9 — B+ — Toasted vanilla sugar. Dry cherries!? Minwax wood polish. Syrupy-thick. Very interesting, but leans towards too much burnt (bitter) sugar.
- Velier Worthy Park (Jamaica) 2007, 59% — 10 — A- — Funk, sweet vanilla, wood, spices. Funk is there, but doesn’t linger. Kinda what I’d expect out of good Jamaican Rum. Almost a mix of Barbados and Jamaica profiles.
- Velier Worthy Park “Forsyths WP” (Jamaica) 2005, 57.8% — 10 — B+ — Starts a little funky… becomes solid drinking. Mint hard candies. Some anise perhaps. Sweetness and baking spice. Aftertaste lasts and lasts.
- Lost Cask/Rolling Fork (Barbados) Foursquare, 61.8% — 16 — A- — Super solid Foursquare ex-bourbon profile … if slightly hotter balance than usual. Blindly… I’d guess ex-bourbon exceptional cask release. Let’s call it 2009 equivalent, even if it’s not quite the same; it’s made from the same framework.
- Velier (Barbados) Foursquare 2013, 64% — 2 — B- (Top shelf mixer or add water) — 100% Pot Still… This is just two years old! Super flavorful, yet very raw around the edges. The typical notes fighting with grassy funk of newmake. Absolutely not holding back on eye-watering alcohol punch. Fantastic mixer… Not sure on it’s viability straight, although water does wonders for the drinkability.
- Colors of Rum Edition 7 (Barbados) Foursquare 2005, 61.1% — 15 — A — Beautiful stuff. On par with some of the best regular Foursquare bottlings. Looks like ex-bourbon maturation. Very very good.
- Colors of Rum Edition 9 (Barbados) Foursquare 2009, 64.4% — 11 — B- — Alcohol Hot. Leans towards caramelized bananas covered in some tropical baking spices. Little too hot for my liking. Water helps but it’s not quite there in age and balance.
- Colors of Rum Edition 10 (Barbados) Foursquare 2007, 62.1% — 13 — A- — I tastes like there’s some sherry in this one. The blurb says it’s ex-bourbon and then ex-scotch casks… So it may have been some sherried scotch in the wood. Very tasty. Very little to complain about here. Almost malty… Slightly on the hot side of the alcohol spectrum… Arguably, a touch too sweet in the balance.
- Foursquare Indelible, 48% — 11 — B+ — Pleasant and sweet, quite a bit like Doorly’s 12 with a touch of red wine fruit in there. It’s a ‘good’ Foursquare in a sea of ‘excellent’ Foursquares.
- Foursquare 2007, 59% — 12 — A- — It’s good ex-bourbon Foursquare. Fairly typical for the year series.

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

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Literal Box of Rums!

A friend Jason passed to me a literal box of (open) rum bottles. There are mostly single casks, aged in the tropics are from all over the world. A rum world tour perhaps? By the nature of rum ‘tasting’ I’ll try to be brief in covering what’s going to be 11 bottles of rum. To be clear this is not Bacardi, Captain Morgan or Malibu. This is real stuff most of which aged in tropics and is 100% actual ‘rum’, not 51% rum + 49% vodka + flavorings + colorings which a lot of cheaper brands do.

Doorly’s (Foursquare) 12 year old, 43%
Barbados Rum from Foursquare distillery, not even disguised from foursquare bottled under special label and exclusive to Total Wine. Comes in 40% and 43% variety depending on when it was bottled. I happen to have a 43% but 40% is mostly same, but slightly sweeter because of marginally less proof. Wood, baking spices, burnt sugar and little menthol; this is classic Foursquare exceptional cask ex-bourbon at lower proof with 12 year age statement. Overall: Fantastically drinkable both in a mix or sippable, I’ve taken a liking to this for warmer days. Not quite bourbon and not quite malt but something in-between. Value: This is like $30 in Total Wine. One of the best values for very accessible truly tasty rum.
Score: B+

Foursquare Detente, 10 year old, 51%
Another Foursquare, this time is exceptional cask selection mark XIV (14). 10 Years old blend of ex-bourbon and ex-port casks. The port really takes over in this one and makes very slightly… port-y. Would definitely please any fan of port casks finish in Single Malt land (looking at you Portwood) and this is quite tasty, if a little bit confused between burnt sugar and port sweetness. With repeated sips, becomes slightly bitter with wood notes perhaps very burnt sugar. Overall: Would I drink it? Yes, though not every day. Value: Foursquare… is slightly expensive but not too bad for the quality and the flavor. Surprisingly their official bottlings tend to be cheaper than independent ones.
Score: B

Lost Cask/Rolling Fork/Seelbach’s Foursquare 22 year old, 57.7%
Independent Foursquare from 1998. This is concentrated vanilla, little bit of anice, and seasoned wood all the way. Exceptionally concentrated and basically a ‘true’ brown sugar apple pie of sorts, it’s quite delicious thought surprisingly not that complex. Like a well aged bourbon, this has plenty of character even if notes mostly are the same across the board. Very oddly this evokes the images of BTACs for me. Perhaps it’s similarly shaped bottle? Overall: Oh my, this is a flavor bomb in it’s own way. Pretty much a apple pecan pie with ice cream ala-mode. Would I eat that every day? Perhaps, until I grew tired of it a week in. I’d still enjoy it! Value: This was priced at $299.99, while unique-ish this is an atrocious value proposition. Hard pass on paying for it.
Score: A

Travellers Distillery (Belize), 15 year old, The Nectar, 52%
The Travelers Distillery in Belize, bottled for The Nectar in Belgium from a private collection. A note is worth it here… This is rather full of sediment unfortunately. This is also rather not rum-like at all! Mint, eucalyptus, savory notes galore, very burnt sugar comes up eventually with tropical lychee fruits and perhaps some charred pineapple. Overall: Very different and very unexpected here compared to the foursquares and other tropical rums. Definite flavor bomb but not nearly as sweet at first as just about any tropical rum is. Very complex and almost chilling with the mint notes. Value: This was $150… yeah no dice. What’s with the independent bottlers being worse than retail original bottlings!?
Score: B

Travellers Distillery (Belize) 2008, 13 year old, Holmes Cay, 61%
A single cask bottled by Holmes Cay company. From the same Travellers Distillery as the one above. The Holmes Cay premise of pure barrel to bottle is on full display here. Pine needles on the nose in a harsh way. The proof is very punchy in the glass. Eucalyptus and pine resin with some funky medicinal notes to start on the palate, then followed by sweet sugar and toasted nuts. The label isn’t joking when it’s suggesting a small splash of water in this one. Overall: This is rather pine-y with a complex rock sugar candy notes following. I don’t dislike it by any means but I prefer it somewhat less than most of the bottles above for what it’s worth. Value: Eeeeh about average as with everything Holmes Cay… With the single cask difference some are unicorns and some are just okay though nothing is particularly overpriced.
Score: B-

Panama Kill Devil 2006 11yr, 61.5%
Kill Devil is of course an Independent bottler in Scotland. Very medicinal and almost menthol like. This is very much like thin mints in liquid form. Or those thin dark chocolate mint-filled treats I recall from my childhood or for simplicity, dark chocolate mint Ghirardelli Squares. Lots of ex-bourbon spice and some interesting funk in the secondary notes. Though seriously this is numbing mint notes all over without being actual mint tingle. Overall: Quite different but drinkable for something different and refreshing. Value: This was originally ~$130… Pass!
Score: B-

Guyana Diamond Distillery Kill Devil 2005 16yr, 59.9%
A 16 year old from French Guyana. This is very blond, suggesting non-tropical maturation here as tropics really pull out everything from wood asap due to climate/heat/humidity. Very funky on the nose. My friend described it as ’smelling a swamp’ and while I disagree about the swamp part, it’s definitely got that green banana and freshly cut grass thing going on in there. The funk disappears mostly when it hits the palate but it tastes… ‘green’ and young. The aftertaste is alright with a nice peppery tingle that lasts for quite a while. Overall: There’s something medicinal in this rum. The sweetness is there and some of the mint notes are present, but the nose isn’t quite great and overall this seems like a miss for my palate as this combination isn’t particularly what i like. Value: This was ~$150… Pass!
Score: C

Guyana Diamond Distillery Kill Devil 1998 23yr, 48.5%
An older brother to the one above, coming at extremely respectable 23 year old. Still quite light in color for a 23 year old the nose is somewhat restrained forest after the rain with some perfume. The palate is nice with layers and layers of complexity in a pseudo ex-bourbon palate that’s missing most of the rum sugars. Really this reminds me of slightly over-aged single malt on the palate from an old malt cask. The aftertaste is where it hits a snag… And it doesn’t happen every time… but somehow this ‘tastes like a swamp’. The last few notes are like my compost bin smells after a week in a the sun. It’s super weird not unlike fresh earth on the palate. Although somehow I’m not getting that weird aftertaste currently… Though I did get it when I took a quick sip earlier and when i tasted this the first time. Overall: Not a fan. I really hope that after 16 year old being ’smell the swamp’ and 23 year old being ‘taste the swamp’ there isn’t a 30 year old that is ‘be the swamp’ out there. Value: This was ~240!?… Pass!!!
Score: C+ (D+ with aftertaste present)

Cuba S.B.S. Bourbon and Virgin Oak Cask 2012, 50%
A Cuban rum!? In USA? Did we end embargo yet? After quick wikipedia check. we have not. It’s stupid but oh well, plus not here to talk about politics, but about rum! Nose is classical ex-bourbon rum casks. Oh this reminds me a lot of Foursquare products. As aside, Cuba is well known for their rums and cigars so I guess it’s not surprising that this tastes pretty darn good. Lot’s of sugars and bourbon cask notes here. Extremely easy drinker that’s not over complicated. Some medicinal and mentholy notes in the back that appear eventually but it makes me think of tropical rain rather than distract from the overall experience. Overall: Enjoyable and interesting for rum drinkers this is another example of excellent tropical rum that would be pleasing for a whiskey drinker. Value: ~$145 in price this is… slightly below average on value… Geez independents rum values are way over-inflated.
Score: B+

Mauritius SBS 2008 10yr Port Cask, 55.7%
This is absolutely nuts. I’ve heard of the name of the country this was made in before but didn’t know where it was located. Crazy tiny island east of Madagascar. Well World Tour of Rums indeed! A port cask finish from Grays distillery and distilled from molasses. The nose is really interesting and almost reminds me of Coca Cola or perhaps Rum and Coke. Crazy spiced and nearly slightly sour the whole Coke parallels continue with what I can only describe as light fizziness. It’s a lot like Sprite/Coke mixed with Captain Morgan. Very delicious and unusual stuff. Overall: Different but really enjoyable, especially for Rum and Coke fans. Not to mention this is about as far as it gets distance-wise at least for trying something from there. Value: ~$150 kinda a tough tag to swallow, especially blindly. Below average value, but certainly some credit is due for uniqueness.
Score: B+

Dominican Republic S.B.S. 2007 13yr Madeira Finish, 50%
Madeira (basically red wine) cask finish, distilled from cane juice in column still. The nose is punchy combination of wood, burnt sugar and plum jam with a bit of tobacco notes in there perhaps coming from charry casks. The color is also very very dark but it’s almost certain due to madeira. Very much wine-forward on the palate while staying true to its rum roots. Aftertaste is nice, and warming with mulled wine spices. Overall: This more than reminds of Starward single casks in the overall profile though slightly lighter overall. Mulled spices galore though somewhat muted and reasonably balanced on the palate. An interesting cask but nothing outstanding and madeira hides too much of the rum character. Tropical rum purists will stick their nose up on this and while this is imminently drinkable there are better rums out there. Value: This was ~$130… I’d say it’s at priced little bit above average.
Score: B

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

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Rums Rums Rums! (and a bit of Armagnac) Malternatives

Let there be rums! Thanks for Friends Charu and Shaun for the samples and SFWBSS/Holmes Cay for others.

TL;DR: Holmes Cay is a direct bottler of rums around the world. They are one of the few independent rum bottlers in US or almost certainly one of the first ones. They got plenty of good stuff that’s cask-to-bottle without any bull…

Armagnac notes:

Chateau de Pouchegu — awesome
Chateau de la Grangerie — isn’t my jam
L’Encantada Le Freche — great
L’Encantada Lous Pibous — fantastic

Holmes Cay samples, probably going to be little blurbs… but we’ll see:

Guyana 2010, Diamond Distillery; 11 years, 60.4%
Funky to the point of being nearly acrid. Bananas on the nose. Definitely has a lot of that weird rotting vegetable notes going on there. It’s worth mentioning again quite acrid bordering on smelling salts… Fried bananas galore hiding behind peppery front on the palate. Numbing peppers in the aftertaste that’s quite long. As soon as it hits my palate the acrid notes disappear or melt into the overall experience. Overall: Enjoyable on it’s own though I’d prefer this in a tropical drink.
Score: C+

Belize 2006, Traveller’s Liquors Distillery; 15 years, 61%
Burnt sugar candies on the nose, with a healthy dollop of alcohol. Toasted tropical fruits on the palate. Somewhat reminds of grilled pineapple that’s nearly burnt. Pleasantly sweet but forgettable aftertaste with complex and peppery spice. Overall: Tasty but uninspiring. Yet again I’d prefer it in a drink but would enjoy on its own in a tropical day. In other words… “It’s okay”
Score: B

Fiji 2014, South Pacific Distillers; 17 years, 58%
A 17 year rum, for real? Now we’re talking! Well the dry leather funk is back and the alcohol is quite sharp indeed. Bit of wood, leather, baking spices are all present. Oh… Oh. this is quite nice on the palate. Still sugary as rum can be.. there are tons and tons of spice notes, cinnamon, cloves, all spice, this is reminiscent of MGP bourbons (without the corn of course). Long, baking spice-laden and sweet aftertaste follows. Overall: Very enjoyable and quite nice indeed. I can see myself drinking this.
Score: B+

Barbados 2012, Foursquare Port Cask, 9 years, 55%
This smells great like a rye, some mint and eucalyptus on the nose. This is foursquare through and through basically a whiskey in rum form. Honestly kinda missing port cask notes other than it’s a little extra sweet. Aftertaste is light, rye like here. Overall: This is basically a high rye bourbon or high corn rye here. Enjoyable but not as good as official releases from foursquare.
Score: B+

End of Holmes Cay Samples!

Epris 10, Single Cask Nation, Brazilian Rum. 52.6%
This spent 10 years in first fill bourbon cask #113 and distilled in May of 2011. Brazilian rum? Okay Let’s try! Funky and spicy wood varnish on the nose, not quite licorice but more mastic, a smell I typically get out of 1st fill sherry malts, though there is no sherry in this bottle. Baking spices spiked candy basically. Salty sweet palate with some licorice and chocolate notes, pine needles or pine resin for sure, tobacco, somewhat grassy, salty green olives hiding under the spice. More licorice on the aftertaste that’s not nearly as sweet as you’d expect out of a rum. Overall: This is an interesting one for sure. Reminds of me of some sort of agricole rum that St George did few years back from green sugarcane which was basically olive juice. This seems like infinitely better version of that yet still retaining some of that juniper, salty and grassy complexity hiding under an admittedly great bourbon cask. This seems like a mix of a rum and a basic gin. Would be fantastic in a mixed drink but not going to be enjoying this further than the sample I got. The more I drink it the more confusing it gets at least for my whiskey-wanting palate… Reminds me of something out of Spirit Works stills which are all juniper-contaminated. This is enjoyable… yet it’s flawed in its own way.
Score: C+

Guyana 2003, Diamond Distillery; 16 years, 54.5%
A bottling by Gregarious Grump (Kris Hart of Prideful Goat and others fame) this is a 16 year old Guyana rum distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2020 from Diamond Distillers. Ohhh (pre-emptive yum!) this thing is *dark* chestnut color. Deep sugar caramel nose, dried fruit strips (fruit leather). The palate has vanilla coke, wood, some baking spice, coffee and more fruit leather notes. Those dried fruits really come forward in a long aftertaste that eventually fades into the distant sweetness. Overall: Enjoyable but for me it feels right on the edge of being too woody… Arguably it may have spent a little too long in the casks under tropical climate. I’ll equate this to a decent armagnac… It’s definitely got those fruit notes and wood spices going on. Enjoyable but isn’t mind-blowing for me.
Score: B+

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

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Foursquare, Stolen Overproof Hampden, St Lucia; Rums? Rums!

I’ve asked for interesting samples from friend Charu… I got interesting samples from friend Charu. This time tons of random rum. Not the bottom shelf kind either. As with most Malternative reviews, my palate is not trained for it so I’m mostly judging it compared to whiskey. Previously from friend Charu: https://www.aerin.or … y:entry210317-202914

Foursquare Plenipotenziario 12, Velier Bottled 60%
A 12 year old blend from Foursquare, bottled by Velier. That nose is just dark molasses, and near-burnt sugar. So good, so deep, almost wood stain funky. Quite hot on the palate with 60% abv, tons of wood, sugars, leather, more of that toasted sugar bitter note too. Long aftertaste slightly bitter with deliciously burnt sugar and tons of toasted vanilla with baking spices playing the 3r fiddle here. Overall: Really quite tasty if one likes heavily toasted sugar-vanilla mix. Basically creme brulee top layer in liquid form. Possibly, ever so tiny bit too much bitterness on the palate. Value: N/A, though these are rather expensive even at MSRP.
This guy: https://www.masterof … -year-old-2007-wine/
Score: A- /RUM

Foursquare Redoubtable 61%
Another named release from Foursquare. Another blend of column and pot still rums from Foursquare. Typical burnt creme brulee sugar top on the nose. Quite sweet on the palate, with toasted, but not burnt sugar and vanilla notes. The aftertaste is yet again a typical Foursquare with toasted sugar vanilla blend, wood, some baking spices that finishes light and dry. Overall: Sweet and almost light, this drinks under it’s proof, yet just a tad too sweet for me without few darker bitter chocolate notes to back it up. Just a few would do, not enough to reach the bitterness of Plenipotenziario above, but perhaps a mix of the two would hit the right spot for my palate. Value: Circa $100, it’s probably alright considering how highly in demand Foursquare stuff is.
Score: A- /RUM

Stolen Overproof 6 Year Old Rum, Jamaican Rum, 61.5%
A 6 year old product from Hampden estate stills. Another funky nose with almost rubbery notes balanced by sugared vanilla. Nutty sweet palate with more burnt sugars, tons of spice and nearly tropical drink (don’t forget the bitters) quality. The aftertaste finishes with menthols and almost medicinal though a little bit short. Overall: As K&L Folks have mentioned this is a fantastic mixer for tropical drinks though very drinkable on its own if a little ‘funky’ for my palate. This reminds me of some sort of medicine with menthol notes towards the end. Still I’d probably drink this straight at a tropical resort. Or Mai Tai’ed the heck out of it. Value: This is $40? Pretty darn good overall.
Almost Certainly this: https://www.klwines.com/p/i?i=1302807
Score: B /RUM

St Lucia 9 years, 2011 Bitters & Bottles SP, 60.3%
Bitters and Bottles store bottle , distilled in 2011 and 9 years old. Cask number 89308 (if I’m reading the label correctly). CHAIRMAN’S RESERVE 9 YEAR SINGLE CASK 100% SUGARCANE POT STILL RUM is the title. Funky menthol and rubber notes on the nose. Oh, I hope this isn’t another medicinal one. Tons of menthol, alcohol burn, licorice notes galore, this is almost like a bitey metholy rye in rum form. A little bit of water cuts down the burn and makes it a little more palatable. This is still pine resin, tons of menthol and some eucalyptus through and through the palate and the aftertaste. Overall: Not my thing, though I’ve glad I’ve tried it. Few drops of water is heavily recommended. Value: $138.50 I have no clue how to judge it but I’ll for, a little bit on the expensive side.
While it lasts: https://www.bittersa … arcane-pot-still-rum
Score: C- /RUM

St Lucia 11 years, Bitters & Bottles SP, 57.9%
Another Bitters and Bottle store bottle, this time cask number: 5150608 and as of 11 years old. A nice balance of wood, burnt sugar notes and spices. Something dark and tropical appears in between the sniffs on the nose. Still slightly medicinal notes remain. The palate is ginger-cinnamon toasted sugar candy, with some alcohol of course. Little bit of mint comes through but mostly whatever was on the palate continues into the medium length aftertaste. Overall: I am quite enjoying this contrary to the 9 years old one above. It’s got some funk and mint/eucalyptus going on but by no means it’s unpleasant to drink. Kinda like an enjoyable rye whiskey for me, I don’t usually like rye but sometimes the balance is there. Value: At $52.50 this is super solid deal.
This is the link: https://www.bittersa … on-cask-strength-rum
Score: B+ /RUM

Subtle Spirits, Tempest Rum, St Lucia 62.7%
Joshua Thinnes’s single cask pick, 9 year old, 100% Sugarcane, single cask #797082011 by Chairman’s Reserve stills. Lots and lots of wood on the palate, torched sugar, prunes, black raisins. Sweet and almost salty palate, alcoholic dried fruit compote, vanilla-sugar mix torched into bitterness, almost like oversteeped black tea, lots of wood notes with pine needles. Reasonably short but pleasant aftertaste with more dried fruit notes lingering around. Overall: Good but not my thing to be honest. I’ve got some mediocre associations with dried fruit compotes back from my childhood so it’s certainly working against me. As much as I want to like it… it’s not my thing. Honest disclaimer is I’m not too much into St Lucia’s palate balance. Water snaps things together nicely and changes the balance towards good notes. Few drops are highly recommended. Value: This is expensive. No.
Original listing: https://www.subtlesp … com/blog/the-tempest
Score: B (B+ with water) /RUM

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