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