Monthly Archives: May 2016
The Rum: Enmore
Bottled: 2012, 264 bottles- 50.5 abv
The Nose: yep, welcome to Demerara country. Herbal and powerful, but with a pleasant sweet touch.Molasses and oak, and surprisingly fresh for an Enmore this old.I’d say… eucalyptus with a hint of smoke. And even some (I know, strange!) olive oil. This is rich and yet round, punchy and yet pleasant. Very promising nose indeed!
The Taste: Herbal and a bit drying, with nice wood without getting too bitter. Burned caramel and cooking spices. Nutmeg. But also that little sweet touch again: raisins and a delicate fruity side with some mango. Also a bit of liquorice. Again a little smoke or tar if you like. Very phenolic, but not too punchy on the alcohol level.
Finish: all the good stuff from the taste reflects in the rather long finish.
Our Score: **** Excellent rum – alas very difficult to find. I wouldn’t mind having another one of these beauties.
The Rum: Rhum JM- XO – 45 abv
Bottled: November 2015
Maturation: over 6 yo in re-charred ex-bourbon casks
Nose: Rich and very spicy. Influences of bourbon and even some rye, with fresh menthol notes on the background. After 10 minutes warmer with lots of vanilla now, and some aniseed (pastis). The vanilla keeps growing, but with a bit of a sour undertone lingering through.
Taste: the first attack is strong, with punchy alcohol and a bit acerbic. The bitterness grows, with loads of cocoa powder and a hint of orange peel. Verbena and a general spicy-herbal palate with always that little bitterness around the corner. In my humble opinion, it lacks the freshness and fruitiness of other agricoles – of other JM’s even.
Finish: medium long to long, switching between the sweeter and more bitter notes. Also some aniseed again, ginger and the whole shabam of spices.
Our score: ***
No tasting notes this time, but…a book review. Why not? There are almost no (good) books on rum in Dutch, so whenever there’s a new one on the market we should give it the credit it deserves.
“Rum – De Complete gids”, a hardcover book (that’s always a pro in my eyes!) is written by Isabel Boons (freelance foodwriter) and Tom Neijens (owner of the fantastic Tiki-Bar ‘The Drifter’ in Gent – Belgium).
The title says it all : the book tries to give the reader an overview on rum: what it is, how it’s been made, a bit of history, differences between agricole, Spanish style and English style, how to drink rum, cocktails, cigar pairing, etc… . It’s rather complete and yet not too long – or at least it doesn’t seem too long because it’s well written, and illustrated with some very nice pictures (also with lots of drawings…but I’m really not a fan of those, I’m afraid). A history of rum can be boring, but in this case it was a pleasure to read, thanks to the anecdotic way of telling the rum story. Another pro: short chapters, so again easy reading and handy if you want to look up a specific fact, brand or anecdote…
As a cachaça aficionado, I was pleasantly surprised to read a few words about my favourite drink in the book too. OK, only about the industrial cachaças and not about the really good stuff, but it’s a rumbook, not a cachaçabook.
The second part of the book is a selection of 50 rums with a bit of history and information about the brand, and short tasting notes. Between the thousands of rums that exists it is, of course, not easy to make a selection of 50. Luckily the writers choose to select only these rums one can actually find in the better liquor stores. Maybe just one little remark – and I know, taste is something very personal : the authors claim to only select high quality rum for the book. But in my humble opinion Bacardi, Don Papa or Captain Morgan are not really the best the market has to offer.
The book ends with a few short chapters like ‘Start to rum’ on how to drink rum, what kind of glassware to use, etc…; a selection of some classic rum cocktails and tiki’s; and a bit on cigars – how to smoke and how to pair.
The last pages are for some of the most famous rum/cocktail bars around the globe. Very interesting…but maybe for a next edition a personal thought. Since the book is available in Dutch, it might be more interesting to have a selection of bars in the Netherlands and Belgium. Not that I don’t want to visit Tokyo, Bologna or San Francisco – but chances are I rather will be searching for a good rum bar in let’s say Amsterdam, Antwerp or Brussels.
So in short: if you’re interested in rums, and you do understand a bit of Dutch: this is a must-have book. Published in 2016 by Lannoo with ISBN 978 94 014 3295 5 – and available for less than €25.
The Cachaça : Vale Verde Extra Premium
Origin: Betim – Minas Gerais
Distilled: 2012 – copper pot still
Matured: oak wood, ex-bourbon casks
Vale Verde is an exceptional cachaça in every sense of the word. First of all it’s distilled in an ecological park, using sustainable methods only, and wit hall profits going back to the park to plant trees and develop ecological programmes.
Secondly, at Vale Verde they use an exceptional method of charcoal filtering the spirit before ageing it.
Now let’s find out why Playboy elected (yes, elected, not erected) this cachaça as best cachaça for several years in a row!
The nose: as always, the typical sugarcane notes are very well present. But the Vale Verde extra premium (which means that all the cachaça in the bottle is at least 3 years old) is very distinguished. Dried fruits and noble wood influences go hand in hand with warm hints of vanilla and toasted bread.
The taste: a very pleasant and elegant cachaça, with the aroma very consistent with the taste. So once again, sugarcane juice, vanilla, roasted grains and a very fine wood influence. But also a remarkable freshness – thanks to the pinewood charcoal filtration? This may not be the richest or most complex cachaça (given its young age, that’s no surprise really), but it’s oh so pleasant and easy to drink. This cachaça might be a bit too elegant to make a good caipirinha: the vegetal tones are softer than might be expected from a 3 yo cachaça. But then again: who cares? Have this beauty straight up and you’ll be pleasantly surprised indeed. This is so very far away from all the industrial crap like Pitu, 51 and other stuff that make you go blind.
The Finish: well emm… consistently consistent. All the good things from the nose and taste come back in the finish. A finish that’s medium long, which is too bad because one would like this to linger on forever.
Our score: **** Yes, we always knew the fine people at Playboy had good taste. reminder: 4 stars mean: ” Great rum or cachaça that deserves a place in your collection !”
Expect to pay (in Europe) around 40-45 euro.