Monthly Archives: September 2017

Caroni 21 yo 1996-2017 Imperial Proof

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The Rum: Caroni 21 yo
Region: Trinidad and Tobago
Raw material: Molasses
Distilled: 1996
Bottled: 2017- by Velier
Abv: 57.18% (100 Imperial Proof)

Nose: well, what to say? It’s Caroni folks.  Molasses, warm herbs, big wood (although less wood compared to the Caroni Guyana-stock). Also iodine, the sea breeze in your nose.  Still a remarkable freshness for a 21 yo Caroni, with a vegetal touch. Ripe bananas and salted caramel. The tarry rope, the asphalt you say? Hmm…only very subtle in the nose. After a good 10 minutes that smoky side ops up, but is still accompanied by a pleasant fruity and floral aroma, white pepper and allspice. Cassonade sugar (in case you wonder..that’s the light brown kind).

Taste: punchy but not aggressive. Again firm oak influence and slightly bitter herbs. A  delicate sweet touch with exotic fruits. The tar is more present now. This is what one can expect from a Caroni, apart from the fact that this particular bottling has an extra with the tropical fruits adding a very pleasant extra touch.

Finish: the after taste quickly fades away, but only to come back again with burned molasses and..yes, again…the oak lingering through.

Score: ***** – yes 5 stars all the way! If you would taste this in a line up it would still be a great rum. But with a clean palate, this is so much more than another ‘in your face’ Caroni. I just love how the very subtle tropical fruits are supporting the warm, woody, herbal, and medium-tarry flavors.

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Reimonenq Vieux – 2004

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The Rum: Reimonenq Vieux -2004
Origin: Guadeloupe
Raw material: agricole
Distilled: 2004
Bottled: 2014
ABV: 40%

Nose:  The rather strange aroma strikes immediately. I have varnish and a bit of glue, and firm notes of tobacco.  But also some stewed fruits. After a few minutes, the fruity side gets the upper hand. Also some spices and green herbs jumping all over the place. All this covered with a strange dusty smell, like an old attic. Adding a drop of water makes the nose even more extreme and nervous.

Taste: now what a strange rhum this is. It starts rather flat and very vegetal, but it quickly jumps from fruity to herbal to woody. Every sip reveals a new facet of this rhum. I really don’t know what to think about this…which obviously makes it interesting. On the one hand you could say that this rhum has it all, it covers all aspects. But on the other hand you could call it very poor balanced and nervous. I can imagine this rhum being the kind of love it or hate it rhum. Alas…for me it’s just not working.
With a drop of water, you just kill this rum. Really…I added a drop, and it became a flatliner.

Finish: is rather short, very vegetal with big wood, with the tobacco notes coming back again. Even a bit tarry even.

Score: ** – as I said, I can imagine some people really loving this one. But it’s not working for me.

Hampden 2010 LROK Habitation Velier

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From the old sugar estate Hampden comes this independent bottling by Habitation Velier.

Jamaica is known for its heavy esters funky rums, with an ester-count at Hampden up to 1600!. But the LROK in this name actually has meaning. It stands for Light Rum Owen Kelly. Light rum, meaning the esters are rather ‘limited’ between 300 and 450 (375 for this particular rum), and Dermot Owen Kelly-Lawson, being Hamden’s distiller around the turn of the twentieth century.

I’m not getting into the rich history of Hampden here, there’s plenty to be found elsewhere on this blog and on the net. Let’s just get ready to rumble !

The Rum: Hampden 2010 LROK Habitation Velier
Region: Jamaica
Distilled: 2010 – Forsyth’s Double Retort pot still
Bottled: 2016 by Habitation Velier
Maturation: ex-bourbon casks – 100% Tropical aging!
ABV: 67%

Nose:  very expressive and punchy, with firm alcohol. Sweet fruits like pineapple on syrup. Also the bananas that can’t hide that this is a Jamaican rum! But there’s also a nice floral pallet to be found, together with some zesty pepper. Err… zesty pepper…Sarawak in other words.  After a few minutes, the floral side takes over. Very nice perfume, rich, full, punchy but smooth. Love it!

 

Taste:  the alcohol is absolutely there. Hot, strong, peppery. In fact, the first sip is alcohol only. It takes a minute to accustom the pallet to this rum. A second sip reveals a very fruity rum. Despite it being a ‘light’ rum, it’s still rather funky. Again those sweet bananas. The fruity overtone is accompanied by some more subtle herbs.

Finish: medium long to long, with subtle sweet-fruity tastes slowly fading away making room for just a wee bit of the wood.

Our Score: ****. What. A. Nose!

When released, this bottle costed around € 90.

Cachaça Armazem Vieira Safira

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The old armazem or warehouse of the isle of Santa Catharina, dating back to 1840, was being restored in the years 1983-1984 and is now part of the historical heritage of the city. Besides the bar-tavern Armazem Vieira it also hosts the cachaça distillery with the same name.

Armazem Vieira cachaça is being distilled in the tradition of the 18th and 19th century distillers on Santa Catarina. Together with researchers from the local university they try to create or recreate a cachaça doing honor to the old methods. Because the cachaça of the isle was rather special, with particular organoleptic qualities thanks to the climate and the soil condition on Santa Catarina, but also because of the variety of cane used : Saccharum Syneensi. After a rather short fermentation (depending on the ambient temperature between 12 and 14 hours) distillation happens in a small copper pot still of around 600 liter. In order to obtain the ideal fermentation, the distillery uses a biological filter, keeping all unwanted wild yeasts and bacteria out. For the very first fermentation of the season, yeast of last season is used, enriched with sugarcane syrup rich on vitamin B.

Armazem Vieira Safira ( matured for three years in grápia and ariribá wood) scored the 13th place in the Cupula da Cachaça ranking 2016-2017. So let’s see what the fuss is all about!

The Cachaça: Armazem Vieira Safira
Region: Santa Catharina
Distilled: ca 2012 in copper pot stills
Bottled: ca 2015
Maturation: Grápia and araribá wood – 3 years old
ABV: 40%

The Nose: Yes, this is cachaça all the way. Sugarcane juice, most, the distillery in full action. But all this accompanied by sweet notes of honeydew. Hints of white flowers. A round nose with firm aromas, but without being aggressive or overpowering. Very cachaça like indeed, but with a nice balance. After 15 minutes subtle hints of roasted grains.

Taste:  A nice sweet touch and firm sugarcane influence. Soft wood influence that gets firm and bigger with some water. The flowers of the nose don’t proceed in the taste.  Tasty, but a bit one-dimensional.

Finish: nice but rather short. Too short even, for my likes. Pleasant woody bitter touch at the very end.

Our Score : *** . This is a very pleasant ad easy-drinking cachaça. In my humble opinion, it lacks a bit of complexity though, so there’s better and richer to be found in this price range. This being said, it makes me very curious to try its older brothers!

Caroni 23 yo Guyana Stock – 36th Release

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A man (m/f) can never taste too much Caroni in his life. This Trinidad distillery has been closed for about 15 years now, and is slowly getting a rather iconic status amongst rum aficionados.

In our glass today, a 23 yo Caroni from 1994 bottled by Velier (who else).

The Rum: Caroni 23 yo Guyana Stock – 36th Release
Region: Trinidad
Raw material: Molasses
Distilled: 1994, column still
Bottled: 2017 by Velier (Italy)
Maturation: 18 years in Trinidad, five years in British Guyana
ABV: 57.18 %

Nose: firm molasses open the debates, followed by an undertone of stewed greens and overripe fruits. Soft tar with a pinch of iodine. Some crispy bacon too. A rather typical heavy Caroni nose, but the high abv of 57.18 (well…relatively high…after all this is Caroni) stays rather discrete in the nose.
After a bit of aeration the salty sea breeze gets more clear, together with the aroma of cold coffee. The fruits still are there after a few minutes, but they keep playing their discrete part on the background. Adding some water releases strong aromas of bitter-sweet licorice, and even a bit of a floral scent.

Taste: hot, punchy alcohol with a big wood influence. A perfect degree of bitterness – if you like that in a rum of course. Cold coffee again.  Some tropical fruits try to get out, but they are mainly overpowered by the alcohol and the wood.
Adding a drop of water helps to get a bit of guava in the glass. That typical smoky, tarry side of Caroni is present, but is definitely not playing first violin, as it sometimes does in some of the (35) previous releases. The heavy herbal notes manifest themselves after a good 10-15 miniutes.

Finish: Medium long to long with a drying touch of the wood.  There’s really not much evolution in the finish.

Our score: **** This might not be the most complex Caroni. This might not be the smokiest Caroni. This is certainly not the fruitiest Caroni. This is  not the punchiest Caroni – nor is it the weakest. But this is just a very good and rather typical Caroni. Expensive? With a price tag around €350 it most certainly is. Worth the money? Well..that’s for each and every-one of you to decide for himself.

Guadeloupe 2014-’17 TCRL

TCRL

When tasting rum from the French isles, we always tend to think in terms of agricole rhum. But let’s not forget that on the isles of Guadeloupe, both rhum agricole and rhum traditionnel is being made. So in our Transcontinental Rum Line by LMDW, let’s have a molasses rhum from Guadeloupe. I somewhere read this rhum was distilled at B-M distillery, but I honestly have no info that can back this information. So as far as we’re concerned: undisclosed distillery.

The Rum: Guadeloupe TCRL, 2014²
Origin: Guadeloupe, at an undisclosed distillery

Distilled: 2014
Bottled: 2017
Maturation: 3 years tropical, 1 year European

ABV: 43%

The Nose:  rather soft and sweet, with a firm hint of sea breeze – anchovies even. Nice delicate fruity aromas with a pinch of cracked black pepper. It’s a whole fruit basket, with some pineapple and plums as the dominant aroma. Licorice and orange peel, nicely balanced. The rum needs some time and air to open up on the sugar and the molasses, although they still stay rather discrete. After a bit of aeration, a slightly metallic touch.

The taste: although I don’t mind strong rum, I feel the 43% alcohol is ideal here. Again pleasant fruity flavors, albeit more subtle than in the nose.  Again that salty touch. Not too sweet, with the sugars as well as the alcohol very well integrated

The Finish is medium long and confirms the taste, with a the very end even a taste that reminds me of…yes: beer! A soft bitter touch at the very end. Strange but good!

Our Score: a pleasant rum, another bang for your bucks; and one that might even please the whisky drinkers. Well done chaps at LMDW! Who said the ‘French’ rhum traditionell isn’t half as good as their agricole??

Panama 2010/2017 Transcontinental Rum Line

rhum-transcontinental-panama-millesime-2010

Yesterday, we tried a young Worthy Park (Jamaica) that was bottled in the Transcontinental Rum Line (TCRL) by LMDW. Today, we focus on their Panama bottling

The Rum: Panama 2010 TCRL
Origin: Panama
Type: Molasses

Distilled: 2010 in an undisclosed distillery
Bottled: 2017
Maturation: 6 years tropical – 1 year European
ABV: 43°

The Nose: soft and elegant, with hints of citrus and apricots, and a little bit of stewed greens on the background. The aromas all are rather soft and well balanced. It takes some time before the molasses  starts to kick in.

The Taste: Rather punchy for its relative low abv (43°). Balances between fruity flavors (green banana, some tropical fruits, orange peel, grapefruit) and soft herbs, giving the rum – medium sweet – a little drying touch.

The finish: Medium long, with a very pleasant sweet fruitiness lingering through. Despite the longer ageing – over 6 years, mainly in Panama itself – the influence of the wood is subtle, without releasing any bitter notes.

Our Score:  a pleasant rum, unlike the Worthy Park bottled at the right age. This might not be a rum with an extreme ‘wow’ effect, but this Panama is definitely worth its price (around the €50 range). I won’t be surprised if this one will sell out rather fast!

Worthy Park 2013 – TCRL

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Drink that funky rum, white boy. Yes, finally (!) we’re back in business with some tastingnotes.

And what better way to start than going to Jamaica. The isle of the funky rums indeed.

The Rum: Worthy Park 2013 Navy Strength – Transcontinental Rum Line
Region: Jamaica

Distilled: 2013
Bottled : 2017
Maturation: <2 years tropical, >2 years European

ABV: 57%

Transcontinental Rum Line is the rum brand of French based La Maison du Whisky, launched in 2016.

I don’t believe the Worthy Park estate in Jamaica needs much of an introduction here, since it’s already famous amongst many a rum lover. So let’s just dig into this rather young version.

Nose: a first strong wave of banana is quickly followed by soft touches of glue and even a bit of fuel. The notes of dark sugar need some time and air before they come out. A grassy touch of the cane is still present, together with a very subtle whiff of smoke. The nose isn’t bad at all, it’s rich and full, but really jumping all over the place from fruity over grassy, herbal and spicy without being really balanced or structured. Could it be that this rum was bottled maybe a few years too early?

Taste: Powerful without being aggressive and fruity, but with the alcohol rather poorly integrated. Again: not bad, but maybe a tad or two too young? Also a nice herbal touch on the background, trying to push through the alcohol.

Finish: Medium long with a bit more herbal notes and a very soft sweet edge. Last words are for the fruits (banana) again.

Our conclusion: Patience is a virtue. I’m rather sure that if LMDW had waited for a few more years, this could have been a stunner of a rum. Now it’s just…OK-ish. But kudos for the labels of this range…loving it!