Category Archives: Rum

By the Dutch Batavia Arak

arakThere’s always a first for something. I know cachaça, rum and clairin rather well, but Arak is new to me. Let’s find out!

The Arak: By the Dutch – Batavia Arak
Origin: Indonesia
Raw material: molasses
Fermentation: red rice
Distillation: Chinese pot still
Maturation: 8-10 months on Java, 8 years in Amsterdam
ABV: 48%
The Nose: oh yes, I think I’m going to like arak. It has those nice vegetal grassy sugarcane notes that cachaças has, but just softer. I got a whole pallet of more earthy aromas: moss, wet leafs, autumn forest. But also some wet slate and a touch of iodine. Intensel herbal and earthy, with after a good 15 minutes some floral fragrances. Complex. Love it!

The Taste: dry, rather punchy and very herbal. Again grassy, earthy, vegetal. It’s packed with character, rich and full. What a powerful mouthfeel too! Who would have thought something this good would come from Amsterdam (yes, I know… I really DON’T like Amsterdam. At all. Crowed hellhole!)

The second sip is a bit sweeter, les dry and earthy with more sugarcane lingering through. This arak leaves a warming herbal sensation in the back of the throat.

The Finish: the herbal grassy taste stays, without becoming bitter. A touch of verbena and wet wood closes the debates of the medium long to long finish.

Our score: ****

Oh dear…after rum and cachaça I’m starting to love Arak too. Damn you, Dutch guys!! Where can I buy this stuff in Belgium?


Wild Tiger Special Reserve rum

Wild-Tiger-tilpasset-størrelseLet’s turn away from Latin-America and the Caribbean for a moment, and turn our eye and tastebuds towards India. India is a big rum producing country, making so much more rum than Old Monk alone. In fact, in terms of volume, India is the biggest rum producing nation worldwide – not taking Brazil and the cachaça into account that is. In the old days of rum, India produced an Agricole style rum, nowadays they mainly use molasses.

The Rum: Wild Tiger Special Reserve
Origin: India
Raw material: Molasses with some fresh sugarcane juice spirit blended
Distilled: mainly column still, small part pot still
Matured: 2-4 years in charred American oak
ABV: 40%

The Nose: The first impression is a rather closed and shy nose, with some grassy vegetal notes. Secondly comes lots of vanilla and lots of the good light brown toffee caramel. A third wave of aromas provides more sour vegetal notes and even some light iodine. Overall, the nose promises a rather sweet rum. Give the rum 10 minutes in the glass, and it becomes intensely perfumed. Not really fruity or floral, but a more synthetic kind of perfume. I do like how the aromas keep changing in the glass; that’s what makes it more exiting.

The Taste: sweet, with lots of vanilla and tangerine juice, strong hints of mocha and almond. It’s a bit liquor-like, but without being extremely sweet or artificial. Imagine a much improved and much more elegant version of Don Papa. The mouthfeel is rather creamy.

The Finish: The aftertaste starts with an explosion of mocha and toffee. It stays rather sweet in the mouth, with once again lots of vanilla and almond. Reminds me a bit of marzipan. The finish is medium long.

Our Score : ***

Well, this kind of sweet vanilla rums aren’t really my favourite style of rum. But it’s not too extreme. Plus the fact that 10% of sales goes to the preservation of the wild tiger in India makes this rum a 3-star.

Malecon 12 yo

6897_ron_malecon_12_jahre_miniThe Rum: Malecon 12 yo
Origin: Panama
Raw material: molasses
Distilled: column
Maturation: 12 yo – ex-bourbon casks
Abv: 40%

The Nose: soft gentle molasses with new leather and some milk chocolate. Delicate floral aromas, butterscotch, herbal orange zest. After 10 minutes more mocha notes and some vanilla.

The Taste: medium sweet and fruity. Orange again, but also some fresh green apples, and a subtle touch of coconut shavings. A medium bodies rum. The presence of some vegetal notes in the taste indicates that the sugar isn’t overwhelming.

The Finish: rather short and flat, but with the sweetness, the wood and the fruity flavours well balanced. The mouthfeel is a bit too thin.

Our score : ***

Maximo XO Solera

MaximoThe Rum: Maximo XO
Origin: Dominican Republic
Distillation: pot and column still
Maturation: 15 yo solera method
ABV: 42%

The Nose: the first impression is punchy with dark fruits, rich oak and a bit of vanilla. I also have cocoa, nutmeg and some cold coffee. The molasses is there, but not too prominent. After some breathing in the glass, the rum gets a bit more fresh and clean.

The Taste: a rather sweet start but still punchy. Nice oak influences and a fruity taste. A medium bodied rum with a delicate touch of tobacco.

The Finish
: Medium sweet with a bit of a metallic touch to it. The wood is nicely balanced. At the end of the medium long finish more wood.

Our Score: ***

Spirit of Old Man Project One – Caribbean Spirit

-rum-old-man-project-one-1-caribbean-spirit-40vol-07lThe Rum : Spirits of Old Man, Project One Caribbean Spirit
Origin: Caribbean Blend
Distilled: column still
Bottled: n.i. 10 yo
ABV: 40 %

Nose: the first attack is rather alcoholic, with some faint coconut. The vanilla is weak…that’s to say, it’s very present but it’s a soft, weak kind of vanilla. Also some undefined fruits lingering through. Give it 10 minutes in the glass, and the coconut opens up nicely and the whole gets much less alcoholic, but round and soft.

Taste: extremely sweet with shiploads of coconut and vanilla. Much more than the nose predicted, actually. I suppose this is a nice rum if you like this style, but to me it’s boring. There’s no complexity whatsoever, there’s no evolution in the glass or any depth in the rum. On the positive side: the coconut  tastes more ‘genuine’, or less artificial than in some other rums. Not saying it really tastes like coconut though.

Finish: remains very sweet with big coconut, slowly turning more fruity (apricot). Medium long to long.

Our Score : **

Don Pancha Origenes 18 yo

don PThe Rum: Don Pancha Origenes 18 yo
Origin: Panama
Raw material: molasses
Distilled: Column still
Bottled : n.i., minimum 18 yo – uncharred Kentucky casks
ABV: 40%
The Nose: starts with some spicy herbs and firm wood. Some rather unpleasant aromas reminding me of a cowshed (not to say…’organical manure’). Strong white pepper camouflages a lot of the aromas at first nosing. Not the cow poo, alas. Also hints of old leather and dried figs. After 15 minutes in the glass more warm fruit compote, some cane honey, soft vanilla and vegetal notes. This is a rum that needs time to go from rather …well…unpleasant smells to OK-ish.

The Taste: A sweet start that’s quickly getting dry and is taken over by leather and wood. There are some fruits, but it’s hard to tell what kind. It’s a bit of a mixture of tropical fruits, orchard fruits and acid berries. The whole is rather flat and, well: boring actually. Not really what one might expect from an 18 yo rum.

The finish is rather long, medium sweet and fruity. It fades away on herbal honey, hints of green tea, and gets a bit sour at the end.

Our Score : **

Don Q Añejo

24 Days of Rum – Day 6

don-q-don-q-anejo-rumThe rum: Don Q Añejo
Origin: Puerto Rico
Raw Material: molasses
Distilled: column still
Bottled: blend of 3-10 years old
ABV: 40%

The Nose: a Don with a very pleasant aroma. It starts on soft molasses, old leather and a hint of metal polish, with a good firm wood influence. The nose evolutes towards more floral perfumes with a touch of bourbon vanilla. It even gets a little soapy. Give this rum a good 15 minutes in the glass and out comes a delicate acidity, with even some cabbage.

The Taste: kudos to the master blender, the balance between sweet, herbal and wood is almost perfect. Sweet fruits, delicate tannins and some burned sugars, all combined with a whiff of the finest Virginia pipe tobacco. The vanilla notes, rather discrete, indicate bourbon cask maturation. The mouthfeel is rather light and thin.

The Finish: Medium long to long, with again those sweet fruits, fading away in a pleasant bitter woody aftertaste.

Our Score: ***
This Puerto Rican rum (by Serrales) could be well mistaken for a Bajan rum when tasted blind.

Ron Malteco 15


Let’s be clear: although most websites claim this is rum from Guatemala, it is in fact a rum distilled in Panama. Most websites indicate  the Industrial Licorera Quezalteca as a producer, but this is incorrect. Malteco is produced by Bodegas de America in Panama,  albeit following a method from Guatemala using sugarcane juice instead of molasses. The frontlabel says ‘Ron al ESTILO de Guatemala’ but if you look at the back label, Panama is clearly stated. malteco panama

The Rum: Ron malteco 15
Origin: Panama
Raw material: sugarcane juice
Distilled: column still
Bottled: ca 2016 – matured in ex-bourbon casks
Abv: 41.5%

The Nose: The first nosing gives some soft vegetal aromas and sugarcane juice with warm spices. But soon the vanilla takes over. Vanilla pudding all the way, accompanied by some light muscovado sugar and a touch of wormwood. After a good ten minutes some maraschino cherries pop up.

The Taste: rather sweet with a truckload of vanilla and soft orange zest. Sweet fruits, almost haribo-sweets and red drinking syrup. The alcohol i.m.o. is perfect: not too soft and flat, not too aggressive.

The Finish is once again rather sweet but short.

Our Score : ***

Rhum Domaine de Séverin XO

24 Days of Rum – Day 4

severinThe Rum: Domaine de Séverin XO
Origin : Guadeloupe
Raw material : sugarcane juice (agricole)
Distilled : column still
Bottled : 6 yo
Maturation : bourbon casks
ABV : 45%

The Nose : Pleasant floral notes with a delicate vegetal grassy side. Loads of vanilla custard and warm spices, with some cinnamon. This rather delicate Agricole gets a bit more fruity after 5 minutes, but quickly fades away after 15 minutes.

The Taste: no surprise there, this is indeed Agricole. It’s soft vegetal with a subtle sour undertone. The alcohol (45%) is there with a mild tingle, but without being aggressive. Give it some time to breath and the sugarcane starts popping out, together with a whole basket of soft fruits.

The finish is rather long, with a bit of a bitter woody touch at the very end. The balance between the sugarcane and the wood is almost perfect, but the whole is a bit monotonous. I wouldn’t say dull…but still.

Our Score : ***

Rum Bristol Spirits – Mauritius

24 Days of Rum – Day 3bourdonn

The Rum: Bristol Spirits Reserve Mauritius

Origin: Mauritius – Domaine La Bourdonnais
Raw material : sugar cane juice (Agricole)
Distilled : 2010- Column still
Bottled: 2015 – 5 years old
Matured in the UK, in sherry casks
ABV: 43%

The Nose: now this is a very strange aroma for a rum. I get some brine and sea weeds, with white pepper. Reminds me of some island whiskies in fact. After a few minutes more soft fruity notes and a vegetal touch. Grassy. After about 10 minutes it all gets a bit softer and more round, with pleasant hints of herbal honey.

The Taste: again very vegetal and grassy, with a lot of funk. While the initial nose was a bit whisky-like, the taste is more cachaça-like, with the sugarcane coming through in full force. After 10 minutes sweeter and less grassy, with the honey gaining control again.

The Finish: Medium long, with those grassy cachaça notes again. A little bitter, like biting raisin seeds. The last word is for some overripe fruits.

Our score: ***
A rather strange rum in both smell and taste, but not too bad.