Category Archives: Rum
Suriname Alcoholic Beverages N.V. or SAB in short was founded in 1966 and is today one of the leading companies in the small republic of Suriname. They are mostly famous for their rum ‘Borgoe’. But the history of the rum and company dates back to 1882 when the sugar estate Marienburg was founded. Today, SAB produces rum made from molasses and distilled in 3 column stills. The company also owns a pot still for the production of more heavy rums and liquors.
Under the Borgoe label, SAB bottles a Borgoe ’82, Borgoe Extra, Borgoe Vintage (5 yo), Borgoe 8 yo and Borgoe 15 yo. Today we try the more basic Borgoe Extra.
The Rum: Borgoe Extra
Distilled: n.i. – blend of different ages matured in oak
Bottled: ca 2016
The Borgoe extra is placed in the market as a mixer more than as a sipper. It should be an ‘extra smooth’ rum thanks to a system of double filtration through charcoal. Do we have the Jack Daniel’s of rum here?
The Nose: loads of caramel with firm hints of vanilla. The nose reveals subtle herbs and fine wood influences. But also a bit of a stranger aroma that hangs between metallic and mineral. In short, the nose is soft, round and rather elegant. After 10-15 minutes it reveals softer licorice and a bit of tangerine.
The Taste: rather sweet with firm caramel. Smooth, round but maybe a bit flat. Again a little fruitiness (oranges).
The Finish: rather short and thin, with a short soft bitter woodiness at the end.
Our Score: *** . This is OK as a sipper, no off-notes, no aggressivity. But it indeed makes an excellent mixer. Try your next Dark and Stormy with Borgoe and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Thank you Dominiek for the bottle!
The Rum : Dillon single cask 10 yo
Distilled: 03-2002 in column stills
Bottled: 11-2012 by Duncan Taylor
Abv: 54.5 %
Single (bourbon) cask number 4 – 240 bottles
The Dillon distillery in Martinique was an agricole producing distillery situated on a sugar estate dating back to 1690. First rhum production took place in the 19th century.
In the first years of the 21st century (2005 to be precise) production (distillation) was moved to the Depaz Distillery in the north of Martinique, but ageing and bottling still takes place at the Dillon estate.
A few years ago independent whisky bottler Duncan Taylor started to bottle a series of single cask rums. Some rather good, some very poor. So buying a bottle of this series is always a bit of a gamble.
The Nose: Forget the official tasting notes on the backlabel of the bottle. I’m not sure what they were drinking at Duncan Taylor, but definitely NOT what’s in the bottle. Tropical fruits? Lime? Banana?? Most definitely not. Vegetal and sweet-grassy with a slight acidic touch and firm wood. Hints of toasted bread but also a bit of a metallic aroma. Lacks depth and complexity. After a good 30 minutes more dusty notes. Adding water makes the aroma more pleasant, with some fruitiness (apricots) coming through.
Taste: firm alcohol and bitter woody taste. Definitely a rhum that stayed a couple years too long in the cask! Rather mineral with an unpleasant kind of sweetness on the background. Again lacking depth and complexity. Adding water softens the alcohol but does nothing more than that.
Finish: Medium long with – again – way too much wood. The metallic aroma is now more present in the aftertaste.
Score : ** Not really bad, but definitely nothing special. It would be OK if this was a 30 euro bottle, but with a price more than double (almost tripple) : no thank you! I’m afraid another ‘hit and miss’ by Duncan Taylor
What we taste today is a Jamaican ‘rhum’ bottled by Italian liqueur producers Ercole Gagliano in the 1960s. They would later be taken over by Marcati in the 1980s.
In 1919 the Marcati brothers, Pietro and Luigi, began their business in the family-owned pharmacy, which soon became their first craft workshop. In 1929 the first industrial plant was established in Verona, but was destroyed during World War II. Following the post-war reconstruction the company continued to grow and during the Eighties it began to export, first to European countries and later to various other continents. Today, the Marcati brand is present with its products in 25 States throughout the world. Brothers Pietro, Andrea and Maria Paola are the latest generation that is running the company.
Those products are mainly grappa, cream liquors, sambuco, limoncello and amaretto, and also gin and vodka.
The Rum: Liquore Jamaica Rhum di Fantasia
Nose: pfeww…what a bomb of vanilla and tangerine. Imagine Don papa but a bit more subtle and natural, more elegant. Also notes of coffee and baking powder, with a summer meadow on the background: warm and vegetal notes. But let’s be honest: you really have to search for these notes beyond the powerful vanilla and tangerine.
Taste: Sweet, tangerine and loads of vanilla again, with big fat hints of caramel. There’s actually nothing more to say about it. It is what it is. No subtle tastes on the background, no evolution in the glass.
Finish: Rather short on the same notes as the taste. Slightly drying towards the end.
Our Score: **
These bottles are sold now for about 200-230 euro. But believe me, the price says nothing about the quality but more about the scarcity of the product. If you like Don Papa, you are going to love this. If you like rum, you won’t.
Pott rum has a bit of a confusing history, it seems.
Pott was a rum distillery on Sint-Maarten, the Dutch Antilles. “The success of the island is due in large part to its duty-free status. Alcohol, for example, can be imported, blended, and sold without the usual red tape. In the 1980s, the aging Potts distillery, the last to operate on the island, closed because it was too small to compete with untaxed imports from other islands.” it says on the website of the Ministry of Rum.
So Pott was a Sint-Maarten rum, distilled on the island up untill the early 1980s. But Europeans, and especially Germans, still now Pott rum today as a German brand of rum (at 40 and at 54 abv). And what do we read on their site : that the Pott distillery was founded in 1848 in Flensburg – Germany. And there isn’t a confusion between two different brands of Pott, since the logo of the ‘German’ Pott is the same as that of the ‘Sint-Maarten’ Pott..
Now to confuse things even more, we also found info that “the typical Flensburger rum” is made today at the Pott distillery in…Sint-Maarten.
So to conclude :
- Pott was closed at Sint-Maarten in the 1980s.
- Pott was a German rum from Flensburg
- The German rum is made today (2017) in Sint-Maarten in a distillery that closed in the 1980s.
Very confusing indeed.
Now let’s try a Pott that we can be sure of that was made in Sint-Maarten : a Pott light Rum bottled around 1980.
The Rum: Pott Light Rum
Distilled and bottled: ca 1980
Nose: Light rum indeed! Very light and fresh with sweet fruits and a hint of mint in the nose. Soft floral tones and delicate sugarcane on the background. Very pleasant nose…but after a few minutes I have some cleaning products in the nose. Soapy. And no, it was not the glass.
Taste: Again very light, rather sweet and soft fruity notes. Rather consistent with the nose, but luckily no soap here. A bit of a weak rum though. Too weak to be very present when drinking it pure, but also to weak and delicate to use as a mixer. The taste isn’t bad at all, but lacks some character, some ‘oompf’ and some depth. A bit boring.
Finish: Haribo sweets with a touch of aniseed. A medium long finish (rather surprising for a weak rum) without any alcohol at all. Or without any evolution. Again: the finish isn’t bad, but boooooring monotone.
Our Score: **
Last week we tried the Royal Blend by New Grove for the 60th anniversary of la Maison du Whisky in France HERE . Their Belgian colleges from The Nectar are celebrating their 10th anniversary and also bottled a New Grove.
The Rum: New Grove 2005 10th Anniversary The Nectar cask 68-16
Bottled: 2016 – 392 bottles
Matured: Limousin oak
Nose: A rum with a very rich nose. I’m having soft molasses and a nice herbal touch, but also fruity. Warm hay, a little wood and some moss. On the fruity side we have overripe passion fruits and a big but subtle basket filled with all kinds of tropical fruits and warm pears in syrup. Give it some time in the glass and this Mauritian rum even gets a bit of a maritime salty touch in the nose.
Taste: Firm alcohol without being aggressive. First impression is rather herbal with hints of verbena and rue, followed by a pleasant fruitiness of ripe pineapple, a bit of mango and goyave. The molasses is there but subtle, and definitely not too sweet. Add some water and the punchier herbal side makes way for the fruits to pop out even more. And amidst this all, the wood is in perfect balance.
Finish: Again nice and fruity with the wood more present now, turning slightly bitter towards the end. Retro olfactoric tropical fruits and spices like clove. The finish is very long with the wood taking the lead, pushing the fruitiness a bit away.
Our Score: *****
This kind of fruity rums is straight up my alley. I find it richer and better than the LMDW Royal Blend. And since this one is at least 30% cheaper, this is a no-brainer: a rum you just have to have in your collection. provided you still find one of course.
Well done The Nectar, and well done New Grove!
The Rum: New Grove Royal Blend
Distilled: 1969-2005-(2006)-2007 – column still
Matured: French oak
Finish: Acacia, chestnut, port barrels
Bottled: 2016 for LMDW – 800 bottles
From a blend of three New Grove vintages (2005, (2006), 2007) matured in French oak barrels and then finished in acacia, chestnut and port barrels with a some (how much…nobody knows or tells) 1969 New Grove. 2006 between () because the website of LMDW mentions it, the label doesn’t.
The Nose: rich and aromatic, with distinct hints of melasses, heady flowers with a whiff of lime, heavy honey, a bit of vanilla, dark chocolate and soaked wood.
The Taste: Yes! Those lovely exotic fruits we love so much in some of these New Groves. Mango, passion fruits, banana. Royal indeed! Also firm wood influences with a clear influence of the port barrel. Rancio, sultana, dark fruits, 80% dark chocolate. Spicy but round.
Finish: mediumlong to long with the wood and the melasses in balance. Also some hints of pipe tobacco. Also some dried fruits and a bit nutty (almonds)
Our Score : ****
A very nice expression of New Grove…just too bad the price tag (around €100-110) is a bit too high. I have tasted better New Groves (single casks) for less money.
The Rum: Aguardente de Cana
Producer: Soc. dos Engenhos da Calheta Ltda
Distilled: july 2016 – pot still
Bottled: july 2016
Although very famous for its exquisite wines, the Portuguese isle of Madeira also produces some excellent rum in the agricole style. It was here in Madeira that the first stills were shipped to Brazil (early 16th century) to make the first cachaça.
The Sociedade dos Engenhos da Calheta was founded at the end of the 19th century during the second sugar wave, and is a typical example of an early industrial distillery. Besides being an active distillery it also hosts a museum with ancient machinery. Do take a look at their Facebook page to get an impression : https://www.facebook.com/Sociedade-dos-Engenhos-da-Calheta-Lda-1686351704969112/
Nose: Sugar cane juice and new make (duh…it IS new make of course) but smooth and round, softer than most cachaças and agricoles, but a tad more vegetal and grassy. The nose is very rich without ever giving the impression of high alcohol strength. I also got some hints of wet wood, pink grapefruit, broken black pepper and even some vanilla. The grassy notes get softer after a good 10 minutes, making room for a slightly sour tone.
Taste: Spicy and powerful, again rather grassy but with a pleasant sweet touch. Also some white flowers, green bananas and I even get notes of old port wine. very strange indeed! The higher alcohol volume is more present now, but the 50 abv never gets over agressive. The backlabel of the (alas…plastic!) bottle states it’s an ideal mixer for cocktails. Well, I do believe it is. It’s punchy and rich in taste, but still as a sipper this most certainly goes down very well too! That is: if you don’t mind that spicy, peppery alcohol.
Finish: A very long finish, again rather sweet with a very subtle touch of strawberry. At the very end the finish evoluates towards marzipan.
Our Score: ***
Excellent as a mixer, but also pleasant as a sipper. Too bad the bottle is plastic, the screwcap of rather poor quality and the label…well…plain ugly.
I’m very aware that I’ve been neglecting this blog for quite some time. Time, flue, holidays, kids, work… ‘les excuses sont faits pour s’en servir’.
But let’s get back to business with a rhum from Neisson. Their older rhums are truely magnificent, so let’s see if this unaged youngster can live up to the expectations.
The Rum : Neisson Blanc Rhum Canne Bio – 2016
Distilled: 2016 – column still
The Nose: A very vegetal nose, a bit cachaça like but more subtle. Bread dough and white flowers, followed by some fruity notes (hard green bananas. Yes, cavendish of course 😉 ) A very subtle perfume of lemon zeste and warm brioche. Adding water makes the vegetal side (the sugarcane juice) pop out even more. A pleasant and intriguing nose.
The Taste: Punchy alcohol, despite the reduction to 55 abv. Sweet start with a slightly medicinal touch, clove, agrum and again rather vegetal. Adding some water makes it softer and rounder, and less medicinal. More sweet now, with a touch of almond.
The Finish: oh dear… first impression is very bitter. Since this rhum hasn’t seen a wooden cask, the bitterness comes from the rhum itself. What the hell went wrong here?? The finish is rather long, but it’s especially that bitterness that seems to linger on forever. Adding some water takes away the bitterness, but makes the rhum rather flat and..well..dull too.
Our Score: ***. Pleasant nose, OK taste, disappointing finish.
Under the label of ‘Habitation Velier’ our Italian friends bottled a series of pot still rums from well known distilleries.
We do love this series, and especially the labels that provide us with so much information you otherwise won’t find. First one we try comes from the Worthy Park distillery in Jamaica.
Now this rum underwent a rather special/spectacular fermentation of no less than…3 months! A super long fermentation using dunder, leading to a very aromatic rum with no less than 502 mg/l esters.
The Rum: Forsyths WP 502
Origin: Jamaica – Worthy Park Distillery
Distilled: 2015 in Pot stills
Bottled: 2015 by Velier – 1200 bottles only
The Nose: very aromatic indeed! Starting rather vegetal (must), coffee-and-milk, and a fair amount of strong white pepper. It also has this little medicinal touch, iodine and seaweed. Reminds a bit of this tropical fruit that’s called cajá in Brazil, and jobito in Mexico. Stewed fruits.
The Taste: alcoholic and hot, slowly evolving towards white fruits, mocha, milk chocolate and coconut milk. Also some bitter clove. This also reminds me of some of the better marc de champagne or grappa I tried before. An overall grassy but sweet taste.
The Finish: is fresh and medium long, with faint touches of fruit again (pineapple), sweet must and again these nice mocha and toffee notes. Surprisingly rich for an unaged rum.
Our Score: ****
The Rum: Mount Gay Special White
Distilled : n.i. – 1970s
Bottled: n.i. – 1970s
An old white rum from Barbados, bottled somewhere in the 1970s. So still a 750 ml bottle with screwcap; import for Germany by Maykamp.
Nose: Soft with subtle vegetal notes, some sweets with a herbal touch. Rather mineral, wet slate. Also a sweet fruity aroma that reminds me a bit of those maraschino cherries.
Taste: again rather soft and round. The alcohol is present and tingles the throat and tongue, but is in no way aggressive. A rather sweet taste with a hint of aniseed. Some peppermint gives it an extra fresh flavour. Also some green bananas on the background.
Finish: A rather longue finish that is medium sweet. The peppermint stays until the very end. Well balanced rum!
Our Score : ***