Category Archives: Rum

Caroni 21 yo 1996-2017 Imperial Proof

caroni21

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

reimo

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.

Caroni 23 yo Guyana Stock – 36th Release

caroni

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!

Borgoe Extra

borgoe

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
Origin: Suriname
Distilled: n.i. – blend of different ages matured in oak
Bottled: ca 2016
ABV: 40%

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!

Dillon 10 yo – Duncan Taylor

dillonThe Rum : Dillon single cask 10 yo
Origin: Martinique
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

Liquore Jamaica Rhum di Fantasia 1960s

liquore

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
Origin: Jamaica
Distilled: 1960s
Bottled: 1960s
ABV: 40%

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.