Today’s bottling has been quite the sensation when it came out in December last year. Marking Whiskybroker’s tentative steps in the rum scene, it was a real success as it has been sold out within a couple of weeks, after which the first copies have changed ownership in online auctions for more than thrice its issue price. While the asked price was almost sensational for an Enmore, I doubt most customers even knew the true origin of this rum. I am talking about the Whiskybroker Diamond Distillery 2004 12YO!
When compared to most other independent bottlers, the Scottish independent bottler Whiskybroker Ltd seems like a gigantic corporation rather than a small company. That is because their main business is not in bottling but in trading entire casks of whisky. Whisky bottlings have only been added in 2011, while rum didn’t enter the company’s portfolio before December 2016. This is the first of four rums released so far and I’m quite optimistic that you will find a few of their bottlings on this blog in the future.
If we want to know more about a Guyanese rum, the mark on the barrel is usually a good starting point. Whiskybroker kindly provided it upon request: MDXC. Probably no-one outside of DDL knows what this stands for, however. Whiskybroker further let us know that the rum has been produced by the Enmore Wooden Coffey Still. Why didn’t they put these information on the label? Since this has been their first rum bottling, we will just leave it at that.
In his great article on Guyana, Marco lets us know that the history of the Enmore estate dates back to Thomas Porter (1748-1815), an English merchant from Tobago. In 1782, he bought a few lots at the eastside of the Demerara river to grow cotton. One of his sons, Henry Porter (1791-1858), eventually inherited this lot and it was most likely him who named it Enmore. From then on, the mark E.H.P., which might ring a bell with someone who has a proclivity for Demerara rums, was used as the call letters for Enmore. Unlike we are inclined to believe, the “E” in E.H.P. does not stand for Enmore but for Edward, as in Edward Henry Porter. Over the years, the Enmore plantation absorbed quite a few neighboring sugar plantations and grew up to one of the biggest estates in British Guyana.
While I am not aware of a rum that has been bottled under the mark MDXC, the somewhat similar mark MXE denotes the Mon Repos plantation, which already distilled rum for the International Exposition of 1867 in Paris. Anything beyond that is just pure speculation but perhaps Marco will tell us more one day or another.
This rum and, among others, those with the mark E.H.P. have been produced by the original Wooden Enmore Coffey Still. Made from Demerara greenheart, an evergreen tree native to Guyana whose wood is so hard that it cannot be worked with standard tools, it is the last still of its kind. After the closure of Enmore, the still has first been moved to the Uitvlugt Distillery in 1995 and subsequently to the Diamond Distillery (home to DDL) in 1999, where it is still located today.
Dégustation “Whiskybroker Diamond Distillery 2004 12YO”
Key Facts: The rum has been distilled in the Enmore Wooden Coffey Still in Guyana in July 2004. After twelve years of ageing, it has been bottled at 63,5% in December 2016. It comes from cask #34, which produced 264 bottles.
Colour and viscosity: Tawny/ auburn. This has likely been coloured by DDL. Fat streaks and drops form inside the glass and calmly flow back down. This is appropriate for a temperately aged rum. How do I know that it is has been aged in our local climate zone? This is a single cask bottling at cask strength. Hence the number of bottles allows us to calculate the angel’s share. 264 bottles at 0,7l make 184,1 litres. If we are generous and assume a 225 litre casks, a yearly angel’s share of roughly 1,7% would yield that amount. This clearly rules out even the shortest period of tropical ageing.
Nose: At first we are confronted with a vapour of alcohol, followed by plenty of wood, especially conifers. I also smell many spices, most prominently anise and liquorice. Then burnt caramel, muscovado and some dark chocolate. Again the conifers, the rum is extremely woody. There are also some dried fruits and sultanas. If we hadn’t known better, we’d be inclined to believe that this has been sherry finished for a few months.
Palate: The alcohol gently burns the tongue with the first sip. Then I taste raisins and a lot of wood. Again I get the association of conifers. There is some gingery fruit cake with different dried fruits hiding behind that conifer forest. It takes some time but the fruit cake eventually takes over. Images of Christmas stollen pop into my mind. Then anise and caramalised salt. There are some parallels to rums from the (also wooden) Port Mourant still.
Finish: Long and dry. Very woody. Not too bitter. The aromas of the fruit cake stick with us.
Adding water: With water, the rum becomes a bit more accommodating and rounder, I lose a few aromas in the nose, however. The wood is not as dominant anymore and the fruit cake takes over. It also seems a tad sweeter now.
To the best of my knowledge, this is the first 2004 expression from the Enmore still and chances are that there is more to come. Thus, unless you are a die-hard Enmore fan, you should not be too upset if you’ve missed out on it. It will be interesting to see whether this vintage will also create these super bitter and woody rums that we are accustomed to from older Enmores. As indicated by the (new) mark on the barrel, the style of this rum is slightly different from other Enmores. For example, there is no black tea to be found in this one but that might also be a matter of maturation. As a generally forward-looking person I embrace this youthful and raw side of Enmore as it is a refreshing change to most other rum styles out there. A recommendation to buy the rum would be futile. The only chance to get it would be via an online auction and the rum definitely is not worth the price it is currently being sold for if you ask me.