The tasting notes for today’s review date back about a year and already have been posted elsewhere. Yet, I eventually decided to present the rum here as well. To that end, I re-tasted it and made new notes. A quick comparison with my initial writing revealed that my cognition is still pretty much the same. I take this as a good thing. Today we have the Moon Import “I Pappagalli” Monymusk 2003 13YO.
Monymusk is one of the oldest sugar estates and rum distilleries in Jamaica. The Scottish Baronet Sir Archibald Grant bought the estate in 1713 and introduced essential improvements to the production of sugar. Additionally, he supported and developed many other rural manufactures such as the production of linen. To what extent his contributions and social engagement exceeded that of other colonial rulers needs to be checked but either way this is not the topic of this review. Today, Monymusk is being produced at the Clarendon Distillery, which is equipped with two pot- and an ultra modern column still. It’s Jamaica’s biggest distillery in terms of potential output. More importantly, the distillery can produce many different styles of rum, i.e. also rums with a very high ester concentration. I have yet to try a Continental Flavoured (i.e. a rum with 700-1600 parts of esters per 100.000 parts of alcohol) rum from Monymusk but the mere thought of it stirs my blood. What brings me back down is the fact that they are also responsible for a well know Captain… I have compiled more information on the Clarendon distillery here.
Moon Import is an Italian independent bottler founded by Pepi Mongiardino in 1980. According to the label of the “I Pappagalli”, Pepi Mongiardino selected the bottles for this blend of seven casks himself. Whether this has been done after actually sampling from the barrels or by simply answering an email by his broker is a different story. At least he gets to show off his blending skills. Let’s see whether he delivers.
Dégustation “Moon Import “I Pappagalli” Monymusk 2003 13YO”
Key Facts: The rum has been distilled in 2003 and is a blend of casks number 5, 14, 16, 18, 25, 26 and 31. It has been bottled in the UK in 2016 and resulted in 1930 bottles at 45% abv.
Colour and viscosity: Deep copper/ burnished. Many pearls form inside the glass. The rum slowly flows back down in thick streaks. The viscosity is quite good for a thirteen year old rum. In an earlier tasting I have been using a different (Grappa) glass and the streaks weren’t this thick and flew back down way quicker. I am still not exactly sure what to make out of this.
Nose: Immediately I am pleasantly surprised by caramel, toffee and marshmallows. After that banana, ripe, freshly cut honeydew and galia melon paired with a few slices of papaya. I scent a subtle touch of glue and anise, but this is hardly recognisable. Overall, the nose is rather light and appealing.
Palate: Given that this is (only) 45%, the alcohol burns gently initially, before turning into a mouth-filling warmth. I taste plenty of caramalised sugar cane and galia melon. It is almost as if all of the flavours have been slathered with honey before being caramalised, giving the rum a nice touch of sweetness. Then the typical Butyrat as it can be found in most Monymusks. The esters are mingling a bit in the background and are very well-integrated in a way as I only know it from Monymusk. I would describe this as fresh pineapple, compared to the putrid or grilled pineapple as you can find it in a Hampden, for example. The sugarcane and the caramel now take a backseat and I taste fresh mint. After a while the rum takes on more herbal aromas and even becomes a bit mineral; I can clearly recognise sage and thyme. Finally, small amounts of oak and vanilla round off the palate.
Finish: At first, the mint and honey seem to stick with us. Then the mineral elements start to dominate, which are eventually joined by pineapple chunks. The finish is quite long.
A nice blend by Moon Import that makes a very easy sipper. Looked at in that light, it is an outstanding rum since I typically do not enjoy heavily diluted Jamaicans all that much. I do not know many rums that are this flavourful at 45%.
As you can see, I am quite a fan of this rum but I have to admit that I am generally quite fond of this particular style. It makes for a nice daily dram (please do not take it literally!) and serves as a good starting point to get into Jamaican rums and the Monymusk flavour profile in particular. That said, the rum has two major weaknesses. First, the price is quite high for a thirteen year old rum at drinking strength (if you can still find it). There are other bottlers that offer better value for money. Second, the rum is probably too smooth, polished and limp for experts on Jamaican rum and cask strength aficionados. It is not very complex and won’t let you discover new nuances after being halfway through your bottle. I do not regret this purchase at all, however. To conclude, what did we learn? Mr Mongiardino is indeed a very good blender.