Another Monymusk from 2003, this time at a higher abv. Duncan Taylor already released a predecessor with the Duncan Taylor Monymusk 2003 10YO which was pretty good. Let’s see what two additional years, or the extra abv compared to the Moon Import “I Pappagalli” Monymusk 2003 13YO can do.
In his article on his visit to Clarendon, Matt Pietrek explains the relatively complex ownership structure behind the distillery. NRJ, a partnership between the Jamaican government (National Sugar Company), Goaddard Enterprises (previously the owner of the West Indies Rum Distillery (W.I.R.D.)) and Guyana’s Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), owns 73% of Clarendon Distillery, the remainder is owned by Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits conglomerate. Two things are worth pointing out. First, W.I.R.D. has recently been acquired by Maison Ferrand, home to Plantation rums. Time will tell whether the acquisition had anything to do with Clarendon or whether it was just a byproduct. Second, Diageo bought the brand Captain Morgan in 2001 and the Jamaican share of the European version of the blend is now produced at Clarendon Distillery (it’s rather confusing since the US version is produced on the Virgin Islands whereas the Jamaican one even comes from J. Wray & Nephew (Appleton)). Monymusk rums (and other NRJ products) are aged and blended at Innswood, a former distillery which closed for good in 1992. However, about 90% of the total output goes to Diageo (Captain Morgan and Myers), which in total accounts for about 60% of all Jamaican bulk rum exports. Monymusk is thus only a tiny fraction of what the distillery is producing, and its bulk exports to rum brokers even more so.
Dégustation “Duncan Taylor Monymusk 2003 12YO”
Key Facts: This single cask rum has been distilled by a pot still at Monymusk Distillery (Clarendon) on Jamaica in August 2003. Coming from cask 18, the rum has been bottled by Duncan Taylor after twelve years in February 2016. The abv has probably been reduced to 51,8% but given that it resulted in only 157 bottles it might also be cask strength (Duncan Taylor say it is!). Hence either the cask was rather small, the angel’s share quite high or the abv has already been quite low when the rum got to the broker in Europe.
Colour and viscosity: Pale staw/ pale gold. A thin crown of pearls which gently flows back in thin streaks. The viscosity is appropriate for a twelve year old rum.
Nose: The typical Butyrat aroma is very light but cannot be dismissed. Then plenty of honey, pineapple and sweet galia melon. The aromas are very fresh. After some time I can also detect the typical cask aromas: Cinnamon, vanilla, cloves and oak. Now green apples and more herbal scents, savory or cress perhaps. I’d say the nose is very typical for Monymusk but it is somehow lacking a wow-moment. It definitely pleases my personal olfactory cognition.
Palate: Butyric acids, esters, ripe pineapple, fresh mint and other herbs and different exotic fruits are my first associations. With the second sip I get more and more herbs. The honey is also present but it has been way more dominant in the nose. I’d describe it as honeydew melon. Despite all the herbal flavours, the rum still manages to keep a rather fruity character. In the background I can find the same spices as I had in the nose, namely cinnamon, vanilla, cloves and oaky aromas.
Finish: Not too long and slightly bitter. Olives and different herbs such as savory. Then cloves and leather.
The Duncan Taylor Monymusk 2003 12YO is a nice rum that’s easy to sip. It’s not extremely complex but still a lot of fun to drink. You do have to like the butyric profile though. I know that it is too extreme for some people. If you will, it is the Jamaican pendant to Barbados’ Foursquare Distillery but the general character is very different. The flavours of the acids and esters taste quite different but the general “idea” behind the desired result is similar. It is not a rum I’d want to drink every day and in my opinion it loses the direct comparison with the “I Pappagalli” from last week but every know and then I really enjoy this rum.