About a year after the 11th edition of Thomas G. Rumexpert Blind Tasting I happy to present my notes from the most recent one. As a refresher, we had to guess the country of origin, distillery, abv, age, exact bottling and got bonus points for finding out about a finish or independent bottler. If you’d like to participate as well next time, let me refer you to the German Forum Der Rum-Club. Moreover, we had to give grades from 6 (worst) to 1 (best) so contrary to my conventional practices you can find ratings as well.
Botucal Distillery Coll. No.1 Batch Kettle (Venezuela, 47%): The nose is sweet with plenty of Spanish influences such as tobacco, lots of vanilla and some other spices. All in all it is quite flat and boring. Later I can find some fruity notes such as mango in the background. The rum vanishes very quickly at the palate and all I get is vanilla at first. Still quite one-dimensional. With the second sip I also gets 54%), so I tried to find another suitable bottling and got some basics wrong. I count this as at least half a hit ;). Rating: 4
Feingeisterei Gut Basthorst Don Ruffin Batch 1 (Germany, 43%): Nose: Calvados en masse. Behind that vanilla, warm apple tart and star-shaped cinnamon biscuits. What? Palate: Just like the nose, namely calvados, apple tart, and the cinnamon biscuits. Add some hay and baiser (urgh). The finish is of medium length with apples and baiser. Well, I have no clue. It’s weird stuff and not really good. If it is a Calvados finish, I must say that I have had better ones (e.g. from J.M or Savanna). If it is the distillate, it is nothing I would want to try again.
So it was another German one. The molasses comes from somewhere in South America and the rum got to age in small American and French Oak casks, with a Sherry finish on top. Since Batch 2 it is simply called Don R. Rating: 4+
Velier Caroni 1996 21YO (Trinidad, 57,18%): Ah, here we go! Roadworks, tar, lamp oil, caramel and slightly mineral notes in the nose scream Caroni. At the palate more of the same: Still dirty notes of roadworks and flavours from the gas station, paired with sweeter notes of caramel or sugar. Here and there also some grassy notes and candied fruits. Oh yeah. A very nice one that I know quite well ;). It has to be one of the most balanced Caronis I know which most connoisseurs seem to like. That’s large batch for you, my friends. I prefer the more edgy ones but nevertheless this gets the following rating: 1-
Rieggers Selection Artesano Panama 8YO (Panama, 43,8%): This has been finished in a peated Ben Nevis cask. I didn’t find the finish but if you know about it, it is soo obvious. Oh well, here are my notes: Nose: What the heck? Neutral grain-alcohol? I let it breath for a bit but right now I am not getting anything. After a while grain, smoky notes and not much more. Uh… Palate: This has to be a Whisky! Lots of grain and oat but again, that’s it. Apples perhaps but who knows. Finish: I am not interested. Blindly this would have been a Whisky, but not a good one. This is about as far away from my liking as it gets. Some distilleries I had in mind were Nine Leaves (Japan), which is more intense, Chamarel (Mauritius), which is fruitier and Strathearn (Scotland), which is more “rummy”.
With hindsight the peated Whisky finish is obvious and I have no clue why I didn’t find it. It helps to understand the rum but that still doesn’t make it better. Rating: 5
Habitation Velier Last Ward 2007 10YO (Barbados, 59%): Nose: Barbados, no doubt. Behind a slightly brinery profile I can find ripe raspberries, fresh leaves and cheap grenadine syrup (not in a bad way). At the palate the rum is way fruiter than the nose suggested, again with raspberries, dried fruits as well as some heavier, tannic elements. At first it is rather bitter and adstringent, until the grenadine syrup smooths it out with its sweetness. I like it! Later also some herbs as well as bananas and fresh sugar cane. The finish is slightly herbal and not very spectacular but it nicely rounds off the palate. I am quite sure that I know it and indeed it is the rum I have already reviewed here. Rating: 2+