Distilled in December 1999, this batch must be some of if not the very last rums distilled at Uitvlugt Distillery, before the distillery has been closed and the remaining, still useful stills have been transferred to the Diamond Distillery. Generally, the vintage is of very high quality and has subsequently only been topped by a few selected bottlings. No vintage of the 2000s came close in terms of average quality and there’s only a single 2002 bottling I’d rate more highly than the majority of the ’99s. But perhaps some of them just need a bit more time.
Bristol Port Mourant 1999 13YO (46%): This is second release of a whole range of 1999 Port Mourants (PM) by Bristol. Unlike the successors, this one received a Port wine finish. In the nose we can immediately find the characteristic notes of anise, wet wood and salt. I further get iodine, salted caramel and some fruity elements which I cannot really specify. I guess these come from the finish, which is quite subtle and easy to miss if you don’t know what to look for. Eventually we get some vinous notes and more spices such as vanilla. The finish is more present at the palate as it is sweeter and fruitier than we are used to with PM. I didn’t expect this after the nose. Make no mistake, this is still exactly the rum we thought we’d get but the Port finish adds blueberries, tiny ripe plums and cocoa. Moreover, I now get plenty of cloves which have to come from the distillate. The finish is medium long and slightly herbal, with hints of oak and cocoa. It’s a very interesting, easy sipping rum at what was a good price back then; a combination we barely ever get these days. All in all a quite remarkable rum given its age and abv. (84/100)
Kill Devil Uitvlugt (Port Mourant) 1999 16YO (51,9%): What’s this abv!? It just has to be diluted but the label states cask strength… a weirdo. Compared to the Bristol, the nose of the Kill Devil is a lot sweeter, even though we are missing the finish here. It comes with a lot more caramel and vanilla, a little bit at the expense of the typical PM notes. It’s slightly more alcoholic but that was to be expected; nevertheless I feel that the alcohol might be more present than it should be. Then fruits such as red apples, warm tart and mix of spices. The palate is incredibly similar: Still a bit too alcoholic, relatively sweet and strong on the notes of vanilla, apples and tart. It’s a bit of the odd man out in this session. Next I get cookie dough, salted caramel, anise, fresh wood chippings and cinnamon. The finish is short with apples, spices and oak. Something just doesn’t work here though. At first I thought it might be too immature but given the dominance of the vanilla I think it simply wasn’t the best cask. Alas it is among the weaker ones for me and given the vast amount of choices we have when it comes to PM, I wouldn’t recommend it. (79/100)
Cadenhead’s Uitvlugt Distillery (Port Mourant) “MPM” 1999 18YO (58,7%): “MPM” might stand for Modified Port Mourant or simply Main Port Mourant. Personally, I never found a real difference between rums with the mark PM and MPM so I cannot tell you if this really denotes the true mark or if it is just a remnant of the broker. Nose: Full and a bit reserved at first. I think it needs more time. After some more time under the aroma lid I get intense vanilla flavours, dry wood, sour apples and only then some of the other spices such as anise or cloves. The aroma lid really helps tremendously here. Right after lifting it we get incredibly fruity fragrances but they vanish very quickly. Now I also get sesame, cereal and sweet corn. Interesting. The palate continues in a similar direction but is also somewhat different in a few regards. On the one hand, we get the notes which we’ve also had in the nose (i.e. vanilla, sour apples, dry wood). On the other hand, we are also faced with slightly medical notes (iodine, gauze bandage), herbal nuances and lots of exotic spice mixes (dark curry powder, garam masala). It works very well. The finish is relatively long with the medical notes and spice mixes. A very good rum that needs a lot of time to open up but if you give it to him it will entertain you for quite some time. I believe that you will find more and more new nuances with different oxidations levels. (88/100)
Plantation Extreme No°2 (Port Mourant) 1999 18YO (59,7%): You might call me crazy for having another Plantation here but if I am not mistaken, the Extreme rums should be pure, unadulterated expressions. Well, let’s see. Compared to the Cadenhead’s the rum is right away ready for dégustation. I didn’t notice any development over time. It’s very strong on the spices but right now all I hope for is that this is not the standard “Plantation spice mix”… We’ll find out at the palate. But let’s sniff a bit more. Lots of wet wood, anise, salt, ramshackle planks, moss and burnt sugar. It’s by far the least fruity of the bunch and I must say that it is really great so far. So let’s try. Yes! Bone dry with lots of spices from the cask. This is real, legit stuff. Thanks Plantation! And it is good. The aromas from the nose translate very nicely to the palate, except for the burnt sugar and moss I think. The mouthfeel is quite creamy, the maturity is spot on (at least) and we get a nice balance of the distillate and cask additions. The finish is long and salty with more wet and ramshackle wood. I like it. A lot. (88/100)
We’ve had two very good rums with the Cadenhead’s and Plantation. The big plus of the Cadenhead’s is its price and complexity, the Plantation has the advantage of being ready to drink right away and it might be even better at what it does than the Cadenhead’s. Chances of getting the Bristol are quite slim and while it is a nice rum I’d say it is not all worth the price it would be changing ownership for these days. Finally, the Kill Devil just cannot keep up with the other bottlings of this session or most 1999 Port Mourants in general for that matter.