Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone! Here we have the final sprint with the last six samples of the Advent Calendar 2018. It was a real pleasure to participate again and I had a lot of fun with a lot of nice rums! Before we start, here’s the obligatory overview of the four sessions:
- Advent Calendar 2018 Blind Tasting Part I (1-6)
- Advent Calendar 2018 Blind Tasting Part II (7-12)
- Advent Calendar 2018 Blind Tasting Part III (13-18)
- Advent Calendar 2018 Blind Tasting Part IV (19-24)
J. Bally 1999 18YO (Martinique, 54,5%): Oh my, this is dark. And just based on the colour I have a good idea of what this should be. Let’s sniff a bit and take a small sip just to make sure… Yup, that just has to be the J. Bally 1999 18YO Brut de Fût! There just isn’t another rhum quite like this and oh boy, it’s amazing. It doesn’t quite rival the legendary 1998 which we have yet to review but dang, it comes darn close. I actually think I like it even more now than when I reviewed it about a year ago. There’s also a new J. Bally Brut de Fût from 2000 and while I have yet to try and review it, I have heard that it positions itself somewhere between the 1998 and the 1999. 9/10
Transcontinental Rum Line Worthy Park 2013 5YO (Jamaica, 57%): Nose: Lots of vanilla and kerosene, some herbs and with more time in the glass also more and more banana. We’re clearly talking Worthy Park here. Then milk chocolate, a wee bit of alcohol and not a whole lot from the cask. This should be a rather young one I think. Palate: The herbs are more dominant here and the remaining notes from the nose are all present, play a slightly less significant role though. The rum is balanced quite well, even though I am missing some more cask aromas. It’s very nice to have these distillate driven rums by the way! Finish: Here we are starting to notice the low maturity. The afterburn is quite sharp but that’s all. Not too shabby but all in all still a bit too young. 5/10
Velier Long Pond “VRW” 2006 12YO (Jamaica, 62,5%): I am very sorry but once again I didn’t have time to taste this one blindly. I only had a very quick sniff and sip but based on that alone I had no idea what this is. Moreover, this is a rum that needs extremely long to develop and open up. Initially I found vanilla, tobacco, muscovado, licquorice, sulphate and apples but after a few hours under the aroma lid also the notes I’ve had when I tried the rum for the first time: elder, lavender and rosehip. This is now very characteristic and distinct but as I said, there’s no way I could have recognised this right away. At the palate again lots and lots of elder, some bubble gum, the apples from the nose and something more akin to quince. It’s quite a bit drier than the nose and now very bitter. Towards the end it becomes flatter and less flavourful. The finish is rather dry with quite some oak and herbal notes. 3/10 initially, 7/10 with more time in the glass. Yes, the rum really needs that much time!
That Boutique-y Rum Company O Reizinho 2018 (Madiera (Portugal), 49,7%): Another white one. I almost said “Blanc” but we don’t know that yet. The nose is rather sweet with lime, syrup, grenadine and dried berries. The taste is quite different and is a bit shocking at first. After the nose I did not expect such a sharp and spicy rum. I get ginger, red chilies, the lime again and some smoky elements. The finish is rather long with the spicy notes (ginger, chilies) and some spices as well. I don’t know where the latter are coming from but maybe this actually did spend some time in the cask and then got filtered again. We shall see. Anyway, I don’t really like it. It is not bad but I don’t like the profile at all. 3/10
Rum Artesanal Caroni 1998 20YO (Trinidad, 64,3%): Nose: Quite sweet and sulphatic with rotting vegetables/ fruits. The alcohol seems to be integrated quite well but the general profile is rather weird. It’s not bad but absolutely not special either. Then dark caramel, foul papaya and old, used rubber. At the palate, the foul papaya turned into a ripe one, the old rubber into fresh caoutchouc or tubes and the sulphatic notes as well as the rotten vegetables are now gone altogether. It’s much better than the nose. We can also add vanilla and other spices from the cask as well as a few mineral elements. Then again more fruits, mostly papaya though. Finish: Brown sugar, oak and more spices from the cask. Not too bad. It’s a Caroni with quite a few layers actually but that doesn’t necessarily make it great. 7/10 (at best, 6,5 rather)
As I thought, this is a Caroni from the weaker January 1998 batch.
Barmetro & Milano Rum Fest Port Mourant 2005 12YO (Guyana, 57%): Nose: Wood and wood chippings, continental fruit basket, anise, dry cheese and a mix of herb. It’s quite nice though not extraordinary. Palate: Plenty of spices such as anise, cardamom and coriander seeds. Then cedar wood, red currants, apple juice, vanilla and apple tart. The mouthfeel is quite creamy. Finish: Medium long with spices, slightly brinery notes and the apple tart. A rather nice rum. 6/10