After Cedrik’s article about W.I.R.D. and the Rockley style I just had to go back to them. I’ve already had quite a large session with the 1986 bottlings but I am currently waiting for another sample of an (alleged) legend to arrive. Alas, another trio of 2000s has to do it for now (click here for the first one).
Pellegrini Blackrock 2000 15YO (54,2%): This one is really good if I remember correctly. In the nose we can find the characteristic combination of honey/ beeswax and (medical) herbs but also cask specific influences such as branches, autumn leaves or the scents that come with a freshly roasted, thouroughly seasoned steak. Relative to the other 2000 WIRDs we’ve had it is a bit more intensive and vibrant and the taste might be even better. The herbs and honey mix is quite powerful but here it is really the above mentioned seasoning (salt and pepper) that shines. While we might attribute the salt to the medical side of the Rockley style, pepper is a nuance I’ve found in many of the 1986s. There’s even a citrus aspect to this particular rum, which is remarkable since most of these rums don’t have any fruity notes at all. With the third sip we also get a few more spices (nutmeg, even stronger pepper). Note also that the rum isn’t sweet at all, despite the notes of honey. The finish is quite long with barbecue sauce, herbs and wood. It’s bone dry with an accentuation from the citus notes here and there. To keep it short, easily one of the better 2000s I know that would probably crack the top three. (88/100)
Whiskybroker W.I.R.D. 2000 17YO (51,8%): The first 2000 WIRD release by Whiskybroker was great, let’s see how this one compares to it. Nose: Quite medical and clinical without many of the lovely hones notes. Instead wild herbs (mint, roasary), coal and now also tiny amounts of beeswax in the background. These Rocklay are really getting better with age and more exposure to the barrel if you ask me. Palate: The rum is a bit thin I believe. The abv with the rums from this batch was never really high but this is even lower than we are used to (not that Whiskybroker diluted it though!). Flavourwise, it is dominated by medical herbs and slightly metallic elements, something I usually associate with rather young spirits. But here it seems to be a nuance of the rum more than anything else. Later also olive herbs, lovage and cumin. The finish is medium long with cumin, dry wood and the metallic notes as well. It’s absolutely no comparison to the first release or other high quality Rockleys for that matter. (81/100)
Renegade Black Rock “Petrus Cask” 2000 9YO (46%): I don’t think I have to tell you what Petrus is but just in case, it is a vineyard in Pomeral near Bordeaux which is selling single bottles at intermediate 4-figure numbers with ease. And for better or for worse, the wine cask definitely left its mark with the rum, which is already quite evident from its colour. Nose: No, this cannot be Rockley/ WIRD. There’s not a single of the typical notes in this one. Instead I get sulphur, salt crystals, cold meat (TECA anyone!?), leather, a mix of ripe red berries and autumn leaves. Heather perhaps. It’s a weird combination. What an unusual rum! At the same time, I thinks it is quite bad. I hope the taste gets better. It kinda does and now I get some of the medical notes as well as the forest honey. Then medical herbs, sulphate, sweat, salt crystals, minerals, leather and whatnot. Rockley is already a style which is like no other but this rum in particular is a real umicorn. I don’t think there exists something even remotely similar. The finish is quite long with medical herbs, gauze bandage, heather and salt. With Murray MacDavid/ Renegade it is always a gamble. Sometimes they produce excellent rums, sometimes their experiments just fail. We have to put this one to the latter category I am afraid. (72/100)
Acknowledgement: The featured image on this page shows the Vulcan chamber still, which most likely served as a wash still for this batch. It has been kindly provided by Matt Pietrek.