Another session with Long Pond, the King of Wedderburn. But be warned, it’s a quite a large one. The “younger” 2000 Long Ponds were quite good already but they seem to get a lot better as they get older. Let’s see.
The Rum Cask Long Pond 2000 13YO (58,2%): Compared to some of the other rums of the session this one is rather shy. Relatively speaking, it is smokier (slightly medical even) before eventually revealing more fruity notes such as oranges, citrus (grapefruit, lime), green apples, hay, herbs and mixed fruit tea. The palate is a bit better than the nose but all in all the rum doesn’t taste quite as balanced as its contenders. We get ideas of the fruit tea, the herbs, some spices here and there, oak even, now random fruity elements and the medical notes. It’s all nice and good but somehow a bit unbridled and doesn’t really add up. The finish is strong on the herbs with additional notes of fruit tea and hibiscus. When I bought this rum in 2013 I absolutely loved it. Today, with the experience of having had quite a few other rums, I’d “only” call it good. (81/100)
The Whisky Warehouse No.8 Long Pond 2000 14YO (46%): Why do the traditional Whisky bottlers love 46% so much? I don’t know. Anyway, rum is not Whisky so please give us at least 50% or 55% if persistent on diluting for whatever strange reason. Nose: Lots of vanilla, mild raspberries, ripe pineapple, white chocolate, sweet lemon, green apples and some herbs are just some of the aromas I can find here. The rum is surprisingly complex, even at the low abv. The sour notes get stronger with increased oxidation and after half an hour they almost dominate the profile. Palate: Apples, sweet lemon, vanilla, toffee, tangerine, oak, canned cherries and eventually also the herbs. The alcohol is noticeable but I think that the dilution has made the rum less boozy this time. Despite my introductory complaints, the dilution isn’t all that bad and it might even have benefited the nose, while taking away a wee bit from the palate but I can live with that. Finish: Not very long with a mix of vanilla and cherries (à la J.M), weakly also some esters and the sweet lemon. It’s really nice, if only it were a bit more intense. Quite a good rum, actually. (83/100)
Rumdealer’s Selection Long Pond 2000 14YO (63,8%): Behind Rumdealer’s Selection stands Marco Bonn, owner of the, at least in Whisky circles, by now famous Brühler Whiskyhaus with their “A Dream of Scotland” label. When will you be doing rum again, Marco? The nose is very strong and rather herbal, with slightly sulphatic notes at first. These vanish quickly to make room for viscid apples, raw pineapple, toffee, sour tangerine and milk chocolate. It’s rather close to the The Rum Cask 13YO in the sense that it doesn’t want to reveal too much. The oxidation has changed the rum quite a bit by the way as it is really different now from how I remember it. The palate is again shaped by the herbs and apples but now I also get plenty of vanilla, the toffee, mild lemon, branches and towards the end of a sip more herbs again. The finish is medium long with strong vanilla and toffee notes, which switch back and forth with the esters. I have an idea. Let’s add some water, maybe it helps. And indeed, a few drops open up the nose but adding too much degrades the palate more than we would have liked. It’s a thin path that the Warehouse No. 8 managed to take successfully, yet I wouldn’t want to give the edge to either one of them. (83/100)
Just after the tasting, when I’ve added the pictures, I’ve found out the The Whisky Warehouse and the Rumdealer’s Selection are actually the same rum. My tasting notes and overall impression go hand in hand, yet I’ve detected some minor differences, which I think can be safely attributed to the dilution and oxidation. An interesting comparison I must say.
Duncan Taylor Long Pond 2000 15YO (51,9%): After an atrocious 13YO, this is already the second Duncan Taylor release from the 2000 Long Pond batch. It comes from cask 65 (for what it’s worth) and has been diluted to 51,9%. In the nose we first encounter the typical Long Pond esters and sweeter elements such as marzipan, vanilla or ripe apples. The nose is very mild but sufficiently aromatic at the same time. Next I get toffee, jasmine tea and a whiff of herbs. All in all it is very balanced and harmonious. Palate: A bit woodier than the nose suggested. Behind the esters, ripe apples and herbs, which are playing a more prominent role now, there’s quite some oak with more typical cask aromas (vanilla, caramel). It’s worth pointing out that the mouthfeel is quite full and somehow I don’t really think that the rum would have been much better at a higher abv. Maybe it indeed has been diluted in the barrel since Duncan Taylor told us that all of their rums are cask strength. Either way, nicely done. Later I also get more exotic fruits such as pineapple, papaya or banana but they can only be found further in the background. The finish is medium long and even slightly adstringent with notes of oak, fruits and a hint of nuts. Quite good, quite good. (85/100)
The Rum Cask Long 2000 15YO (62%): A mix of soft esters and vanilla penetrates my nostrils. There’s not the slightest sign of alcohol at 62%. Then mild herbs without any sticking out in particular. After some more time in the glass I also get slightly musty, earthy notes that remind me a bit of compost. Then toffee, green apples and branches. It’s not the most complex rum of the batch but it works. At the palate it is more flavourful than I thought while nosing. The 62% are incredibly well-integrated and provide exactly the power that the rum needs. It’s a bit rawer, i.e. not as soft and mild, than the nose and I really like that. Sweet vanilla, powdered sugar (donuts), fruity esters, Mediterranean herbs, some oak and mild ginger are the most prominent impressions here. It’s a lot better than the nose in my opinion and beats basically all of the younger rums of the batch. The finish is rather long with the herbs, vanilla, oak and ginger. Not too shaby. I really wonder why I didn’t buy a bottle of it back then… (84/100)
Duncan Taylor Long Pond 2000 16YO (54,1%): Duncan Taylor’s third bottling and probably their best. The 15YO was very good already but this one should top it. In the nose we find a mixed basket of tropical and continental fruits, vanilla, very creamy toffee, candied apples and even some oaky notes. There are no sharp elements here and the cask noticeably smoothed out the aromas, without taking anything major away. The palate is not as mild as the nose but I’d say the chosen abv is spot on. I am not the biggest fan of dilution but sometimes Duncan Taylor just gets it right. The esters are more present than in some of the ‘weaker’ rums from the vintage and could best be described as a mix of apples and raw pineapple. Then more flavours such as pepper, green matcha tea, oak, vanilla and citrus. Yes, this is good, mostly because the rum has a decent maturity and because nothing really dominates here. The finish follows in the same tradition and now comes with some of the typical nuts (pecan, cashew), which are enhanced by applesauce. A very nice rum at a very nice price. I do like it a little bit more than the 15YO Duncan Taylor but I don’t think it deserves an additional point. (85/100)
Rum Artesanal Long Pond 2000 17YO (62,5%): Rum Artesanal and Long Pond. I don’t think I have to tell you much more ;). The nose is a bit more sour/ citrussy than we’ve had it with the other rums and the esters are slightly more intense. Nice! Then the familiar vanilla and toffee combination paired with herbs, rich greek yoghurt and honey dew melon. It’s not really complex but it works rather well. The first sip almost feels like 50-55% drinking strength but has the added advantage of being more flavourful. Esters, vanilla, different sorts of citrus and thick, quality ice cream (the greek yoghurt from the nose I guess) are my first associations here. With the second sip I further get herbal notes, amarena cherries and something that reminds me of whipped cream. Not too shabby. The finish is relatively long and comes with oak, whipped and ice cream as well as the herbs. Not the most complex but one of if not the nicest rum of the session. Again, why didn’t I get a bottle of this? (85/100)
Silver Seal Long Pond 2000 18YO (50%): Like Duncan Taylor, Silver Seal also released a 2000 Long Pond already and while I have taken a few notes back then I don’t feel like being in a position to write about the rum. This release comes from cask 19 and measures 255 bottles. Nose: Rather sweet with lots of vanilla, toffee, faint esters, ripe mango, sweet apples, lime and fir wood. The 50% don’t feel too thin but that might be quite different at the palate. Well, I think it is fine. Flavourwise, we get lots of fruits, mostly citrus such as lime, oranges or tangerine but also sugar syrup, pomegranate and pistachio (towards the finish). Yep, the texture is relatively full and I don’t feel like missing out on anything. Finish: Long, rich in esters and with notes of oak and green tea. A very nice rum at a not so nice price. Even at 50% this is really good but given the alternatives we have I would not get this particular rum, even though I quite like the citrussy side of it. (84/100)
We actually learned something today. Dilution/ adding water doesn’t destroy these Long Ponds. Especially in the nose it can be rather beneficial as it helps the rums to open up. This balance has been hit especially well by Duncan Taylor, the masters of reduction if you will (and that not only with these Long Ponds!). Moreover, I am already looking forward to the first 20+ year old rums from this batch.