Cuba’s Sancti Spiritus distillery is no stranger to us and while we are not too fond of most rums from Cuba in general, Sancti Spiritus seens to be the exception to the rule. As we didn’t write about them too much in the past, let me just refer you to this review, where some more information on the distillery have been provided.
Isla del Ron Sancti Spiritus 1998 14YO (58,5%): This should have been be the first commercially available aged rum from Sancti Spiritus at cask strength that we’ve got in Europe. The nose is rather nice yet also quite simple. I get green grapes, vinuous notes (grey burgundy), white chocolate, dill, vanilla (only later), cloves and cumin, a whiff of walnuts, some oak and lime perhaps. The palate offers a very similar mix and is shaped by notes of lime, honey melon, the spices from the nose as well as the dill again, grapes and now also something akin to chalk/ limestone. I like the profile quite a bit and you might actually think that this is a pot still rum. The downside is that I feel like the rum is still quite far away from its peak as we know how much better they can get with a few additional years. The finish is short with notes of yeast, chalk, grapes and lime. A nice trip to the more recent past. Friends have told me how great this particular bottlings is but if you ask me we’ve got way better ones from Sancti Spiritus lately. (82/100)
The Whisky Agency/ LMDW Sancti Spiritus 1998 18YO (51,3%): Despite the lower abv this rum feels heavier and more balanced. What a difference four years can make. In the nose I find citrus (lime, bergamot), decidedly fewer of the grapes and vinous notes but more spices instead (vanilla, cloves). At the same time it is not as fruity as the Isla del Ron and all in all I’d describe it as more elegant, despite a tiny bubble gum note in the background. Palate: The lower abv is a plus. Even though the alcohol is still noticeable it is only of secondary concern. Grapes, white wine based from slate flooring (yeah, I like those!), limestone, spices (vanilla, cinnamon, cloves), a whiff of herbs (dill again!?) and pomegranate. I like it. Finish: Rather short and the weak link here. It’s a spicier and drier version of the palate with chalk, spices, wood and heavy red wine. (84/100)