The second ‘legendary’ 1986 batch comes from Long Pond, even though I am missing some of the highlights this time… We’ve had an amazing bottling by A.D. Rattray in a blind tasting but that was it so far. My sample library quite simply has been depleted over the years. All of todays rums should have the mark “IRW”, which may or may not have been associated with the Vale Royal Distillery. After all, IRW and VRW (Vale Royal Wedderburn) share the same ester range.
The Secret Treasures Long Pond 1986 14YO (40%): The first thing I notice is the very pale, ginger-tea like colour. Whether this reflects the dilution or immaturity remains to be seen. Fortunately, the nose isn’t entirely neutral. I get a nutty profile (typical for this batch) with cut branches, sour mango (the small, green ones), persimmon, old, dry cheese, lime and walnut oil. Quite a bit better than I feared. Palate: A bit thin but the rum is still rather flavourful. Red apples, mango, a mix of nuts, some wood and herbs, lime, persimmon and the list goes on and on. Warning: This is extremely nice and highly sippable! Finish: Medium long, fruity and with some slightly bitter elements as well as a tad of herbs in the background. If such a young rum is this good at 40%, what else can we expect from the session? (85/100)
Bristol Long Pond 1986 16YO (46%): This should have received a Sherry finish, even though I can not find too much of it in the rum. The alcohol makes its presence felt here but sometimes that might even be a good sign. I get foul papaya, banana, oily nuts, multi-vitamin juice, crisp, fruity cheese (with raspberries!), some plastic (Fiji anyone!?), orange jam placed on rich multi grain bread and some wood. Palate: Esters, plastic, the same fruits we’ve had in the nose plus persimmon minus the raspberry touch, mixed wheat and rye bread, bitter oranges, a nut mix and autumn leaves. Perhaps also a few dried fruits here and there. Crucially, the 46% feel really good and full. Finish: Medium long and fruity with ripe oranges, papaya and persimmon. Another lovely rum and the additional years in the cask plus the higher abv helped tremendously. (89/100)
Rum Nation Supreme Lord VI (Long Pond) 1986 26YO (45%): Even if all but one were slightly adulterated, the Supreme Lord series has for a long time been one of the most famous series of Jamaican rums. Until and including this one, all rums should come from Long Pond by the way. Nose: Papaya, sweet mango, ripe pineapple and banana; a potpourri of fruits in short. Now also raspberry and raspberry-flavoured bubble gum, grenadine syrup and pears. This is different, but quite good as well. Let’s hope the added sweetness didn’t alter this too much. Palate: Once again strong on the exotic fruits with some of them almost starting to rot. Next to that a slight bitterness from the wood (reminiscent of black tea), fallen leaves and branches, a mix of delicate nuts (cashew, pistachio), a salt-honey mix, Sherry-esque notes such as dried fruits, leather or gorp (the nuts again) as well as simple syrup. The finish is medium long at best with the exotic fruits and tea-like cask aromas, most notably. This is a rather simplistic and straightforward rum but it works very well. The vatting and sugar have smoothed it out a lot, which make it very harmonious but also not too complex. (86/100)
and finally a pair of cask strength bottlings by Cadenhead’s…
Cadenhead’s Long Pond “IRW” 1986 10YO (75%): Check the abv again. Yeah, you read correctly but in the nose it sure doesn’t feel like it. Even after a long time it doesn’t quite want to open up however and I think about adding a wee drop of water. It helps a little bit as I now get several slightly sour notes. Raw, unripe apples, citrus fruits (mostly lemon and grapefruit) but also some spices such as pepper or allspice is what I am picking up. I am not sure if it is the immaturity or the high abv but we shall let it breathe some more. After about two to three hours I get more fruity notes such as persimmon, oranges and sweet apples, some vanilla and slightly earthy notes. It is now so much richer than it was before. The first sip is rather sharp but not 75% sharp. It opens up with the same set of citrus fruits which we’ve also found in the nose but now we also find overripe papaya, vanilla and toffee, persimmon as well as the mix of nuts. This is all fair and dandy but somehow I am missing something. The rum is quite mature for its age and quite smooth and balanced but it’s a bit like getting only half of what these rums have to offer. That half is quite good though, make no mistake. After some time the nutty notes are more and more underlined, without taking away the focus from the citrus fruits though. The finish contains the citrus fruits and more herbals associations, as well as some more spices from the cask. It’s indeed a nice “finish” to the rum. Too young or not the best cask? I really don’t know since the maturity is not the problem here. (85/100)
Cadenhead’s Long Pond “IRW” 1986 18YO (67,5%): In terms of age and abv we are getting closer to my comfort zone. The rum doesn’t need as much time as the 10YO Cadenhead’s but it is also extremely happy if it gets it. In the nose I can find a mix of citrus fruits (lemon, lime, blood oranges, tangerine), vanilla, toffee and allspice, a mix of nuts (peanuts, cashew), just some oak and now also pineapple. With more time the rum feels heavier, thicker and also a tad sweeter. The oaky notes are now more pronounced as well. Palate: Really, really sour. None of the previous rums were quite like this. Quite the surprise. I get the citrus fruits from the nose but now we have to add green apples, unripe pineapple and grapefruit perhaps. Only behind that can we find the familiar profile of overripe papaya, the nut mix as well as the herbal impressions. Then some wood and spices (pepper, allspice, spicy cinnamon), but also clearly some grassy notes. Once again, different, but good, even though I like the “classical” side of the batch a bit more I must say. The finish is medium long with the sour (citrus) notes, ripe papaya, wood and the spices. All good, but the sourness could be tuned down a bit, if that means getting more of the classical profile. (86/100)