Completely different Long Ponds this time. Let’s just skip the usual bla bla and jump straight in.
Barrique Genuine Cask Long Pond 2010 5YO (47,9%): I always found this bottler and their bottlings rather weird and this one is no exception. I am really wondering if they also add some sort of “spice mix” to their rums… Nose: Banana, vanilla, caramel, light alcohol, fruit chew for kids, toffee and after eight. I am puzzled more than anything else. Palate: Fruit schnaps, banana liqueur, Frangelico, vanilla, toffee, caramel and perhaps even some herbs. It’s relative sweet, mostly driven by the vanilla and toffee and all in all it is quite atypical, to say the least. The finish is short, a bit alcoholic and very forgettable. Banana and vanilla pudding stick with me. It’s some proper rum, not terrible but it isn’t really good either. There’s probably an audience for these rums though, but these fellas will probably never read these lines anyway. (71/100)
Mezan Long Pond 2000 18YO (57,95%): Two things. I believe that we should round up at x,95%. What is more, Mezan at more than 40%!? Sure, let’s do this! Nose: Very mellow with esters, lots of vanilla but deeper in the glass also a strong alcoholic note. Sure, it is quite good but we’ve covered the batch at length already, so please pardon my relative apathy. Anyway, I also get floral notes such as hibiscus or rosehip, sour apples, little of the batch-characteristic medical notes and now also unripe pineapple. Yeah, another addition to the winners of the batch I guess but let’s take a sip first. Palate: Relatively sour with the sour group of esters (unripe pineapple, green apples), hints of enamel, quite some oak and… well, way less than what the nose promised. So again, all good, but now not really top-of-the-batch anymore. Some bitter elements, quince, herbs which taste rather weird (well, medical after all) and olives complete the flavour profile. Finish: Still very bitter with olives, bitter herbs and cough syrup. Things started out quite nicely but ended rather mediocre. In the end I have to settle with the following grade. (83/100)
Plantation Extrême Long Pond 1996 22YO “ITP” (54,8%): Plantation had superb selections under their Extrême series (I didn’t think I’d ever say this but I am happy that I can!) but the only other 1996 Long Pond I know wasn’t very interesting. This one has spent 21 years in Bourbon casks in Jamaica (!) with the obligatory additional year in Cognac casks in France. Nose: Huu, what’s going on here? The nose is really interesting. I get elderflower, wild herbs, floral notes (hibiscus, lavender), sour apple and powdered sugar. The nose is not too heavy but really nice and reminds me quite a bit of the Vale Royal 2006 12YO. At the palate it is quite similar but I think it is even better than Velier’s bottling. The elderflower is oh so typical and at this point I am not sure if we should keep on looking for more but let’s do it nevertheless. I get hibiscus, Granny Smith apples, sweet quince and grape/ vinous notes I usually associate with younger (relatively speaking) Armagnacs. The finish is medium long with elderflower, floral notes, herbs and wood. It’s not the world’s most complex rum but oh boy, it is lovely. Maybe not worth the asking price but rums like these are quite rare. (87/100)
and there’s another Plantation. A more sought after one, even though on paper it looks way less exciting…
Plantation Collector No. 1 Long Pond 2000 18Y0 (43%): Actually this is a blend of 1996 “ITP” (see above) and 2000 “ITP” and “CRV”. Let me just say that while I think ITP can be an amazing mark, CRV really isn’t the distillery’s strength. What’s more interesting is that this rum was supposed to mimic Steve Remsberg’s favorite rum, the Wray & Nephew 15YO. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite happen. Nose: Sufficently intense at this abv but we immediately get the impression that we are missing out on something. It’s quite nice though, with red berries, leather, grilled pineapple, elderflower, sour mango, oak, hints of pomace, natural wine and unripe oranges. Palate: A mix between sweet (red berries, mango), sour (esters and unripe oranges) and dry (wood, vanilla and leather). Then branchwood, unripe strawberry and a whiff of nuts. The profile isn’t too bad and the texure is actually relatively creamy, but the dilution is quite destructive. I can definitely feel Mr. Remsberg, even though it is not a bad rum at all. Just not the product that meets the expectations. Crucially, it is quite a few levels below the Plantation ITP reviewed above. Finish: Relatively short with vanilla, the red berries, subtle oak and sour cherries. I’ve never had the Wray & Nephew 15YO but this isn’t even as good as the Wray & Nephew 12YO. The ultimate question is: Why create a rum for collectors!? That’s something I will never understand… (82/100)
Our buddy Artur (when will your blog go online by the way!?) and me were also doing Mai Tais with this one. Long story short, the drink was much, much better than just having the rum.
Last but not least, there’s a new TECA. With the two previous ones, we were moving between undrinkable and one of the better Long Ponds I know. How about this one?
Velier/ NRJ Long Pond “TECA” 2007 12YO (63%): Nose: Quite a bit different from the other TECAs. I get plenty of marzipan, sour cherries, almond paste, macadamia and sweet pastry but few of the “disgusting”, sweaty and cold meat-like aromas. The nose is actually really simple and straightforward and even after about 45 minutes I am not getting any additional notes. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice, just not very complex. Palate: The palate is incredibly sour at first, something that I didn’t really expect after this nose. All in all, the profile is still shaped by the sweet pastry, marzipan and nut aromas but now as a somewhat more sour version. Next to that we can also find the characteristic “TECA” note, but here it isn’t disturbing at all. It does have this slightly sweaty note that reminds me of frozen lahmacun but it actually feels refreshing in a sense. With the third sip, it gets weird again for a second but hey, that’s TECA my friends. Finish: Slightly sour with esters, pear, mint and acetone-like notes. Fittingly, the rum also fades out in a rather odd way. This is not one of those love it or hate it ones, it is just another solid Long Pond that doesn’t quite hit my personal taste. That’s not to say that it won’t hit yours, though. (81/100)