Merry Christmas! Today’s featured image has been borrowed from Vintage Sugarcane Postcards, a page run by our dear correspondent Johannes. He has one of, if not the largest collection of sugar cane and rum related postcards and his Instagram profile (see above) is definitely worth checking out if you are into these bits and pieces of history.
Samaroli Demerara Dark 1994 12YO (45%): We only know the vintage and the bottling date and indeed this might also just be 11YO. Anyway, it is a single cask of unknown origin but giving the “Dark” nature of the rum I am guessing it comes from Enmore, who had a knack for colouring their rum. Nope, I didn’t try it yet but if my guess is correct the only question is if this is Enmore or Versailles. Of course we do hope for the latter. Nose: Oh yeah, totally Enmore distillery. With all the intense, heavy and fruity aromas I am leaning towards Versailles. Oh my, this is lovely and the abv feels absolutely right! I get a mix of raspberry, muscovado sugar, rich and complex wood (oh yeah, something that comes close to the familiar pencil sharpenings, mostly as with the 1988 Versailles), dark cherries, amarettini and rum-flavoured Tiramisu. At the danger of repeating myself, this is really, really nice! Palate: At ‘just’ twelve years, you’ll notice the dilution right away as I get notes that remind me of cherry water and cherry juice, wood, Oolong tea, dark sugar, every so slightly herbal notes that I just cannot name, more and different woods as well as burnt/ grilled fruits. The finish is medium long with plenty of fruity notes, some wood and Demerara sugar. The profile is excellent but the dilution makes us deduct some points as the palate just cannot keep up with the magnificent nose. An excellent starter though. (89/100)
Cadenhead’s Enmore Distillery (Versailles) “KFM” 1991 16YO (63,9%): KFM is a mark that’s associated with the Lusignan plantation and stands for Kenneth Francis Mackenzie. The only other rum with this mark we’ve had was the Rum Nation SBRR Enmore “KFM” 2002 14YO, which wasn’t coloured like this one and I am still not 100% sure which still produced it. Nose: What a rum! Extremely intense, dirty and extreme. It surely won’t be to everyone’s liking. Wood, burnt caramel, hints of tobacco, rich liquorice, tar and virtually no fruity notes. Instead black tea, muscovado and molasses. After a while I can also find a somewhat fresher, herbal note deeper in the glass. At the palate it is still a beast and hits you like a steamroller. Slightly bitter, it opens with liquorice, wood, molasses and black tea and transitions to dark muscovado sugar, beet syrup and Marmite. The finish is increadibly long, woody, a little bitter and contains some antique furnite and massive woods. A brutal rum but I like it. For a higher grade it would have needed to be a bit more balanced though. (87/100)
Velier La Bonne Intention 1985 15YO (40%): Another young and thoroughly diluted one but let’s see. I feel like I should be adding a few words about La Bonne Intention here but I’d say that can also be found elsewhere (and much better indeed). Nose: Very dark, woody, and Enmore-esque (the column still). There’s not much to be found in the nose besides the wood and perhaps some burnt sugar, which is a real pity. Now some slightly smoky notes as you’d get them from a smoker or smoking oven with wood chips. Palate: Again plenty of wood, Demerara sugar and the, let’s call it, typical Demerara spicyness. It’s much better than the nose but still not suffciently enough. Once again, the dilution isn’t the problem here as I doubt that the rum would have been much better at a higher abv. Finish: Long with plenty of wood and spices. It’s actually getting better here. I just love these old Demeraras and this mark might indeed even contain some personal bias. But we did have much better versions of similar rums before. (79/100)
The Secret Treasures Enmore 1980 20YO (40%): I have heard funny things about this one so we just have to try it. And look at this colour! I know that you cannot see it but this thing is as black as a freaking black hole. No light will ever shine through, and that at just 40%. The only question is: why would you do this? Nose: Uhhh. Lovage, Maggi, lots of wood, cough syrup, more Maggi, more lovage and more Maggi. I think you get it. What’s going on here? Palate: A bit better than the nose but it isn’t any different. The Maggi is there and so is the wood. We may add bitter liquorice, some other sort of bark and more herbal notes (lovage again, mostly). Beurk. Finish: Way too long. Now this is something you want to forget as quickly as possible. Sure, there is much worse, but as far as drinkable rums are concerned, this is just disgusting. Why would you bottle stuff like this? On the plus side, this is incredibly intense at just 40% but here it is something we just don’t want. (30/100)