This is the follow-up to last week’s tasting, which turned out to be a bit bigger than I expected so I decided to split it into two parts.
Transcontinental Rum Line Night Rambler (Haiti & Jamaica, 42%): An unaged, high ester blend that was made for the bar scene, I suppose. It’s a blend of Clairin Casimir and Hampden. Nose: It has this pungent (not in a negative way) scent of Casimir that’s always like a brilliant mix of fruity and vegetal notes for me. Very leaf-y if you want. Next to that herbs such as dill or majoran, which come mostly from the Casimir. In fact, at least the nose is completely dominated by it. Palate: Slightly more balanced, even though it is still screaming Casimir. The Jamaican part can only be found in the background, but at least it can be found now (banana, vanilla, white chocolate). The finish olives, ginger and the herbal notes from the palate. Nice! If you know Clairin Casimir, you pretty much know what to expect with this one. It is basically full force voraus with 8000 watt. Not really a rambler though, but great, great stuff! (84/100)
Transcontinental Rum Line Flying King 3YO (Dominican Republic & Jamaica, 42%): Also intended mainly for the bar scene (I think), this one sounds less interesting on paper than the Night Rambler, despite the three years of age. But we shall see. Nose: Mostly Worthy Park with banana, banana stew, banana bread, banana chips, milk chocolate and a whiff of herbs. It comes close to the 2009 Worthy Parks, if that helps you. At least in the nose, there’s not much DomRep, and that’s clearly not a bad thing… Palate: Quite powerful despite the low abv and now you can easily find the symbiosis of the two rum styles. There’s the sweet and sugary, and then the esters and banana notes. It actually works better than I thought and I believe that you can indeed make a good drink with it, but I just don’t think that this is something the world has been waiting for. I think I would have prefered the 3YO Worthy Park straight, but I understand why you’d come up with the blend. Finish: Not too short with milk chocolate, wood, herbs and here and there sweet/ flambéed banana. I’d say it is always worth checking product like this out, even though we aren’t always fans. (72/100)
After this pair of TCRLs, That Boutique-Y Rum Company come up with a somewhat similar duo.
That Boutique-Y Rum Company Signature Blend #1 “Bright Grass” (Jamaica & Martinique, 42%): Martinique instead of Clairin. That doesn’t have to be too different. Nose: Intense and heavy with a mix of esters, grassy notes, mango, vanilla and grenadine syrup. So far, so good, so what!? I don’t think they will make any mistakes with this one, the question is going to be how much the palate is doing right. Palate: Quite to my surprise a bit different from the nose. I get cinnamon flavoured milk, banana, floral and grassy notes as well as a mix of spices. Again, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but it doesn’t really stand out in any way either. Finish: Short with cinnamon, vanilla and ripe banana. A solid, well-made and balanced blend but I feel that is is extremely interchangable. (75/100)
That Boutique-Y Rum Company Signature Blend #2 “Elegant – Dried Fruits” (Jamaica & Guyana, 42%): Unlike some other people, we are not opposed to these kind of blends, especially if the mix these two countriesof origin. However, examples of truly great blends are hard to come by. Nose: It is immediately clear what dominates here and where the Jamaican part comes from. I guess you will figure out just by reading my notes: Banana, milk chocolate, a mix of herbs, banana chips, and only in the background some of the Demerara spicyness. I am guessing column still here, more specifically, Savalla but let’s taste first. Palate: Banana, stewed banana, milk chocolate, a certain saltyness which actually confirms my “Savalle-suspicion” and once again the herbs. It is nothing special, but a well made blend that is kinda what you expect in this segment. And that’s indeed getting rarer and rarer these days. Finish: Medium long with banana stew and herbs, as well as some slightly salty (salted caramel) notes here and there. It’s a decent blend at a good price. Something closer to 45% would have been nice but all in all, there isn’t much to complain about with this one. (77/100)
Rum Artesanal Caribbean Island Rum (Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, 40%): This slightly sweetened blend does it all. It combines pot and column still, molasses and agricole, ex-Bourbon and Sherry casks as well as tropical and continental ageing. So what do you get if you throw everything into one cup? Typically trash but let’s see. Nose: Very mild and easy-going but sufficiently interesting. I get red berries, banana, fortified wine, some leather, milk chocolate as well as a whiff of herbs. At least in the nose it are really the red berries and bananas that shape the profile though. Palate: It is pretty evident now that sugar has been added but we are still miles away from what Plantation are doing/ have been doing, for instance. Crucially, we get elements from all three countries that make up the blend. Banana from Jamaica, the sweet red berries from the Dom Rep and now ever so slightly grassy notes and pears from Guadeloupe. Pretty cool. A fun rum that will suit many palates. Sure, it isn’t super deep and complex but good for many purposes, really. Finish: Longer than I expected and quite sweet. It comes with the same set of aromas as we’ve encountered before. An ideal rum for beginners, I think. Now just reduce the sugar content a bit more and we are fine, Dominik! (77/100)
On to the “special” ones then.
Pusser’s Nelson’s Blood Ceramic Decanter 1980s (Guyana, Trinidad & British Virgin Islands, 47,75%): On paper, this shouldn’t be too bad. But there’s a major kicker: it has been dosed considerably, unfortunately… What we know is that Pusser’s typically contained Port Mourant back then. Nose: Extremely musty and dusty. As if there’s some dust in my tasting glass that the rum has to fight against. Then clearly anise (PM!), orange peel, more dust, something between toffee and caramel as well as a whiff of tobacco and wood. Hmm, I am not sure what to make out of it yet… Palate: A lot cleaner, heavy on Port Mourant and the more I think about it, actually pretty much Port Mourant in a slightly sugary bed of caramel, toffee, hazelnut and milk chocolate. In the background then again the dusty and now more earthy notes. That’s not bad and the maturity is clearly there but personally, I’d just go for a good Port Mourant every day of the week. Finish: The best part of the rum with a mix of anise, wet wood, ever so slightly herbal notes and hints of cocoa here and there. It really cut a corner towards the end! But again, is this something we really need!? (79/100)
Compagnie des Indes Kaiman (Guadeloupe, Jamaica & Guyana, 46%): Let’s talk about the composition first: Almost three fourth is Guadeloupian rum from 1973, the remainder a mix of Jamaican and Demerara rum from 1993. Again, on paper that’s quite something, after all, the age statement would read 26 years while the majority goes way beyond 40 years now… Flo further tells us that the Guadeloupian rum (molasses-based) aged by itself until 2009 while the Jamaican (wedderburn rum) and Guyanese (blend of Savalle, EHP and PM) rums from 1993 were already blended in 1995. In 2009, everything has been put in a 1000l cask for another ten years. So far so good. Nose: Two things are immediately apparent. First, the rum doesn’t smell woody at all. Second, it is indeed all about the Guadeloupian share. I do get some J.Bally-like associations (not Guadeloupe, I know), but not the good style, i.e. more towards the vegetal notes than towards the fruity apple profile of the distillery. Then hints of glue, grape-juice that’s about to turn to wine as well as wine that is about to turn to vinegar. A really weird combination and I feel we have to taste the rum to learn more. Palate: The dilution is noticeable, but my guess is that it wasn’t too big. Nevertheless I think that it is slightly too thin. My fist associations are rhubarb, chicory, corn, green grapes and way less wood than you’d think. Add some lime and orange juice perhaps, now plenty of pepper and a bit of nutmeg. I am really underwhelmed I must say, not only because the profile isn’t really to my personal liking, but also because the rum is way less complex than I feel it should be. The finish is medium long and also merely an extension of the palate without offering any new notes. Oh dear… In theory, this had all the potential in the world, which is why I am so incredibly disappointed. It is by all means a good rum, but I was expecting much, much more. This makes me wonder how subpar the individual pieces of the blend must have been. (81/100)