Today we have a pair of Monymusks from 1997 and the contenders couldn’t be much more different from one-another once again. The one is an incredibly young and diluted rum that has probably been maturing in Europe. The other is an old, tropically aged expression at full proof. So we expect pale and flat with the former, intense and woody with the latter but let us not get carried away by our prejudices.
Port Royal Monymusk 1997 7YO (46%): In the introduction we stated that we expect pale and flat. At least pale is the name of the game when it comes down to the rum’s colour. Let me just add here that I don’t think the Monymusk profile likes water, less so than many other rums. Nose: Very light and uninspiring. I get lots of vanilla and a continental fruit basket (pear, apple). Behind that gooseberries, a whiff of citrus but not too much more. Its profile is very close to the Monymusks from the 1970s, without quite reaching their respective levels quality though. Besides a minor metallic note there aren’t any problems with this one but it just doesn’t seem to have a lot to offer either. Palate: Quite light and diluted but it is surprisingly fine. Better than you’d expect at only 7 years. Another perfect demonstration that colour doesn’t mean anything (it really is pale as ****). The profile is essentially the same as the nose, so we shall not go over it again but I must say that we’ve had worse and that our fears were unnecessary. Finish: Relatively short with the pear and vanilla combination, but also some alcohol, which was to be expected. An easy drinking rum that’s a lot better than essentially all of the super market stuff, yet I feel that a couple of additional years would have been helpful. RTN (79/100)
Monymusk “Guiseppe Begnoni” 1997 22YO “EMB” (67,9%): EMB is probably my favorite Monymusk marque so far. It is just the profile that suits the distillery the most, if you ask me. Nose: Very mature and elegent – no wonder after twenty years in the tropics. I get quite some wood and a mix of exotic fruits such as apapaya, almost foul banana or ripe pineapple, but als plenty of glue and nail polish remover. It is the latter, that also gives me associations of marzipan and cherries perhaps. Now violets and more floral notes, caramel, more wood, roasted coconut and something between spearmint and eucalyptus, without really being any of the two. The nose is really compelling and fascinating, yet warm and charming at the same time. Palate: Wow. It took a rum such as the Habitation Velier Monymusk 2010 9YO to make sense out of this profile, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have put this to Monymusk ever. It is much closer to certain Long Ponds if you ask me, but at a quality that is more or less unmatched. It starts with the esters, fruits (kinda elegant and now “only” ripe) and glue but this eucalyptus/ spearmint note is loitering in the background the whole time. The texture is oily and just perfect, and at essentially 68% you cannot ask for a better integration of the alcohol. Then caramel, butter chicken, more papaya and slightly earthy notes, as well as a whiff of spices from the cask. Finish: Very long and exceedingly dry with wood, spices and coffee. Not spectacular, but the coffee note is an interesting twist here. All in all, it gets close to a perfect rum but in a sense it is already too grown up for me. Don’t get me wrong, it is doing everything just right, but a certain juvenility is clearly missing here. I guess it is simply close to impossible to get the best of both worlds after all. RTN (92/100)