Port Mourant 1989

When we’ve done Caroni 1989, I’ve told you that there aren’t many great rums from my year of birth. This batch of Port Mourant is arguably the best though and we were very fortunate to finally get a rum at full cask strength. With these Duncan Taylors, I am always having my doubts… I’d say let’s not go by age but ascend in abv for this tasting.

Samaroli Demerara (Port Mourant) 1989 29YO (45%): Do we have to state the obvious!? I don’t think so but nevertheless: Why Samaroli, why? Why do you have to dilute rums like these!? Nose: My first impression is “nice”, but it is immediately followed by a resigning disbelief which makes me wonder once again why this rum has been thinned out like this? The dilution is clearly noticeable and even the warming scents of olive oil, rosary, mint and anise aren’t strong enough. Then warm butter, sandal wood and mango but all at an intensity that is really lacking power. My inner rum nerd is almost starting to get mad because of all this wasted potential! Palate: Again the olive oil, but it is almost spicy, with harsh parsley and spicy oregano, sour mango, grapefruit and a hint of lavendar. Only then can I find anise, wood and more peppery notes, that I’d attribute to the barrel. Later dirter, slightly smoky aromas as well has burnt herbs. What surprises me is how heavy the rum is, despite the dilution. It is definitely not what I’d call an easy sipper. Finish: Way too short for my liking with a mix of the herbs, olive oil, wood and now also a hint of apples, not unlike good Calvados. It is such a great rum, but one that could have been so much more. I am quite sure of that. (87/100)

Duncan Taylor Uitvlugt Distillery (Port Mourant) 1989 23YO (54,9%): There was a time, when bottlers of Scotch Whisky just happened to have some of the best rums the world has ever seen lying in their warehouses, without really knowing what’s in their barrels. I am quite sure this was one such barrel. Nose: Also rather reluctant at first but then exceedingly heavy with wood, molasses, fresh soil, the smell of iron and muscovado sugar. Eventually the rum opens up but instead of getting additional flavours, the ones we’ve already head simply intensify. Then some herbs, dried tomatoes, plums and all in all, very umami-like scents. Palate: A really good, very sweet old school Port Mourant, that kinda sets us back into the 1970s. It has everything you need, and even provides a fun, fruity touch. It starts with licorice, molasses, burnt sugar, wood, coffee and anise and demonstrates flashes of overripe mango and papaya here and there. The mouthfeel is fine but it kinda makes you think that some water has probably been added to the rum. What really strucks me is this combination of the sweet, almost sugary notes and the old school Port Mourant profile. I think that’s just great! Now the plums again and, similar to the Samaroli, something close to rich olive oil. Finish: Medium long and relatively sweet with Demerara sugar, wood, plums and and Mediterranean herbs. Oh these first Duncan Taylor bottlings really were quite something, weren’t they!? (92/100)

Silver Seal Uitvlugt (Port Mourant) 1989 30YO (55,8%): A thirty year old Demerara – that’s always special and if it plays in the same league as the Duncan Taylor it surely will be. Nose: While it has the same profile as the Duncan Taylor, it is definitely drier and more mature, but that was to be expected. Once again, we start with molasses, licorice and wood, but then add salted caramel, coffee and plums. This is one of those rums where I want to take a sip right away but know that I will be thouroughly rewarded if I am more patient. And indeed, after about an hour the rum suddenly has even more to offer, from nuances in the coffee note over different consistencies/ states of sugar that’s being heated to the spices that come from both, the distillate and the cask. Simply great! Palate: Once again, this is sweeter than I expected, but also much more bitter than the Duncan Taylor, for example. The coffee note is very dominant, but luckily, I am a sucker for that. Most crucially, the rum isn’t too woody at all – these Port Mourants can definitely tolerate such a long aging. Then more roasting aromas, cinnamon, salted short bread, chocolate and anise, of course. Magnificient! Finish: Quite long with yoghurt, molasses, wood and a mix of spices. Even if a rum like this costs a fortune these days, I am extremely glad that it exist. You’ve probably read this a few times on this blog already but I always feel like there has been a cut at some point with Demerara rums, which changed the way they produce rums forever. My guess is that is is about the personnel but that’s (hopefully) the content of a proper essay for the future. (93/100)