Rhum Around the World again

Just another bag of rhums, that didn’t really fit in anywhere else. The idea is that these rhums can come from all over the world, that they come from countries that we do not visit often (in a metaphorical sense) and that we do not have proper companions to taste alongside. Alas, a rather wild session but that can be fun.

issan (2)That Boutique-Y Rum Company Issan (Thailand, 40%): An unaged one and I am not sure why there needs to be an indy bottler for this if it is also only 40% but heck, we are curious of course. It should be a 2015 batch, by the way. Nose: Very nice but 40% are just too little. I get fresh sugar cane, lemon grass, citrus, vanilla, pears and a mix of exotic fruits, Rambutan perhaps. Very promising. Palate: A cool mix of vanilla and lemon grass. This should be killer cocktail material but 40%… well, I am repeating myself. Then slightly woody notes (this is unaged, remember), more vanilla, hints of pears and something close to rhubarb, even though it clearly isn’t it either. I am sorry, but that’s as good as my description for this one will get… The finish is super short and doesn’t offer anything more. I guess a higher abv might be helpful here. Okay, okay, I stop. What we’ve learned is that Issan seems to be really promosing. I will definitely keeping an eye on the distillery! thumb-60x60 (77/100)

cruzan2 (2)Cruzan White (Virgin Islands, 40%): A somewhat mystical distillery, but mostly due to its lack of availability rather than its excellent reputation. I am not sure how to date this bottling though. We shall see. Nose: There’s lots and lots of (natural) sweetness, plenty of vanilla, some alcohol, but frankly, not too much more. A hint of green apples perhaps. Very lifeless distillate. Palate: Mild, sweet and ever so slightly sour with the green apples form the nose, now joined by unripe pears perhaps. Then vanilla, alcohol and sugar. A good demonstration of natural sweetness in a raw distillate – there hasn’t been anything added, nor did the barrel leave its mark. Finish: A lot longer than I expected, with vanilla, the green apples and hints of lime perhaps. In a sense it is a good test for our Señor Popo fans out there: Artificial flavours aside, if this rum is not sweet enough for you, stick to spirit drinks, my friends. It doesn’t nail my idea of a “white”/ unaged/ aged and filtered rum but it is an honest product, at least. (50/100)

SBHXO (2)Rhum St Barth XO (St. Barth, 45%): This is a cuvée of seven, eigth and ten year old rhums and should be, if I am not mistaken, a blend of cane juice and molasses based spirit. Nose: I definitely believe in the latter and the overall profile kinda reminds me of St Lucia Distillers. The nose is predominently fresh, herbal and slightly grassy with sugar cane, lovage, thyme, ginger, beet root and even mild horseradich. Behind that sweet strawberries and cheap bubblegum. Very interesting and quite nice! Palate: 45% seems to be a fair compromise here. My initial impression is a mix of mint and strawberry, paired with a herb mix, wasabi (non-spicy), fresh sugar cane, grapefruit, and flavoured toothpaste for kids. This is all fine and I do not have much to complain about. Later I get more grassy notes (moss, fern) and exactly the right amount of support from the cask. Finish: Medium long and ‘fresh’ with mint, wood, sweet-sour cough-candies and strawberry. Well done! The similarities to St Lucia Distillers are tremendous, even though their potential hasn’t been reached entirely yet. But what these guys are doing here is very promising, that’s for sure. thumb-60x60 (84/100)

rum-rhum-island-red-cane (2)Rhum Island Cane Red Cane (Marie-Galante, 53%): Why is a rhum from Marie-Galante considered an exotic, you may ask – and rightly so. Yes, the rum is produced on Marie-Galante but the brand Island Cane is located in Saint-Martin. So indeed, we probably are not doing it the right way this time, but hey, it kinda fits the bill, don’t you think!? They put some coordinates on the back label (15° 56’N / 61° 16’W) but I think they refer to the center of the island, and not a specific distillery. Bielle and Bellevue aren’t too far away though. Nose: Super aromatic and intense with solvent, raspberry, glue, fresh pineapple and citrus such as as lime. Very good! Palate: As intense and aromatic as the nose but now with some more spicy and even hot elements such as pepper and chili. The rhum manages to maintain its fruitiness but it really are the spices that dominate the profile now. Szechuan pepper perhaps. Slightly uncommon, but good. Finish: A bit too short for my liking and what I thought was a slightly too thin texture at first turns out to be a weak spot in the finish, first and foremost. Now it isn’t short per se, but something is missing here, but that’s complaining about first world problems. It is an extraordinary Agricole Blanc! thumb-60x60 (85/100)

nlrc (2)Rumclub Nine Leaves “Armagnac Finish” (Japan, 59,8%): This should be the “Encrypted III”, that received an Armagnac finish for two years. What is more, it should be the oldest Rum from the distillery to date. Nose: I think that the Nine Leaves profile is relatively characteristic within the domain of rum. However, it reminds me more of Whisky than of anything else. I get different grains, corn, bread but this time also fruity notes such as apricot, orange or mango. I don’t think I would have been able to detect the finish in the nose but it is indeed a bit different from the standard Encyrpted III. However, that might also be a result of higher maturity. Palate: Once again, for me this is closer to Malt Whisky (Bruichladdich) than to other Rums or, well, Armagnac. I get the grains and the bread, quite some wood, raisins, a hint of oatmeal, ripe oranges and apricots, slightly syrupy notes (think the raisins again) and some notes from the cask that remind me of spices and nuts. By the way, the texture is remarkable – super thick and creamy! Finish: Medium long with wood, orange jam, chestnut and pomace. Now Nine Leaves will probably never become my favorite distillery, quite the contrary, but we have to acknowledge its quality. This is a very solid, well-crafted Rum that nicely demonstrates Yoshiharu Takeuchi’s skills and if he continues along this lane, our opinion is bound to change one day. What’s for sure is that this is easily his best expression to date. thumb-60x60 (84/100)

The featured image comes once again from our buddy Vintage Sugar Cane Postcards.