Gardel is no stranger to us, yet the only Gardel we’ve reviewed so far was the legendary Cadenhead’s Gardel 1982 20YO. Let’s add a few expressions to that list.
Bristol Gardel 1992 10YO (46%): This one has received a “French Cask Finish” and I am guessing that this might some sort of Brandy, rather than wine. Nose: Quite sweet (pastry, sweet raspberry), lots of menthol, some more vegetal notes such as cauliflower or chicory and then more wood than you’d expect from a diluted, ten year old rum. In the background lure spices such as pepper or caraway. Quite an odd fella and somewhat different than the other Gardels I know. Palate: Once again I get lots of menthol, the vegetal notes from the nose as well as more or less an identical set of spices. The nose really translates one to one to the palate, actually. But there’s more: I now also get curcuma, some sort of curry mix and also okra. What’s worth mentioning is that the texture is really great, something we are used to with these old, 46% Bristols. The finish is a big plus here with curcuma, cumin, wood and pepper. There are a few things I like about this bottling, but all in all it just doesn’t feature enough of what I am loving in Gardel. (79/100)
The Secret Treasures Gardel “Black Label” 1989 13YO (42%): The first of two 13YO 1989 bottlings by The Secret Treasures. Nose: So much better than the Bristol! I get bamboo, sweet and sour pineapple, a mix of ripe berries, stone fruits such as plums or sweet Amarena cherries as well as more perfumed notes a là Courcelles. This is really great and at least the nose doesn’t smell like only 42% at all – it is really intense. Palate: Again, not excessively watery. What’s going on? There are more Amarena cherries, the corresponding syrup, wood, now lots of menthol, hints of chili flakes and now more bitter notes slightly akin to stale black tea (this might also be where the menthol is coming from). In a sense, it is already a bit too mature and bitter, but that’s still tolerable. Really good juice! Finish: Long with wood, menthol and the bitter notes. A real surprise! I knew that this is good, but not that it is this good. (87/100)
The Secret Treasures Gardel “Single Cask” 1989 13YO (42%): Note that this is just labelled as “Single Cask” while it is in fact a small batch release of three barrels, which is even stated on the bottle. Nose: Extremely similar to that of the “Black Label”. Relatively speaking, it is ever so slightly less sweet and here it might be more the berries that play the first fiddle but these are really only marginal differences. Then the wood and spices, as well as a touch of fresh herbal notes (mint). Perhaps I can also find something close to caramelised popcorn or candy floss, something that reminds me once again of Courcelles. Palate: It does feel like having the “Black label” again. If I had to describe the flavour profile with a different vocabulary I’d use associations such as hibiscus, turmeric, cola nut and, heck, green tea this time but it really is an incredibly similar Rum all in all. Finish: Quite long and bitter with wood, menthol and some of the spices we’ve found before. Long story short, this is just as good as the other bottling by The Secret Treasures. (87/100)