You know that my introductions have become less and less readable. Either there’s a bad (read: in my world excellent!) joke, some boring anecdote or background information nobody cares about. Alas, let’s just skip that gibberish and jump right in.
Robert Watson Jamaica (Long Pond) 1982 26YO (48%): The (alleged!?) blended 1982 Jamaicans by the likes of Bristol and Moon Import aside, this is the youngest Long Pond of this batch I know. At 26 years, that’s just crazy, isn’t it!? Nose: Very fruity and even though there’s quite some wood in the mix, it doesn’t seem to dominate the profile at all. It all starts with apples, quince and perhaps even pear, adds a few pinches of somewhat spicy spices, some wood, applesauce as well as aromas that remind me of bread tree. Behind that hints of vanilla and even some vegetal notes. So far so good but let’s see how the Rum handles the dilution. Palate: To answer that question, we have to say: it depends. On the one hand, it is sharper than I think it should be. On the other hand, it is sufficiently intense and it feels like the water might have tickled out a note or two, even. Its profile is relatively standard, compared to the other rums but on top of the apple, we get a strong vanilla note and even hints of cherries and red berries. These are only nuances though that you can only detect in a cross-tasting. Then branches, rosehip and mixed fruit tea. Finish: Shorter than it should be, with wood, apples, maple sauce and rosehip. I like it, but I couldn’t say that I love it – both, the finish and the entire Rum. (85/100)
The Whisky Agency Long Pond 1982 30YO (50,8%): Nose: Very elegant. Caramel, candied green apples, spices such as pepper or nutmeg, hints of chilli flakes, nougat and nicely integrated layers of wood are my first impressions. All in all it’s exceedingly hot and spicy but subtle fruity notes balance it out quite nicely. Then autumn leaves, freshly cut branches and baked apple. Lovely! Palate: I am not sure if the profile is creamier or sharper than it should be but it has elements from both worlds. I’d place it in the fruity & spicy flavour camp and next to baked apples I get caramel, different grains, pepper, nougat, chilli, also mild paprika, brinjal perhaps, dried tomatoes and now also extremely sweet pears. The palate is actualy way more complex than the nose and I am starting to fall in love with this one. This is Long Pond as it should be and, if I may say so, the style that suits the distillery’s profile the best. Finish: Long and rich. I’d place it somewhere between the fruity, vegetal and spicy notes. Excellent, despite some flaws – mostly the relatively poorly integrated alcohol, which definitely shouldn’t be the case at this age. (88/100)
Old Jamaique (Long Pond) 1982 30YO (50%): This one has been around for a fair price for way too long. I am not sure if that is for a reason (i.e. quality issues) or because Corman Collins weren’t quite as known a few years ago as they are today. Nose: A bit atypical I’d say. I get apples, grated ginger and nutmeg, a whiff of quince, some wood, vanilla and pepper perhaps. It seems to be cask driven as the notes I tend to associate with the distillate are not as present as they are with some of the other Rums. Palate: Quite sharp at first, but then we enter the world of the apple and quince combination, paired with most of the spices and the wood that we’ve also had in the nose. Here and there we get chilli flakes, oat and now also pear. It’s not bad, but really underwhelming. Finish: Apples, wood and tamarind. The latter is a more than welcome addition here. It is a solid Rum, but at the end of the day it clearly enqueues behind its sister casks. (81/100)
Isla del Ron Long Pond 1982 30YO (56,2%): This Rum by Malts of Scotland is said to be one of the very best rums of the batch. All I remember is that it was incredibly expensive when it came out (in relative terms for its time). Back then, nobody could have guessed that it would become such a rarity one day. Nose: Way more on the fruity side with papaya, mango, and the apples. Then caramel, toffee, wood and hints of tobacco. Vanilla, pepper and other spices can be found as well, and all in all I must say that this is perhaps the most balanced expression of the session. It just combines all of the good characteristics of the other Rums in a single bottling. Not as creamy as the nose suggested, but a lot more sour and ester-heavy instead. I get sour green apples, lemon, hints of grapefruit, just some wood, notes slightly akin to anise, clearly pepper and cloves as well as jasmin petals and oranges perhaps. Now this is a good one and it really sticks out in this session. Finish: Long with baked apple, lemon, grapefruit and just the right amount of wood. As far as I can tell, this is probably the best Rum of the entire batch, but who knows what we are missing… (89/100)
Berry Bros & Rudd Jamaica (Long Pond) 1982 33YO (57%): As we just saw, extra % help a lot, but of course we already knew that, my friends! Nose: And it seems to remain true. Apples, wood, brine, olives, treacle and caramel are my main associations here. Now of course this isn’t totally different from the other casks, but it has a lot more going for itself. I get additional notes such as mango, sugar, hints of tobacco and a wee bit of woodruff. Nice, nice! Palate: Smooth and full. It is noticeably heavier than the < 55% Rums and crucially, even a bit less sharp all in all. The woodruff is now even more prominent, and, pretty much to my liking, the fruits seem to be more tropical rather than continental. Behind that I get the right amount of wood, some spices from the cask (pepper, cloves, nutmeg), tobacco, a little sulphur (not disturbing at all actually) but of course also the characteristic apples. Nope, there isn’t much to complain about here. Finish: Quite long with wood, apples, spices and a little cardboard. Perhaps a bit too much of the cask after all!? Top notch stuff, that’s for sure, but the batch will probably never become a personal favorite nevertheless. (88/100)