Savanna 2007 (Independent Bottlings)

Savanna is one of those distilleries that seems to be rather reluctant when it comes to giving out barrels or selling bulk. Alas, there aren’t many independent bottlers (IBs) that had the pleasure to include a “Savanna” in their portfolio but apparently there are a handful of 2007s around. I do not know what the story behind these bottlings is but that shouldn’t stop us from checking them out.

Rum Nation SBRR Savanna Grand Arôme 2007 10YO (62,7%): Released in 2019, the Rum has spent two years in a steel tank after maturing on La Réunion. Nose: A bit alcoholic initially, but we eventually get a “typical” high ester Savanna. It starts with a slightly sour mix of red berries (mostly currants) and sour cherries, a few herbs such as oregano or thyme and deeper in the glass also hints of bubble gum. The nose is quite nice but, given that we are dealing with a Grand Arôme, a bit unspectacular. Palate: We are back with the same set of (red) fruits that we’ve found in the nose, a wee bit of menthol/ Wick Blau, eucalyptus perhaps, nutmeg, some more herbs and now also clearly pepper. Finish: Medium long but somewhat thin and fragile. We get the sour and fruity notes as well the pepper we’ve found before but it feels a bit unbalanced. It is not a huge deal, but we know better. All in all, it is a really good Rum that is simply lacking this “wow-effect” that we usually get with these expressions. (83/100)

The Wild Parrot Savanna Grand Arôme 2007 11YO (63,9%): This one has been selected by our buddy Pietro so we are curious to find out what he chose. Nose: Generally speaking, it is somewhat similar in profile to the Rum Nation but there are also pronounced differences. This one comes with more sulphate, is not as sour and seems to be a bit more settled overall. That said, it comes with less esters and lacks some of the fruity notes we’ve found before. Most notably, we also get cinnamon, a touch of olives/ brine, nutmeg and some wood. Palate: While the nose didn’t tell us everything, the palate has a much more conclusive story for us. We get a mix of Wick Blau and pepper, lots of nutmeg, foul strawberries, wood, bubble gum as well as a whiff of sour cherries. The texture is quite a bit thicker and creamier than that of the Rum Nation, which has a lot to do with its balance. The only question is: Is that what we necessarily want with Savanna, or do we prefer the more extreme expressions? I do not know, to be honest. Finish: Medium long and just like the Rum Nation, lacking any special or ‘strong’ notes. A fine Rum and we are getting closer to the level of the official bottlings. (86/100)

Compagnie des Indes Savanna Grand Arôme 2007 12YO (61,6%): Nose: Kinda in between the two previous Rums. It has the intensity of the Rum Nation, but the added depth and support of the Wild Parrot, which is essentially what I have been looking for after the two previous Rums. Sour cherries, currant and Wick Blau ice candies are once again the most obvious notes here but we also get wood, nutmeg, a wee bit of caramel and some sulphate. I am actually not sure if the latter should belong here or not but it is not really an issue. Palate: Way fruitier than the nose with a stronger emphasis on the cherries. The ice candies are still there, of course, as are the red berries but we now get more and more aromas from the cask, whipped cream, laurel, pepper and wood. Yes, this one is really to my liking as it combines the best of both worlds. Finish: Long with esters, red berries, herbs and aromas from the cask. Now we are talking, my friends. (87/100)