Clarendon (Monymusk) 1984

Sometimes you get Rums that you couldn’t imagine to get, either because they exist no more as they have been blended or because they are still resting in some warehouse, only waiting to fall victim to the same practice. But then there are the times when companies are sold, acquired, consolidated, or part of the existing Rum stock is liquidated. And all of a sudden there is this Jamaican broker who just happens to have some of these new and previously unseen Rum vintages. The 1994 New Yarmouths are an example (see here for example) but these 1984 Clarendons / Monymusks also fall into that category. I just hope that they haven’t been maturing to death and that we are still getting at least one or two lively casks. We also got the marque, “MMW”, which stands for Monymusk Wedderburn, a medium bodied pot still style with an ester level of about 300 gr/hlaa.

Silver Seal Clarendon 1984 36YO (62,3%): This is an old label, it has actually been bottled at 36 years of age. Nose: At first glance, not excessively woody as we’ve feared. Instead, we get tropical fruits, bananas first and foremost, but also ripe mango, papaya and notes between tangerines and oranges. There’s a glue-like, almost syrupy note as you typically only get from tropical ageing. Then wood, but clearly not too much, herbs such as thyme or oregano and later the full dose of spice such as pepper, allspice or nutmeg. I gotta admit that I did not expect too much, but this smells great! Now also clearly eucalyptus. Palate: Relatively smooth and fruity at first, but then very quickly exceedingly bitter, a lot like black tea where the tea bag has been forgotten over night. This is also where eucalyptus comes through again. The first one to two seconds of a sip are really nice, but the bitterness and adstringency is more than just a bit too much for me. What a pity. I believe this could have been a really nice Rum at 25 years, say. Finish: Incredibly long and super bitter. The Rum isn’t overly woody, but the bitterness dominates the entire profile, which ruins quite a bit. This also sums up the Rum quite nicely: We expected something woody but got something bitter. That’s unfortunate, as we can cope with the former much better than with the latter. Nevertheless, it are Rums like these that can be legends at times, but it just doesn’t happen all the time. (79/100)

Plantation Extreme No. 4 Clarendon “MMW” 1984 36YO (74,8%): Almost 75% after 36 years, wow! Nose: A lot more glue and intense than the Silver Seal and quite to my surprise, the alcohol is super-well integrated. Blindly, this could also have been 50+%ish territory. Then banana, more glue, more banans, some vanilla, chocolate and chocolate chips, wood, nougat, allspice, cinnamon and deeper in the glass a pronounced eucalyptus note, as we’ve also found it in the Silver Seal. Really cool! Palate: More woody and less bitter than the Silver Seal, which looks good on paper, but the general profile of the Rum has definitely been muted by the cask to a large extent as well. We get wood, bananas, cocoa, coffee, rather mild spices from the cask, bitter notes (stale black tea, walnut bitters), deep in the background also other fruits such as oranges or papaya but all in all, this leaves a lot to be desired. It is just a very woody, cask-driven and boring profile. The only advantage is this smoothness at these “watts” but what is that really good for? Finish: Long with wood, slightly bitter notes, and the same whiff of fruits we’ve had before. Very forgettable. I kinda anticipated results like these, after all 35 years in the tropics (+1 in Europe) are a real challenge for every spirit. It can work, but it requires the appropriate cask management, which probably didn’t happen here. (78/100)