We’ve actually had almost all or even all of the Nine Leaves that have been released already but only reviewed two of them so far. That’s either because we’ve only had them at a fair or didn’t take any notes for whatever other reason – we aren’t going to start justifying ourselves at this point! Anyway, there was the Velier Nine Leaves 2014 3YO, which didn’t really convince us, as well as the Rumclub bottling with an Armagnac finish, which was probably our favorite release so far. Thanks to the nice folks of Spirit of Rum, we shall have another look at some of the prior release. And we actually do take notes this time!
Nine Leaves PX cask 2YO (48%): Nose: The colour doesn’t really give it away but the PX cask definitely comes through here. Behind the typical, Whisky-esque Nine Leaves profile with grains and malt, we can find those decidedly sweet, almost syrupy notes of raspberry, grenadine but also leather and wood. It feels slightly gimmicky but not bad at all and I can definitely understand why you’d want to enhance your young Rums in this way! Palate: We didn’t say it but the nose was a little aggressive, the palate is actually quite smooth and actually an even better balance between the distillery character and the fortified wine barrel. Flavourwise, there really isn’t anything new to be found here, but we shouldn’t expect that from a two year old Rum, I think. Finish: Short to medium long and surprisingly fresh with mint/ menthol and now also a bunch of herbs. Clearly the best of the Rum, which gets better and better towards the end. (81/100)
Nine Leaves Angel’s Half American Oak 3YO (50%): I am guessing that this is your standard ex-Bourbon barrel as the label states American Oak. Nose: Grainy with barley, rye, wheat and some wood. Blindly, I might have called this a Whisky, I think. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more to discover here and frankly, I am not fan. Palate: Again, quite smooth with exactly the set of notes you’d expect to get after nosing. It is quite a bit sweeter though than the scents suggested. Like with the PX Cask, I like the palate much more than the nose, even though it doesn’t offer any different notes. Finish: Rather short with more of the same same again. Some wood, some spices, but that’s about it. It is rather remarkable for a three year old, but I’d say Nine Leaves works better with those “fancy” casks. (80/100)
Nine Leaves Encrypted III (58%): Nose: Even more “grainy” than the Angel’s Half and even closer to Malt Whisky if you ask me. This is the kind of Nine Leaves I didn’t enjoy in the past and while it is not totally different in style from the Armagnac Cask, I’d say that it is totally different in terms of quality. Other associations include cereal, nougat, chocolate and maybe a whiff of glue. Palate: Not surprisingly, it reminds me a lot of the Velier bottling and just like that one, and absolutely opposed to the two Rums above, the palate is way sharper than the nose suggested. Then the mix of grains and cereals, as well as hazelnut and nougat. Finish: Medium long with citrus, the grains, wood and slightly bitter notes reminiscent of Earl Grey tea. Nope, it is not my cup of tea, even though we have to admit that it is another well made product. (75/100)