Blends, with ups and downs

Another sessions of Blends. When done correctly, they can excel. But how often is that really the case?

Rum Artesanal Burke’s Single Blended Rum (Jamaica & Réunion, 61%): This is not the first Burke’s by Heinz Eggert. In fact, there have been several different releases in the past with different compositions and based on the label alone it was impossible to tell what you have exactly, if I remember correctly. They were all purely Jamaican Rums though. Anyway, this is the new Burke’s with its own, unique design. By the way, Single Blended doesn’t really make sense in this context, no!? Nose: The Réunion element definitely dominates the profile and inevitably make’s me think of Savanna’s Blancs. Foul strawberry, nail polish remover, a mix of ripe and unripe fruits (especially pear), a whiff of nutmeg/ pepper and, well, esters in general are my main impressions here. So far, so good. Palate: Balanced and in your face at the same time, nice! The foul strawberries make the start, but pears, mango and other fruits are almost equal guest. Then the spices from the nose and now also slightly herbal notes, as well as a very faint touch of yoghurt. There’s absolutely nothing to complain about here, this should be one heck of a mixer. While we probably wouldn’t drink it neat, unlike some Clairins for example, I see this working very well in many different drinks. (82/100)

Tamosi (Barbados, Jamaica, Panama, 45%): This is Tamosi’s core range product, and all I can say beforehand is that their single cask releases are magnificent, and that this particular selection of countries has become more or less the standard in the world of blends, it seems. Nose: Yes, knowing what this is, I believe I can find all three elements, which is a big plus, I think. Barbados comes with dry spices, Jamaica with fruity notes, and Panama with tobacco and a hint of sulphate. Technically, there isn’t anything to bitch about, but this doesn’t really get us excited either. Palate: My first impression is watery, my second is meh. The Panamanian part seems to take over here, and Jamaica is only represented with a rather dull mix of pears and papaya. And Barbados… well, we know where that brine-y stuff is coming from… Finish: Medium long and not too bad, with a few more spices, apples, and wood. It really reminds me of Calvados. I am sorry Ben, but this just isn’t my cup of tea! (62/100)

Tamosi Port Cask (Barbados, Panama, Jamaica, 55%): This is the “standard” Tamosi rum, just with a port finish and more power. On paper, this just has to be better! Nose: Hmm, it is more intense, yes, but if I hadn’t known what this is, I probably would have said that they also increased the Panamanian share. I guess the latter and the port cask just simply share a few similar notes, i.e. sulphate, tobacco, plums, and this certain sweetness that comes with both of them. Now that isn’t totally bad and while we are huge fans of Jamaican rums as you know, we often feel like they easily take over these blends. Since we have less of that here, I think this is decent. Palate: Despite the higher abv, the rum still feels watery and thin and I am really lacking the intensity that I feel it should have. Now here we are clearly missing Jamaica and its flavours. This could also be a Sixteen bottling if you ask me (nope, I do not know what the share is) and if you are into that, you definitely want to check this out. For us. this is still a pass, even though I prefer it to the version without the finish. Speaking of which, Finish: Still medium long with more wood, caramel, tobacco and hints of leather. I think I’ll pour myself another dram of the Tamosi’s excellent Port Mourant 1998 instead. (66/100)

Kill Devil Navy Blend (Guyana & Jamaica, 57%): Guyana and Jamaica at 57%, what could possibly go wrong? Well, bad casks or a lack of blending skills, but come on! Nose: Hhmmm… what is this? Jamaica is obvious (banana, so Worthy Park) but Guyana, at least initially isn’t. Now honey, greek yoghurt, a few herbs but not too much more. Oh dear… I think this is another IB “standard” bottling for the masses but unfortunately I don’t think it is any good. But let’s taste it first. Palate: Banana, sure, but also plenty of herbs as well as more spices that have to come from the Guyanese element. I’d say this is pure pot still so if I had to make a bet, I’d say Port Mourant. It just has this saltiness beneath the honey which, by itself, is perfectly fine, but I think that this particular mix doesn’t work too well. Once again: Had you told me before, I would have said that there isn’t going to be any issue with this but it just isn’t a match that works for me. Finish: Banana, raw pineapple, the herbs we’ve had before, and quite some wood. Either this is fresh oak, or the blend isn’t as young as the flavour profile suggests. Anyway, it is not a Rum the world needs, if you ask me. But then again, it doesn’t hurt anyone, does it!? (63/100)

Rumclub “Nanny of the Maroons” (Jamaica & Ghana, 65,3%): Una world premier – I don’t think this combination existed before. But what much more important than being the first at something is having a good product, so let’s see. Nanny of the Maroons was the leader of the Jamaican Maroons by the way. The Maroons fought a guerilla war against the Brits in the Colony of Jamaica in the early 18th century in what became known as the First Maroon War. Nose: Really cool as this is not merely a new type of product on paper, but also a profile unlike any other I know. There are nuts (cashews, pistachios), lots of lime and lime peel, carob, fresh sugar, the slightly acidic notes reminiscent of pineapple or tangerine coming from a high ester Rum and more exotic fruits such as rambutan or mangosteen. Very cool! Palate: Slightly more aggressive (still relatively smooth when judged by the abv) but also more mature and full-bodied than I thought when nosing. This mix of nuts, esters and fruity notes is just nice. Next to the rambutan/ mangosteen combination I now also get pears, banana, and perhaps even ginger. Then the nuts again, as well as fresh cane juice. It is this interaction of the different, somewhat unrelated elements that makes it so great. But hey, isn’t that what a good blend is supposed to do!? Finish: Long with the pears and other, slightly sour, fruity notes. Call me a fan – I just wish this would be a cheaper, permanently available product. (85/100)

Ron Colón High Proof (El Salvador & Jamaica, 55,5%): High proof sounds good, no!? Nose: We are getting this mix of “Spanish” and “French” elements. However, we are also noticing the relatively young age, even though that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially if that means more aggressive and intense here. I am getting lots of herbs and despite the Jamaican part, we can clearly Cihuatán profile I have in mind. Then vanilla, a whiff of varnish, unripe pineapple, citrus and even banana perhaps. Let’s see about the palate before coming up with any conclusions. Palate: Slightly sharp with pineapple and a pronounced Obstler character, which screams premature Rum to me. It has quite a few similarities with quite a few young Jamaicans (Worthy Park, especially) but once again, we are not really fond of that particular style… Now the herbs again, banana, some cocoa and this kerosene note which you can sometimes find in Worthy Park as well – there’s no doubt anymore where the Jamaican part hails from, no!? Finish: Short but intense with pineappele, banana, herbs and milk chocolate. I know that this is a profile that some people like. For me it just isn’t there yet, i.e. it hasn’t been thought through to the end. (72/100)

That wasn’t what we were hoping for so here’s a small bonus.

Ron Colón High Proof Coffee Infused (El Salvador & JAmaica, 55,5%): If I understood this correctly, the have cold infused the Ron Colón High Proof with coffee beans. Nose: Oh totally, this is fully dominated by coffee and it might actually be more aromatic than the (actually great!) coffee liqueur I have. Behind that we can find nuances of cocoa, marzipan, wood and peanuts but we could just as well have stopped with just “coffee”. Palate: Still almost entirely coffee, but here we are also getting a few of the rummy notes. It is actually really, really good, even though it is neither a Rum, nor a liqueur, but who cares. Finish: Relatively long with coffee, honey, wood and a few herbs and there. A cool twist, even though I am still not entirely sure what to make out of this. I guess a good product is a good product. At the end of the day, you might want to take this as a mixer instead of the less potent coffee liqueurs out there. It should work rather well, I guess. (no score)