Since your dear writer is quite involved with a few other issues these days, a quick trio from Cubas only non-state-owned distillery (afaik) has to suffice for today.
S.B.S Cuba 2013 5YO “PX Finish” (50%): This one comes with a PX Sherry finish. I’d say this can work reasonably well with Sancti Spiritus but let’s see. Nose: Mostly the Sherry but not as sweet as you’d think with PX. I don’t think I would have been able to point out Sancti Spiritus or even Cuba in a blind tasting though. Sure, the typical column-still notes are there (tobacco, caramel) but that could have been, say, Panama as well. My other main associations are leather, dried prunes and apricots, Mon Chérie and hints of sulphur but none of the lime/ green grapes/ white chocolate notes I typically associate with the distillery. Well, grapes perhaps with plenty of imagination. Palate: We get a similar pattern. The rum is quite creamy but the alcohol is also very present, which is no real surprise at “just” five years. The Sherry notes are omnipresent and can mostly be found in the form of red fruits, dried plums and raisins, cherries, whipped cream, Black Forest cake and leather. Finish: Medium long with the creamy Sherry notes, which is rather nice. Once again I feel like we should point out that this really isn’t extremely sweet! We always like rums like these, but this one just doesn’t stand out in any category, neither for the better nor for the worse. But yeah, it is a lot better than many of the products the Whisky crowd celebrates as “Sherry-monsters”. (83/100)
Compagnie des Indes Cuba Secrete 2009 9YO (58,7%): Cuban rums by IBs can only come from Sancti Spiritus if I am not mistaken but the vintage and and the style are quite new to me. Of course that doesn’t mean that this isn’t Sancti Spiritus. Nose: Quite flat with vanilla and white chocolate. Grapes perhaps, so maybe there you go. Then grains, fennel, something close to hay and more wood than this Rum might need – at just nine years! I hope the palate has more to offer. Palate: Well… more of the same, same, just slightly better. It starts with white chocolate, vanilla and honey but we still get the somewhat more boring side of hay and grains. Clearly not the type of Rum we have been waiting for; it has absolutely nothing to do with some of the lovely 1998s or 2003s. Finish: Longer than you’d expect but it doesn’t come with anything that would save the rum. There’s mostly vanilla and oak. One of the lesser Sanctis so far and another Rum on the sheer infinite list of Compagnie des Indes Rums where I don’t understand why it has been bottled. (58/100)
Moon Import Sancti Spiritus 1998 9YO (46%): Moon Import doesn’t state the age of the rum and since this has been bottled in 2007, it might also be only eight years old. Nose: Quite raw, young and surprisingly boozy. Then the characteristic green grapes and white chocolate, as well as a hint of lime but not much more. Very standard, solid, but at this maturity, nothing special. Palate: Merely a copy of the nose, but that was to be expected. However, and I am not sure why I am getting this all of sudden, it has a certain chalkiness or limestone-like nuances, which remind me of Ben Nevis. Yeah, there you go. It blends in nicely with the wood though! I don’t think I’ve found this in the older expressions of the batch. Finish: Relatively short with wood, the limestone as well as the grapes. You can tell that this is a nice batch but that this particular Rum lacks a certain maturity and that this probably wasn’t the best barrel either. Cool for you old schoolers out there, however. (79/100)