Arrak Blind Tasting Part II

We don’t have anything to add. This part II of the Arrak Blind Tasting organised by Artur. All we’ve learned in the meantime is that there will be three more (Rum) blind tastings coming up in the near future. I don’t know what it is going to be but I am sure it is going to be just as crazy.

Riemerschmid Batavia Arrak (late 1960s/ early 1970s, 50%): You probably know Riemerschmid as a manufacturer of syrups. Sometimes it is really funny to see what else some companies have been doing. Let’s hope it works out. Nose: I am getting herbal notes, a hint of plums, maraschino cherries, some chocolate, nougat and more spice. It is actually quite good, with a few similarities to Guyana Rum. Palate: Lots and lots of herbs, which really dominate the profile. Here and there some of the other notes from the nose but still mostly the herbs. This is all sound and good, but just not to my personal liking. Finish: Long with herbs and some spices. What shall I say… Objectively speaking, it is a solid product, subjectively only subpar. (57/100)

Riemerschmid Batavia Arrak (1940s/ early 1950s, 50%): So apparently this one was an even older release. Nose: Slightly sweet and a bit thin. I am getting a mix of fruits such as cherries, plums and perhaps even raspberries but also clearly that “typical” Arrak note that I associate with the red rice. Later than more chocolatey notes. It is really similar to the previous Riemerschmid bottling. Palate: Way more herbal than the nose with dill and majoram. Here and there we also get a glimpse of the fruity notes from the nose but but they only play a subordinate role here. Then vanilla, some oak and more vague influences from the cask. Finish: More and more herbal notes and now also a faint bitterness coming from the wood. I’d rate this ever so slightly above the other Riemerschmid, with the same conclusion: A solid product that just does not hit my personal palate. (59/100)

Eggers Alter Echter Batavia Arrac (1970s, 58%): According to Arturs measurement, this one should be sweetened at 32 g/l, the only adulterated (Verschnitt aside) product we’ve had in this session. “Alter Echter” means “old real” by the way. Nose: Herbal notes (dill, majoram) meet foul fruits (pineapple, oranges) and more citrussy notes. Not bad at all! Palate: Not quite as fresh and citrussy as the nose. Instead, we get more earthy and even vegetal notes, which once again sets me back to Rhum from Guadeloupe. I’d describe it as a mix of cauliflower and something between green beans and green aspargus. Odd, but good. Finish: Medium long with the vegetal and earthy notes of the palate. I shouldn’t like this on paper but oddly enough, I kinda do. The 58% aren’t boozy at all and provide the necessary power to deliver the flavours which I think might have gone lost at <50%. Now I do not get the sugar at all, so something else has to be going on here. It is hard to tell. (66/100)

By the Dutch Batavia Arrack Wit (48%): We’ve already had the aged By the Dutch which was rather good (79/100), so let’s see. Nose: A bit muted at first but then there’s this note somewhere between vanilla, tonka and honey-flavoured yoghurt. I am not sure why but it takes a lot of time to open up but even then we do not get too much. It doesn’t make much sense, I know. Palate: A bit of an oddball. The profile is fine, well-balanced and with a great texture but nothing really stands out in any way. It is really hard to pick out any individual notes here. Towards the finish we also get slightly off notes that remind me of nail polish remover, just not in the good way as we know it from the Jamaican Rums, for example. Finish: Short and full of nothing. Well, there’s something but nothing we can sensibly put in words. This is the one that isn’t doing anything wrong, but it also isn’t doing anything right. (45/100)

Dallmayr Original Arrac de Batavia (56%): For those of you who do not know Dallmayr, Alois Dallmayr is a famous German coffee and tea house that started adding more and more “delicacies” to its portfolio. They also have a couple of Rums, which were surprisingly good! Let’s check out their Arrak! Nose: Either we are dealing with another one that needs a lot of time to open up or this particular one just isn’t very aromatic. It is almost Vodka like and here I definitely do not have problems naming the notes that are present; cause they simply aren’t. Oh boy. Palate: I am already expecting the worst. Oha. The first millisecond was Vodka again, but then my impression was that we are dealing with a high ester Rum. Crazy stuff. It does have this earthy touch to it but it really is only a nuance in the background. Instead, we get the whole potpourri of tropical fruits and esters. Finish: Quite long and basically an extension of the palate. What amazes me the most about this one is how you essentially cannot find any of the extremely aromatic notes from the palate in the nose. I do not know much about chemistry but how does that even work? A very fun Arrak, that’s for sure! (75/100)

Rum Albrecht Fine Old Arak (1930s, 58%): Another Arrak by Rum Albrecht! I had no idea that they were bottling so much Arrak back then! Nose: Rather atypical with coconut, sugar cane, toddy, vegetal notes, olives, bread and more rather uncommon notes. It is different, but at least in the nose quite okay. Palate: Very oily and briney, which describes both, the texture and the flavour profile. I get olives, salt, anchovies, artichoke, tapenade, grilled vegetables and other related notes. I must say that I kinda like this “Maritime” touch, even though I do not think that this particular one is extremely good. Finish: Medium long with the notes from the palate. A welcome change of direction, but we are having too many off-notes here for my liking. It really is the sum of many little things, instead of this being “only” an average one altogether. (61/100)

Robinson Original Batavia Arrac (1980s, 56%): This should be is the same Robinson that is also having a very good high ester Jamaican Rum. I haven’t seen that one anymore lately though… Nose: Somewhere between acidic and citrussy. Frankly, I do not think I want to taste this but I am afraid we’ll have to. Palate: Not as terrible as I thought after the nose but still not good. These acidic, almost vinegar-esque notes really are not nice. I am wondering if those are intentional/ desired or not. This has to be an older product; at least I don’t hope stuff like this is being produced and bottled these days. Finish: Too long and still not good. My oh my. At least it is a lot better than many of the flavourless products that are close to neutral alcohol. But of course that might be totally different for you. (29/100)

Robinson Original Batavia Arrac (late 1960s/ early 1970s, 59%): Another Robinson bottling that has to be a lot older than the previous one. What is more, it does have some more colour to it, as well as a few extra watts. Nose: I get the same sort of acidity and vinegar like notes that we’ve also found in the previous one but here that’s a lot worse. Now I am really scared. Palate: Ouch. This is just terrible at all levels. Some of the worst stuff we’ve ever had and all I am trying to do at this point is getting rid of this “flavour”. It really is that bad. Finish: Ultra long actually, and something you’ll never forget. With a good product that would have been a big plus, here that’s exactly the opposite of what we want. Did people really drink this stuff back then? Actually I think people still do today, but only because of a lack of better alternatives. (6/100)