Isn’t it amazing that we now can do an entire session featuring only Sajous now!?
Sajous 2019 (56,4%): It has been a while since we’ve had unaged Sajous, so let’s check if the current version holds up to the greatness of the previous batches. Nose: Slightly more earthy than I’ve had it in mind. Despite this perceived dirtiness, it is actually relatively crisp and clear, but not as aromatic and intense as some of the previous batches. Hints of varnish meet peach and mango, also something close to Lassi perhaps. Still really good, but different. Palate: Oh yeah, that’s Sajous for you, but we only get a whiff of the characteristic raspberries. Instead, the mango and peach combination, paired with herbal notes, dry wooden sticks, a whiff of moss perhaps, some more varnish and brush cleaner shape the profile. Then clearly also dark chocolate/ cocoa. Finish: More of the chocolate, Rooibos tea, an idea of vanilla and fresh soil stay around for quite a bit. I like it, but indeed, this one is a bit less stellar than previous batches. (84/100)
Sajous 2017 16 mois #SA17CR-2 (54,5%): CR-2 denotes Caroni cask #2, of course. I wonder if they skipped CR-7 or not (okay, okay, I’ll stop). Nose: Well, we get little to none of the Caroni notes and frankly, this smells much, much fresher than the other aged Sajous I have had. Was this an LTR cask perhaps? So yeah, close to the raw distillate with brush cleaner even, raspberry and plenty of herbs. The cask didn’t really do much. At best we got some wood, a stronger emphasis on the herbs than with the unaged Sajous and vanilla perhaps. On the flipside, the aromas seem to be scaled back a bit. Palate: Quite mellow with a lot of vanilla now and also the herbs again. There are essentially no signs of the typical raspberries anymore. Instead I get plums but also wood and only with some imagination a few heavier and mineral notes perhaps. This is definitely not an “enhancement” in the actual sense of the word. Finish: Slightly hot with chilies and pepper, as well as more wood than we’ve had at the palate. Nope, this barrel didn’t work too well, at least not for me. I’d say that there has been too much substractive and too little additive adulteration, but of course that are just my two cents. (80/100)
Sajous 2017 21 mois #SJ17HP-4 (54,5%): So HP does not stand for Highland Park but a Rum distillery. What could that be!?!? Nose: Right, we can surely find some esters but with more and more time in the glass they seem to vanish. I now get lots and lots of herbs such as dill, oregano and majoram, more vegetal notes such as fennel but almost nothing that’s even remotely fruity. I don’t know… it doesn’t bode too well. It’s not that it is bad, it just doesn’t seem to be a good fit. Palate: The palate is a lot better, with much more esters and fruity notes than we’ve found in the nose. Nevertheless, there’s absolutely no symbiosis and it seems that the cask and the distillate have lived to completely separate lives. What is more, I don’t think that more or less influence of the cask would have helped here: More and we surely would have done a lot better with a pure Hampden, less and a standard, sucked out Bourbon barrel might have done the trick instead. As it is, it is a real weirdo, that should be booked under “reference Rum” I guess. Later there’s also this weird moldy note that’s slightly irritating and I can even find it in the nose now. Finish: Short and once again this collision of two worlds. We get some distillate, some barrel, some good, some bad, but no real entity. I don’t have much more to add. (78/100)
Sajous 2017 21 mois #SJ17BI-1 (55,4%): Mmhh, a Bielle cask. Nose: Yes, quite some Bielle actually. So much that it took over the Rum I believe. I get a mix of plums/ prunes, apricot, nectarine, the somewhat characteristic chewing gum (not sure if cherry or strawberry flavour, but with these artificial flavours it is always hard to tell), rubber, banana and only now a few raspberries and herbal notes. It’s quite good though! Palate: Flavourwise, we can almost copy our descriptors from the nose, the palate is really similar. Once again, more of a hostile takeover than a symbiosis but I don’t mind that. The texture is kinda skipping back and forth between the distillate and the cask aromas though, which isn’t annoying however. It’s a bit like “Now the herbs take over, now the bubble gum and the apricot, back to raspberries, back to overripe banana”. Yes, this is good. Finish: Medium long and as you might have expected with the whole Bielle range of apricot, bubble gum and overripe banana. One of the better Clairin Ansyens for me so far. (87/100)
Sajous 2017 22 mois #SJ17JD-4 (55,8%): Nose: Very Whisky-esque, but much closer to Scotch Malt Whisky than it is to American Bourbon, where this barrel is hailing from. Perhaps Grain Whisky even. Anyway, we get different forms of grains and cereals, some oat and hay, slightly earthy notes but frankly, that’s about it. It is super solid, but also super uninspiring if you want. Palate: If we were to talk about the first two seconds of a sip only, I would definitely have called this a Malt Whisky. It is just so typical. But then we quickly get fruity notes of red berries, a hint of herbs, quite some wood, more and more fruity notes (stone fruits such as plums or even cherries) as well as some spices here and there. It is really growing on me. I didn’t like it at first but after about an hour in the glass and six to seven tiny sips, this one clearly has quite a lot going on for itself. While I might still prefer the unaged ones, you can feel that the barrel really enhanced the distillate in this case without adding any fancy layers. Sometimes good old, good old just gets it right! Finish: Not too long but sufficiently flavourful. We get a mix of the fruits and now quite some spices from the cask. Nice! This is essentially a more mellow and balanced, yet also tamer version of the raw distillate. (84/100)
Sajous 2017 37 mois #SJ17BI-3 (54,6%): I think we are finally getting into the age territories where these Rums can become really good. And Bielle is almost always good. Nose: I think we get even more Bielle than with BI-1 here. At least it is more mellow and it seems that the additional time in the cask has helped the
Rum Clairin tremendously. I get apricot, herbs (thyme, oregano), vanilla, cheesecake with sour raspberries, overripe banana, greek yoghurt, cherries, some wood and deeper in the glass also prunes. Amazing! Palate: Oh dear, this is probably even better. While I preferred the nose over the palate with BI-1, I think that it is the other way around here. It is ultra smooth, super lovely, ultra creamy and just an amazing Rum all in all! Apricots, cherry flavoured bubble gum, banana bread, lots and lots of juicy oranges, the yoghurt again, a whiff of candied ginger and whatnot. Nope there’s nothing to complain about with this fella! Even the small bitter note is spot on. Finish: Medium long and slightly bitter with wood, prunes, apricots and a few herbs here and there. Superb juice! Let’s hope other barrels develop(ed) in a similar fashion. (90/100)