Jamaican Blends

Blends with only Jamaican Rums today. Nope, that doesn’t include Verschnitt! Let’s start with a trio of 2008s that have been blended in the barrel by Sheer and see where we can go from there.

Compagnie des Indes Jamaica Multi Distillers 2008 10YO (57,9%): The first of these 2008s that I have tried and probably also the first release all in all. I wonder how many barrels there were… Nose: Very ester heavy. Grilled pineapple meets chocolate, bananas, kerosene, olive oil, some herbs, more vegetal notes… It is quite a wild ride that doesn’t make too much sense when reading these notes but that works surprisingly well in practice. Palate: Much milder than the nose suggested and a lot less ester heavy. Instead, I get lots and lots of pears (Beenleigh anyone!?), vanilla, baked apples, banana, maybe even oranges and coconut… what a fun Rum this is! Towards the finish also those chocolate notes again. It surely works for me. Finish: Slightly dry with quite some wood (even a lot for ten years), chocolate and this pear-vanilla combination. The phrase “Rum is Fun” has seldom been a better fit! (87/100)

S.B.S Jamaica 2008 11YO (62,9%): And number two. Chronologically, not metaphorically, of course. Nose: I get plenty of vanilla, mellow oak and later some esters in the form of banana and pineapple. I’d say this is a rather light style, but that’s often times deceptive. Deeper in the nose some milk chocolate, leather perhaps and now maybe also a whiff of herbs. After about ten minutes, the chocolate is all there’s left over. Palate: Not exactly what we’ve expected. It is a lot more powerful and intense than the nose and checking the abv again, I have to say that the alcohol is integrated exceptionally well. The profile is shaped by banana, chocolate and vanilla and while I think about it, a ripe banana dipped in a chocolate fountain is probably the best descriptor of this Rum there is. With the second sip I get further spices such as cinnamon or cumin, as well as more oak. Finish: Medium long to long with more herbs (old mint) than before, but chocolate and banana are still the dominant flavours. It is a relatively simple and straightforward Rum, but if you ask me, a very good one. Blindly, I probably would have called this one of the better Worthy Parks we’ve had in some time. I like it! (86/100)

Valinch & Mallet “Esters’ Delight” Jamaica 2008 12YO (56,3%): There have been several barrels of this apparently and from Valinch & Mallet we learn that it features the Rum from five Jamaican distilleries. If I had to guess, I’d say that’s all of them minus Appleton but really, that’s just a guess. Nose: Closer to the Compagnie des Indes than to the S.B.S. Again, lots of esters (pineapple, mango, banana, acetone), a little wood, that note between kerosene and plastic, herbs, vanilla and milk chocolate. Standard by now, but still very good. Palate: Once again, a bit smoother than the palate and already quite oaky. Here it’s mostly apples and bananas that shape the profile, like in a puree perhaps. Then also some of the pears, vanilla, tonka, herbs and now also some pineapple here and there. Very good as well! Finish: Medium long but not much more than an extension of the palate, which isn’t an issue though. A good one, but in the grand scheme of things, i.e. relatively speaking when comparing different barrels, it is almost too balanced. Still a nice blend, I must say! (86/100)

Mezan XO Jamaica (40%): They claim to have Rums up to 23 years in this blend but given its price that clearly cannot be much. Let’s hope that “23” is the only similarity with another popular Rum. Nose: Banana, banana chips, banana whatever! Do you think we are bananas? Well, the Rum isn’t, it is just full of banana aromas, which reminds us a lot of Worthy Park and I am pretty sure that the lion’s share of the blend comes from that distillery. But is it a good one? Hell no. It just doesn’t have anything to it besides these banana notes and hints of milk chocolate perhaps. Palate: Better than the nose as we are now getting a few different flavours as well, mostly on the herbal side of things. The banana is still there of course but the milk chocolate has moved a bit into the background. Instead, I get notes of kerosene, hay, wood and a mix of pepper, nutmeg and other notes from the cask. Well, it is still not great if you ask me. Finish: Short and and just not good. Here and there the wood, some spices perhaps, definitely the herbs, but all of this is not coherent at all. Nah, I wouldn’t even get this as a mixer, I have to say. (68/100)

Moon Import Jamaica “IJHB” 1983 29YO (46%): I am not sure what “IJHB” stands for, a code for the distilleries that make up the blend perhaps? I really don’t know. Nose: Quite sharp given that this is a drinking strength. Behind that we get bananas, nail polish remover, a continental fruit basket, quite some wood and initially not too much more. After about half an hour the Rum has opened up a bit and we now get more fruity notes, but it seems that the long ageing period has taken quite a few distillery characteristics out of this. Still not too bad. Palate: Not as sharp anymore and not too thin either. To our fortune, the profile works a lot better at the palate than in the nose as well. I get bananas, a mix of herbs (rosary, oregano, thyme), a few nutty notes here and there, more fruits, definitely oak, non-sour citrus fruits such as oranges (just the flavours, you know), sour cherries and vanilla. Finish: Long but not really interesting. It comes with oak, some not too intense fruity notes (banana), nuts and more vanilla. Good stuff, but, especially when measured against its age, nothing special. (85/100)

Moon Import Jamaica 1982 22YO (46%): I’ve alway thought that this is a Long Pond but apparently it is another Jamaican Blend. Nose: I was inclined to say that this has pretty much the “classical” 1982 Long Pond profile, consisting of apples and other continental fruits, some citrus and spices such as vanilla and pepper as well as a hint of caramel, but it is actually also quite a bit different. Next I get wood, applesauce, a wee bit of sulphur, quince, and more and more green apples. So far so good. Palate: The abv doesn’t seem to be a big problem as the texture is pretty decent. The water seems to have tickled out some of the more sour notes (green apples, lemon) though. Here they are quite dominant, but do not come with the esters you might expect here. Besides that, we get a lot of the notes from the nose, without much additional stuff. Perhaps some cinnamon or nutmeg here and there, if we are lenient also cloves, but that’s about it. Finish: Ah, now there’s more of the latter, as we get a whole bunch of spices in the medium long finish. The wood joins very quickly and the apples pop up every now and then as well. A very good Rum with a few shortcomings but it is a very instructive one in the sense that age doesn’t really seem to alter these types of Rums beyond this point anymore (not that I am reading this gibberish again, it is probably hard to understand what I mean, but I trust that you, my dear reader, can follow these thoughts after having another wee dram! Now go ahead and take that as an excuse!) (85/100)