An Antigua Assemblage

Assemblage really is just euphemism for a trio in this case, but do you really want to read about these huge tasting sessions we do time and again!? Anyway, today we are back with Antigua Distillers Limited (ADL), a distillery that is flying below most people’s radars, even though they are constantly proving that they can produce very good and honest Rums. One of the last places of refuge for true, unadulterated column-still molasses Rums if you want (there are a couple of others though, of course).

English Harbour 5YO Sherry Cask (46%): I’ve got to admit: We often times do like these rather simplistic, Sherry-intense Rums. But why not, right!? Nose: Yes, exactly what I was hoping for: Lots of Sherry in the form of dried fruits, oak, leather and tobacco and even Demerara-esque column still notes. This is surprisingly good, as we can also find salted caramel, some raspberries, salted coconut perhaps and quite a few spices. Palate: An amazing balance between sweet Sherry and dry, honest and well-made Rum on the other side. I don’t think we have to go through that rather typical set of Sherry notes again, but we also find lemon, ginger, eucalyptus and spearmint here. Finish: Medium long with more of the same. But with these types of Rums, we don’t really bother. It’s a very well-crafted, easy sipper that leaves little to be desired. In fact, it is way more nuanced than we initially thought. I think this is what half of the Speyside is aiming for, without even getting close. It just barely missed that 87 point score though and nope, the abv is not the problem! (86/100)

English Harbour High Congener Series 2014 6YO (63,8%): It is really nice to see that these high ester congener Rums don’t seem to be one hit wonders! Nose: My initial expression is standard “Spanish-style” column still Rum but we quickly get that high congener vibe as we know it from certain Belizean Rums or even some Demeraras – it does have this salted coconut note again, which slightly reminds me of Albion (very vaguely only though!). Then eucalyptus, dried pineapple, coconut chips, peanut flips perhaps, a hint of wood varnish, oak and some seaweed perhaps. Crazy but good stuff! Palate: Dry and spicy. The integration of the alcohol is the nuts as you might easily mistake this with a <50% abv Rum (at least at the palate). I get tobacco, eucalyptus, different sorts of seeds and corns, deeper in the background foul mango, roasted and salted coconut, wood as well as something close to plums. Pretty good, my friends. Finish: Not very long with pretty much the notes from the palate, the roasted and salted coconut first and foremost. Then oak and spices (vanilla!) from the cask. A very nice Rum and definitely the best expression of the distillery I’ve tasted to date! (88/100)

Velier Antigua Distillers 2012 6YO (68,5%): This is the single cask of the Velier Antigua 2012 6YO. The story goes that it was better than the rest, so it has been bottled separately. Nose: Relatively sweet with sugar, caramel, vanilla and clearly also citrus, which kinda reminds me of lemon flavoured ice cream. However, it doesn’t seem special to me in any regard but let’s taste it first. Palate: Basically a more boozy version of the regular 6YO where the alcohol isn’t integrated as well. It is very Four times four-ish, just with more citrus and less brine. Here and there pears and wood as well as these typical, slightly spicy, slightly sulphatic column still notes. It is a solid Rum, but in my book clearly inferior to the blend. Finish: Relatively short with caramel, wood, pears and citrus. An unnecessary bottling given that I prefer the blend but then again, that are just my two cents. (79/100)

The featured image has been kindly provided by Jessica Blaine Smith/Bartender Atlas.