After the young ones, it is a pleasure to present the old ones as well!
Berry Bros & Rudd Barbados (WIRR) 1986 21YO (46%): The youngest of the old ones, bottled at drinking strength. Oh yeah, that was still pretty much the standard in the first decade of the 2000s… Nose: Compared to the “young ones” (i.e. the previous post), this one is more tamed, reluctant and closed. The cask has already put its stamp on the Rum and says: Remove the dust and wait another hour. Eventually more and more herbs see the light of day, we also get the typical honey note, but it is almost as if we’re only getting Pooh’s empty pot. Then vanilla, tonka, more oak, a whiff of peat, soil and a few tropical fruits here and there. I am curious what the palate has in store for us. Palate: A bit too oaky and thin. While we’ve said that the older expressions can probably cope much better with dilution, this doesn’t seem to be the most suited barrel for that purpose; or it just wasn’t the best barrel to start with. Everything is so muted and, in direct comparison, lacking plenty of intensity while still being a little too boozy for my liking. Oh dear. With the fourth or fifth sip I am also getting more butryc acids, which don’t really belong here if you ask me. Finish: Long with those butryc notes, oak, vanilla, honey and banana. Nope, this was definitely one of the lesser barrels. (83/100)
Rum Artesanal W.I.R.D. 1986 34YO (53,7%): Nose: Just lovely. Everything just blends in perfectly and the notes of honey, fresh smoke, herbs, clearly mango with a small passion fruit topping, vanilla, oak and that hint of iodine just couldn’t be balanced out much better. This smells super smooth and complex and while this is indeed oh so lovely (yes, I’ve said it again), you just want to taste this stuff. Palate: Smooth and just beautiful. The Rum is ever so slightly more sharp than the nose suggested and a little more edgy than we thought. The fruits are gone altogether, and dry notes of herbs, oak, vanilla and forest honey mingle on my tongue. Now buttermilk, an idea of chocolate and more bitter notes towards the finish. Great stuff! Finish: Very long and exceedingly dry with oak, spices from the cask, smoke and ash as well as the herbs here and there. Also a whiff of those medical notes every now and then. You just have to love that these old beauties exist, especially when they are so well-preserved! (94/100)
Nobilis W.I.R.D. 1986 34YO (54,7%): Nose: Quite a bit drier and not as strong on those honey notes as the Rum Artesanal or the Silver Seal. In that sense, it isn’t that close to the Berry’s either, though. After a looong time, the Rum opens up and welcomes us with honey-dipped banana, quite some smoke, lots of wood, herbs, Rancio, hot butter, a mix between salty and medical scents (think iodine) and even more, yet different wood. Extremely good, but I get the feeling that this should have been bottled a bit earlier, but let’s see. Palate: Very dry and bitter, with herbs and many cask aromas. The honey is there though, and with the second sip you also get those (almond) milk-like aromas that I could also describe as silk (can we!?), medical herbs, esters (pineapple!), lavender and coconut chips. It is extremely good, yet I feel like I am missing something. Finish: Long and dry with oak, honey and dried pineapples. A simple, yet nice finish. Another beauty! This Rum needs a lot of time. Make sure to take it! That said, it has probably past its zenith of maturation. (92/100)
Silver Seal Barbados (WIRD) 1986 33YO (58,8%): While it is a year younger than the Rum Artesanal and the Nobilis, we’ve decided to put it last due to the higher abv. Nose: Good lord, the higher abv lifted this one a bit further even. This is just insanely good! The smoke can still only be found way in the back but those honey notes are ultra sweet, smooth and simply stellar. Then tropical fruits as we’ve also found them in the Rum Artesanal. Deeper in the glass we can also find the additive notes from the cask, very few herbs and definitely no medical scents. I guess time has taken its toll. Palate: Very creamy, easily sippable and super intense. The wood hasn’t taken over, even though the cask is clearly present. The style-characteristic notes can all be found however and just match-up at a level that we didn’t get before. It starts with honey and beeswax, moves over to oak and vanilla, to settle with herbs, ash and used plasters while mango and banana constantly come and go. This is superb and unmatched, within its class and hence also Bajan Rums in general. Finish: Incredibly long and a mix between sweet fruits/ honey and dry oak. Perhaps some walnuts here and there. Just dope stuff! Please salute the new king. (95/100)