We adore aliterations, and this one was too obvious. It has been a while since we’ve had our last Mhobas and it almost feels like this newcomer isn’t that new to the Rum business anymore. They have been getting a lot of praise over the last couple of years (rightly so) and seem to have become a manifested player, at least in the tiny subsection of nerds like us. Here’s a very nice video about Mhoba and Robert Greaves, the man behind the distillery.
Mhoba Bushfire (55%): A very tacky label if you ask me but that also seems to work for many other companies, so who are we to judge. It has been matured in a glass container with sickle wood staves, which is a native bush used for the traditional South African Braai. Nose: Relatively woody and smoky, exactly what you expect when thinking about a Braai grill. Behind that we can find tropical fruits such as papaya, banana or mango. Hickory wood chips might be a suitable descriptor for us Westerners by the way. Indeed, this has everything you are looking for in a BBQ rum! Palate: Way smokier than the nose suggested, and probably even too smoky for my liking. It really are those nice BBQ-esque wood-smoke notes, which are just
a bit too dominant for me. What is more, we seem to have lost many of those rather pleasant fruity notes from the nose. To make things even worse, the Rum feels very watery and the texture just isn’t creamy enough to support its general character. What a pity, I actually had high hopes for this one. Finish: Short and more of the same and crucially, it doesn’t make you want to take another sip… We always welcome experiments, but this one has failed in my book. (55/100)
Habitation Velier Mhoba 2017 4YO (64,6%): Getting bottled by Velier means that you have made it, right!? What a fancy still by the way! As we’ve learned in the video above, these are actually three separate stills that are entire self-made! Nose:
Jamaica South Africa me crazy! This is a high ester Rum featuring banana, pineapple, citrus fruits (lime, tangerine, oranges), a pronounced herbal note (think parsley and oregano) and even a whiff of acetone. Judged by the nose alone, this seems to be quite a bit older than “only” four years by the way. Palate: Ultra smooth and I had to check the abv again. I kinda miss the sour notes from the nose but banana, pineapple, nail polish remover and resin can all be found. Then salted butter, fir and fir cone different sorts of wood, a whiff of apples and even a nutty note towards the finish. It’s just a very good and rather unique profile. Finish: Relatively long. It starts with those fruits but very quickly becomes dry with wood, vanilla and the nutty notes I’ve just mentioned. Later also confectionary. It really does round off the Rum quite nicely. Pretty neat stuff. I hope they keep some Rum around for even longer. Just imagine how good this stuff might be at ten years or so. (86/100)
Mhoba High Ester (66,4%): We’ve already had another batch of this stuff which we’ve liked quite a bit but felt that it was lacking something. How about this one then!? Nose: Way sharper than the aged expression but that was to be expected, of course. I think we’ve had a certain coffee note in the 65% bottling and I can clearly find Latte Macchiato here as well. Then indeed lots of esters, mostly in the form of bananas, but they are totally different than they are with Worthy Park for instance. This is cane juice Rum after all and you can definitely feel the freshly squeezed cane, paired with lime, white chocolate, passion fruit and mango perhaps. It has a lot more going for itself than the other version we’ve had, I’d say. Palate: Drier than the nose suggested. There’s still this mix of lime, passion fruit and cane juice, but the sweetness only enters after a few seconds. Next we get nail polish remover (plenty of that), something that reminds me of licorice or salammoniac and grilled fish. I know it sounds kinda weird, but this isn’t your standard Rum either. Finish: Once again a bit drier and less fruity than before. Nutty, slightly sour (the citrus notes) and with a little bit of imagination Latte Macchiato again. A good Rum that improved upon a previous batch. That’s a good sign, right!? (81/100)