Saint Lucia Distillers 2002

Saint Lucia Distillers have finally made the leap from being a distillery where only the IBs were really good to providing excellent co-bottlings under the Chariman’s Reserve line. While we are more than happy to celebrate the latter, we should also not forget the bottlers that have contributed to making the brand what it is today, even though they have stopped selling bulk rum altogether.

Duncan Taylor St. Lucia Distillers 2002 11YO (52,6%): I remember that when this Rum came out back in 2013, it was something rather special since Saint Lucians were a very rare sight and because it was very good, at an equally good price. Nose: Herbs, honey, herbs and honey. Then fresh sugar cane, sweet almonds, baked banana, more honey, minimally oaky notes and then the herbs again. Sure, it isn’t extremely complex, but it is just very good! Palate: Sometimes eleven years of continental aging are just right, which seems to be the case here. Powerful, flavourful and already quite smooth. Almonds, herbs, a green smoothie including apples and spinach, forest honey, paprika slices and a relatively strong influence from the cask (judged by its age) are my main associations here. Finish: Wooden sticks, herbs, honey, moss, herbs and honey. You get the idea. Pretty good stuff. I know that we have been spoilt a lot by St. Lucia Distillers’ more recent releases and eight years ago I would have scored this much higher but it is still a very good Rum! (86/100)

Compagnie des Indes St. Lucia Distillers 2002 13YO (56,3%): Nose: The cask has definitely put its mark on the Rum as this is much more woody and muted than the other 2002s. The herbs are there, but not knowing what the profile smells like it would be kinda hard to narrow them down. Then a few drops of honey, lime with its peel, almonds, cloves -let’s just call it Falernum-, sugar and cucumber. I am starting to think that it just needed a lot more time to open up… It’s actually quite good. Palate: Oh those herbs. With this one they are closer to wild herbs from the forest than to fresh mint, which might also be reflected in those slightly mossy notes. Then honey, that citrus peel again, oak, vanilla/ tonka and a slight pepperyness. Finish: Oak and herbs are the name of the game. Every now and then the honey pops up and we get additional notes of coffee and roasted peanuts. Good stuff. (86/100)

Berry Bros & Rudd St. Lucia “The Nectar” 2002 14YO (52,5%): Nose: This is pretty much in the tradition that has made us fall in love with the distillery: Herbs, honey, glue, esters, fresh sugar cane, a whiff of citrus fruits, spearmint flavoured mouthwash and notes from the cask in the form of oak, vanilla and very lightly also a few other spices. Palate: The mouthwash/ herbs combination does the trick and it is difficult to get freshly brewed mint tea with honey out of your head. Then wood, more (read: different) herbs and quite dry, almost astringent notes that are kinda hard to pin down. I think this is really good, even though it isn’t that special from a complexity point of view. Finish: Long and rich while going back and forth between the herbs and the honey, just like we are used to with these Rums. Not much to complain about here. I don’t know why, but it kinda also reminds me of certain Monymusks right now… (87/100)