South Pacific Vertical

A bit of everything from Fiji’s South Pacific Distillery today. The only thing we are really missing is a real 2001 Pot Still Rum but we’ve had plenty of these in the past (just follow the links in the country page).

South Pacific Distilleries. Credits:

Rum of the World South Pacific Distillery 2014 6YO (50%): There was a three years old 2014 by Transcontinental Rum Line that was rather good so we aren’t expecting anything less. I really love the label, by the way. Sugar cane is just a thing of beauty. Nose: Very characteristic Fiji I think. We get pineapple, bio-degradable waste, burnt plastic, raisins, salted lemon, honey, medical herbs and perhaps even some iodine. Very straightforward but good. Palate: Quite mild given that it is such a young Rum at 50%. I get mango, pineapple, a mix of citrus fruits, rum-soaked raisins, some vanilla and oak as well as a hint of vanilla and plastic. Later also soil, maple syrup and BBQ sauce. Good stuff. Finish: Not very long for such a high-ester Rum. We get pineapple, oak, honey dew melon and pepper. It is nothing earth-shattering but indeed some flavourful and tasty Rum. (85/100)

Compagnie des Indes South Pacific Distillery 2010 10YO #FPS2 (44%): 44% are probably a slap in the face with these Rums but the 2010 batch is completely alien to me so far. Nose: Uh, this is different. Acetone, pear and vanilla are my first associations. And then there’s a sudden stop: That’s it my friends. A pronounced sweetness (nothing artificial, mind you) can be found as well. It doesn’t bode well. Palate: Pears, apples and vanilla. Perhaps some oak. My my my, is this the Felix Magath strategy all over again!? I mean, this isn’t terrible, but once again one of those Rums where you have to ask yourself why it has been bottled. This is blending material, if anything. Finish: Come on… To be honest, there probably is an audience for these Rums, I just doubt that they would look for IBs and/ or Fiji in general. (70/100)

Samaroli South Pacific Distillery “Pacific Oblivion” 2009 9YO (45%): Compagnie des Indes loves 44%, Samaroli 45%. Don’t ask me why. Nose: Bio-degradable waste, foul apple, vanilla sauce, freshly produced plastic, citrus, honey, cedar wood, baked apple and raisins. This one is much more to our liking, even though it definitely lacks intensity. Palate: Apples, vanilla, bio-waste, different grains, honey, oak, oranges and other citrus fruits as well as some plastic towards the finish. This is my type of profile, but I think we are missing out on a bit. Finish: Relatively short and watery with oak, plastic, vanilla and Rooibos tea. Samaroli often times convinced us with some of their diluted bottlings, but here the water killed quite a few of the flavours I think. It is still relatively nice though. (82/100)

Plantation Fiji (South Pacific Distillery) 2005 15YO (50,2%): The good news is that this has spent 14 years in the tropics. The bad news is that it contains 4g/l of “dosage”. No idea why that’s supposedly necessary. Nose: Quite fruity but it clearly has those Plantation Cognac and spice-mix notes. Behind some mango we can find pepper, cinnamon and other spices, banana bread, walnuts and oak. Blindly, I wouldn’t have been able to call that a Rum from Fiji, that’s for sure. Palate: Uhh, this is very different from what we’ve had. Milk chocolate, cocoa, rye, multi-grain bread, plantains, cassava and different types of root are my associations. It is not terrible, but neither exciting nor what we came for either. Finish: More of the same with chocolate and rye mostly. I am not sure if I should say it and how precise that statement is, but Plantation apparently managed to mess up a what could have been a decent Rum once again. By the way, where’s the name change!? Duh. (74/100)

The Duchess South Pacific Distillery 2004 15YO (59,8%): I believe that these 2004s are classified as Pot Still Rums, but they always felt like Pot and Column Blends to me… Nose: A mix between those typical Fijian notes (esters, plastic, honey, BBQ) and lighter, more “Spanish” (read high column) notes such as sulphur, caramel, tobacco, vanilla and oak. This is not that great of a match if you ask me. What’s irritating me as well is this slightly sweet note that comes on top. Maybe a sip or two will enlighten us. Palate: Way too column-y if you ask me. Sure, it is much more flavourful than your average Rum from Latin America but this just isn’t why we love Fiji. Sulphur, caramel, tobacco, coffee, banana, oat, honey and wood are the words I’d use to describe the profile here. Finish: Relatively short and dull with some of the notes from the palate (plus vanilla). Well, it is not my cup of tea. (76/100)

The Rum Cask South Pacific Distillery 2003 17YO “New Yarmouth Finish” (58,6%): A New Yarmouth finish. Rum cask finished Rums are still way to rare for my liking. I wonder where that New Yarmouth Rum is though. Nose: Another high ester Rum with papaya, mango, pineapple and citrus. Then lacquer, medical herbs and plasters, salted caramel, oysters, raisins, oak as well as pepper and nutmeg. So far, so good. Palate: Quite spicy and a little sharp. Pepper and chilies are my main impressions, followed by those fruity esters, honey, charcoal, BBQ and mint. I am not 100% sure what’s coming from the finish and what from the distillate but yeah, it works. My only problem is that the alcohol isn’t integrated quite as well as it should I think. Nevertheless, this is really good! Finish: Long with spices, oak, chocolate, mint and some of the fruits here and there, mostly citrus. Chocolate mint is a really good descriptor if you ask me. Well done, Jens and Michael. (87/100)

S.B.S South Pacific Distillery 2002 18YO (57,1%): Nose: A bit muted at first but after a few minutes it opens up. It is extremely aromatic and relatively speaking, a bit more on the herbal side. Interestingly, we are missing all those medical elements that we have found in the other Pot still, high ester expressions. I get apples, raisins, oak, vanilla, mango and sour cherries. Really nice stuff, a bit like Plummer Long Ponds or Wedderburn Appletons I’d say. Palate: Call me crazy, but this is closer to Monymusk now. Soon we will have them all. Citrus fruits, wine gum, red berries, oak and vanilla again, that mix of pineapple and mango, perhaps also papaya, figs, sweet plums, cinnamon sticks, raisins, raspberry syrup and towards the finish minimally herbal notes. Finish: Ultra long with citrus and tropical fruits, gummy bears, litchi and oak. I think this is just fantastic and among those very best Fijians we’ve had. At least it is the first non-2001/2003 vintage in such elite territory. (91/100)

Compagnie des Indes 2001/2 8YO “Tawny Port Finish – Last Drops for Denmark” (61,5%): This is an 8YO bottled in 2010, so it might have been distilled in either 2001 or 2002. Perhaps the tasting can reveal the vintage but the Port finish might make things difficult for us. Nose: What? This has nothing to do with either of those vintages if you ask me; at least not with the batches we know. Frankly, this smells like column still distillate – the dull kind. We get tobacco, oak, vanilla, a few sweet fruits (the Finish I guess) but that’s it. Really!? Interestingly however, you wouldn’t think that this is 50%+ abv juice. I am not quite sure what to make of that yet. Palate: Oh come on. The palate doesn’t offer a tiny bit more and I don’t even want to lose many more words here. There’s one big plus however: The alcohol is integrated exceptionally well, so well that I almost don’t believe it. We rarely ever had 60%+ abv Rums that were this mild and easily sippable. Finish: Short with stone fruits (think plums, apricot), oak and vanilla. This is Old Fashioned material at best. (72/100)

and there’s a small bonus for everyone that has made it all the way to the end…

South Pacific Distillery Pot Still Raw Distillate 2020 (81,4%): 81,4%. Sometimes we just have to take one for the team. We always skip the highly adulterated Rums Spirit Drinks so it is just fair to travel this road instead, I guess. Nose: Very aromatic, almost like a very good German fruit schnaps. We get a potpourri of fruits (strong on pears and cherries), earthy notes, a few herbal nuances and dried grapes/ raisins. At least in the nose it isn’t sharp at all but I think that a few notes are muted by the alcohol nevertheless. Palate: A bit numbing and reminiscent of a fruity pomace brandy. Pear, mango, green grapes and red berries would describe the fruit department; other notes include, heck… we are not made for this – the abv is just too high right now, and don’t feel like adding water either. Very tricky stuff, that seemingly evolves a lot in the cask. Finish: Long with those fruits and earthy notes. It is definitely not made to be drunk in this form. (no score)