Clarendon (Monymusk) 1995

Today’s Rums are all “EMB”s, a marque that turned out to be probably our favorite Monymusk marque. It refers to the Bog Estate, a distillery that has closed for good many, many years ago, but whose style has apparently been kept alive. There isn’t much information about the estate and essentially everything I know can be found here.

Part of the Clarendon parish showing Bog and Monymusk. © The Last Great House Blog

The Wild Parrot Clarendon (Monymusk) 1995 24YO (65,9%): Nose: It takes a while to open up but then we get a potpourri of ripe tropical fruits such as mango, papaya, guava, banana and litchi, paired with a bit of oak, glue and highly concentrated plum syrup. This is very lovely, if you are patient enough, as the profile becomes more and more dense and concentrated over time. After a good 45 minutes we can also find dark cherries, whipped cream and toffee. Yeah, I think lovely is indeed the right term here. Palate: Smooth and creamy, with a certain bite to it, one that I don’t mind at all and as its intensity is almost an indicator of quality. The majority of the fruits from the nose come and go but the profile is now clearly shaped by dark berries (think brambleberry or currants). Then wood, more herbal notes (thyme, sage), floral tones (lavender, violets), banana and cinnamon. This is cool stuff that gets exceedingly bitter towards the finish. Finish: Bitter and astringent, with wood, espresso, cocoa and spices. The fruits are gone altogether. Here and there a herb pops up. All in all this is a very nice Rum, even though it has to line up in third spot today. I am just glad that stuff like this exists. (89/100)

Velier Monymusk “Villa Paradisetto” 1995 24YO “EMB” (67%): A small batch of two barrels. Nose: The woodiest Rum of the bunch but make no mistake, at 24 “tropical” years this is still very lively. Ripe mangos meet glue, guava, plums, dark berries, orange oil, sweet almonds/ marzipan, pastry and toffee. A very mature and complex profile of extraordinary quality that’s a real pleasure to nose. Palate: Very smooth and woodier than the nose suggested, with many spices from the cask, even a few tannic notes and a high astringency. I must say that it works very well in this case, even though I must attest that the influence of that cask could have been a bit less pronounced for my liking. Flavourwise, we get the orange oil, a mix of nuts and nutty banana bread, apricot but all in all fewer of those lovely fruity notes from the nose. With more time in the mouth also more and more wood, which builts up quickly in the finish. Here we are getting the full astringency again, but also cocoa, peanuts, oak and spices. Something close to thyme can be found as well. A very good Rum, with a nose and finish that belong into the legendary category. With the palate we just get this feeling that we have already crossed the golden point of perfect maturity. (91/100)

The Whisky Jury Monymusk 1995 25YO (61,3%): Nose: This is the only Rum of the session where we can find those butryic notes that are oh-so-typical for many of the continentally aged Monymusks, especially those from the 2000s. Next to that we find acidic tropical fruits such as pineapple, lime and grapefruit, honey perhaps, a whiff of banana and after a while, and deeper in the glass, also herbal notes. This is definitely a familiar side of the distillery; a bit more elegant than the Monys from the 2000s, but decidedly more aggressiv and wild than the rest of today’s quartett. Palate: A creamy texture meets a subpar integration of the alcohol. There it is again, this aggressiveness. Then sour pineapple, banana, hot butter, butyric acids, some stale yet non-bitter black tea, quite some oak, glue and grapefruit. It is really between those two camps described above, and I feel that it needs to decide what it wants to be. Finish: Guava, grapefruit, herbs, oak and a few spices from the cask, quite similar to the palate actually. It is a tricky fella, and no matter how good you think it is, it is one of those Rums where the bottle will basically never get empty I think. Surely my least favorite Rum of the batch. (86/100)

Rum Artesanal Clarendon “EMB” 1995 26YO (67,2%): This one aged in Jamaica until 2019. Nose: Glue and exotic fruits make the start. I get guava, papaya, foul pineapple, ripe pears, balsamico and apple vinegar, plum juice, old wood and vanilla, citrus fruits, something that seems to be very “sticky” and now also morello. This is extremely interesting, rich and good, but we are also a sucker for these types of profile. Palate: Slightly sharp but that’s no surprise at this abv. We get a creamy and intense mix of pineapple, those morellos we’ve found before, clearly mint, several dark berries (think bramble- and blueberries most notably, but also black currants), the sweet spot of cask influence, cocoa, cinnamon, latte machioato, a whiff of those plums and a very pleasant bitterness towards the end of a sip. Very, very nice! A bit Armagnac-y I think; the high ester version. Finish: Long with wood, the juice of the morellos, plums, cinnamon and cocoa. Very sweet in a sense, but that also holds true for the palate. We might be biased here because we love the EMB marque but this is just a very lovely expression of that style as well. (90/100)