Chairman’s Reserve, more and more

If there’s a series that we just cannot get enough of, it is probably Chairman’s Reserve. No matter what it is, it is always a pleasure to taste these Rums.

Chairman’s Reserve 2012 8YO “Bar 1802” (59,6%): John Dore I and Vendome, usually a killer combination. Nose: Oh yeah! Thick honey and maple syrup, fresh rubber, papaya, some Crème Brûlée, a mix of herbs, vanilla… what more can you ask for!? Despite the slight dirtiness of the Vendome still I’d say that this one is very likeable and that is is an excellent mix of two St. Lucian styles. Palate: As lovely as the nose. Especially the notes of honey are a real treat here. The alcohol isn’t present at all and delivers a creamy texture that now reveals vanilla yoghurt, passion fruit, pear, fresh sugar cane, spicy oregano, a hint of sweet ginger and green tea. Very, very nice, even though it isn’t the most complex expression in the Chairman’s Reserve range. Finish: Medium long to long with herbs, honey, pears and vanilla yoghurt. Here and there also a pleasant peppery note. We couldn’t have asked for a much better start into the tasting session. (88/100)

Chairman’s Reserve 2009 11YO “Wolsdorff” (45,9%): I have no idea why this is 45,9%. Done on purpose? A mistake in the dilution process perhaps? Anyway, it is a column still Rum. Nose: Vanilla, rose petals and rose water, oranges, honey and oak are my main associations. Later unripe pears and bananas. You know that it is becoming increasingly tough to come up with sensible comparisons but we might also call this the most aromatic Grain Whisky ever. Ok. Palate: What a surprise! Just as intense as the nose and alas, more flavourful than many of the other column still Chairmans. This mix of honey and pear is pretty cool, while ripe oranges, vanilla and oak support the combination very well. There really isn’t much to say about this Rum I think, just that it is very solid, even passing the threshold to good. And there really isn’t much more that you can ask for here either. Finish: Oranges and orange peel, honey, grapefruit and vanilla. Nice! In direct comparison, it is at least as good as the ‘The Netherlands’ bottling I think. The palate is very good, the nose lacks some quality. Otherwise this could have got an even higher score. (82/100)

Chairman’s Reserve 2009 11YO “Van Wess” (46%): Another column still Rum. At least that’s what the label says – shops also claim differently. Nose: I mainly get exotic fruits such as papaya, dragonfruit and mango. Behind that subtle notes of oak and vanilla, a passion fruit yoghurt and honey. Rather nice I think, even though it is a very atypical St. Lucian I must say. Palate: Honey, passion fruit, natural yoghurt, a hint of mint, a little oak, grapefruit, now definitely coconut and later also pineapple. I am quite impressed. Finish: Medium long with herbs (mint), pineapple and passion fruit. The dilution isn’t a problem but as so often it makes us wonder how much better this Rum could have been at a higher strength. Even 50% would have made a real difference I think. In direct comparison to the Wolsdorff I like this a tad better, even though it gets the same score. (82/100)

Chairman’s Reserve 2005 15YO “German Edition” (59,3%): Pure Vendome and I hope that means pure love. Nose: Right on! Papaya, mango salad, fresh rubber, a mix of herbs, lots of oak, guava and persimmon perhaps, natural caoutchouc and leather. I think this is everything we are looking for in a Vendome. Palate: Hmm, this is a different monster that is going through many different facets. Here we have the fruit bomb in the form of papaya and guava, there this amazing dirtyness of rubber, moss and smoky tobacco, a very subtle herbal aspect as well but then also this strong influence from the cask that provided a few too many bitter notes, too much oak and a dryness that doesn’t exactly help the profile. Put differently, you can tell that this is a magnificent distillate and I’d say that this was probably also an excellent cask but it should have been bottled much, much earlier (precisely for that reason). Ten years or so would have been more than enough I think. Finish: Tobacco, herbs, oak and lots of spices. I believe that this will be one of those Rums that will always come to mind when talking about wasted potential. It is too bad, really. (85/100)

Chairman’s Reserve 2005 15YO “Dom Whisky” (59,4%): JD I and Vendome, the by now classic Chairman’s Reserve blend if you want. And why not, seemingly works all the time. Nose: This is high ester juice. We get pineapple (let’s just call it ananas, shall we!?), litchi, rambutan and citrus. What a nice and fruity introduction. Then the faint small of plastic, cane juice, honey and herbs such as thyme or basil. I really enjoy this but again, what could possibly go wrong here!? Palate: Just like in the nose the first thing I get are plenty of esters. Grilled pineapple, banana, honey, mango and passion fruit are my main associations here, which are supported by an oaky astringency and dry spices from the cask. At this point this really starts to feel like a very standard mix but it just works so incredibly well and while I am writing these lines I realise how much nonsense that is. Please never stop producing beauties like these. Actually, the Rum is quite complex in the sense that we are having a hard time calling out all of the nuances it has to offer but at the end of the day it always comes back to what I’ve just described. Finish: Medium long, dry and oaky. It has a nice mix of fruity and herbal notes. A very good one my friends. (87/100)

Chairman’s Reserve 2005 15YO “Berry Bros & Rudd” (61%): A sister cask of the “German Edition”, as this is also a Vendome bottling. Nose: Oha, did they use a finish here!? My research didn’t tell me anything but this comes with some of those typical notes of a secondary aging in a former fortified wine cask. Blue- and raspberries, amarena cherries, fresh grass, some leather and basically no rubber. I am a bit puzzled but I really like this nose. After a while rich caramel and wood, plums and prunes as well as different herbal notes. It kinda reminds me of some Enmores in a sense. Palate: Wow! The first sip starts out ultra sweet and creamy but very quickly turns super dry and very astringent which culminates in an incredibly long finish. Flavourwise we get plums and some of the berries from the nose, pepper, antique wood, espresso, leather, a faint glimpse of the herbs from the nose and cocoa. This sudden switch from the sweet fruits to the astringent dryness is really insane. Finish: A long and tannic trip where different fragile elements pop up here and there, but always in a far distance. A real pleasure. My only complaint is that the palate kinda ends too suddenly but this is one where a sample will bring a lot of pleasure as you are only talking a few small sips anyway. (89/100)

Chairman’s Reserve 2005 15YO “The Nectar” (64,4%): JD 1 and Vendome for this one as well. Right on! Nose: Tropical fruits galore. Mango, papaya, some plum, glue, a certain and certainly very pleasant sweetness… I love this stuff. It kinda lacks those ‘dirty’ Vendome notes but I don’t mind that at all. Honey, oranges, rhubarb and rich sugar are other impression. Palate: Oh my goodness. This high ester monster tastes like a blend of Saint Lucia Distillers and Savanna and at the danger of repeating myself, I do love this! Overripe strawberries, foul mango and papaya meet a hint of rubber (yeah, Vendome!), oak, spices from the cask, thyme, hot thermoplastics (think PA 6), top notch olive oil, a royal nut mix and, something we rarely ever find at the palate, glue again. This is exactly my cup of tea. Finish: Long and lasting with olives, sweet grapefruit, honey and a lovely astringency. This one does it all. All hail The Nectar for selecting this beauty. (93/100)

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