Savanna: Wild Islands and other shenanigans

To take it right away, our 2021 Wild Island edition by Savanna is incomplete and we miss arguably its most exciting bottling, the Grand Arôme. Nevertheless, Savanna knows to deliver on essentially all playing grounds. Alas, let’s ride. How about some basics for a start!?

Savanna 5YO (43%): A 5YO Rhum Traditionnel. Yes, it doesn’t seem to get more standard than that. Nose: Fruity with pear, apple and honey. Later cereal, a hint of citrus and some oak. This is all pretty much standard indeed. Palate: A bit softer than expected and decidedly less fruity. I get cereal, yoghurt, caraway and other spices as well as oak. This is quite different from the nose I must say. Finish: Short and dry with some oak, cereal and different spices along the lines of cinnamon and caraway. Come on guys, I get it. You’ve got to have standard bottlings for the masses, irrespective of how you define masses. But does it have to be monotonous and dull!? (70/100)

Savanna Le Must Batch 20.01 9YO (45%): Must we? Let’s see. Nose: Quite similar in profile to the 5YO if you ask me, except that it is a bit drier. I am not going to repeat these notes here. It has a more humid element as well as some Crème Brûlée packed in there too, however. Palate: It starts with a pleasant sweet note of honey and immediately transitions to dry cereals, spices (caraway again!), hay and oak. Finish: Rather short, dry and forgettable with oak, spices, cereal and honey. It kinda feels like a small upgrade of the 5YO but it still isn’t my cup of tea, personally. Definitely not a “Must”. (72/100)

Savanna Wild Island Arbre 2012 8YO (52,3%): This Rhum Agricole comes from cask 990 and has been finished in an ex-Armagnac cask. Sounds good on paper, no!? Nose: Oh, the Armagnac has really taken over this one I am afraid. Light stone fruits, sweet oak and pleasant spices shape the profile in the way that soft Cognacs do. Deeper in the glass fresh mint, some (sour) cherries and lime peel. Not really sure what to expect from the palate. Palate: Even more brandy than before. What the heck? Is this really a Rum? Don’t get me wrong, this is solid, just not what you expect! Soft Cognac is really the best descriptor here but yellow stone fruits, oak, vanilla and white chocolate could be used just as well. I wonder how much time it spent in the Armagnac cask. Finish: Not too long with those stone fruits, cherries, oak and bubble gum. I think I’d rather go for a French Brandy directly, let me be completely honest with you. (78/100)

Savanna Wild Island Wave 2006 13YO (64,5%): A Rhum Traditionnel with a Calvados finish. Nose: What is it today? I do not think it is us but rather the Rums being a bit odd. This one starts with glue, pears, quite a bit of alcohol (lacquer perhaps!?), apples and herbs, as well as this somewhat mossy note again. It all doesn’t really add up in my book. Palate: Much, much better than the nose. This is actually high ester juice, despite not being Grand Arôme. Glue, grilled pineapple, pears, strawberry, rosary and a sudden astringency make this by far the most fun Rum of the day so far. Nevertheless, it has something decidedly weird about it that I cannot really explain. Finish: Ice candy, strawberry, herbs, oak and cocoa stick around for quite a bit. Just give it a try, if you can, even though you probably won’t need a bottle. (84/100)

Savanna Wild Island Cascade 2007 13YO (55,2%): A Chai Humide bottling with a Port wine finish? Sure! The only downside is that it isn’t a Grand Arôme. Nose: But do we care!? This is a salty fella, that’s for sure. Maritime notes (the Chai Humide I guess) meet violets, banana and citrus. So far, so good. Palate: Way sweeter than the nose suggested. We get a hint of that Savanna chewing gum, some of the violets, dry leather, sweet dark berries, definitely the port wine (red grapes!), different spices and herbs. I kinda like it, even though it is closer to the pleasant than to the complex department. Finish: Medium long with sweet and Maritime notes. In Whisky terms this would be a Bowmore, that’s for sure. At the very least, this is a Savanna bottling that’s traveling a bit off the beaten path, which is nice. (86/100)

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