Monymusk from the 2000s

A bunch of Monymusks that have been distilled two decades ago. We managed to feature almost every possible vintage.

Rum Artesanal Clarendon “EMB” 2009 12YO (64,3%): A “new” batch, with new meaning that it is the first Monymusk bottling of this vintage that I am aware of. By the way, EMB is probably our favorite Monymusk marque to date. Nose: Quite typical Monymusk, yet with a new look. Butyric acids, papaya, guava, vanilla and Chai Latte. It smells very smooth and not boozy at all, even though you can notice a certain juvenility. Palate: Pretty much the same impression. Butyric acids (some people call this vomit), papaya, tangerine and related citrus fruits, a mix of vanilla and Rooibos, just some oak and quite a few herbs all of a sudden. I am inclined to say that the Rum is a bit too immature but I think that this is something specific to the distillery as these Rums just require a certain maturity. Finish: Relatively short an at best an extension of the palate. Papaya is probably the main lasting impression. Let’s get this straight: This is a Rum with many flaws, but I believe that it might be a very good one at 20 years or so. I know that patience, capital and the time value of money are always an issue but this particular release just screams wasted potential to me. (80/100)

Velier & Sheer Monymusk “Continental ‘MMW'” 2008 11YO (63,9%): Actually this is a blend of Rums from mostly 2007 and just a little bit of 2008 but that would still make it a 2008 in my book, if we have to put a vintage. What is more, we were supposed to part of an experiment in a rather famous book, that you may have come across if you are interested in Caroni, where we blind-tasted this set but it never worked out. The idea was to compare blind tasting notes with “conscious” notes but we never produced the latter. Alas, here we are. Nose: Fruit schnaps with lots of banana and apples. It smells more like a Jamaican blend featuring plenty of Worthy Park. After a while more evidently Monymusk with butyric notes, citrus, papaya, some oak and grassy notes/ herbs. Palate: Quite sharp and aggressive with hot marzipan (yeah…), apples, banana, warm butter, coconut chips, papaya, citrus and oak. This is quite standard but pretty average in terms of quality, if you ask me. Finish: More of the same; sufficiently long, but not very memorable. An okayish Rum. Relatively similar to the 2003 batch but not quite as good. (74/100)

Sansibar & Shinanoya Clarendon 2007 14YO (58%): These rather aggressive 2007s were always somewhere between interesting and close to undrinkable. You never know what to expect. Nose: Extreme if you regard the entire spectrum of Rum (or spirits in general), not so extreme if you consider that this is a 2007. Papaya, acetone, tangerine custard, kerosene perhaps, quite some banana (did we just describe Worthy Park!?) and more (overripe) fruits such as strawberries, cherries or raspberries. Now also oak and dill. Well, well. Palate: Slightly watery. I wonder if this has been reduced and I am inclined to believe that it is. If so, the water has definitely opened this up, probably for the better. Papaya, oranges, tangerine, passionfruit and banana paired with a whiff of herbs and vanilla. You might just call this is solid fruit salad. This is actually not too bad, but you clearly have to like this tart and intense profile, that comes with plenty of grapefruit all of a sudden. Good! Finish: More grapefruit, more fruit salad, and that for quite some time. At 14 years these 2007s are starting to become tame, if that is a fair descriptor. Here, tame is what is required. A nice barrel. (85/100)

Velier & Sheer Monymusk “Tropical ‘EMB'” 2006 14YO (69,7%): This time we have a blend consisting of mostly the 2006 vintage, some 2002 and a wee bit of 2004. By the way, this has been bottled in 2019. The youngest component is from 2006. So doing the math, this is at most 13 years old. Nose: Fisherman’s friend anyone? It’s loaded with that and spices, most notably nutmeg. Add some coffee, esters (fruits), black tea and a hint of citrus? What the heck is this? Really weird stuff. Palate: Oha, interesting. Quite strong and still full of those Fisherman’s. Then Earl Grey tea, papaya, mango and spices en masse, paired with a certain astringency. While there surely aren’t many of them, I am sure that I’d love a sip of this on some days. Finish: Rather long with those drops, menthol, spices. oak and mint. A tricky one. Definitely solid but also quite weird. (79/100)

Does 2005 even exist? No idea – probably not…

Kintra/ The Rum Mercenary “Rum 4 ALS” Monymusk 2004 14YO (56,2%): A charity bottling. Nose: I don’t get all the much besides apples, vanilla, a few herbs and a rather odd and disturbing note in the background that I cannot really specify. The nose is not bad per se, but it isn’t any good either. Palate: Very similar to the nose and in standard continental Monymusk fashion. Butryate, apples, herbs, raw pineapple – this one did everything it could not to reinvent the wheel. There’s one major issue though: It is not even good at what it does. A very subpar barrel I am afraid. Moreover, it is lacking this certain aggressiveness that such a profile requires. Finish: Relatively short with apple, hay, grain and vanilla. Charity bottling give or take, but this one is not any good if you ask me. (67/100)

The Rum Cask Monymusk 2003 16YO (59,5%): Nose: Raw and grilled pineapple, nuts, hot butter, butyric acids, oak and herbs are my main associations. These 2003s have been extremely distinct and this is no different, even though the 16 years have slightly reduced the Rum’s rough spots. Palate: As I’ve said, this is the said extreme profile on a smooth surface. Pineapple, banana, butyric acids, nuts, pears, oak and vanilla are my first impressions, but what’s even more noteworthy is the Rum’s creaminess. Quite nice! Finish: Pears and pear-intense Calvados, pineapple, oak and herbs such as thyme or oregano stay for quite a while. Mango and chili perhaps!? I think this is a very good one, provided you are into these types of Rum. (84/100)

Moon Import Monymusk 2002 11YO (46%): This has to be the only Monymusk from 2002 I am aware of. Nose: Formidable! Fresh sugar crystals, pineapple, butyric notes (think warm butter), definitely pear, subtle oak, very evidently papaya and peppermint candy. I gotta say, this is not bad at all, au contraire! Palate: Drier than the nose suggested but still extremely fruity. Pineapple, pear, quince, papaya and oak are my main associations, followed by vanilla, mild pepper, just a whiff of butter and licorice. This is definitely one of the Monymusk profiles I enjoy (there really aren’t many distilleries that are capable to produce such a wide range of different profiles if you ask me). Finish: Medium long with oak, fruity notes and a mix of spices (think along the lines of allspice and vanilla). Nice. No where’s the remainder of the vintage? (86/100)

Old Brothers Monymusk “MLC” 2001 18YO (61,3%): MLC stands for Monymusk Light Continental and denotes Clarendon’s highest ester marque. I think this is the first time we got to try this marque. Nose: Right, high ester it is. I get pineapple, papaya, mango, lemongrass, some glue, citrus fruits (grapefruit?), blueberry muffins, oak and a few different spices from the cask. This is quite to my liking. It is one of those Rums that I can keep on nosing forever. But let’s take a sip, for science. Palate: Fruity and astringent. Mango, papaya, pineapple, citrus fruits, plenty of wood… I think you see where this is heading. We aren’t far away from that lovely nose. Later I also get something between blueberries and bramble berries, Earl Grey and now indeed clearly grapefruit. We do have a winner here. Finish: Once again close to nose and palate with this typical flavour combination that we also find in some EMBs. While it lasts for sufficiently long, it doesn’t stick around for as long as the profile made us think. A very good Monymusk and an even better extension to the distillery’s exhaustive profile portfolio. (87/100)

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