Demerara 151

Demerara 151, it kinda sounds like a bad TV series, eh!? Anyway, it is the name of a series of Rums that all chose this strength as its proof (remember abv = American proof/2). While we are only dealing with a mere a pair of Rums today, one of them is supposed to be a real banger!

Hamilton Demerara 151 (75,5%): This Rum was designed to be a better version of the Lemon Hart 151. I guess that refers to the contemporary versions but let’s see. Nose: Rather nice. It is a very nice mix between fruity (dark grapes, sweet cherries) and woody/ spicy elements (oak, cloves, anise). Deeper in the glass I can also find cocoa, orange peel and definitely tobacco. What strikes me most about this one is that it doesn’t smell alcoholic at all and from what I have read, this should be a rather young blend. Very promising! Palate: Ultra smooth and clearly on the sweeter and more woody side. It has this 2003 Savalles-style written all over it (see here, for example. Please note that we were wrong back then and later learned that this is all Savalles distillate!) . Molasses, thick caramel, oak, sandal wood, Marmite, licorice, a spice mix, orange peel and prunes are the most obvious associations here. While I definitely like it, it is very one-dimensional and basic at the same time – and no comparison to the better of those 2003s just mentioned. Finish: Short and more of the same. Those dark molasses notes a very cool and I can definitely see why stuff like this is present in so many bars but we aficionados can do better. (74/100)

Lemon Hart 151 (~1970s, 75,5%): I’ve always though that this has been bottled in the 1980s but Lance convincingly dated this one back to the late 1960s/ 1970s. If you read this, sorry for stealing your photo but after all, the juice comes from the same bottle… Nose: Initially more subtle in terms of aromas and more aggressive as far as the alcohol is concerned than the Hamilton 151. After about 20 minutes in the glass the Rum finally settles down and reveals a whole array of different notes including molasses, licorice, lemon pie, plums, ripe dark berries, oak, freshly cut branches, mango, some spices and even a hint of iodine. Terrific, even though it could be even more intense at this abv for my liking but who are we!? Palate: Just as great, perhaps even better. A silky texture that isn’t overly alcoholic at all welcomes us with those ripe berries from the nose, thick caramel, rich wood, mango, a pleasant mix of spices, Kalamata olives, some herbs even and also citrus peal. Oh boy it is good and I don’t know if it really is this old or if it simply tastes much more mature than the contemporary blends. These ancient Demeraras really were something else. Towards the finish we get more sirup-y notes, flavoured with raspberry or pomegranate. Finish: Medium long and rich, with no sharp bite whatsoever. Pepper, oak, caramel, molasses and those condensed fruity notes (mango, raspberry, pomegranate) make you crave for more. I think this is a pretty standard blend from a glorious time. That’s the only way I can make sense of this. (86/100)

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