US Rums

Once, the US, or much rather New England, was one of the Rum distilling places in the world. As you know, a lot has changed since then but many new distilleries are popping up in the US these days. We have to work with the few samples we get on this side of the pond.

Velier Privateer 2017 3YO (54,2%): Our previous encounters with Privateer were, well, underwhelming but that shouldn’t stop us from checking out other releases as well, right!? Nose: Quite flat with cornflakes (the oldschool Kellogs we never fell in love with), hay, actual corn, glue and more Bourbonish notes. Besides that, there isn’t really much to discover here. Palate: Just as flat and still decidedly Bourbonish. We don’t mind the occasional Bourbon (if it is exceptional) but I just cannot understand why you would want to copy another, completely unrelated spirit instead of going for something innovative. This is definitely not what we are looking for in Rum. Flavourwise, there just isn’t much to discover here either, despite some sweet corn, glue, sugar, flour perhaps and now clearly also vanilla. Finish: Kinda short without any memorable notes whatsoever. If we stick to the world of Rum, it kinda does stand out, admittedly. If we extend this one to the world of spirits, it just become another, interchangeable one. But it does have “soul”, for what it is worth. (68/100)

Habitation Velier Privateer 2020 (62%): Ah wait, there’s also an unaged one. Perhaps we should have tasted this first… Molasses from Guatemala and 350 g/hlaa esters. Alright. Nose: Not bad at all! But not fancy either… It doesn’t smell sharp and comes with lots of vanilla, sweet berries, ripe pear and Stracciatella. While it isn’t fancy indeed, we fancy it more than the aged expression. Palate: Williams pear, anyone? This really does taste like an (admittedly rather good) “Willy” (that’s what we call Williams Pear over here)and blindly, it would have been one. That said, plenty of fruit schnaps but well crafted. But where’s the Rum!? Finish: More Willy. I can live with that. It might be a good mixer even. But why not go for the real Willy instead!? A legit question, I feel. However, it does show us a face of the distillery that we didn’t know about before, so this exercise hasn’t been done in vain. (72/100)

Romdeluxe “The Oddmar” (Richland) 2017/8 3YO (43,1%): Hailing from the state of Georgia, Richland is a first for us. This is a 3YO that has been bottled in 2021. Nose: Thick and creamy, despite the low abv. We get caramel, a mix between maple and corn syrup, some glue, rye and multi-grain bread, chocolate and quite a few spices. This is surprisingly cool! Palate: This Rum makes you think that you are drinking a > 50% abv spirit. Not only because it is a bit harsh, but also because it has the texture and intensity of a high proof Rum. Maple syrup, spices (think cinnamon, nutmeg), caramel, leather polish and solvents as well as wood are my main impressions. This must have been an incredibly active cask – or the distillate is just this rich. Finish: Medium long with the maple/ corn syrup, oak, spices and shoe polish. I think this is a distillery we’ve got to keep an eye on. (79/100)

Balcones 2YO (58,5%): We already know Balcones from the world of Bourbon, which essentially taste like liquid BBQ sauce. This molasses-based Rum has been double distilled in a Pot still. Nose: Heavy on dark and red berries (especially sweet raspberries and currants), kinda sweet and more mature than you’d expect. Then vanilla, tobacco, mocha, nougat, allspice, cocoa and seasoned beef. I certainly didn’t expect that but as we often say, we should taste this first before jumping at conclusions. Palate: A mix of tropical fruits meets beef jerky, caramelised popcorn, mocha and dark chocolate. What a wild ride this is but at the end it all kinda makes sense. Now a mix of nuts, banana and banana bread, sweet corn and oak. Cool stuff! Finish: Very nutty with lots of roasting aromas, oak and a decent duration. This is such a pleasant surprise! Nothing earth shattering, but a different Rum profile from what we know and it definitely comes with a lot of potential. I hope they’ll do more along these lines. I clearly prefer this to their Bourbons. (79/100)

Compagnie des Indes Secrete Florida Distillery 2004 17YO (RFS10, 44%): I don’t know how many distilleries are active in Florida but I think that this is one that Compagnie des Indes has bottled before. But 17 years? That’s quite something, no!? Nose: Oh well… it is an extremely light distillate that’s mostly cask driven, if at all. A mix of continental fruits, vanilla, yoghurt, grass, some spices, a whiff of sulphur, apricot jam is what I am getting. That’s not bad, but utterly uninspiring and dull. Palate: Still light but with more power than I thought. Flavourwise, we get many of the notes from the nose, namely pears, apricot jam, vanilla, sugary cereals, fresh cane juice, oak and a few spices here and there. Once again, this is probably solid stuff, but incredibly insipid. Blindly, this could have been a light Cuban Rum, something from Puerto Rico or a subpar Australian. I hope that makes sense to you. Finish: Short and not memorable. On the plus side, it kinda makes you want to try again. Perhaps I am a bit too harsh on this Rum as it is admittedly well crafted but it is a profile that really interchangeable and flat. For us that’s a pass. (70/100)