Friday, 1 December 2017

Cadenhead’s Rum Catch-up

I’m just starting to get into rum, I’m struggling with the geography but enjoying the booze.  I have notes here from the recent Cadenhead’s rum outturn, quite a lot of which sold out immediately but then came back in, and remain in stock.  I also have notes I’ve been collecting from a tasting at the London Cadenhead’s shop and from bottles or cask ends I’ve opened at home.  Most of that is still in stock too.  I present all these as an innocent but obviously from a whisky background.  There’s some good stuff here though.  In the new outturn, the Panama and the older Trinidad stood out – I didn’t get to try the younger Trinidad yet though.

October 2017 outturn

Panama 9 years old, single cask, 46% A+

PANAMA 9 -750x1000Nose - Deep at first, brown sugar, caught crackling, and a real abundance of wood. The rum character is a little minty (spearmint) on top of the richness and cask, and there's a men's perfume thing in here.

Body - Sweet, gentle and deliciously poised between mint and fruit (mango and apple).

Finish - Medium to short, with a great progression into wood tannins and oils, but it remains fresh and sweet to the end. Quite tannic at the end which brings you back in.

It doesn't say how many casks are in this, but it's a very nicely put together rum for long term sipping. Fruity, balanced, but quite masculine and really delicious to drink. Perfect for a party or a sitting round a fire.

Jamaican 14 years old, 46% B+

JAM 14 -750x1000Nose - Darker and dustier - sawdust - with blackcurrants, liquorice torpedoes and a vegetal note, petrichor. Hints of medicinal creams too, I don't know what it's called but it's given to toddlers with eczema. There's also, on exhale, a really interesting chalky/waxy note. I like the restrained and slightly challenging feel to this.

Body - Bright, a little sour with big cereal notes - crushed barley and aspirin, burnt toffee with anise and fried cinnamon stick.  Not restrained at all.

Finish - Long and quite hot at the back of the palate, a little like being punched in the nose. Salt and vinegar chipsticks at the end.

An interesting rum, but for me it's too hot and challenging to be offered at 46%. The panama is a much more pleasant proposition.

Trinidad, Trinidad Distillers, TMAH, 25 years old, 64.3% A⊕+

Trinidad 25 -750x1000Nose - Fresh, with coffee chocolate, freshly cut oak staves, peeled satsumas and something like talcum powder or travel sweets. On reflection, there's something like a metalwork room - oils and swarf. Then again, there's a fruity, waxy, beautiful cask feel to this that I'm guessing has more to do with 25 years in a Scottish whisky warehouse than Trinidad.

Body - Soft with black fruit again and a really gentle, oily wax. Beautiful fruit, it's unmistakably rum flavoured but it's a stunning spirit of any kind, really.

Finish - Long but gentle and extremely fruity, full of wild blackberries and slightly under ripe pear.

Hauntingly delicious. At 64%, I didn't get round to adding water. Two bottle territory, perhaps.

Guyana Enmore, MEV Pot Still, 26 years old, 57.2% A⊕

Enmore 26-750x1000Nose - Even brighter, waxier and fruitier than the others combined, the rum and wood come together in a really bizarre way (reminds me of felt lined boxes, old women's perfume and jewellery). The fruit is brighter, and more distinct than the Trinidad, with green apple skin, papaya and sultanas.

Body - Much dirtier than expected, dry and nutty and full of ants and chapulines, charred raisins, pink peppercorns and burnt toffee. More balanced with water, the fruit comes through more - watermelon and lime?

Finish - After that shock, though (which I'm sure is fully in character for the distillery) we're back in Scotland with a very long, rich and slightly mentholated finish, with lots of sesame and travel sweets.

This is a remarkable spirit, but at this stage in my rum journey I'm not sure I'm speaking the same language as it.

Barbados Foursquare, column/pot still (blended from both?), 11 years old, 60.9% A+'

Barbados 11 Foursq-750x1000Nose - More men's perfume, this rum stuff is very masculine, with boiled sweets, Haribo and, very distinctly, white truffle. This also has an element of "I've been stored in Campbeltown", by which I mean it has characteristics like matured Scotch - it is lovely though.

Body - Sweeter than the others, it's certainly simpler but it has a real creamy luxury to it that belies the 61% strength. More fruit with the brown sugar with water, a touch of gunpowder.

Finish - Some of that dirty rum feeling at the end, it's quite short and tannic with burnt sugar and it's a little swiney.

My palate is awash with parma violets and fruit now. Rum is a lot more tiring to taste than Scotch. This one is undeniably delicious, again.

Guyana Diamond, MPM Pot Still, 14 years old, 59.1% B⊕

Diamond 14 59.1 -750x1000Nose - Deep and slightly damp (wet rugs) but with this really intense, quite exciting character to it - charred lemon, gunpowder, cut wood, Fizzers and something else - cloudy lemonade? Alka-seltzer? There's a touch of insect funk here too, and the pollen laden stamens of just opened lily. Even more floral with water.

Body - Balanced, toffeed but then there's this Friday night on Poland street thing with cigarette smoke, BBQ and exhaust fumes. It is extremely dry and quite peppery, but there's that insistent rummy burnt toffee thing too.

Finish - Medium with lots of toffee pennies and a touch of smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Another one that's too weird for me (and I thought I liked the weird ones before). A fantastic nose though.

Older releases

These are mainly from May 2017 and before. These first two I have bottles of, the rest I tried the a tasting in the Cadenhead's shop.

Cadenhead's Green Label, Haitian Rum, 5 years old, 46% A+'

IMG_3624Nose - Clean but still slightly waxy and plasticky, some mint, a deep, Scotchy wood sweetness to this, with lime marmalade, milk tart and fresh, citrus woods. Pure summer.

Body - Green apple, oranges, papaya. A gentle sweetness against that very lightly funky rum dryness.

Finish - Clean and short, a residual fizzing sweetness and wood.

Absolutely crushable this stuff, I have been chugging through my bottle of this during the summer months, nothing starts a Friday evening better. It's light and fruity, balanced with some really lovely wood.

Cadenhead's Caroni, 1998, 18 years old, 175th anniversary, 65.8% A⊕

IMG_3625Nose - Sweet but dry, raisins and cardboard, a really elegant and interesting wood, and there's something like joss stick, fence panel in here weirding it up a little. It's quite a familiar nose to a whisky enthusiast though. Big, deep "sherry", lots of wood, lots of raisin. Quite Japanese actually.

Body - Really ripe, varnished wood and cloves. It's pure sherry bomb, crossed with BTAC black wood. More fruit with water, big raisin tannins too. Delicious.

Finish - Long, balanced, black cherries and more high quality raisins. After a very long time, I get the aftertaste of rum, with lovely echoes of ripe tropical fruit, mint bonbons, royal icing and apples. This was a big one.

Dark, delicious and very compelling, I can see what the fuss was about.

Brazil, Epris BMC, 15 years old, 45.4% (Cask Strength) A-

IMG_1940Nose - Perfumed, gentle sawdust, quite sweet, quite xmassy. Plastic book covering.

Body - Clean, apple and raisins, liquorice and icing sugar. Good wood, quite whisky-like except for the perfume.

Finish - Zesty and really clean, drying, delicious.

Lovely, perfumed and springlike

Bardbados - 11 years old, 46% A-

IMG_1941Nose - Slightly dirty, sweet petrol, dirty with a little truffle. Good cask wax.

Body - Vanilla sponge, surprisingly gentle with apple juice

Finish - Short with peppery tannins.

A dirty nose but a really clean (slightly too gentle) delivery

Belize, travellers distillery, 2005-2016 - 63.4% A+

IMG_1942Nose - Sweet with lacquered wood, zesty.

Body - Dark, intense wood, very sweet with blackcurrant. Lots of lemon pepper.

Finish - Dark chocolate and bitter wood, very long.

This could have been a whisky - somewhere between Scotland and America. Intense

Cuba, Sancti Spiritus distillery, CMA, 17 years old, 62.8% A⊕

IMG_1943Nose - Sweet and sour like a lambic, floral wood, perfumed again.

Body - Remarkable, this is bright, Bretty and herbal. Really rich with water, exceptional.

Finish - Long and medicinal.

This is fabulous. Very unpopular with the rest of the table though (like cough syrup!)

Guyana, 16 years old, 46% A⊕

IMG_1944Nose - Waxier, slightly funky, leather strop and old man's hair wax - brylcream? Really grown up and interesting, delicious.

Body - Oddly balanced between rosehips and purple sprouting broccoli.

Finish - a lovely, gentle finish. Fruity at the end.

Classic Rum - 2017 batch 1, 50% A+

A vatting of dark rums

IMG_1945Nose - Gentle with toffee chocolate, red berries and floor wax.

Body - Toffee pennies, rosemary and oak.

Finish - Really sweet, molasses and dark chocolate.

Gentle, good for drinking rather than thinking.

Fiji, 13 years old, 56.9% A⊕

IMG_1946Nose - Plastic and vanilla, herbal and fruit polos, really deliciously rich. Acrylic paint and chalk. Bizarre and delicious.

Body - Really sweet and rich, pure vanilla cream

Finish - Fruit, mint and tequila. Quite hot at the end.

Phenomenal at first but the finish is a little biting and detracts from the insanity.

Guatamalan, 8 years old, 46% A

IMG_1947Nose - Clean and sweet, apple juice and liquorice

Body - Edinburgh rock and pear drops

Finish - Intensely sweet, with wax and bonbons

Quite ordinary compared to the others

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