RumFest 2017 is nearly upon us and i still have a stack of tasting notes from last years show. This blog ain’t going to be a work of art and it certainly ain’t going to be pretty, especially towards the end. Think of it more as a fancy dress 10K charity fun-rum [see what i did there?]. I’ll start as randomly as i mean to go on.
C: Once again, NAS rums with ambiguous/deliberate age-suggestive labelling – how many examples this weekend: 5, 6?! Column still rum-vodka, relatively featureless alongside the pot still & agricoles.
5-Islands scores a near miss, 7-Islands scores 75 points.
- N: Sweet, thick molasses vibe. Later, peppery, full-bodied and malt-like.
- T: A waxy mouthfeel follows a full initial delivery, yet unlike the sweet nose it manages on the palate a medium savoury-sweetness at best. Becomes a bit grating once the simpler woody vanilla notes settle in.
- F: Very light, savoury-sweet finish, much like a straight, soft bourbon. The casks seems to have given body but also a whole heap of vanilla. In the end, it’s rather simple stuff but a fully integrated sipper.
- C: I really like its lightness. I could see myself using this as a mixer for more subtle cocktails, even simply with coconut water and a dash of fresh lime.
Scores 83 points
- C: Sweet, woody, dry & bitter.
Scores 78 points
Now for something different
Yaguara Cachaca ‘Blanca Ouro’  41.5%
From Brazil. Ouro means three wood types. 20% percentage of this Cachaca is oak aged for 5-6 years. The spirit is made from 100% pot still.
- N: Blanca it says, Blanca it is,… so very little here.
- T: No notes.
- F: A little cinnamon.
- C: I was concentrating more on the information being given by the exhibitor than the juice itself. There’s clearly a whole Cachaca world to discover.
Otherwise referred to as ‘Nelson’s Blood’. Do check out Ralfy’s review [link above] which contains lot of historical information regarding Pusser’s rum.
- N: Nutty sweet mash notes.
- T: Initially thinnish-sweet before becoming very sweet & soft.
- F: Way too sweet.
- C: After all those years, what a crying shame. The resulting rum is way too sweet and far too weak, begging for an abv boost at the very least. Having said that, ‘soft & sweet’ will appease many.
Scores 76 points
Now for a brace of Mezan:
Mezan 2005 Single distillery rum [Guyana] 40% RR75
I believe this is rum made from the wooden Port Mourant still at the Diamond Distillery.
- N: Blu-tac, putty, tropical fruits and an instant Daiquiri vibe/association coming from notes of lemon>lime.
- T: This juice is begging for lime & sugar
- F: Pot still vibe on the finish.
- C: A good standard rum if a little featureless.
Scores 79 points
Mezan 2006 Single distillery rum [Panama] 40% RR68
- N: Sweet molasses funk.
- T: Same as on the nose with a little putty.
- F: ,….. my interest wains rapidly.
- C: After promising early glimpses, there’s a steady decline in form.
Scores 78 points
… followed by a brace of Barbancourt:
Barbancourt 8yo  ‘5 Star Reserve Especiale’ [Haiti] 43% RR67
- N: Sweet with a very low agricole-style note.
- T: Sweet and dull.
- F: Slightly more interest here with an agricole note making another appearance.
- C: I ask a guy standing next to me what he thinks of it. He says, “its nice, but im not here for nice”. Seconded.
Scores 77 points
Barbancourt 15yo  ‘Reserve du Domaine’ [Haiti] 43% RR57
- N: Chalky, cask-dry.
- T: Much the same profile as the 8yo but with a little more wood spice ‘kick’.
- F: Vanilla.
- C: Think i actually prefer the 8yo, but either way: ‘column still = not much of a thrill’.
Scores 76 points
For our final brace of the day we go to Guadeloupe, and to agricole!
Rhum Rhum ‘Liberation 2015′ Velier, Marie Galante 45% WF86
‘Rhum Vieux agricole bois noble Marie Galante, Guadeloupe’, translates as: ‘Rhum Old farming noble wood Marie Galante, Guadeloupe.’
- N: Citrus.
- T: Bitter sour.
- F: Dry yet squidgy, almost.
- C: Like the Matugga that follows, it’s very different to the majority of fayre around the room. I find it very good.
Scores 85 points
Rhum Rhum PMG  Rhum Blanc Agricole Marie Galante RR80
- N: New make complexity
- T: ,….
- F: …. good stuff, i think,… My inexperience makes it tricky to gauge.
- C: Though i should have tried this first, it’s my least favourite of the two Galante’s. I find it primitive.
Scores 80 points
British rum with an African soul apparently.
- N: Blended-funky rum with a sour-savoury nature and descriptors towards Worcester sauce, Bovril & vinegar.
- T: Sweet molasses moving to syrup. Surprisingly sweet given the savoury-sour nose.
- F: Moves now to Weetabix, sugary Weetabix though with an additional ripple of Bovril at the last.
- C: Interestingly odd – is this rum? It reads more like a malt does it not? A promising soul.
Scores 82 points
New Grove 2007 [Mauritius] cask #174 [526 bts] 49.9% RR80
- N: [Tasting blind] Some clear signs of maturation with a fungal note. Has any Cognac been involved?
- T: Lots of wood spice.
- F: ,… and then more wood chat.
- C: French oak? – revealed! I’m improving with rum, slowly!
MoM: ‘Half of this rum was matured in a new [400ltr] French oak cask and half was matured in ex-Cognac French oak before they were brought together at a natural strength of 65%. Over the following 3 years it was then slowly diluted down to 55% to create a perfect marriage’. At some point the abv i assume fell naturally to 49.9%.
Scores 86 points
Lets try another Mauritiun rum.
- N: Candy shop & vanilla.
- T: Icky sweet.
- F: Wood fungal.
- C: This won gold medals for best Mauritius Rum, but it couldn’t win me over at all. Just scrapes the board.
Scores 75 points
We are nearing the end of day two at RumFest and it’s getting a little messy.
- N: A cocktail in its own right given the molasses-soaked Daiquiri nose. Sickly sweet.
- T: Another super-sweet sipper revealing it’s more a heather-honey liqueur than rum.
- F: Coffee liqueur.
- C: Possibly a step in the right direction for Kraken-heads, perhaps only a sideways move? No doubt a popular rum but nothing to see from a malternative point of view.
C: A very simple & sweet rum from Trinidad.
Oh dear, we are crashing out badly.
Don Q 2005 Single Barrel [Puerto Rico] [btl #00530] 40%
- N: Sweet.
- T: Peppery sour-sweet.
- F: Resembles a single grain whisky. Must be the column still speaking.
- C: A sour>sweet single grain-like rum.
Produced in Kerala, India.
- N: I’ve only got myself to blame for ending up here. Curiosity got the better of me, but what can one expect from a bottle dressed up as a fluffy tiger? The official blurb lists toffee, vanilla, almond and honey as the main flavour components. I picked up a heavy dose of nutmeg along with, how many spoonfuls of Mary Poppins medicine?
- T: ..
- F: ..
- C: Basically a bottled melted vanilla ice-cream. Whilst it appears to be one big joke/gimmick, to their credit, the ambassadors of this product/brand arent ashamed to admit that it’s all part of the ‘fun of the carnival’. And on a more serious note, 10% of the company’s profits from sales of this cuddly toy [I mean rum], are donated to the Wild Tiger Foundation which works to protect Tigers in Kerala, India. We can only hope the goodwill and beneficial outcome for the tigers isn’t offset by any human & environmental damage caused through the manufacturing of the toy fluff and plastic teeth.
Whilst i should have called it a day after the New Grove, I see ‘The Foz’ propping up the Botran stand. One for the road then!
Botran Solera #18  Ob. [Guatemala] 40% WF72
Yet ANOTHER ambiguously age-labelled NAS rum that looks like an 18yo, but in fact relates only to Solera #18. Bad behaviour!
- N: Molasses-sweet though thankfully not sickly. I can’t do any more of those today, though anything next to that Wild Tiger would appear less sweet.
- T: Savoury=sweet with a squidgy mouthfeel.
- F: Vanilla, peanuts and soft honey.
- C: I find this rather congenial given the last 4-5 rums.
Scores 80 points
And in exactly three weeks time the rum fun begins all over again. RumFest 2017, 14-15th October, London