The Whisky Exchange are to showcase a different spirit each year at The Whisky Show. They kicked off with rum as guest spirit for 2018. Here are a few of the many excellent offerings.
Caroni 1998 18yo HL Kill Devil Single Cask Rum [246 bts] 65.5% WF86
Some retailers are mis-quoting this single cask batch at 245 bottles, not the correct 246. I believe it was released in 2017. There is also another 1998 18yo HL Caroni at 63.2%, 233 bottles.
- N: Lots of Benylin cough medicine and orange juice is all I noted.
- T: This is seriously herbal, and also dry, though the incredibly high abv doesn’t bite at all. In fact, water trashes it. Maybe that’s why HL kept it at this strength?
- F: Keep it neat for a sweet, sugary bready finish.
- C: Priced fair at £200, there are a few excellent moments here & there.
Scores 87 points
Monymusk 2007 10yo HL Kill Devil Single Cask Rum [351 bts] 45%
- N: Aromatic spices ride on top of a jammy herbal digestif.
- T: Quirky distillate-led juice.
- F: Freaky dried herbal finish with an odd<unfamiliar mouthfeel.
- C: Interesting to say the least.
Scores 85 points
Black Tot British Royal Navy Rum ‘Last Consignment’ 54.3% WF89
A great story just got even better. Edward ‘Old Grog’ Vernon was administering rum to his naval fleet in the late 1770’s, to help boost morale as well as controlling drunkenness. Originally, adding sugar & lime [a Daiquiri essentially], made the raw rum more palatable and helped prevent scurvy. Vernon’s naval ration existed until 1970. Then stored in a large solera containing rum aged between 50-70 years old – the youngest estimated to have been distilled around 1965 – what was left inside the solera was bottled into flagons [see pic right]. TWE managed to acquire some of these flagons, marry them together and rebottle & repackage them as the ‘Last Consignment’. A slice of history is yours for £650 [Oct ’18]. [Unofficially] there maybe around 100 flagons left ‘knocking around’.
- N: Stewed, dark treacle molasses sugars reign.
- T: Dark brown treacle sugars and herbal, fruity ‘everythings’.
- F: A long black treacle finish.
- C: Compliments to Sukhinder Singh and TWE team for yet another foresightful coup.
Scores 88 points – my scoring ranging between 85-90.
We finish up at the Velier stand, manned as ever by the immutable Dan and Angelo. This is my first encounter with Long Pond. As I know nothing about it, who better to present these rums other than the man himself Luca Gargano, courtesy of rumporter.com:
D.S.: Your next Jamaican releases will put the spotlight on Long Pond, a distillery managed by a consortium consisting of 3 entities: the state-owned National Rum of Jamaica (NRJ), DDL’s Komal Samaroo and Alexandre Gabriel of Maison Ferrand. Can you present these rums for us?
L.G.: First of all, there will be four NRJ varieties: a Cambridge 2005 STCE (the mark stands for “Simon Thompson Cambridge Estate” and refers to Cambridge Estate, a distillery that shut down in 1948), a Long Pond 2003 TECA (the origin of this mark is unknown, although it was probably that of a former distillery in Tilston, in Trelawny Parish, but nothing is certain), a Long Pond 2007 TECC (same comment as that on TECA) and a Vale Royal 2006 VRW (VRW stands for Vale Royal Wedderburn, a mark used by the Vale Royal Distillery, which shut down in 1955).
The first three rums are “High Esters” and the fourth one, as its name suggests, is a Wedderburn. These are the first official bottlings of rums distilled by Long Pond and aged at the distillery! Later there will be a fifth variety, a Long Pond White labelled “Habitation Velier”, distilled at 87.7% and bottled at 62.5% with 674 g/hlpa esters. All of this will normally become available as early as this September.
Long Pond 2006 12yo NRoJ & Velier ‘Vale Royal Wedderburn’ 150/250 11 casks [3412 bts] 62.5%
- N: These sugars/flavours are new to my palate, weighing in with a coppery/chrome sweet pong and banana skins.
- T: With more sweet pongy action, this is extraordinary & tasty stuff without being extravagantly wild nor whacky.
- F: A pure yucky, fairly dry finish, resulting in perfectly congenial drinking rum by the end.
- C: Mind blowing! A super shock to the senses.
[Provisionally] scores 90 points
Long Pond 2005 13yo NRoJ & Velier ‘Cambridge’ 550/700 11 continental flavoured casks [3648 bts] 62.5%
- N: Less herbal than the Vale Royal.
- T: Waxy, industrial funk with a dunder-pit sweetness.
- F: Waxy petroleum sweet.
- C: Apparently, these rums are all technically watered down from 73-74%, often done in the cask prior to being bottled. Drinking it neat, I wouldn’t have guess this was in the 50 abv bracket let alone the low 60’s.
[Provisionally] scores 88 points
Long Pond 2003 15yo Ob. [NRoJ & Velier] 1300/1300 Continental flavoured 9 casks [2484 bts] 63%
- N: Funk-wise, we’ve climbed a step up. The profile: an old & rare banana/tomato style with plastics and fermented waxy fruit juices.
- T: Someone burned the bhaji’s! Also, I picked out more funky plastics, orange juice and perhaps an umami-esque seaweed-based stock. This is a new world for me, so I’ll need to further my vocabulary to aid me with these new sensory experiences.
- F: Tries to linger, but it ends short.
- C: Old & rare style rum for sure.
[Provisionally] scores 88 points
Long Pond 2007 11yo Ob. [NRoJ & Velier] 1500/1700 Continental flavoured 11 casks [3325 bts] 62.3% WF91
Whilst the youngest of the bunch, this TECC Long Pond contains the highest ester count of 1500-1700 gr, which is why we tried it last.
- N: More fruity plastics.
- T: Milky, plastic-y petroleum.
- F: Lingers but the finish is light.
- C: “Revolting in a good way” says the Foz. It’s certainly freaky, though not quite, full mezcal freaky. Happily mixes with water or not.
[Provisionally] scores 87 points
I encountered all four of these Long Pond’s again at RumFest [a few weeks after TWE Whisky Show], so I’ll be revisiting & recapping in due course.