That Boutique-y Rum Company Secret Distillery #1 – Jamaica

That Boutique-y Rum Company follows hot on the heels of two other That Boutique-y entities…..their Whisky Company and Gin Company. I own a bottle of the Spit Roasted Pineapple Gin and also a couple of the Whisky bottlings….a lovely 11yr Aultmore and a killer peated 8yr expression from The English Whisky Company. I was clearly going to be very keen to pick up a few expressions from the rum range…..seemingly I ended up buying more than “a few”. But a little about the company first. The premise behind the company is to bring interesting expressions, not categorised by colour or ‘style’ to Rum Geeks, Adventurous Rookies and the Rum Curious. With the consultant at the helm being Peter Holland, they’ve certainly managed to bring a few interesting things to the market. So far I have picked up Blended Rum #1 – Jamaica (2 bottles), Diamond Distillery (Versailles Still) 13yr Old, O Reizinho 3yr Old from Madeira and this Secret Distillery #1 – Jamaica 9yr Old…..so let’s get into it.

That Boutique-y Rum Company Secret Distillery #1 – Jamaica – 58% abv – Pure Single Rum 

Let’s tackle the elephant in the room…..Secret Distillery. There’s only one distillery in a Jamaica that doesn’t permit independent bottlers to use the distillery name on the bottle….so we’re obviously dealing with a Worthy Park product. You can familiarise yourself with the work of the quite excellent Worthy Park here. No year of distillation on the bottle but an age of 9yrs coupled with a release in 2018 would lead me to see it as being from a 2009 distillation. Mine is bottle 378 of 426 and it has been bottled at 58%. Whether that is cask strength or reduced, I’m unsure….the upcoming Worthy Park 12 year Barrel Strength is noted as being 57% so I would say that it’s probably as close to cask strength as rounding down will allow. How many of its years have been spent in a tropical climate is unknown…but I’d hazard a guess at in excess of 5. I have queried the maturation locations and also the barrel marque so will hope to feed back. Although not noted, I’d also assume the ethos of the brand is no caramel colour and no chill filter. For future releases I’d like to see maturation location(s) listed similar to the Transcontinental and Excellence Rhum bottlings. Maybe an evolution of the rear label to include a little more info….or have it website listed. Anyhow….onwards.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Quite boozy initially. It shows its 58%. Time definitely aids this Rum as it definitely opens up. Certainly Worthy Park, but we don’t get the immediate up front banana in this. Instead it’s more spice led. Ginger juice. Spiced Fruit cake mix that has just been put into the loaf tin…think Raisins, Dried mixed peels and Molasses. This develops through a little of the Worthy Park stewed black tea and dialled down overripe banana to reveal a touch of Bakewell tart. Time brings a growing sweetness of cola pips, Perfumed oak and Wham Bars. Spiced barrel notes linger on the nose. Not completely your typical Worthy Park.

Mouth: Warming entry with a few sharp fruity notes. Gooseberries. Some fresh green apple. This is short-lived and soon develops into quite an oak led experience on the palate initially. Dry with plenty of black pepper. Vanilla. Spicy barrel notes and a hint of freshly picked pineapple mint. The mid palate is all tropical fruit. Banana, light Pineapple and Guava. This is accompanied by coconut shavings and molasses. Spice bun. Burnt sugar on Scottish shortbread. The long finish brings more of those spicy barrel notes and black pepper along with development of the frangipane element of a Bakewell tart. There is a development of sharp fruity white wine notes towards to back end…wait long enough and pleasant medicinal notes appear.

4 / 5

It’s a strange one to sum up. I enjoy this Rum, even though it’s not your typical Worthy Park expression….maybe I enjoy it because it’s not a typical Worthy Park expression. I enjoy a few other Worthy Parks a lot more though. But these are the fully tropically matured offerings such as the Habitation Veliers and the Estates own releases. All of the above aside, it’s a good, but different Worthy Park offering. It’s definitely a grower, and time is most certainly its friend. A very good example of multi location matured Worthy Park. Plenty to enjoy.

*Hydrometer Test Result – Label stated abv 58% – Measured abv 58% – 0 g/l additives*

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Berry Bros. and Rudd Hampden 17 Year Old 2000 Cask # 27 and Hampden 17 Year Old 2000 Cask # 54 The Whisky Barrel Exclusives

Hampden Estate will be familiar to any readers here as I have written about a few of their Rums. Information can be found here if you fancy a bit of background reading. It’s a place that I would love to visit, to see Rum making steeped in hundreds of years of history.

I want to get right into these bottles as there are two up for review today. Both are bottled by Berry Bros. and Rudd and both are Exclusive to The Whisky Barrel. They are both from a distillation in 2000 which would make them potentially LROK giving them an ester level of 200-400 g/hl AA. Not excessively high….but as we know….elevated ethyl acetate is not the key driver to a good rum. Both of these Rums are available from The Whisky Barrel for just shy of £85 each…..for 17 year old Hampden’s…not too bad.

Berry Bros. and Rudd Hampden 17 Year Old 2000 Cask # 27 The Whisky Barrel Exclusive – 57.2% abv – Pure Single Rum

Bottled at 57.2%, which we assume is cask strength, this release from Cask #27 saw 194 bottles.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Bright astringent ethyl acetate right away. Acidic sweet pineapple. Model glue. Varnish. Fruit is definitely a key facet to this rum with warm banana and a salty citrus oil backing up the pineapple. The sap from freshly sawn cedar…a memory that takes me back to making arrows in the shed at home as a child with my Dad. The freshness of pine mixed with menthol and eucalyptus. Something reminiscent of a new pair of suede trainers. Crazy stuff.

Mouth: Vibrant and sweet entry. It ticks all the relevant boxes. Pineapple. Banana. Tropical fruit leathers. Mango. Interestingly a bit of custard apple. In comes the savoury side of things on the mid palate led by a very well-integrated oak. Dry and peppery with spiced barrel notes. Olives. Brine. Salty crackers. Preserved lemons. Melting plastic makes an appearance. The long finish is spice led with the oak flexing its 17 years influence. Citrus, pineapple, play-dough, heavy acetone all sit in the mix. Quite a bit of peppery heat there too. It keeps your attention till the death. A hint of hazelnut and milk chocolate play off the oak. A lot to enjoy in here.

4.5 / 5

Berry Bros. and Rudd Hampden 17 Year Old 2000 Cask # 54 The Whisky Barrel Exclusive – 58.1% abv – Pure Single Rum

Bottled at 58.1%, which again we assume is cask strength, this release from Cask #54 saw 189 bottles.

Tasting Notes

Nose: I know that technically these are sister barrels…..same marque….same year of distillation….same maturation period….but the initial aromas are very different to barrel #27. Dialled down ethyl acetate and acidity gives way to a more vegetal and wood dominated nose. There’s something dirty like potatoes freshly removed from the ground. The fruit is there, definitely there but it is a background note initially. Warm pineapple upside down cake. Turmeric. Window putty. Fennel seeds. Sticking plasters. Menthol. Vanilla. Pencil shavings. Time allows the varnish and model glue to appear.

Mouth: Warming, sweet and quite refined…it is LROK I suppose. Fruit is here with pineapple, bananas, flamed orange peel. Dried tropical fruit….think mango, papaya and guava. Higher abv than cask #27 but it’s more approachable. Light brine and olives. The oak is a lot heavier in this sip on the mid palate. Far more spice from the wood. Fiery fresh ginger juice, a hint of Scotch bonnet and black pepper. Maybe even some allspice. Celery salt and fresh crunchy fennel. The finish is again….long. It’s far more savoury that the other cask though. Solid oak influence resplendent with all of the barrel spice notes mentioned. If the other cask was vibrant wood, this is a musty, older cask. Wet cardboard. Roasted stock vegetables with dominant celery. Good….but different.

4 / 5

Approachable cask strength Hampdens you say? Both great expressions of non tropically matured Hampdens….specifically the LROK marque. Not as intense as the tropically matured LROK that I have experienced but they’re both very good examples and both warrant a purchase if you have the funds. Cask # 27 is my favourite of the two given the profile consistency from nose to palate, but there is plenty to enjoy from the heavier wood influence on Cask #54.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Paulsen Collection Foursquare Vintage 1998

We’re back into it with another Foursquare. Some bottle hunters are seeking the ‘unicorn’ Exceptional Cask Release I, more commonly known as Foursquare 1998. Bottles are rare with Gayle Seale herself having to pick them up from property auctions in Barbados. They do exist in the wild but sightings are rare and can be very expensive. So what we have here in this Paulsen Collection bottling is that very same ‘unicorn’, but perhaps without the rainbow mane and golden horn…..maybe just dressed as a regular old horse. It was available until recently quite readily and I believe it may still be available in Europe. I gained a bottle a while back as a present from my wife, I then subsequently picked up another 2 bottles from Richard Blesgraaf over in Holland. Less than 50 Euros per bottle I think.

Now you will be fully aware reading these pages that I enjoy Foursquare Rums, a quick click here will link to quite a few articles on their products to get your juices flowing about the place. Anyhow, let’s get into it.

The Paulsen Collection Foursquare Vintage 1998 – 40% abv – Traditional Rum

This Rum is, amazingly, the product of only the Coffey Column Still at Foursquare Distillery. Distilled in 1998, this Rum was matured in ex-bourbon barrels for around 8 years. It was then decanted, reduced to around bottling strength and then re-barreled for an additional 2 years of maturation totaling a minimum of 10 years tropical maturation. Presented an a heavy based square edged glass bottle with a cork closure and wax seal on the label it certainly looks the part….if that kind of thing matters to you.

Coffey Column Still at Foursquare Distillery

Tasting Notes

Nose: Classic Foursquare profile on the nose…..Vanilla, butterscotch and a beautiful marshmallow note. Peppery and well-integrated oak lays down a solid foundation for the sweeter notes to play off. A touch of dried fruit and powdery cocoa appear given time. Relatively simple and straightforward nose to this Rum, but quite enjoyable.

Mouth: Lightly sweet and far more complex on the palate. Initial vanilla and cocoa give way to a drying and quite punchy oak that scatterguns fresh fruity peppercorns and charred, spicy barrel notes. A little banana chip and dried coconut sits alongside cocoa nibs and fresh, zingy ginger juice. A medium length finish carries the oak, vanilla and cocoa into those familiar peach vapours at the back of the throat.

You sometimes have to remind yourself that this is the product of the Coffey Column still only…..nothing from their pot still. Whilst it lacks a bit of heft on the palate, I can think of no better rum to adequately display just how effective the creation of Aeneas Coffey is when in the right hands. I was going to conclude this review by saying that this Rum was very much of its time, and it’s amazing to see how far things have moved on since it’s release in 2008. Not just in the Rum world in general but in the output and confidence of Foursquare Distillery. But the truth is, released today, maybe at the island abv of 43%, it’d fly off the shelves. It’s like a more mature Old Brigand, proper enjoyable, even if it’s not the most complex offering. Column Still Rum never tasted so good.

4 / 5

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Duchess Jamaica 2006 12 Year Old Rum

Back to it for the new year after a considerable break due to a multitude of things, and what better way to come back than with another independent bottling by a relative newcomer to the Rum scene. I covered a quite excellent bottling of a Foursquare by The Duchess and information on that can be found here. It also covers a little information on the brand and its owner Nils van Rijn. Another resource for some insight into The Duchess, and more specifically Nils can be found over at thefatrumpirate.

The Duchess Jamaica 2006 12 Year Old Rum – 57.9% abv – Pure Single Rum

Let’s dig into this bottling though. There is no distillery name on this bottle. The information given is that it was distilled in Lluidas Vale. Now we obviously know that we’re at Worthy Park with that information so The Duchess have carried out their contractual duty whilst we all have the information that we need.

Much has been written about Worthy Park on these pages and you can refresh yourself by clicking here.

Again the artwork has been produced by Hans Dillesse and yet again it is an absolutely beautiful label. Vibrant purple and white it appears to be the National flower of Jamaica, Lignum Vitae, or Wood of Life. Distilled in 2006 at Worthy Park this Rum, which is from cask number 4 was bottled in Autumn 2018 at its cask strength of 57.9% abv. No colour. No additives. It was a release of 268 bottles. It has seen 8 of it’s 12 years of maturation in Jamaica with the balance in continental Europe. It’s difficult to know which marque this is, but it’s a 2006 distillation, and initial visits to the glass have revealed an astringency last seen in the Habitation Velier 2006 which was the WPM Marque possessing an ester level of 120-239 gr/laa. However, information given to me by the ever forthcoming Zan at Worthy Park confirms that this is the WPL Marque.

Tasting Notes

Nose: We’re in familiar, comforting territory here. Isoamyl acetate central….the trademark Worthy Park overripe banana is very apparent sitting alongside spice bun, banana bread and black pepper. Quite medicinal with a beautiful sweetness and the sting of a little acetone. Tropical fruit is there in the form of mango and papaya but it’s not the main event. Light citrus oils blend with a hint of brine and some coastal aromas. Stewed black tea is present and accounted for and is carried on a beautifully well integrated oaken spine running through the rum.

Mouth: Sweetness the moment it crosses your lips. A beautifully sticky tropical fruit sweetness. This soon abates to bring a very hot peppery influence. Quite medicinal again with obvious black olives and preserved lemon. Mashed overripe banana, beautiful molasses and sticky ginger cake. Light cocoa notes have an interplay with a growing warming oak. There’s also a savoury turmeric note playing with the oak. Stewed black tea and slice of spice bun. The medicinal, almost coastal nature of the rum return to lead into the long finish that is resplendent with overripe banana, fresh ginger, well integrated warming oak, a whiff of smoke and salted liquorice. Molasses sticks with you for a good while afterwards.

4 / 5

There’s a lot to love in this bottle. I don’t think that it hits the highs of the fully tropically matured Habitation Velier 2006 which for me is one of, if not the best Worthy Park that I’ve tried, but it’s an absolute belter of a Rum. Its accessible enough to appeal to less seasoned palates and it also possesses enough complexity to keep your interest. It’s not going to break the bank at €65 a bottle and for that you get a very enjoyable and quite unique example of Worthy Park. I’m struggling to think of a poor example of Worthy Park aside from the obvious blot on the copybook from a few years ago. They are extremely popular with the Rum crowd but I genuinely believe that they need to be brought to a wider audience. Maybe 2019 will see that.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mount Gay 7 Year Old – TWE Exclusive Cask Strength

Amazingly Mount Gay have not featured on this site before, but that will change today. With a deed dating back to 1703, Mount Gay Distillery occupies a beautiful site in the North of Barbados in the Parish of St Lucy. I have far more information to share and images to post and these will appear on later articles featuring more of my Mount Gay collection.

Master Blender Allen Smith

Under the direction of Master Blender Allen Smith, Mount Gay are more famed for their entry-level Eclipse Rums along with Black Barrel and their XO. They have extensive aged stock and yet rarely bottle for others or sell to brokers these days. I have a Cadenhead’s bottling that I swear is from Mount Gay and I read only today of a release by a Dutch bottler that will be coming in December. Utilising both a traditional Coffey Column Still and multiple twin retort Pot Stills, Mount Gay produce Single Blended Rum. Their Pot Still House up in St Lucy really is a thing of beauty…..photographs can’t do it justice…but to give you some idea, this is an image that I took on my visit in April.

Mount Gay Distillery Pot Still House

But enough of that for now, you want to know about the Rum.

Mount Gay 7 Year Old Cask Strength – The Whisky Exchange Exclusive – 54% abv – Single Blended Rum

A blend of Traditional Twin Column and Double Retort Pot Still Rum, this Single Blended Rum sees a maturation period of 7 years in ex-bourbon barrels in the warehouses at the distillery in St Lucy. Bottled at 54%, which is Cask Strength, this Rum has not been chill filtered, it does not have caramel colour and it is a release of 2400 bottles from a total of 20 barrels. Losses to evaporation ranged from 37.3% to 47.9%. I have also been advised that it has a higher proportion of pot still in the blend than most other Mount Gay releases. It will be available only through The Whisky Exchange and is now available.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Peppery and spicy oak up front, as with all of the older MG expressions. The deep oak carries the intense vanilla of crème pâtissière and nutmeg topped egg custard. A bag of dried mixed tropical fruit. A hint of caramelised sugar atop a buttery Eccles cake. It’s a well-balanced and classically Barbadian nose with a little more power. Time brings a pleasant but not overdone note of pencil shavings and light molasses. Coconut chips in milk chocolate. Stewed stone fruit.

Mouth: Beautifully sweet entry. It doesn’t show it’s teeth initially. Very creamy….reminiscent of Banoffee pie with a spiced ginger biscuit base. Bourbon vanilla custard and warm fruit cake. The mid palate really allows the oak and spice to flex its muscles. The heat of black pepper and charred bourbon barrel notes. Immensely dry and with plenty of grip. Such a spice driven mid palate courtesy of the oak and the increased but never too aggressive abv. 54% just seems so right for this. Fiery freshly cut ginger, cinnamon and a touch of celery. It almost runs to being too dry and too oak heavy on the mid-palate but it manages to regain balance and a sweetness on the finish. Chorley cake with buttery shortcrust pastry resplendent with juicy raisins. A hint of milk chocolate. Caramelised sugar on creme brûlée. Walkers liquorice toffee. All pinned together with a solid, classic woody Barbadian backbone.

I tried this alongside a glass of the old label XO. Its youth, abv and more aggressive oak approach make it a very enjoyable step up as an experience as opposed to the XO’s calmer more easy-going oak and 43% abv. It’s good to see Mount Gay releasing cask strength Rums, albeit as bottlings for others and limited releases. I still think that their current cask strength releases have their pricing structure a little high to truly appeal to a bigger market, £150 for the XO Cask Strength (which I picked up anyway) and £200 for the Peat Smoke throw them into truly ‘special purchase’ territory. As a group, we spoke at length to Raphael Grisoni about this when we were at the distillery in April. This release is priced at just shy of £88 which brings it into a better price bracket and given the enjoyment contained within this bottle, it’s bang on the money.

4.5 / 5

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Manchester Rum Festival Returns

*Press Release*

MANCHESTER RUM FESTIVAL RETURNS FOR A THIRD YEAR
‘The perfect Christmas present for rum lovers’

Rum advocate and Manchester based Dave Marsland of Drinks Enthusiast is bringing back Manchester Rum Festival for a 3rd year running, hosting it at the new event and exhibition space Brickworks, within Barton Arcade on Deansgate. Saturday 8th June 2019 will see an expansion of the previous two sold-out festivals, resulting in both an afternoon and evening session for the first time, with ticket prices frozen from the 2018 festival, staying at £20 per person.

” S E M I N A R    R O O M    A D D E D    T O    2 0 1 9 “

The festival, created by Dave in 2017 to show that Manchester and the North of England are contributing in a major way to the growing rum category, will feature for the first time a seminar room that will house some of the world’s best rum speakers, brand owners and cocktail bartenders. It will also see the return of Revolución de Cuba as the festivals bar supporter, offering a variety of rum cocktails through their Cuban bar experience. The in-house festival shop will also be present once again, this time hosted by Marigot Bay Bar and Café, the latest venture opened by Dave in July 2018 in Altrincham. Alston Bar and Beef are also returning as one of the festival’s food vendors.

“ R E V O L U C I O N    D E    C U B A    R E T U R N ”

Exhibitors will be announced over the coming months through the festival website and social media pages, as well as further activities around the city. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.manchesterrumfestival.com

*End*

We’re definitely planning to be there!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ultimatum Worthy Park 10

Ultimatum Rums are released under the Little Distiller brand which is under the ownership of The Ultimate Whisky Company. Those companies are again under the ownership of spirits specialist van Wees from Amersfoort in the Netherlands. The Dutch company was founded by Han and Maurice van Wees in 1994 to allow them to buy, bottle and sell Whisky. The Ultimate is their independent Whisky bottling brand, Ultimatum is their independent Rum bottling brand. They apply the same principles to their Rum bottlings as they do their Whisky bottlings…..Single Cask offerings…..No Colouring…..No Chill Filtration….Presented at 46%.

Worthy Park I have written about quite extensively and you can find a few of my articles here. Worthy Park Estate is located at the geographical centre of Jamaica in the Parish of St. Catherine which is in a valley known as Vale of Lluidas. Founded in 1670, the Worthy Park Estate has only ever been owned by three families. Commercial cultivation of sugarcane began in 1720 and has continued unabated to this day, and Rum production at Worthy Park has been recorded from as early as 1741, which makes it the oldest producer still in existence in Jamaica. Rum production at the facility ceased in the 1960’s and then some 40 years later, in 2004, a modern facility was created by Gordon Clarke. It opened in 2005 creating a multitude of marques. Upon their re-entry to the Rum market, the decision was made to begin selling bulk rum to brokers who would then sell to bottlers. This Ultimatum bottling is a result of a 2006 distillation. Production of all Worthy Park Rums takes place on their Forsyths Double Retort Pot Still.

Ultimatum Worthy Park 10 – 46% abv – Pure Single Rum

So, adhering to their principles, this 10-year-old Worthy Park, distilled in March 2006 and bottled in September 2016 has not been chill filtered, has no caramel colour added, and is completely free of nasties. A single cask offering (cask #19), 263 bottles were yielded at 46% abv. It cost me somewhere around 35 – 40 euros.

Tasting Notes

Nose: A warming and quite ‘bready’ nose. Bread and butter pudding. Quite a pleasant bright fruitiness to the early exchanges. Almost a touch of acetone. Could this be high-end WPL or low-end WPM? Not as banana forward as other offerings. It plays off some well-integrated oak with warm banana bread and molasses. The bright fruit notes are maybe some crisp apple and there is definitely a sharpness and a suggestion of gooseberries. The banana bread becomes quite malty and is accompanied by stewed strong black tea notes. Sugar on warm porridge and the hint of candyfloss.

Mouth: Quite a warming and peppery entry initially. This soon abates an brings the sweetness of banana bread that has just started to burn. A smidgen of treacle. Malt loaf and butter. The promise of the nose doesn’t fully translate to the palate though. Quite a weak mid-palate with light grain whisky sweetness (that’ll be the candfloss) and light oak with a whiff of smoke. The short to medium length finish is a little underwhelming with the sweetness of molasses and mashed overripe banana that rides through the oak into quite a dominant grain whisky quality. You’re left with the memory of bonfire toffee and a light medicinal note.

There are so many good examples of Worthy Park Rums on the market. This is competitively priced and has not been tampered with, for that it should be applauded. But although pleasant, there are better offerings out there. It never quite hits the mark of few of the independent 2005 releases and comes nowhere close to their own tropically aged releases. But nevertheless, if you don’t want to spend a fortune and you want to buy and appreciate a solid Rum at an accessible price, this could be just what you’re after.

3.5 / 5

 

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.