Tag Archives: Jamaica

The Legendary Alnwick Rum, 43% vs The Duppy Share Caribbean Rum, 40%

Nearing the end of my lockdown miniature selection are these 2 rums.

Alnwick Rum c/othewhiskeynut

The Legendary Alnwick Rum immediately brought back memories of my days at sea aboard the MV Alnwick Castle bulk carrier whose parent company hailed from the same area this Dark Rum emanates from.

Deep reddish brown in colour, heavy molasses on the nose. Good solid mouth feel – oily & viscous – with a lovely flourish of spice on the rear.

A very decent dark rum.

Duppy Share c/othewhiskeynut

The Duppy Share also took me back to my days in London where the vibrant & colourful Carribean culture enlivened the otherwise grey streetscape.

Light straw in colour, a clean & clear funk on the nose. More fruity on the palate, a mellow funk fusing with a sprinkling of spice & sweet caramels to round up this very easy & approachable golden rum.

‘Duppy’ has a number of meanings – one being a playful spirit – & this rum toys with that association.

A lovely little duo to appreciate the diversity of styles & influences within the growing rum category.

Sláinte

Rabbie Burns & Rum, Havana Club Anejo 3, 40%

Burns Night is usually associated with whisky – but in Rabbie’s day the spirits of choice were Irish Whiskey or Rum!

Modern Rabbie c/oSundayPost

This was before Aeneas Coffey invented his patent still allowing the art of blending to fuel the rise of Scotch Whisky.

Rabbie at one point contemplated heading to Jamaica – but his growing poetry fame held him at home.

Cuban rum c/othewhiskeynut

Havana Club 3 is a Cuban Rum. It’s unlikely Rabbie tasted any as the island was under Spanish control at the time.

Despite being aged for 3 years – Havana filter the rum in charcoal to leave the colour a pale straw hue – & possibly reduce the pungency too!

Nonetheless there’s a fresh & fruity grassiness to the nose.

Very mild & mellow on the palate – yet a pleasing black peppery spice enlivens up the finish leaving a prickly tingling on the tongue.

Label info c/othewhiskeynut

Entertaining neat – but more commonly used as a base for mixing.

I wonder if Rabbie would have approved?

Sláinte

Whiskey Nut’s Top 10 Blogs of 2020

It’s that time of year when a certain reflection is done of the previous 12 months – and anticipation of those to follow.

My reflection in this instance came about via the stats figures within the WordPress computing machines.

A somewhat random & unexpected Top 10 list of blogs pops up based on views. Not all were written in 2020, some don’t feature Irish Whiskey & others aren’t whiskey related at all!

It’s a fair representation however of my journey through the world of spirits.

What I’d consider my best pieces – spending hours researching, constantly rewriting & fretting over – don’t particularly appear highly. Others randomly do – while a few are not entirely unexpected.

I raise a glass to each & every reader who visited my site – hopefully you’ll keep returning.

Many thanks.

Sitting in front of the computer can be a lonely place & without the feedback & growing readership – would feel even lonelier.

Without further ado – here’s the list – with links to the original blogs.

What was your favourite?

Proper Twelve v Jameson, Irish Whiskey Blends, 40%. Dec ’18.

Black & Blue Premium Whisky, 43%, India via Nigeria. Jan ’19.

Discovery, Highland Single Malt, 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky, 40%. Sept ’19.

The Busker Irish Whiskey, Royal Oak Distillery. May ’20.

Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt, 40%. Dec ’18.

Best Classic Whisky, Blend, 43%, Nigeria. March ’18.

Ron Rumbero, 4 x 40ml miniature pack, 15% to 38%. Dec ’19.

Rampur Select, Single Malt, 43%. Apr ’20.

The World Of Rums, 4 x 40ml Miniature Pack. Nov ’19.

Wall Street, Blended Spirit, 39%, Vietnam. Dec ’17.

Sláinte

All photos authors own.

Mr Atkinson’s Rum Contract, Richard Atkinson

I found this book a compelling read.

Some rum for Mr Atkinson? c/othewhiskeynut

Ostensibly tracing the failures & fortunes of one family across the generations – it also captures the ups & downs of the British Empire through the involvement of that same family.

In doing so it details the centrality of the slave trade to British prosperity – the wars fought to maintain that wealth – and the role Rum played in holding it all together.

In the 18th Century Britain ruled the waves.

It’s ships exported manufactured goods, captured slaves from Africa to work the colonies in the Caribbean & N America & imported rum, sugar, coffee, cotton & tobacco from the exploitation of those slaves.

It made Britain – and all the other European powers involved – extremely rich.

The sailors on those ships were given a daily rum ration – not abolished until the 1970’s – and members of the authors family were central in procuring some of that rum – as well as overseeing the Jamaican colony where a lot of it came from.

A compelling read c/othewhiskeynut

The book is a fascinating insight into a dark period of human history where the complete subjugation & exploitation of one people for the unsustainable profits of another was deemed ‘good business’.

I just hope the rum I enjoyed while reading this book came about by a much more sustainable & equitable manner.

A highly recommended read that brings to life the horrors of the past & sheds some light on today’s travails.

Sláinte

A Clairin Tasting

Clairin.

A distilled spirit made in Haiti from wild strains of freshly cut sugarcane, fermented in the open with naturally occurring yeasts, single distilled in direct fired alembic pots & enjoyed locally unaged, unfiltered & cask strength.

There are over 500 Clairin distilleries in Haiti – a reminder of the days every town in Ireland had their own Poitín producer.

The opportunity to try out such spirits was too good to miss – so courtesy Irish Spirits Training – I signed up for a Zoom tasting.

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Exploring Clairin c/othewhiskeynut

Presented before us were 9 samples.

6 were Clairin sourced directly from Haiti.

4 were  ‘single estate’  Clairin – although there are no rules or classifications in the Clairin world – 2 were blends of those ‘singles’.

The other 3 – a rhum agricole, a big brand rum & an aged rum – were provided for comparison.

After a historical synopsis of how Haiti came to be & is today – we progressed to the tasting.

The big brand rum was a clear, soft & relatively flavorless spirit.

The rhum agricole possessed far more character & appeal.

The 1st Clairin I tasted – Clairin Communal – a blend of the 4 ‘singles’ – burst through with heaps of fresh fruity funk, an oily & rich mouthfeel combined with varied herbaceous & floral notes dancing away on a long finish.

Clairin Communal
Clairin Communal c/oSpecialityBrands

In a world that is often constricted by uniformity, conformity & consistency together with financial pressures dictating efficiences of scale & production – usually at the expense of taste – here was a liquid unimpaired by such constraints – and it delighted my palate.

The 4 constituent ‘singles’ were as follows,

Clairin Sajous
Clairin Sajous c/oSpecialityBrands

Clairin Sajous had a sweet funky nose, quite a clear, clean taste with a powerfully dry prickliness on the rear.

Clairin Vaval
Clairin Vaval c/oSpecialityBrands

Clairin Vaval wasn’t as funky, had a more umami feel to it’s rich flavours, an oily mouthfeel & prickly spices on the finish.

Clairin Le Rocher
Clairin Le Rocher c/oSpecialityBrands

Clairin Le Rocher dialed up the funk. Using a ‘dunder syrup’ – not unlike Jamaican rum – Le Rocher differed both in taste & style – to satisfying results!

Clairin Casimir
Clairin Casimir c/oSpecialityBrands

Clairin Casimir was my favourite. The funkiness was soft on the nose, well balanced on the palate by a fruity sweetness & a lovely long finish.

It’s another case of ‘ should’ve bought the large bottle’ as experienced with La Penca Mezcal!

The evening finished with the aged rum.

Hampden 46
Hampden Estate 46 c/oSpecialityBrands

Being Jamaican, the funk was evident, yet complimented by an oakiness from the barrel ageing similar to whiskey.

Clairin – despite being unaged spirit – is bursting with bold flavours – many unfamiliar – which are simply a joy to experience.

Well worth exploring!

Sláinte

Good Logo

Blacks Golden Rum, 40%

Despite visiting the Sunny South of Ireland – I’ve yet to encounter the sugarcane plantations of Kinsale.

Blacks Brewery & Distillery – based in the town – imported the molasses to make their Golden Irish Rum.

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Ahoy mateys! c/othewhiskeynut

Presented in a distinctively shaped bottle – common across the Blacks Gin & Whiskey spirits range – with an elaborately designed label bearing both the Blacks Crow & a pirate ship – along with other steampunk style contraptions – the suitably golden liquid lured me in.

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Irish Rum c/othewhiskeynut

A heavy funk on the nose – Jamaican style – with a hint of ripe fruitiness on top.

Luscious on the palate – the fruitiness puts in more of an appearance.

A gorgeously growing softly tingling spiciness rounds up this delightful rum – as the gentle funk slowly fades away.

I can see why it achieved Gold at the recent World Rum Awards.

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Intricate design. c/othewhiskeynut

It’s beautifully balanced with a complexity of flavours resulting in a charismatic characterful spirit.

Rum ahoy!

Sláinte

Good Logo

 

Wray & Nephew, Overproof Rum, 63%

My journey into Rum was signposted by a particular flavour – Jamaican funk.

Several rums had given me a burnt rubber note – not particularly enjoyable.

One rum kept being mentioned – Wray & Nephew Overproof – and here it was before me.

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Time to get funky? c/othewhiskeynut

Said to be the epitome of Jamaican funk.

Would it deliver?

Or was my palate just not amenable?

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Enjoy! c/othewhiskeynut

The clean, clear & fresh non aged rum possessed a vegetal earthiness combined with a richness – like a Jamaica Cake – that pulled me in.

Surprisingly easy on the palate. A sweet, smooth & ripe fruitiness together with that funkiness – reminiscent of the gorgeous Brett Saison from Wide St Brewing – but without the bubbles!

Brett Saison
Brett Saison c/oWideStreetBrewing

The 63% alcohol made it’s presence felt on the finish – and those fruity flavours danced merrily away for a long time.

Overproof isn’t over cooked,

It’s a fantastically balanced rum displaying complex flavours , richness & depth.

I think I just got funky!

Slàinte

Good Logo

Crossbones Premium Dark Rum, 40%

Ahoy mateys!

Shiver me timbers & splice the mainsail.

The Jolly Roger is back with this strikingly designed bottle of rum.

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Shiver me timbers! c/othewhiskeynut

I couldn’t resist.

A rich ruby red glow lured me in.

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Ruby ruby ruby! c/othewhiskeynut

A smoky funk on the nose.

Blended Jamaican Rum from both pot and column stills

Dark sweet caramel – almost treacly liqourice to begin with.

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Set sail for Aldi! c/othewhiskeynut

Softly smooth mid palate.

A warming oaky spice on the long finish.

Yo ho ho an’ blow the man down.

A gem of a rum to raise the sails!

Slàinte

Good Logo

 

Sea Dog, Dark Rum, 37.5%

Fine Old Jamaican Rum‘ it says on the label.

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Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! c/othewhiskeynut

And yet I’m struggling with it.

It takes me back to the days before anti skid brakes were a thing.

On emergency stopping with a truck & trailer, it was common to lock all the trailer wheels keeping an eye on which way it would swing before pumping the brakes to keep on line.

This released copious amounts of white smoke – burning rubber – which is what I got from Sea Dog Dark Rum.

Now I know Jamaican Rum is renowned for it’s funkiness – described by Alexandre Gabriel, Master Blender for Plantation Rum as ‘overripe banana, overripe tropical fruit, meaty gaminess and green pineapple’ in an article here – but I just get flash backs and the acrid smell of a pile up on the M1 motorway.

Old Sea Dog is as ubiquitous in Ireland as OVD is in Scotland.

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Pirate’s rum c/othewhiskeynut

Both brands have cornered their markets far better than that unfortunate driver back on the M1.

Sláinte

Good Logo

 

The World Of Rums, 4 x 40ml Miniature Pack

Miniatures.

Love ’em.

The opportunity to taste and sample a variety of styles & flavours before committing to a large bottle.

Lidl are currently showcasing The World Of Rums – including offerings from;

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4 Rums, 4 styles, 4 flavours c/othewhiskeynut

Panama – La Réunion – Cuba and Jamaica.

Rums are often categorised into styles based on their former colonial occupiers. It’s not particularly scientific or pretty – but neither is the use of Scottish Regions to define the flavour of whisky.

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Which one suits your palate? c/othewhiskeynut

Being Lidl –  it’s likely to be sourced private label brands too. As confirmed by ‘Imported & bottled by: ‘Pabst & Richarz Vertiebs GmbH‘ on the outer packaging.

But what interested me were the differences of flavours showcased by the individual rums themselves.

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Sir Francis Drake 6yo c/othewhiskeynut

Panama. Sir Francis Drake. 6 Years Old. 40%

Spanish style. Light, buttery & sweet.

Pale straw. Vanilla sweetness followed by darker molasses & treacle notes. Soft & sweet palate – a bit too sweet for my liking – but develops a pleasant oaky spice from the cask ageing.

Easy & enjoyable.

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Coeur Du Soleil c/othewhiskeynut

La Réunion. Coeur Du Soleil. White Rum. 37.5%

French style. Rich , fruity & complex.

Clear spirit. Pungent vegetal nose – reminds me of Mezcal. Palate was smooth & characterful. The earthy herbaceous notes give a slightly savoury yet sweet appeal that slowly fades.

Very alluring.

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Ron Santero 3yo c/othewhiskeynut

Cuba. Ron Santero. 3 Year Old. 38%

Spanish style. Lean & clean.

Clear spirit. Soft subtle & sweet. After the other 2 rums, Santero’s delicateness just merged into a bland neutrality for me. Cries out for mixing.

Characterless.

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Caribica c/othewhiskeynut

Jamaica. Caribica. Brown Rum. 40%

British style. Funky, heavy & bold.

Light brown. Noticeable funkiness on the nose – reminds me of burnt rubber. Syrupy palate. The funk is lost a little to a treacly dark sweetness, but re-emerges on the finish.

Is Jamaican funk the Islay peat of the rum world?  Finding it challenging.

Thoughts

An interesting & entertaining taste experience.

I’d have thought there’d be a rum here to please every palate.

La Réunion’s Coeur Du Soleil was the one for me. The powerful mix of sweet, sour & savoury notes demonstrated the full bodied style of ‘Rhum Agricole’ using freshly pressed sugarcane juice bottled straight off the stills.

C’est très bonne.

What is your style?

Santé

Good Logo

A brief guide to styles of rum can be found at the handy Tenzing blog here.