Monthly Archives: July 2015

Rum Tasting

I recently ordered a Flaviar Rum Tasting Set which consisted of the following 5 rums:

  • Kraken Black Spiced Rum
  • Pyrat XO Reserve
  • Ron De Jeremy
  • Dos Maderas PX 5yo + 5yo
  • Ron Zacapa Centenario

I also have a couple of rums in at the moment so I thought I would add them to the tasting also. I have only recently started to get into rum so this is my first time properly tasting them in a ‘review’ mentality.

Distillery: Kraken
Name: Black Spiced Rum
Region: Caribbean
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 45ml
Price: £21 for 70cl (Master of Malt)
Nose: Vanilla sweetness, coffee liqueur, smooth
Taste: Vanilla, coffee, smooth
Finish: Short, dry, spicy
Rating: 5/10

This has an incredibly smooth nose with plenty of vanilla sweetness and a coffee liqueur quality to it, think Tia Maria but more subtle. I don’t really get much spice on the nose but there is a little there on the palate along with that vanilla and coffee again. Smooth on the palate with a slightly dry and spicy finish.

Distillery: Dos Maderas
Name: PX 5+5
Region: Caribbean and finished in Spain
Age: 10
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 45ml
Price: £41 for 70cl (The Whisky Exchange)
Nose: Sherry, nuts, raisins, musty oak
Taste: Raisins, sherry, sweet, smooth, spicy kick, tobacco
Finish: Long, spicy, sherry, tobacco
Rating: 9/10
An interesting one this as it consists of rum distilled and matured in Barbados and Guyana but finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks in Spain giving a total ageing period of 10 years.
What does this result in? Well the sherry notes are immediately present, like smelling a heavily sherried whisky at first such as a Glenfarclas. You also get the traditional raisin notes coming through that often accompanies sherry but unusually there is a nutty character deep down in there, along with a musty oakyness also. The sherry fades with time to reveal a sweeter nose and that musty quality becomes a little more earthy.

This has to be one of the most complex rums I have tried. The palate has an instant hit of raisins with the sherry sweetness present also. This leads into a silky smoothness that then leaps into a spicy kick at the back of the tongue along with cigar tobacco.  The sherry, spice and tobacco continue on for a long, well balance finish.

Distillery: Pyrat
Name: XO Reserve
Region: Guyanese
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 45ml
Price: £38 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Sweet, orange, lemon zest,  fresh
Taste: Citrus, tangerines, lemon zest, sweetness
Finish: Long, thick, orange, sweet
Rating: 4/10
Very citrussy, very orange. It also has lemon zest in there too making it a really fresh aroma. Maybe a little to citrussy though, reminds me of cleaning products a bit.

Unsurprisingly it is very citrussy again, tangerines rather than orange though but still with that lemon zest edge to it. It is also sweet, not too much however. It is very refreshing, great on a hot day and you do get the rum qualities come through eventually under all of that citrus.

Distillery: Alcoholes y Rones de Panama
Name: Ron De Jeremy
Region: Panamanian
Age: 7
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 45ml
Price: £32 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Sugar cane, creamy, fruity, banana
Taste: Smooth, vanilla sweetness, banana, spice
Finish: Long, sweet, spicy
Rating: 6/10

Heavy on the sugar cane this one, not to say it is overly sweet though. Part of the sweetness is coming from the creaminess also, I’m thinking clotted cream. I also get a fruitiness there, bananas, but more banana sweets rather than the fruit itself.

The palate is smooth with a real vanilla sweetness to it and those banana sweets coming through also. There is also a nice level of spice towards the end which continues into the long, sweet finish.

Distillery: Professor Cornelius Ampleforth
Name: Rumbullion!
Region: English
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 42.6%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £36 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Sweet, orange, cola bottles
Taste: Creamy, smooth, sweet, orange, Angostura bitters, spice
Finish: Long, spicy
Rating: 6/10

Sweetness with intense orange on the nose with a good measure of cola bottle sweets. There is also some subtle spice there too but I can’t put my finger on which spice. It is a very powerful nose though, one of the strongest I’ve seen in a rum.

The palate is thick and creamy with an initial sweetness, plenty of orange there again but with definite notes of Angostura bitters afterwards, not actually bitter however, there is still a sweetness to it. Again the power is present on the palate, plenty going on in this one.

Distillery: Diplomático
Name: Reserva Exclusiva
Region: Venezuelan
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 35cl
Price: £37 for 70cl (Master of Malt)
Nose: Rich, cocoa, slight vanilla, tropical fruits
Taste: Rich, smooth, vanilla, sweet, dark chocolate, slight spice
Finish: Long, spicy
Rating: 7/10

A difficult one this, really lovely nose but it’s so well balanced that it is a little hard to pick out individual characteristics. It is not particularly sweet although there is some vanilla; there are notes of cocoa too helping to give it a really rich aroma. Given time some subtle tropical fruit notes begin to come through, banana being the easiest to pick out.

Onto the palate and it is rich and silky smooth with some vanilla sweetness and a lovely slow developing spice, this lingers for an age in the mouth. You can also pick up on dark chocolate which works great with the spice. There is also an underlying oak note but only very subtle and just adds a slight dryness to the finish after a while.

Distillery: Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala
Name: Ron Zacapa Centenario 23
Region: Guatemalan
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 45ml
Price: £46 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Spicy, dry, oaky, dark honey,
Taste: Sweet, raisins, nutty, spicy
Finish: Medium length, slightly smokey, spicy
Rating: 8/10

Apparently the 23 referrers to the age of the oldest rum in the blend, not the actual age of the rum, I do not know this for certain however, just what I got from the tinterwebs.

Has a lovely aroma this one, rich and spicy with some dry, oaky notes but also some dark honey sweetness.  It has a very rich and slightly sweet palate with plenty of raisins coming through but also a slight nuttiness as well. There is a good spice level which carries over to the medium length finish which also has a hint of smoke (Caol Ila comes to mind), this is short lived unfortunately however.

Excellia Añejo Tequila

Distillery: Excellia
Name: Añejo
Region: Mexican
Age: 16 months
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £47 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Honey, agave, floral, cooked fruits, slight oak
Taste: Floral, smooth, honey, oaky, spicy
Finish: Long, dry, spicy
Rating: 9/10

So according to an email I received from The Whisky Exchange, today is National Tequila Day, so I thought it only right to review my bottle of Excellia Añejo tequila tonight.

I don’t have much knowledge when it comes to tequila to be honest, I have only really had the usual culprits, mainly Jose Cuervo Especial Gold. When I went to the Food and Drink show at the NEC however, there was a stand showcasing the Excellia range, Blanco (a few weeks old), Reposado (8 months old) and  Añejo (16 months old); the Añejo was obviously my favourite as I bought a bottle.

Excellia Añejo is handcrafted in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico and made from 100% blue agave. What makes it stand out from the crowd for me though is the separate ageing in both Grand Cru Sauternes casks and also in 20 year old Cognac barrels.

Onto the tasting then. With the nose you get the expected tequila aroma at first from the agave, but a lot more subtle than I’m used to though. There is a lovely honey and cooked fruits sweetness to it as well, light with plenty of floral notes but with a nice oakyness right at the end, not too much though. It also smells smooth, no harsh ABV burn or intense spice, though there is a little spice there towards the end along with the oak.

Onto the palate and you get a good measure of agave that is well rounded and balanced with an initial honey sweetness and plenty of floral qualities coming through. It also has a spicy and oaky edge to it that continues throughout the long and dry finish. Those floral qualities do not give up though, they stick around on the finish for a while too.

Overall I have been very impressed with this tequila, I do not have much to compare it to I know but it is a fantastic introduction into the world of quality tequilas. I gave a couple of friends a sample of the Excellia Añejo recently, both of which informed me that they do not like tequila, apparently they were wrong as they really enjoyed the Excellia Añejo, what more can I say.

Hammer Head 23 Year Old

Distillery: Prádlo
Name: Hammer Head 1989
Region: Czech Republic
Age: 23
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 40.7%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £46 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Ripe orchard fruits, oak, slightly metallic, citrus
Taste: Oak, oily, slight sweetness, light
Finish: Dry, oaky, smooth, spicy, light, menthol
Rating: 6/10

A Czech single malt whisky for around £45, a 23 year old one at that, how could I not buy a bottle, I was too intrigued.

So I believe the story goes something like: back in 1989 in what was then Czechoslovakia, the Prádlo Distillery was tasked with producing a whisky to prove they could do what ever the capitalists could. After the fall of the Berlin Wall however, things changed around the distillery and the whisky just got forgotten about, until 2010 that is when they seemed to find it again and began bottling it.

So is it any good? Well it is made from 100% Czech barley and aged in Czech oak barrels so I certainly do not  expect it to be like any other whisky I have tried. The nose is very oaky but also sweet, the kind of sweetness you get with ripe orchard fruits. There is also a slight metallic note to it at first but this fades away into a more citrus note with a bit of time. There is something else there too, a slight nuttiness maybe.

Onto the palate and that oak follows with abundance,  a slight oily texture also but very light and fresh. I was expecting more of the fruit sweetness to be there but it is quite subtle and almost disappears given time. The finish is again very oaky with a slight dryness and a lovely bit of spice, quite light and smooth at the same time with some menthol qualities coming through once left a while.

Overall it is a pleasant whisky but I feel that the oakiness is the predominant flavour throughout, without giving enough room for other flavours. I mean I like oaky and it is a nice oakiness that is slightly different from what I am used too, I assume the Czech oak has it’s own unique flavours, it’s just that for a 23 year old I was hoping for a little more complexity. But for £45 what can you expect I suppose.