Advent Calendar 2017 Blind Tasting Part I

Just like last year, Marcus, founder of “Der Rum-Club“, owner of 4finespirits and organiser of the Cologne Spirits, put together an Advent calendar blind-tasting. Unlike last year, I took part this time. In this one, we have to guess the country of origin, the rum’s age and abv as well as whether it has been sweetened or not. Moreover, we have been asked to give the rums integer marks from 1-10. Even though I usually do not give these, I do not want to withheld them from you this time! Before we start and I forget it: Thanks a lot Marcus for enabling this! I have had a great time so far.


cdifs99Compagnie des Indes Foursquare 1999 18YO (Barbados, 50%): The nose is very reserved. Baked apple, vanilla, cinnamon-sugar mix and fruitcake. Then some marzipan/ almond like aromas. After some time also cherries. It’s relatively unusual I think. At the palate I get walnuts, vanilla sauce and plenty of cherries. Images of amarena ice-cream pop into my head. Did this receive a special finish? The finish comes with sour cherries and is quite long. The rum is certainly interesting but not really to my liking. My guess was a 12YO Foursquare with 53%. Why do we never get the good Compagnie des Indes bottlings like Denmark does!? 4/10

esclavoS.B.S Ron Esclavo XO Batch #8 (Dominican Republic, 65%): After lifting the aroma lid the rum crashes into your nostrils with full force. Alcohol and more alcohol. Then burnt sugar, crushed coffee beans and tobacco perhaps. Either this is cask strength or very boozy. Let’s take a sip. Oh my, where is this sweetness coming from all of a sudden. Tons of sugar have been added to it. Unfortunately the sugar has masked almost everything that could have been found in there. I get some leather but that’s it. I cannot finish this, I think it is absolutely awful. Finish: I don’t care, I just want to brush my teeth now, caries awaits. Let’s call the dentist right away. The 65% were very present in the nose, the sugar (what is it, 60-70g/l!?) drastically masked this at the palate.  1/10

veliergilboaVelier Mount Gilboa 2008 9YO (Barbados, 66%): To keep it short: I kinda knew it is Mount Gilboa but didn’t quite dare to go for it. I was switching back and forth between this one and the Last Ward 2007 10YO, only to switch to something else entirely. Once more this demonstrates how difficult blind-tastings really are. Moreover, it also shows how rums evolve with exposure to air, i.e. if the fill level of a bottle decreases or you give the rum some time to breathe. I’d like to believe that this is the sole reason why I didn’t get this one right, but that would be lying to myself. You can find my review here. 7/10

chamarelvsChamarel VS 4YO (Mauritius, 40%): What is this? It’s very different from my usual rums. Quite exotic. In the nose I get plenty of cereal, corn flakes and oatmeal. Unripe pears are lurking in the background but there isn’t that much more to it. A real weirdo. At the palate we can find more of the oatmeal, porridge and mashed potatoes perhaps. Also an apricot or two. I have absolutely no clue. The finish is short with more of the same same. I cannot really make much sense of it, that’s why I’ve settled on some random rum from Germany. But that could have been any exotic place, really. After I knew what this is I’ve compared this to the recent Velier Chamarel 2011 with 55,5% and the two rums have absolutely nothing in common. No wonder we couldn’t figure that one out. 3/10

orsblendOur Rum & Spirits Our Blend (Jamaica, Trinidad & Martinique, 49%): This should be a young distillate that has been diluted too much. I get coconut water, slightly medical notes and a mix of unripe fruits. A slightly herbal touch is in there as well. It’s quite juvenile. The first sip reminds me a bit of the Revolte rum but it is not quite as bad. There’s coriander, dish soap and everything you’d like to find in a German fruit schnaps, mostly (Williams) pears. Then sweet winery notes and more fruits. I am starting to like this quite a bit. Finish: Grapes and sweet fruits, mostly pears. A decent rum, my guess was a young, wine-finished rum from Monymusk but I might have gone with a Martinican rhum as well. The actual rum is a sweetened (10g/l) blend from three countries. Jamaica and Martinique are quite dominant, Trinidad not so much. 5/10

danubianPirates of the Danubian 2016 (Blend, 54,7%): Finally a rum I know for sure. And like. Here are my rough impressions – a more detailed review will follow at some point! Nose: Plenty of fruits, mostly foul mangos, meet coconuts and smokey notes. All the different rums (some of which apparently date back to the ’50s or ’60s!) of this blended cuvée unify to a perfect symbiosis. On top of that, they have been put in an ex-Ardbeg cask to marry. The taste isn’t less spectacular: Again the fruits basket with mangos and citrus on top, which are just waiting to mingle with the sweet, peaty Ardbeg Whisky notes. Finish: Caramalised salt. A crazy, very unusual rum. Once again this is quite different to my bottle, which has been open for about a year now and already reached half of its fill level. I must say that the oxidation did more harm than good, the alcohol is way more present in my version. 8/10


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