Happy Father’s Day!
Few rums have surprised us as much as the Compagnie des Indes New Yarmouth 2005 12YO last year. It is about time that we check out the available cask strength versions! After the 55% version of Compagnie des Indes‘ New Yarmouth has been received very well and sold out relatively quickly the obvious questions is: Why did we not get cask strength versions initially? With Compagnie des Indes it is clear. As Florent Beuchet told me in this interview he thinks that “some markets (e.g. Denmark -SCR) are more educated than others” and that many consumers would not have even considered buying these extreme bottlings at cask strength. Just in case you might be reading this, Florent: I am aware of quite some bottles that have been “imported” by, most notably, German and French connoisseurs! Just because these bottles are sold in Denmark it doesn’t mean that they are also consumed right there. But I guess you are aware of this already ;). With Cave Guildive the story is slightly different. To the best of my knowledge, together with S.B.S, they are the only other bottler that has released New Yarmouth so far but coming from Switzerland, they don’t ship to (many) other countries. Thus getting your hands on their rums can turn out to be quite difficult sometimes. Fortunately there are some nice and helpful people out there in the Eidgenossenschaft so that we still get the chance of tasting these releases. And finally, what’s the deal with S.B.S? I am somehow getting the feeling that they are slowly but steadily climbing the ranks of the independent bottlers. Especially with their more recent releases they demonstrated that they really have a knack for acquiring and bottling more uncommon barrels and really know how to work with special finishes as well. Let’s see what we’ve got here.
Cave Guildive New Yarmouth 2005 12YO (68%): The Cave Guildive is noticeably lighter than the other two. Nose: Esters on masse! Behind varnish and brush cleaner we can find pineapple and sweet almonds. Then clearly woody marzipan bread and paprika powder. After some time also bananas, ginger and coconut. Me quiero! The 68% are very noticeable at the palate and the taste is different from what I expected after nosing. The rum is slightly sour with red apples, pineapple, bananas, and rooibos. It’s still quite sweet but the marzipan is gone. Instead, I get spice cake, cedar wood, cinnamon and powdery elements such as paprika and curry. Later green tomatoes and oregano. The finish is long, lasting, and almost endless. Gummi bears, pastry and varnish don’t want to leave my mind. The bar has been set. It might be difficult to top this. Let’s see.
Compagnie des Indes New Yarmouth 2005 12YO (65,2%): As stated above, this one has been bottled exclusively for the Danish market. Initially, the nose feels staler than the other two’s. This one might need more time. And indeed, the longer you wait, the closer it becomes to the other two. With more vegetal notes, it is still the “odd” one in this session. Sure, ultimately the profile is the same but the nuances are different. I can find bananas, mild olives, dried tomatoes, sweet pastry, varnish, but no marzipan. Taking a sip, it has a slightly lighter profile than the Cave Guildive, which tends to open up the fruity notes. The palate is better than I expected after the nose and I really like that it is not just a copy of the other barrel. My impressions are different kinds of bark, ripe apples, ginger, basil, oregano and fresh noodles! I know it sounds stupid but it is what it is. Towards the end we get fresher notes of mint, green grapes and ice-bonbons. The finish maintains the freshness and is quite long. It’s a nice pace of change towards the next sip. All in all, it’s very good stuff but just cannot compete with the other two rums if you ask me. I am not even sure whether I prefer this to Compagnie des Indes’ 55% version… It’s a good rum but it is just in even better company.
S.B.S New Yarmouth 2005 12YO (67,2%): In the nose I get obious parallels to the Cave Guildive (what a surprise, eh!?). Marzipan bread, wood, uncut tropical fruits, varnish and turkish pastry are my first associations. It also has some slightly herbal notes though. Wow, this one is definitely the most aromatic of the bunch. The cloud of vapour around the glass is just really, really, nice. Compared to the Cave Guildive, the nose is heavier and a bit less communicative, relatively speaking. At the palate, it is by far the mildest and least alcoholic of the bunch. Even though the difference between the rums is just a couple of months, this is much more mature, resulting in a more harmonious product. The fruity side of the esters (banna, pineapple) work very well in tandem with the notes of pastry (marzipan, trukish delight) and spices (cinnamon, ginger). Nothing really dominates the others. Later we get more of the herbs again such as oregano and mint. The finish is long, balanced and more bitter than the other two. Olives and vegetal notes are probably my most memorable impressions. We might have found a winner here, it’s an amazing rum!
While I’ve said that you might easily confuse the 55% version by Compagnie des Indes with a Hampden, I don’t think this is the case with these New Yarmouths in cask strength. Sure, the high esters are an obvious common feature and while I have also found notes of marzipan in Hampden before, the pastry-like elements are more characteristic of New Yarmouth I’d say. Blindly it’s probably way more difficult to distinguish them though. Differences in the nose are mostly a function of time as the time the rums require to fully open up varies a lot. Once they have harmonized (after about 60-90 minutes), the differences at the palate are actually way greater than in the nose. Now whether I prefer the Cave Guildive or the S.B.S is tough to say since they emphasize different aspects of the rum. I don’t think you can go wrong with either of these if you are as much into high ester rums as I am.
One note though: I have talked to a bunch of people about these rums and encountered basically all possible rankings. While most people seem to prefer the CdI, it is definitely the “loser” in my ranking. So for me it’s probably S.B.S > CG > CdI while for the majority it seems to be CdI > S.B.S > CG. As usual, it’s best to find it our for yourself of course but, as explained in the introduction, that might be troublesome given the rums’ availability.