I usually don’t see a lot of use in reviewing the line of a single bottler because, well, there’s just not a whole lot to learn from that. Cross-tasting the rums of a single distillery between and even more so within vintages makes much more sense to me. Nevertheless, I participated in a larger bottle split which had samples of the most recent Transcontinental Rum Line (TCRL) bottlings coming my way so why not just do it this time. My perception of the TCRL selections has been mixed at best and I think they bottled more rums than they should have but they’ve had a few very nice selections as well. Hopefully they have added more to the latter.
Transcontinental Rum Line Fiji 2014 3YO (South Pacific Distillery, 48%): Let’s jump straight in with two new vintages from Fiji‘s South Pacific Distillery. In the nose we can find bio waste, old soil, coffee dregs, vegetables that slowly start to rot and behind all of that a wall of burnt plastic. All the aromas penetrate my nostrils as if there’s no tomorrow. Sounds awful, right!? But it’s great! I cannot wait to take a sip. At the palate it is not quite as intense and in your face as the nose but still pretty straightforward for its 48%. Perhaps most importantly, it is not too thin. I get the bio waste with all of its facets. The cask was quite active as well and unlike some other TCRLs this one is definitely not too young. The finish is short and not very memorable. At best non-sour citrus notes stick with me. A better finish would really have leveled it up, so it is just very good but not excellent.
Transcontinental Rum Line Fiji 2009 8YO (South Pacific Distillery, 57,18%): If you paid close attention you’ll notice that I’ve swapped this one in. Tricky, eh!? But it is always better to have proper comparisons if you ask me. Despite the higher abv, this one somehow manages to stop at red lights, unlike the previous Fiji. There are plenty of vegetal and soil-like aromas to be found in the nose, as well as lots of esters, medical notes (think Laphroaig even) and BBQ. After a while also honey and charcoal. Palate: Old, nearly rotting vegetables and again the oh so familiar bio waste. Then there’s rubber (more like condoms actually), plastic as well as some fruits which I cannot really decipher. Eventually the rum transitions to more herbal and woody notes but always stays on the bio waste side. The finish is medium long and quite dry. I get mostly herbs but also some vegetal notes. It’s a really good one. Not quite top of the Fiji class but really good. Put differently, it is not quite as good as the 2001s but right up there with 2002 or 2003, although the profiles differ a bit.
Transcontinental Rum Line Guyana (Enmore) 2004 14YO (Diamond Distillery, 60,1%): Here we get dry white wine, herbs (parsley!) and prunes. It is slightly alcoholic and even a bit neutral. Later yoghurt and iskender kebab. Compared to the 60,2% version (see below), it is way fuller and creamier and a whole lot better. Now also yesterdays dried noodles. Here, better means better in the relative sense, I don’t really like what I am sniffing. How about the palate? Basically what I’ve expected after nosing. It is a typical Demerara with the mix of herbs and spices as well as woody notes from the distillate (i.e. not the barrel) but all in all it is quite flat and uninspiring. The general character is nice but too faint, alcoholic and interchangeable. Finish: Medium long with pencil, sandalwood and a bag of herbs. We can definitely do better within this vintage and this one probably should have stayed in the barrel for some more time; or an entirely different cask altogether.
Transcontinental Rum Line Guyana (Enmore) 2004 14YO (Diamond Distillery, 60,2%): A single cask bottling exclusive for Kirsch. Hopefully they managed to “choose” one of the better barrels. Nose: Very similar to the 60,1% version but a bit more restrained and thinner. Pencils, sour, unripe apple and none of the herbs/ iskender kebab notes. Instead more unripe fruits such as lime or starfruit and nail lacquer (not the good one). While the 60,1% one got a bit better over time, this one just doesn’t. Palate: The trend continues. Still a poor man’s version of the already poor 60,1% brother but the differences are not as extreme as they were in the nose. I know that the distillate isn’t that bad so it must have been the barrels. Perhaps a finish could have done wonders here! The actual finish of the rum (d’uh) is short to medium long with wood and prunes. As with the 60,1% version it is probably the best part of the rum. Nah.
Transcontinental Rum Line Panama 2008 10YO (Don José Distillery, 52,8%): Panama has virtually always been Don José (home to Abuelo) as far as I can tell. The nose is very typical with tobacco, dry leather, some sulphate and a bit of vanilla/ caramel in the background. While there are exceptions of course, I usually don’t have much use for these rums but let’s take a sip before jumping to conclusions. Much better than the nose! I get plenty of raspberries, paired with lime, pomegranate and cocoa. It’s not incredibly complex but it works very well. Later the cocoa note shifts more towards coffee and the rum gets slightly bitter. The finish is rather short with the coffee and chestnuts. Easily one of the better Panamanians I’ve had so far and the rum will probably have its fans.
Transcontinental Rum Line Jamaica WP (Worthy Park) 2012 5YO (57,18%): They didn’t really gain me as a fan with their 4YO 2013 selection so let’s see if this one is better. It should be my first Worthy Park from 2012 by the way. Nose: Bananas and pears. The bananas aren’t quite as dominant as with many other Worthy Parks though. Behind that minimalistic notes of kerosene and stinging nettle, but that’s about it. Not bad but not really interesting either. Let’s take a sip. The texture is a lot fuller than I expected after nosing. I get vanilla pudding (dominant!), banana, cherry and wild herbs. In the background also more wood than you typically get with rums of this age. Finish: Short with bananas and pears (where do they come from again all of a sudden!?). A slightly different Worthy Park than we are used to. The nose wasn’t good but the rest is solid.