Neither of us know a great deal about rum (other than that we like it!), so this should be an interesting journey of exploration.
We start with Jamaica XO, a blend of Jamaican rums aged between 4 and 23 years, which is actually re-casked after blending.
The nose is about the candy; pear drops for me, although Kavey thinks more of pineapple. Twitter is loud about a banana note, but for me if it’s there then it’s more foam banana than real!
In the mouth, the sweetness suggested by the nose isn’t there, but it’s light with a nuttiness and just a touch of citrus fruit. Kavey agrees on the lack of sweetness but gets a hint of the brown sugar flavour coming through, along with lots of wood.
Now we move onto the single year, single distillery vintages, starting in Panama.
To me, the nose has a woodier note; vanilla, raisins and perhaps a little butter. Kavey finds it much richer than the Jamaica XO, with molasses and notes of PX.
Twitter is finding lighter notes; mentions of grass and green apples. I’m not convinced, but I do see where the suggestions of leather come from.
In the mouth it’s got plenty of brown sugar and an almost chocolatey creaminess, and the wood is definitely lurking there too. For Kavey, there’s the butter others smelled (and she didn’t) and this is more acidic tipple than the Jamaica XO. Citrus pith?
We’re both finding more smoke coming through over time, and I can start to see some of the Twitter comments about vanilla and spice notes.
Our third rum takes us to Belize, still a 2008 vintage. Lighter on the nose, with more fruit than raw sugar and definitely tropical. Shades of Five-Alive?
Kavey has a different take; heavy on dried fruits, proper fruitcake, this one! The alcohol hits more, a bit heady – not getting smoke/wood/tobacco at all here, it’s pure deep fruit + that whisky-like aspect again. Slightly “Old Spice” though no obvious cinnamon or nutmeg. Oh and the caramel scent, really fudgy, is wonderful!
The taste is hard to pin down; there’s honeycomb and some darker fruits in there, but the alcohol packs such a punch it washes out any subtler flavours.
Kavey doesn’t really get on with this one, declaring it “too whisky”!
Twitter echoes some of the whisky parallels – including comparisons to rye whiskey, which I completely get – but most tasters obviously don’t find that too whisky.
Going back a year, the final vintage comes from Trinidad. The nose is tricky – the sharpness of blackcurrants, parma violets and, rather oddly, mint.
Twitter is a kaleidoscope of impressions; limes, mangos, tobacco, coffee, rose, and even soap – I’m guessing those last two are picking up on the same perfume notes that lead me to parma violets.
Unexpectedly, in the mouth it’s full of almost brandy-like complexity – dark honey, touches of overripe oranges and still hints of perfume with a delightfully spicy finish.
Twitter remains diverse on this one; more blackcurrant notes, tea, raisins and yes, even pie.
Overall, a fascinating glimpse into the world of rum. Another spirit that deserves some deeper exploration.