RumNotes… three rather different rums today, two of which were bottled by independent whisky bottlers.
First there is Don Pancho 25 Year Old, an old Panama rum bottled by Sansibar. Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez originally worked for Havana Club in Cuba, later for Abuelo rum in Panama and now lends his name to a rum brand that is mostly active in the US and Germany. Not sure how ‘authentic’ this is.
Don Pancho 25 yo 1992 (49,2%, Sansibar 2017, 267 btl.)
Nose: a praline / caramelized pecan nose with hints of chocolate cake and a little coffee liqueur. Roasted hazelnuts. Gentle oak spices in the background, but overall a very smooth nose, even with the generous ABV.
Mouth: same sweet and ‘dark’ profile with lots of chocolate ganache, caramelized nuts and coffee with a generous dash of caramel syrup. Apple pie in the middle. Hints of After Eight and pepper.
Finish: fairly long, sweet, always on chocolate and coffee liqueur.
A good one for chocolate lovers. Luckily the nutty notes and oak spices provide some balance. Quite expensive though for this slightly more ‘commercial’ style: around € 180, still available from Sansibar direct.
Next up is a 10 years old Travellers 2007, a joint bottling between The Duchess and Eiling Lim. The Travellers Distillery in Belize began distilling in 1953 and today, they use high-test molasses with natural fermentation in their rum production, coupled with a double-distillation method.
Travellers 10 yo 2007
(66,6%, Eiling Lim & The Duchess 2017, Belize rum, barrel #14, 281 btl.)
Nose: more of a fruity sweetness here, typically bananas flambéed, peaches on syrup, Demerara sugar and honey coated almonds. Vanilla cake. Toffee and a hint of white chocolate here. Coconut flakes as well. Water brings out menthol and pine wood.
Mouth: a lot of oak influence now, that means leathery notes, coconut cream, toffee and crème brûlée. Close to bourbon whiskey, including the slightly numbing strength. Brown sugar and honey. Pepper and eucalyptus. Sweet latte after adding water.
Finish: long, with warming oak spices and fruit sweetness.
A devilish ABV: intense but it’s nicely fruity as well. Good rum, especially at this price. Around € 80 from Best of Wines direct.
The last one is Hampden 2010 LROK from Habitation Velier, a Jamaican rum with 375 grams of esters per hectoliter of pure alcohol. Hampden (and Jamaican rum as a whole) is known for its funky, almost insanely high-esters rums (up to 1600). LROK stands for Light Rum Owen Kelley: a relatively low ester content made by Owen Kelley, Hampden’s distiller at the time, in a Double Retort pot still from Forsyth’s. It was fully aged in the tropics.
Hampden Estate 6 yo 2010 ‘LROK’ (67%, Habitation Velier 2016)
Nose: totally different and… massive. It’s hard to describe but there is this industrial aroma up front, a mix of garage oils and petrol, glue, olives, wax, new rubber and nail polish. Also something of a green herbs sauce (cumin / parsley / dill) that reminds me of the famous Long Pond 1941. Then lots of ripe bananas and fermenting pineapples. Vanilla and floral rose pepper too. Liquorice bubble gum? Even better when slightly diluted.
Mouth: quite hot at first, slowly splitting into spicy notes (pepper, liquorice) and fruity esters (pineapple, bananas, grapes). Less funky than the nose, but there’s still this waxy, greasy echo and a hint of diesel. The heat also makes it rather floral.
Finish: long, with bananas and aromatic pepper again.
Very Hampden, funky and intense. Of course if you’re looking for this kind of profile, then the HCLF bottlings are perhaps the holy grail, but this is very, very impressive nonetheless. Highly recommended. Thanks for the sample, Angelo. Not sure whether they still have it at TastToe, you can also try Master of Malt.