5 rums: LP/HD, TDL and Secret Fiji

5 rums: LP/HD, TDL and Secret Fiji

Today we focus on the latest rum releases from The Whisky Jury and Swell de Spirits. Since they both had a series of similarly aged TDL rums, I decided to bring them together and turn it into a larger session.

We start with a nice idea from TWJ: a vatted Jamaican rum. It is a mix of 66% LP and 34% HD. After that we’ll have a really nice trio of TDL bottlings and a Secret Fiji rum.


The Duo: LP 1998 + HD 2014 (56,9%, The Whisky Jury 2023, refill casks, 143 btl.)

Nose: a natural duo. Fermenting bananas all over, with some lime acidity and ripe pineapples. Then linseed oil, instant glue, liquorice and green olives. Varnishes, mild herbs and brine. Celeriac in the background. I’m wondering which component has the upper hand – I’d say the Hampden part.

Mouth: high esters of course. Fennel and aniseed, with more (green) bananas, light acetone and brine. A yoghurty sourness, some acetic notes and light rubber. Lime and crushed black olives, as well as drops of cough syrup. The banana flavour stays strong, and it’s really nice.

Finish: long, slightly sweeter and rounder now, stiill high on banana candy.

As much as we like single rums, this duo was born for each other. It has all of the expected Jamaican funk but also a nice elegance and fruity banana. Great blending work here, we’re starting high!



TDL 2009 (62,9%, The Whisky Jury 2023, refill barrel #3, 259 btl.)

TDL Trinidad rum 2009 - Whisky Jury

Nose: starts slightly wood-driven, but in a nice, polished way.  Mild solventy notes. It becomes beautifully fruity after a while, with hints of mango, pineapple and clementine. Mint leaves and cardamom as well. A drop of water brings out a nice oily note.

Mouth: impressive again, showing the same mix of tropical fruits. Pink grapefruits, mango, pineapple and echoes of passion fruits. In fact this reminds us of some very old cognac, albeit at high strength. Really impressive. Some fruit tea, aniseed and oak char in the very end. Again, water works well.

Finish: long, with more juicy citrus and oak.

For a relative youngster, this offers an impressive fruit explosion. Certainly on the same level as the excellent TDL 2003 of late. If you bring the ABV down a little, this becomes as drinkable as an old cognac. Score: 91/100



Heavy TDL 14 yo 2008 (64,9%, Swell de Spirits ‘That’s the Spirit’ 2023, used bourbon cask, 356 btl.)

Heavt TDL 2008 - That's the spirit - Swell de Spirits Nose: truckloads of varnished notes at first. Glue, oil paint, all those typical volatile hints – lovely! This moves towards cinnamon / apple pie, ripe bananas and coconut shavings. Cake and a very subtle hint of sour berries.

Mouth: whoa, heavy indeed. The solventy notes are back, as well as some peppery heat, but once this clears up, the fruits emerge. Similar to the 2009, they are lovely tropical fruits like pink grapefruit, passion fruits, bananas. We love these cognac-like fruits, even at this monstruous strength. Ginger and mint appear later, with hints of liquorice.

Finish: quite long, with more ginger and clove, alongside hints of chocolate (which may be an effect of the high ABV) and ripe bananas.

The 2009 was definitely more drinkable at full strength, but the fruitiness is equally impressive here. If you prefer a bit more of that typical glue and varnish, this one is for you. Score: 91/100


The next one was one of three festival bottlings for the Salon du Rhum 2023 in Spa, Belgium. It is one of the biggest dedicated rum festivals in Europe, so all the big names are there.


TDL 2005 (62,5%, Swell de Spirits for Salon du Rhum Spa, ex-bourbon cask #1763 + Caroni cask finish, 180 btl.)

TDL 2005 - Salon du Rhum Spa - Swell de Spirits Nose: starts a little more woody, with some caramel sweetness, peaches and vanilla. More classic in a way. Apple pie and toffee. Some brighter citrus in the background, as well as some wood shavings and very light tarry hints.

Mouth: the bright fruits are still there, but they are far less exuberant. This revolves more around vanilla, stewed quinces, caramelized nuts, subtle varnish and coconut, as well as some light hints of black olives in brine. Some chocolate as well. Subtle tarry notes in the end. Quite a different style.

Finish: long, spicy with light tarry notes. There’s clearly a dash of Caroni in here.

On its own, a succesful experiment. The Caroni cask definitely left its mark. However, as much as we like Caroni, this fails to exceed the superb fruitiness of the younger ‘pure’ TDLs. Like the other festival bottlings, this is sold out anyway. Score: 88/100



Secret Fiji 9 yo 2014 (66,1%, Swell de Spirits ‘Wild Nature’ 2023, 366 btl.)

Fiji rum 2014 - Wild Series - Swell de Spirits Nose: overripe bananas, menthol, black olives and heavy petrol. Some glue and rubber boots. Rich in esters, but there’s also a sweet side with honey. Then plenty of dusty apples, alongside a hint of cardboard (works fine) as well as mixed baking spice and sour earthy notes.

Mouth: slightly less funky now. A big mentholated wave though, with oak spice (especially clove) and herbal notes. An active cask, I would say. Then a light citrus sourness, something of a plastic bag and hints of banana which have difficulty to come out. Slightly fruitier with water.

Finish: long and spicy, with more of this rubber and lemon combination.

More esters than I expected from Fiji. Also a good dose of active oak, which seems to limit the complexity. A few drops of water do wonders to tone down the youthful nervosity. Not bad, but after the brilliant TDLs it stays in the shadow. Score: 86/100