We were a bit apprehensive given that the company specialises in wine, but any fears were allayed when we saw the tasting sheet and discovered that four of the six rums we’d be tasting were ones we hadn’t tried before. Plus, I think our tutor, Julia, really helped us identify the flavour profiles with her wine tasting palate picking out much more than we’re used to.
So the rums:
- Ron Mulata de Cuba, Anejo Blanco: actually a straw-coloured white rum due to it being rested in oak. On the nose we got citrus and vanilla notes and was very light on the palate. However, looking back at our notes, I wrote that there was no distinct flavour other than alcohol. Fine for mixing with coke or ginger beer, especially at its price point of £22.
- East London Liquor Co Demerara Rum: Distilled in Guyana, in wooden column stills (the last remaining ones in the world apparently), as the name suggests, with demerara sugar cane. The nose was much richer, with notes of vanilla, coconut, dried fruits and not surprisingly, brown sugar. The taste was much less sweet than the smell, which gave way to a longer, spicy, smooth finish.
- La Mauny Rhum Agricole VSOP: We may well have tried this in the rhum agricole side event at UK Rumfest, last year, but took it as a first tasting as we couldn’t remember. As an agricole, you get the lovely grassy, herbal aromas on the nose, while on the mouth it’s very smooth, with the alcohol taking a back seat to the flavours – oak, grassiness and spice. The rum has had an average of six years ageing in French oak. We really liked this, and I’m not usually a fan of aged agricoles, and was popular around the table as well. However, after leaving it to air for a bit, the rhum developed a strong woody taste that wasn’t particularly pleasing. One to sip as soon as it’s out the bottle, I think.
- Pussers Navy Rum 15 Years: This rum is another distilled in wood, this time in wooden pot stills and aged for up to 15 years, as the name suggests. This lengthy ageing in the Caribbean is said to give it a more savoury flavour profile, and on the nose there was definitely some saltiness in amongst oak, caramel and vanilla. It was very smooth in the mouth, with hints of smoke, tobacco and leather and a long, but subtle finish. In all, a bit whiskyish.
- Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s Rumbullion: A spiced Caribbean rum, using Madagascan vanilla, orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, plus the addition of sugar. The nose was very Christmassy – the orange, cloves and cardamom came through, but cloves dominated the taste, probably a bit too much.
- Wray and Nephew Overproof: Following the trend of other tastings, we finished with an overproof. There were also a few slides of Powerpoint to accompany this. We’re starting to get into Jamaican rums and the high-ester flavour profiles and here we learnt about the different types of distillates used in Jamaican rum: common cleans (delicate and floral), Plummers (light, tropical fruit), Wedderburn (pungent and fruity), and continental (acetone and fruity). We got lots of tropical fruit on the nose and a bit of acetone, with the former following through into the taste.
In summary, a good, educational night, which featured non-typical rums than those you’d find in the supermarkets -always a thumbs up from us as we discover new rums.