Rum? Yep. RUM!
My partner recently hosted a rum tasting but beforehand he did a trial run at home with me for an audience. Just me and seven rums – not a bad way to finish a work day.
He took me through the different rums via English, Spanish and French distilling history. I made Captain Jack Sparrow jokes that were less than helpful. He told me great stories of piracy, slave trading, barrel-aging and blending. For an ex-whisky ambassador he sure knows a lot about rum too!
My rum knowledge is pretty limited so it was interesting to sit down to a tasting where my mind and palate weren’t cluttered by my own expectations of what I should or shouldn’t be tasting. The variations from rum to rum were incredible and not unlike beer in terms of range and depth of flavour.
The Rum: Goslings Black Seal
Like sipping a Christmas cake, full of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. When I revisited my empty glass the aromas were more like burnt sugar, giving you the sense you’d left the Christmas cake in the oven for too long. Perhaps something like a Sierra Nevada Big Foot with it’s port, raisin and spicy fruit cake flavours could match up nicely.
The Rum: English Harbour
English Harbour is one of my partner’s favourite rums. I liked the soft yet assertive flavours with honey and spice. It was probably the more subtle pick of the bunch but still packed plenty of flavour. In a way it made me think of a Kolsch, a delicate beer that is still full flavoured and complex.
The Rum: Clement Creole Shrubb & Clement VSOP
These two Clement rum represented the French part of this rum journey. The Clement VSOP (very special old pale) was a funny combination of apples, smoke and cured meat. It reminded me of the first time I tried Schlenkerla Marzen, finding those meaty flavours in a beer was very strange but in a really good way.
The other Clement was a liqueur called Creole Shrubb made with orange peel and there’s no mistaking the orange. From the first sniff I exclaimed “jaffas!” with child-like delight. It’s super smooth and delicate and not too sweet.
The Rum: Matusalem 15 and 23 year old
The effect of aging was no better shown than with the 15 and 23 year old Matusalem rums from the Dominican Republic. I think these two were my favourites, the 15 yo gave familiar honey and spice flavours but it was the dried apple aromas that I particularly enjoyed.
Stepping things up to the 23 year old added a richness that reminded me of a fresh tray of Anzac biscuits, albeit some very boozy ones. I love that aroma of Anzac biscuits in beers too, I’ve gotten it from beers like Garage Project Red Rocks Reserve and Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest 2013.