The presentation was given by two very French women from the bottler itself (very French in accent and one of them in the way she dressed. Quite cute). They informed the audience about their company, rum production and regulations (or the lack thereof).
Upon entering the bar we got a sample of a 5 year old Grande Reserva from Barbados. A nice welcom that smelled like some spices, sugarcane and green leaves. Also some very light tobacco in the background. The taste had quite some alcohol and was incredibly sweet and treacly. The finish was more or less the same.
After that the tasting officially started, and Anneke and I sat at the bar, next to Tom. Neither of us had much experience with rums, so that made the tasting all the more interesting.
The second rum came from Grenada and was distilled in 1998. Quite a bit older, and since aging in the carribeans tropical climate is very fast, this was more or less a peak age for many rums. The smell was a lot more spicy than the previous one with cinnamon and banana as well. The mouth was quite dry with brown sugar, treacle, a lot of vanilla and some wood. The finish is long and became even more spicy towards the end.
The third rum was from Nicaragua and also a 1998 vintage. It had a little more wood on the nose but was not as sweet as the Grenada rum. Some vanilla too. It smelled younger than the previous. The taste was a bit honeyed, sweet and smooth. Some spices showed up later in the flavours. A long finish, but not many new flavours.
The last rum before the brake was a Vintage 2000 from Panama. Very spicy and almost no sweetness at first, almost savory like soup or stock. Some confit fruits later on. The taste was dry and quite fierce with vegemite/marmite and some eucalyptus. The finish wasn’t too spectacular. After a while most of the savory smells were gone and a sweeter scent and taste popped up.
After the break the heavy hitters were tasted. It started off with a ‘Rum Agricole’ from Guadeloupe. This means as much that it is made from pure sugarcane juice and not from molasses. The scent started very warming and wintry with caramel, and sweet spices. Fresh fruit in the background. The taste was quite fresh and crisp with sugar syrup, grilled pineapple and fig jam. This rum was a single cask bottling from 1999.
Then a rum was tasted that, according to some people, was a rum for Islay whisky fans. It came from Saint Lucia and the smell and taste instantly reminded me of anise and some root vegetables like casava and parsnip. It was also quite minty, like mouth wash. This one I did not like at all. Nasty.
The last one, was the one we all had been looking out for. A 20th Anniversary bottling from Barbados (that sounded more like I was talking about a hot girl than a rum…). The smell was full on sweetness with heaps and heaps of tropical fruit, caramel and coconut. Mango, papaya, banana were all present. In the finish there was a bit of cocoa as well.
The tasting was very very nice and it really opened me up to rum a lot more than I thought it would. Not that I will stop being a whisky fanatic, but there is more than just barley!