Ten Cane 11 years old, 2008-2019, 63% – The Duchess ‘Hummingbirds’

Normally I would have been happy with a sample arriving in the mail from the rather excellent rums bottled by The Duchess. Also normally, I wouldn’t really be in the know of upcoming bottlings unless Nils announced them to me.

This one, however, is different. When social gatherings were a thing, about 29 years ago in February, I was at the Hielander Whisky Festival and Nils gave me a wee sip of this and I was quite blown away by the punch that it packed. And I don’t mean this in regard to the ABV, which is pretty stellar too.

I instantly loved this rum, and it being from a closed distillery makes it all the more interesting. It took another half year before it became available but I bought a bottle the minute it came out.

Of course, that still means I get to sip it before I actually open my bottle. This opening will happen tomorrow when I start sampling a bit of it for a tasting I’m hosting. I’m very much looking forward to gauging everyone else’s reactions!

While potent, it’s not too strong on the nose initially. Or maybe it’s so strong that everything goes numb before your brain registers it… It’s a very funky rum with lots of shoe polish and wax coats. There’s a strangely crisp sweetness of cane juice. After that I get overripe bananas. It stays pretty funky but in a very, very good way.

The palate is where the ABV instantaneously shows. It starts burning with some chili heat, and some heat from the oak too. The funky flavors are slightly suppressed by that, but they’re still there. It’s rather dry, with a sawdust like texture. There’s a bit of charcoal, with some grilled banana and mango.

The finish leaves a slowly crumbling coating of molten sugar. Surely but slowly the shoe polish and other funkiness comes back. There’s that crisp note of sugar cane again as well.

Well, after the introduction you’re not going to be surprised that I think this is an amazing rum. With ‘only’ eleven years of aging, of which 7 were in the tropics, it’s quite surprising that the ABV is still so high. It is not to the detriment of this dram, though. I absolutely love it, for it’s unapologetic funkiness. Epic stuff.


Ten Cane 11, 2008-2019, Bourbon Barrel 80, 63%. Available from Best of Wines for € 90

Absolutely gorgeous, Nils, thanks for the sample, the taster at Hielander, and now the bottle!


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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