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DESCRIBING RUMS IN A WAY THAT PAINTS A PICTURE AS WELL AS GIVES THE EVERYDAY READER REFERENCES THAT ARE BOTH FAMILIAR AND RELATABLE

I started in the world of wine tasting around 2006. These tastings were always blinded, so you had to work on finding and building a repertoire of a broad range of descriptors in order to piece together what you had in your glass...So when it comes to smell and flavour description, I’ve been doing it for quite a few years. In 2015, my interest in rum was sparked and since then I have thrown myself deep in to the world of this amazing spirit and wonderful people.


/Kris von Stedingk

 
 
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By The Dutch - Batavia Arrack - White 48%

By The Dutch - White Batavia Arrack - 48% abv.


I am again going back to a “rum” that I have written about before; Batavia Arrack from Indonesia. This time, however, I am testing the new White Batavia Arrack bottled at 48%. This "rum" is a blend of pot still distillates from Java in Indonesia, which have spent between 8-12 months in large teak wood barrels before being blended and bottled. The production is open molasses fermentation using wild yeast that has been harvested from fermenting red rice, which is the main distinguishing factor between rum and Batavia Arrack. The spirit itself is double distilled to a final abv. of 60-65% and is then aged in the teak wood. One interesting fact about this product is that due to religious-based legislation in Indonesia, the “rum” is shipped in large steel containers to the Netherlands labelled as a “medicinal product” before being bottled and for our enjoyment. Now on to the fun part.


On the nose: Actually took me a while to figure out what was going on here. It’s definitely not your typical white “rum”. I do get fresh green notes. Slightly grassy, but more like freshly picked green leaves from a tree in the heart of the summer, with a side of green bell pepper. Aside from the green vegetal notes, the fruit that I pick up here is also green - unripe green mango, green banana peel, hard and sour pineapple and (possibly most dominant of all) star fruit! I don’t think I’ve found star fruit quite like this in a “rum” tasting before. There is also a slight brininess going on, although not nearly as intense as one finds in grassy agricoles. I think the thing that jumps out at me most here, which was hardest to put my finger on, was the floral notes coming out of the glass. I would almost describe it as I imagine rose petals smelling like if they could be “unripe”. Also some hints of ageing come through with soft vanilla notes, cloves and mild black pepper. Finally, a bit of funky petroleum/medicinal cleaner. The nose is definitely something different, and it does catch my interest…


On the palate: Much fruitier than I expected from the nose! Again, a lot of green fruits; apples, pears, mango, star fruit and unripe peaches which together give it a very bright and refreshing feel. Also some light sweetness that reminds me lychee syrup. Definitely a salty brine taste comes through which pairs quite nicely with all the green fruit. The floral rose aspects that I picked up on the nose are there but, much to my delight, much lighter on the palate. Vanilla and almonds add a nice roundness and creamy aspect to the “rum”. Not a whole lot of other wood notes here, although perhaps it could be hard to know what typical wood notes would come from the large teak barrels. The more I sip this, the more the lychee that I mentioned before starts to take a front seat - and it lingers. The finish on this in long and leaves me with the pleasant mix of lychee and petrol. Mouth feel is medium-light and the 48% that it's bottled at works quite well here - just enough heat without having to think too much about how I sip it.


Not as “funky" as the Jamaicans. Not as grassy or salty as the agricoles. But definitely an interesting new source of white funk. I like it.

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