Tamosi Port Cask - 55% abv.
Tamosi Port Cask 55% abv
This is the 4th rum coming out of Levy Lane that I have had the pleasure of getting to review. I have previously given an introduction to the Tamosi blend here, so I will not go in to too much detail. This bottling is again a blend of 8 year old Foursquare from Barbados, 6 year old Panama from Varela Hermanos and an unaged Jamaican blend from Hampden, Worthy Park and Clarendon. In contrast to the standard Tamosi release, this bottling has a slightly higher proportion of the higher-ester Jamaican component and is also bottled at 55% instead of the standard 45%…oh yeah, and it has spent 8 months (not 6 as it states on the - outdated - label) in an 12 year old ex-ruby port cask from the Duoro valley. Being an older barrel that has recently seen ruby port, the wood impact should be somewhat gentle while the red fruits should be the dominant finish here…so let’s see!
On the nose - Red fruit. That’s damn sure. Strawberries, overripe raspberries, red cherries. Port? Yes definitely, but slightly brighter red fruits than I would expect from a typical port cask finish. Now lets take all these red fruits and let’s make ourselves a tincture using a fair amount of nail polish remover. As I get past the fruits I am met by soft yet spicy woody notes. Slightly damp oak, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves. Earl grey tea. I am also picking some green notes. Not grassy, but more green capsicum meets pink peppercorns. Speaking of pink peppercorns, there are also some nice floral notes that come through. Violets, Jasmine and a healthy amount of Hibiscus. Under these notes comes a hint of cork, which I have often mentioned before I tend to pick up on Panama rums, and the portion of 6 year Panama in the underlying blend adds just that. If I focus on the rums I know are in the blend, I can absolutely pick up on the coconut and bourbon notes from the 8 year Barbados as well as some brown bananas and rotten pineapple coming form the unaged Jamaican. Slight hints of smoke and burnt caramel. The thing is, the port finish in this case somehow manages to balance these components in such a way that none of them jump out at me on their own, but instead create something that is truly larger than a sum of its parts. The alcohol on the nose is noticeable but not aggressive. Before I finish the nose, I have to mention cough syrup. it keeps popping in to my mind and I can’t get passed it. That bitter, may-have-been-cherry, cough syrup that I am sure pretty much everyone has had at some point in their life. In this case it smells like something I want to drink…
On the palate - It is surprisingly the green notes that jump out at me first. Green capsicum again (I actually have gone back and forth with a reference rum to make sure my tasting is not off point - seems ok, so green bell pepper it is!). Somewhat dryer wood on the palate than on the nose. Old yet dry oak. Cloves and allspice. Bitter almonds. Cork. Bitter red fruits. They are not as ripe and juicy as they were on the nose. Darker, moving toward macerating fruits which a heavy amount of bitterness. Again, cough syrup, but in a nice way. Other fruit? Banana. Bruised apples. Orange peel. I can tell there is Jamaican funk in there, but it’s not leaping out at me as much as I would expect considering that this was the “high-ester” version of the baseline Tamosi. The slightly smokey/burnt caramel notes shine through, which are likely coming from the aged Panama component (having tasted what this component does to blends before). Coconut and vanilla and what I can only describe as a “rummy” base, hailing from the 8 year Foursquare…
…and then I take my next to last sip (good thing I have more) and I get a smack of burnt tires and sulphur. Which now that I pick it up is extremely hard to get away from. It’s amazing how from one sip to another you can be thrown in entirely different directions…these notes carry over to the nose on every sip now as well. I love it when rum throws me around like this.
As I (happily) fill the glass again, these notes fade on the nose and are again replaced with red fruits, Earl grey and hibiscus.
Let me just say that this is a fun rum to experience. Keeps me thinking. Keeps me sipping.