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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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That Boutique-y Rum Company - Versailles Still 14 year Batch #3 55.6% abv.


That Boutique-y Rum Company - Versailles Still 14 year Batch #3 55.6% abv.

On of the many rum offerings coming from UK-based independent bottler That Boutique-y Rum Company, this time coming from Diamond Distillery in Guyana. The rum was produced on the Versailles wooden pot still, which is known for being a heavy hitter when it comes to flavour bombs coming out of Guyana. These rums are behind many of the older “Enmore" rums prior to consolidation of all this stills at Diamond, as the Versailles still was housed at Enmore prior to the move. This specific marque is listed as SXG, which is one of the coded marques from Main Rum in Liverpool (tracking and tracing and decoding all of these marques back to original DDL marques is an interesting task, but something that I will save for another article all together). It has been aged for 14 years and this time (batch #3) is coming in at a warming 55.6% abv. The colour of the rum is surprisingly light for the 14 years, even considering the European ageing but the smell coming out of the glass as I pour it promises good things. On the nose - It’s hard to know where to start. It’s oily and funky and fruity and boozy all at the same time. As I sit with it for a while, I think the note that is the forefront most for me is green apples, so I’ll start by diving in to the fruity aspects here. Lots of green apple but also a tonne of other sweeter tropical fruit notes shine through. Tart passionfruit mixed with ripe mango and hints of pineapple and banana. These vibrant fruit notes are contrasted with the oily rubber gum boots notes that I often find accompanies rums produced on this unique and wonderful still. The rubber notes have a slight burnt note to them, although not overpowering in any way. Quite light compared to some other Versailles offerings I’ve tried. Oak is also present, but not one of the main players here. Light vanilla and coconut. Some subtle milk chocolate with cinnamon and nutmeg. All rounded off with a nice level of not-overly-aggressive terpentine. On the palate - There’s the burnt rubber I was waiting for! Loads of rubber and melted plastic and wafts of diesel. These seamlessly blend in to waxy vanilla flavours that make me think of on of those burning vanilla candle from IKEA (if you were chewing on it…). Coconuts and white chocolate. Definitely some sweet notes coming through, although this rum is not sweet in the slightest. White pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cloves. It’s a spicy one, but in a complex way that is different to most spice compositions that I pick up on in rum. Almost moving toward some garam masala notes. There is also a heavy fruity component on the palate, although it is almost in the reverse order to the experience of the nose. Here the fruit comes toward the end, again with green apples mango, guava, pineapples and orange peel. These fruity notes linger as the rum plays its course and fade gently in to a finish of rubber and black liquorice. Overall, not the most powerful Versailles I have come across. There are a lot of flavours dancing around, but they are balanced, light and gentle. It’s not often I would describe a Versailles as “lovely” but this truly is a lovely rum. Oil. Fruit. Spice. Complexity. It’s all there and it’s all lovely.

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