Jamaican Rum Masterclass with Luca Gargano

From the archives, as part of my countdown to two weekends of whiskies – Paris Whisky Live 2022 and London Whisky Show 2022,

And what is this about? From Singapore Whisky Live 2018, I stumbled across a partially drafted post about a fabulous and fascinating masterclass with Luca Gargano on Jamaican Rum. While my flight back Sunday prevents me from joining his Paris Whisky Live 2022 masterclass, I would strongly recommend joining such a session with Luca – both to increase knowledge on rums and entertainment!

Our Jamaican Rum Masterclass with Luca explored five rums… of which notes for the following seem to have been lost in my old whisky tasting book…

  • Hampden Estate Overproof 60%
  • Long Pond’s Vale Royal VRW 2006 62.5%
  • Long Pond’s Cambridge STCE 2005 62.5%

However, I do have teasingly brief notes of two rums… alas without Luca’s colorful stories!

Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve 45%

  • Nose – Rich raisins, currents, very sweet, tight berries, tropical fruits, marigold or chrysanthemum, after some time muted apples
  • Palate – A bit of spice, slightly sour too, yet quite appealing, more of those rich raisins rolling around on the palate

Luca shared it is a new release and 1st edition, pot still, around 8 years, aging from 2009/10 then a blend…

Hampden Estate 46%

  • Nose – Quite aromatic, sweet sugars, almost cognac-like, vanilla, then quite tropical, burnt toast, caramel
  • Palate – Smooth, accessible, load of juicy fermented fruits, sweet and sour, well rounded

Luca noted it is around 8 years, aging from 2009/10…

Yup – that’s it! Not much however it reminds me of the value of taking good notes and writing up what is interesting immediately…. even if the posts are published much later. 😉

And as a round up, here are more rums which I sampled with Luca earlier in the day in the VIP room:

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Canadian Connect – Two Brewers

Founded in 2015, our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai were only temporarily disrupted by international exits and COVID. And while I’ve missed many a session since moving to Germany, some kind ladies set aside samples so I’m able to partially follow their whisky adventures.

That’s what I love best about this remarkable group of women – we each come with different backgrounds, passions and persuasions yet combine together over good drams and bad, committed to discovering and uncovering what the world of whisky has to offer!

This brings me to the 2nd part of the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai’s March 2022 session which had a decidedly Canadian theme, courtesy of a fellow Canadian’s trip back in late 2021. Our 1st half featured:

These experiments were followed by two whiskies from the Yukon – which til this experience I had no clue was even producing whisky! Two Brewer‘s Innovative and Peated completed our quartet of experimental Canadian spirits.

1st up was Two Brewers Innovative Release No 27 46%

  • Colour – Bright copper
  • Nose – It started with peculiar almost soapy quality, then quickly shifted into a very malty aroma, chased by a nutty edge, astringent then resinous
  • Palate – Hmm… more of that nutty element – very strong, joined by a sharp spice, heavy like a dark chewy stout
  • Finish – Not much… a bit bitter and beery

So I must confess, this sample was in a small plastic bottle, meant to be transferred to a glass bottle. But then I got back to Germany and, well… didn’t. This probably means what I tried isn’t exactly representative of the dram straight from the bottle.

What do they have to say?

Two Brewers captures the core of beers malt character builders; a dense and complex spirit with distinctive character barrel aging, tempting and engaging.

TASTING NOTES:
Deep malt aromas rise as misty wafts, quelling the taunting spirit. The cereal weight is evident, rich as buckwheat honey, nuts and nougat engage the palate. Oak and smoke, remnants from peated barrels, brace the continuing composition, absorbing for the attentive listener.

And what about their Peated Release No 22 43%?

  • Colour – Bright straw
  • Nose – Surprisingly light at first, sweet, malty, smoky-sweet grass, then malt chocolate
  • Palate – The peat comes through more here, however, there is a soapy malty element too, spice
  • Finish – Dry and dusty with a curl of smoke

To be honest, I paused a moment to speculate – there was a distinctly different quality that I couldn’t quite pin down. Not remarkable, but not half bad.

What more do we know? Not much as tasting notes are about other Releases… Which is part of the charm of the Two Brewers – experiment with every release…

So there you have it! A quartet from Canada… starting with two hybrids and ending in a duo from the Yukon.

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Whisky/Gin Crossovers – Endeavour Gin and Forager Botanical Whisky

In the world of spirits, there are some curious cross-overs…. whisky with beer finish or beery whisky come to mind, however to the best of my knowledge, these two whiskied gin and gin botanical infused whisky hybrids – Endeavor and Forager – from Canada were our first brush in such combinations.

So…. did they work?

Endeavour Gin “Old Tom” Barrel Aged 45%

From The Liberty Distillery on Vancouver’s Granville Island, I was surprised to learn there is a German connection – via their copper pot stills.

Typically one doesn’t do tasting notes in quite the same way with gin… however here goes:

  • Nose – Mmmm… oh now that is a lovely enticing gin aroma – subtle juniper and a really nice interplay with the oak, refreshing…. teasing with fresh mint, citrus peel and coriander
  • Palate – Yum! The berries and botanicals really come forward together with a peppery spice, oak and a curiously compelling perfume, piquant yet sweet and savoury all at once – a surprisingly delicious combination

This is one dangerously drinkable gin that has quite a happy ‘nod’ to whisky with the cask influence. Some ‘hybrids’ simply don’t stand up, whereas this one works!

I couldn’t resist the temptation and simply had to try it with some chunks of ice and a splash of soda – delightful!

What more do we know?

Endeavour Old Tom Gin begins with our 100% organic BC triple-distilled wheat spirit. (10) traditional botanicals are slowly infused during re-distillation in our single copper pot still. The gin is then further macerated with a blend of (5) additional local and traditional botanicals before resting in 220-litre French Oak barrels for several months, to slowly gain character, complexity and colour.

What do they have to say about the gin itself?

Endeavour Old Tom is a taste of history based on records dating back to the 1850’s. It is a full-flavoured, full-bodied, mahogany-coloured gin with a rich, intense nose. On the palate there is a pronounced spicy fruitcake character with notes of juniper, mint, orange blossom and mulberry, all intertwined with the oak to produce a mouth filling assortment of enticing flavours. The finish is long, powerful, spicy and compelling. Liberty’s Old Tom will delight adventurous gin enthusiasts; Old Tom is the gin for Whiskey Lovers.


The Forager 40%

In another hybrid cross-over, we have a botanical whisky…. how did it compare with the whisky barrel-aged gin?

  • Nose – A peculiar almost perfume-like sweetness, I also get subtle notes of spruce and a hint of tea together with Juniper, sage and something else I couldn’t quite place… a curious varnish, vanilla
  • Palate – More pine, a bit salty.. whisky but not entirely whisky…
  • Finish – Nothing much, a prickly spice

Overall… not nearly so successful as the gin, I’m afraid.

What do the folks at Forty Creek have to say?

The Forager is the world’s first botanical Canadian whisky. Foraged from the Canadian wilderness, searching far and wide to respectfully and responsibly hand pick the finest natural botanicals to steep into world-class whisky. A lighter style whisky with intricate, interwoven flavours and Ultra-silky texture.

And their tasting notes?

  • Aromas – Bright citrus and light toffee, pine needles and straw
  • Flavour – Lively white pepper, flares of sandalwood and pine evolve on the palate
  • Finish – Great minerality, herbs and baking spices dominate the finish with diminishing acidity

Both interesting hybrid’s from Canada, with one clearly

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St Kilian Signature Edition ‘Nine’ 55.3%

I love being able to bring something new and different to our tasting groups in India. The delight of hunting down something that is both novel and worth the time spent considering its different dimensions. Now, a high-end mature Scottish malt and a young upstart from Deutschland cannot be compared, however, there are some very worthy experiments taking place in Europe these days! And St Kilian distillery from just outside Frankfurt is one to watch.

What did we try?

St Kilian Signature Edition “Nine” 55.3%

  • Nose – Young, malty, with a different kind of sweetness than the One and Six. Lots of pears, crunchy orchard fruits. Cinnamon candy. Flaky biscuits with cream. Quite summery in character…
  • Palate – Well, well, well… Not nearly so ‘innocent’ on the palate as the nose teased… There was still lots of candy, and cinnamon however it was joined by a healthy dose of spice, malt, bitter apple, quite warming… and was that a hint of peat? Overall we found it quite chewy and well-rounded
  • Finish – Resin, dried orange peel… a proper finish
  • Water – Don’t mind if I do! This dram easily integrates a splash of cool water – revealing more orchard fruits like peach and apricot

It could be described as contradictory. When we first opened the bottle, Krishna Nakula (Malt Maniac) called it a bit ‘funky’ with an active nose that veered on sour mash.  The kind of whisky one would prefer to have on a wet cold rainy day….

However, just a week later with the Whisky Ladies, we found it had settled down considerably. And rather than be considered a ‘cool weather’ whisky, it held its own in the summer heat. More importantly, did we like it? Absolutely yes! For some, it was a clear ‘win’ – either the favourite or jostling for that position with the peaty ‘Four‘.

This just goes to show, that different stages of oxidation, different environments, mood, and company make all the difference. Tasting progressions are also key! With the Whisky Ladies, the Nine followed the St Kilian One and Six, so our palates were pre-calibrated to something European not Scottish.

What do the folks behind this bottle have to say?

The Signature Edition Nine is an intense, fruity and creamy-sweet taste experience. The melange of exotic fruits harmonises pleasantly with the spicy warmth as well as the sweet and full-bodied flavours.

What more do we know? The cask composition is 11% Oak, 27% ex-Sauternes, 62% ex-Bourbon.

Here are the official tasting notes:

  • AUSSEHEN Leuchtender Bernstein
  • GERUCH Ein betörendes Bouquet von reifer Aprikose und saftigem Pfirsich steht im Einklang mit sĂŒĂŸem Toffee und feiner Vanille, begleitet von floralen Noten, dezenter IngwerschĂ€rfe, wĂŒrziger Eiche sowie einem Hauch Grapefruit.
  • GESCHMACK Ein sĂŒĂŸer und vollmundiger Start mit Pfirsich, Ananas und Grapefruit, gefolgt von cremigem Honig, Vanillepudding sowie sahnigem Toffee und getragen von einer wĂ€rmenden EichenwĂŒrze mit Ingwer und etwas Zimt.
  • NACHKLANG Lang und cremig-warm mit Karamell und sĂŒĂŸem MandelgebĂ€ck, dazu etwas frisch geriebene Grapefruitschale mit einer Spur Walnuss.

A rough google supported translation:

  • Nose – A beguiling bouquet of ripe apricots and juicy peaches is in harmony with sweet toffee and fine vanilla, accompanied by floral notes, subtle ginger sharpness, spicy oak, and a hint of grapefruit.
  • Palate – A sweet and full-bodied start with peach, pineapple, and grapefruit followed by creamy honey, custard, and toffee and carried by a warming Oak spice with ginger and some cinnamon.
  • FinishLong and creamy – warm with caramel and sweet almond biscuits, with some freshly grated grapefruit zest and a hint of walnut.

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Talisker 8 Year (2020) Rum Finish 57.9%

Talisker is known for its lightly peated salty maritime character, situated on the Isle of Sky. Part of the Diageo stable of whiskies, their range has been quite stable over the years with a 10 year, 18 year, Storm… More recently, they have launched some variations with whiskies matured to 8 years – one of which I tried as an ‘Old Particular’ mini from Douglas Laing – quite a pleasant dram that hit the spot in colder climes…

So what did we think of this new cask strength experiment?

Talisker 8 year (2020) Rum Finish 57.9%

  • Nose – Hay, heather, leather, comes across as ‘dry’ yet also has a rum sweetness and raisins, heavy on the ripe bananas joined by other tropical fruit, some roasted pineapple, a hint of coconut and pepper spice chased by a light curl of smoke and sea spray
  • Palate – Jeera (cumin) tamarind ‘goli’… loads of bitter (almost edging into bitter gourd) that initially got in the way of discerning other elements… gradually easing into a roasted black pepper, followed by a sour rum, steeped neem leaves – slightly astringent, then salty
  • Finish – There but… didn’t have any predominant notes – perhaps a bit of black licorice at the end?
  • Revisit – After setting aside, when returned the rum dimension was much more evident – in a good way!

Whilst clearly not a typical Talisker, the light peat, pepper, and saline maritime elements were there. The rum certainly took it in a different direction however it wasn’t entirely harmonious. The nose was the most appealing part with the palate more curious than enjoyable and the finish almost forgettable.

I realized much later that I wasn’t in the least bit tempted to try with water – though this was at cask strength. Perhaps that would have brought out different elements and tempered the slightly strange palate.

So what more do we know? This is part of the Diageo Special Releases 2020 and was finished in pot-distilled Jamaican rum casks.

What else? There was also care taken with the packaging – certainly upping their ‘game’… Not just with this special edition – they have also refreshed their standard range too.

Talisker, Kilchoman, Stauning

This whisky joined an evening devoted to a curious trio of Rum, Tequila and Mezcal finishes… followed by:

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Gin gin gin! Portobello Road 42%, Gunpowder Irish 43%, Brockmans 40%, Sacred 43%

By now, it is well known in the spirits world that Gin has made a major comeback – and how! With an explosion of distilleries launching gin expressions, from classic London Dry style to some highly creative concoctions, using different ingredients and methods from distilled, vapor, vacuum, infused… there are so many choices!

Once and a while, our merry malt meanders bring us to explore spirits beyond Whisky alone… Originally intended for a larger more sociable gathering, our Bombay Malt & Cigar lads and I kept to our very tiny tested “bubble” (COVID times and all) to crack open an interesting quartet featuring:

  • Portobella Road No 171 London Dry 42%
  • Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish 43%
  • Brockmans 40%
  • Sacred No 205 – 5509 London Dry 43%

Before we got down to a tasting, we whet our whistles with a chilled gin martini… a most civilized way to begin…. then did wee pours neat before considering how best to enjoy that particular gin.

First up was Portobello Road No 171 London Dry 42%

What did we think?

Such a classic London Dry! A nice clean aroma of juniper, pepper, and coriander continued through on the palate, joined by fresh citrus and closing with herbal and slightly peppery notes.

It struck me this would work exceedingly well in a Martini with a citrus twist or a classic gin tonic.

The 171 is a “true” London Dry gin, part of a line-up of spirits from The Distillery London which was started on Portobella Road, four friends in 2011, who now run The Ginstitute with a distillery, tasting and creating experiences, restaurant, hotel, and shop.

What more do we know? Their Portobello Road No 171 takes a traditional approach with nine botanicals. What do they have to say?

On the front of the palate, Portobello Road Gin has a generous slug of juniper, the mid-palate has a sustained, fresh citrus character from our use of lemon, bitter orange and coriander, which then develops into a sweet peppery finish, achieved by the use of liquorice and nutmeg. Best served simply with tonic and a twist of pink grapefruit!

Would we agree? Absolutely!


Next came Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish 43%

What a contrast to the 1st! This one was bursting with fresh floral notes, sweet citrus pomelo, rose rooafza, herbal, light licorice candies, utterly enchanting.

As for the palate? Also a contrast – here is where the clear gunpowder tea quality reveals itself, joined by fresh herbs, sweet peppers… Complex yet effervescent – an absolute delight.

As I sniffed and sipped, I considered… how best to enjoy? As simple as possible – just a cube of ice. In many ways, this reminded me of a favorite Munich gin – Whobertus – another which needs no embellishment.

The concept behind this gin is Ireland meets Asia…. with founder/creator PJ Rigney setting out to create a unique gin combining gunpowder tea with oriental botanicals in his shed near lake Drumshanbo.

What more do we know? The folks at Drumshanbo, share an interesting tale – including the ‘trail’ to explore the different elements used in this gin here!


This was followed by the very berry Brockmans 40%

Woooah! Crazy berry aromas – mostly black currents, almost overly sweet. The first sip was equally bursting with berries – raspberry joining the black currents… in short, there was nothing subtle about this one!

So far it was an evening of contrasts – classic London Dry to a crisp exquisite floral number to the almost overwhelmingly berry Brockmans.

As I considered the best way to serve, I thought of something akin to a Poinsettia -typically a combination of vodka, prosecco, cranberry juice… just in this case the berry quality could come from the gin!

What more do we know? Well the folks at Brockmans set out to delibertly make a “properly improper” gin bursting with dark berries. On this score, they succeeded!

Here is what they have to say about their gin:

Brockmans unique recipe of naturally grown aromatic botanicals are steeped in pure grain spirit for many hours to release their natural oils and aromas. The more traditional notes of gin are combined with a refreshing influence of citrus and aromatic wild berries. Bulgarian coriander plays its part, providing an aromatic, gingery orange top note. This blends perfectly with the soft and rounded harmonies of blueberries and blackberries, all of which is supported by the bottom note of Tuscan juniper berries. Dry, bittersweet Valencian orange peel elongates the deeper tones and gives an intensely smooth finish.

Thereafter, Brockmans is slowly distilled in a 100 year old traditional copper still, where we capture the heart of the gin distillation. The distinctive gin notes derived from Brockmans unique recipe deliver an exquisite intensely smooth gin, with a uniquely defining sensual taste experience.

Indeed… cocktails would be the way to go here….


We closed our gin tasting with Sacred No 205 – 5509 London Dry 43%

With this gin, we returned to a London dry style – greeted with a clean, sweet perfume, a hint dusty citrus… It was absolutely lovely on the palate, subtle white pepper, a nice balance of fruits… closed on a refreshing citrus note – perhaps grapefruit? When we returned, it was the aromas of juicy fruit gum!

As for the serve? I would recommend an elegant straight dry Martini….

From Highgate in London, distiller Ian Hart founded Sacred Spirits in 2008 with vacuum distillation (vs Pot Still). Here is what they have to say about this gin:

Our classic London Dry Gin. Each of the organically sourced botanicals is distilled under vacuum to create a fresh, creamy, beautifully balanced gin like no other. Made with fresh cut organic Spanish & Italian Pink Grapefruit, Sweet Orange, Lemon & Lime, perfectly offset by Tuscan & Bulgarian Juniper, Angelica & Orris Root and rounded off by subtle Cinnamon & Frankincense (Boswellia Sacra) from the Sultan of Oman.

All I can say is this is one fine gin… and at GBP 30 still a great deal for quality.

Sometimes its good to shake (or stir!) things up!

PS – I can’t help but add a wee “plug” for a new series “Daru Desi” on their Bharatiya Touring Party YouTube channel – hosted by one of our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai.

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St. George Gins

Years ago a fabulous friend and former Whisky Lady came for a visit to Mumbai from the US… she brought along some treats!

These California beauties patiently waited for the right opportunity… cracked open to help bring in the new year, in hopes that 2022 would break the COVID cycle!

So what do we know? Well… this isn’t our 1st brush with St. George… We first explored this American craft distillery’s Single Malt – more specifically from their Lot 16. It was a positive experience and I was certainly looking forward to discovering more from these folks.

Enter these St. George Gins – Terroir, Botanical and Dry Rye

Rather than detailed tasting notes, I’ve shared overall impressions…

St. George Terroir Gin 45%

Love this one! It has a fabulously fresh and clean quality – like stepping into a forest during a spring rain. Could completely catch the fir, sage, sweet bay leaf… intoxicating in a delightful herbal way.

Personally, I preferred this one straight on the rocks… letting the chilled water heighten the bright cheerful experience.

What more do we know?

Forest-driven and earthy, Terroir is a profoundly aromatic gin with a real sense of place. We wanted to make a spirit that conveyed what we love about the monumental groves of trees, moist and misty glens, and sun-baked chaparral of our favorite local parklands.

With Terroir Gin, we try to take you there with Douglas fir, California bay laurel, coastal sage, and other evocative botanicals. 


St. George Botanivore Gin 45%

Super sweet and summery, this gin is amped up on botanicals – a cornucopia of scents.

If Terroir was a cool fresh spring rain, Botanivore was hot summer sunshine, bursting with a garden of herbs, flowers and spices….

For me, this one worked well with a slightly bitter tonic which acts as a nice counter-point to the sweet abundance of aromas. I also suspect it could make a mighty fine dry martini. 

What more do we know?

Botanivore, our “botanical eater,” is comprised of 19 different botanicals working in concert. Think of a meadow in bloom—herbaceous, fresh, and elegant.

What’s in it? Count with us… angelica root, bay laurel, bergamot peel, black peppercorn, caraway, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, citra hops, coriander, dill seed, fennel seed, ginger, juniper berries, lemon peel, lime peel, orris root, Seville orange peel, star anise!


St. George Dry Rye Gin 45%

OK… This one surprised me. I don’t quite know what I was expecting but imagined it would have just a hint of rye? I certainly hadn’t dreamt of a full-force rye battling with juniper, a curious cross-breed which is neither rye nor gin!

As I sipped and sniffed, I found the Rye side was quite grain forward. Yet it was paired with equally bold gin elements – clear juniper, black peppercorns, citrust twist… 

I confess that I struggled with the Rye Gin. When I first tried it, I had only tonic water and soda as mix options. Frankly either ocmbination didn’t quite work for me.

If anything this made me think of a Canadian rye & ginger ale. So many days later, I pulled Dry Rue out to try again.. this time with the right mix! 

The result? Much better! It was still curious but worked well with ice and ginger ale – something brighter than a standard Rye and deeper than a typical Gin.

The folks at St. George also recommend using it as a base for an Old Fashioned or Negroni. Hmm… perhaps the next try!

What more do we know?

A base of 100% pot-distilled rye makes this a gin for whiskey lovers—and for gin im-purists willing to take a walk on the rye side.

Think genever, then think again—and brace yourself for a gin with structure, spice, and an impossibly rich mouthfeel.

…for Dry Rye Gin we chose just six botanical ingredients: Juniper berries are the star here (50% more than in either of our other two gins), complemented by black peppercorn, caraway, coriander, grapefruit peel, lime peel—which were all selected to play up the peppery nature of juniper that we love so much.

Once again, many thanks to our lovely lady (you know who you are!). We miss you like mad!

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Seasonal Treat – Arran Gold Cream Liqueur 17%

Tis the season and all that! If I had been back in Canada this time of year, rich, spiced, liberally spiked egg nog would very likely be encountered at some point.

Thinking of this tempted me to try out the Arran Gold Liqueuer… and I’m so happy I did! This is no Bailey’s Irish cream… it is less cloyingly sweet (a good thing in my books!), full flavoured with a delightful whisky kick. It was just the right indulgence to get into the seasonal mood in Nurnberg

What do the folks at Arran have to say?

Since its launch in 2004, it has become incredibly popular and everyone who has tasted Arran Gold agrees that they would happily ditch their usual bland cream liqueur in favour of this deeply delicious treat. Made with a healthy dose of Arran, this is a cream liqueur where you can really taste the quality. Try it on its own chilled, with ice, in coffee or even as part of a pudding.

Here are the official tasting notes:

  • Nose – Toffee, creamy fudge
  • Palate – Chocolate, cassis, a wee touch of fresh mint
  • Finish – Sweetness, Honey.

I would tend to agree! Nothing to argue or add, just sip and enjoy it for what it is.

I picked up the Arran Gold from Dein Whisky for EUR 17 late 2021.

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Perry Road Peru makes its way to Germany

Ahhh…. road side carts of fresh pink peru (aka guava), cut with a dash of masala is a fabulous quencher on a hot day. Even better… a gin spiked spicy guava cocktail!

Enter the fine folks at both Strangers & Sons and The Bombay Canteen and you have a winning combination. This bottle was a gift which made its way from India back to Germany… eagerly awaiting just the right opportunity to share… Which finally came late November with a friendly small “Friendsgiving” evening just outside of Nurnberg.

The mix was a complete hit – enjoyed immensely by one and all! And I became rather nostalgic, thinking of wandering down Perry road in Bandra, passing the bungalow featured on the label….

Now finally back home in Mumbai for the December break, I’m eagerly counting down the self-isolation days to be able step outdoors and experience the sights, sounds and smells of home!

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Hampden Last Ward, FourSquare Destino and Caroni Rums

Years ago at Singapore’s Whisky Live I was both introduced to Luca Gargano and the exceptional range of rich unique rums he has brought to the world. Luca is a man on a mission to put Single Rum on the same stage as the most sophisticated single malt. He also has introduced a rum categorization approach which is now know as the Gargano Classification, based on how the rum is produced – both the distillation method be it pot still or columns and type of sugar used – sugar cane juice, syrup or molasses.

Back in 2016, I was particularly entranced by Hampden’s Habitation Velier –  blown away by its rich range of flavours. So much so that a bottle returned home with me to Mumbai where I happily introduced it to others.

As I was clearing through old ‘half posts’, I came across this one from 2018 and a flood of memories poured back!

Habitation Velier Last Ward 9 year (2009/2018) 59%

  • Nose – Gorgeous! Rich sweet fruits, vanilla, mint and fresh
  • Palate – Round, rich, tart, spice, fabulous sour cherry
  • Finish – After all the sweetness, a surprisingly dry bitter finish

From Barbados, a pot still with white yeast to produce a pure single rum which was then aged for 9 years with an angels share of approximately 64%.

What was most enjoyable about this one was the way as our animated conversation continued, the rum shifted and changed. Remarkable and so rewarding!

We shifted gears to explore another rum….

Foursquare Destino 12 year (2003) 61%

  • Nose – Wow! Sharp yet coquettish, distinctive
  • Palate – Can really taste the Madeira, dry spice – particularly clove

This was also from a pot still, known as a single blended rum as it was a blend of rum matured in an ex-Madeira cask and for two years in an ex-Bourbon cask. Distilled 2003, blended Dec 2017… bottled in 2018.

Talk turned to rum making traditions in Cape Verde, Port au Prince, Haiti, Barbados… it was highly educative, entertaining and enlightening.

From there we moved on to Caroni… Luca shared Caroni Employees special editions feature key people who help make the rum magic happen.

Caroni Dennis “X” Gopaul 20 year (1998/2018) 69.5%

  • Nose – Sour perfurme
  • Palate – Smooth and sweet, rich, surprisingly spicy too
  • Finish – Yes! Yet has a bit of bitter than sweet

Dennis X Gopaul is a very rich, warm and concentrated spirit, distilled in Trinidad in 1998 and aged for 20 years in the tropical climate of Trinidad before bottling, with an angel share of 78%. It is the content of only 5 oak barrels.

Caroni John “D” Eversley 22 year (1996/2018) 66.5%

  • Nose – Strong classic Caroni
  • Palate – Oily almost like petroleum!
  • Finish – Bitter, dry to the point of prompting a wee “pucker”

What a rum!!! Unmistakable power and punch! Those two extra years did an extra something to ramp up everything in this unique rum.

Pity the balance of my scribbles went astray and I didn’t pull impressions, notes and photographs together earlier. However it was still fun to half-revisit… with these four accompanied by further rums:

Curious to know more? One of the best bloggers on such rums I’ve come across so far is The Lone Caner.

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