Borgoe 15yo “Single Barrel” (40%, Suriname)

After the pride of the SAB company why not move on and have a look at their Grande Dame. Where the 8yo was released in 2006 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of SAB, this 15yo “Single Barrel” was released in 2011 to commemorate the 45th anniversary. Maybe next november we’ll see the next anniversary bottling, a 20yo maybe? The 8yo and the 15yo thus are specials, but there is also a more standard range Borgoe. The first one of those is called the Borgoe ’82 “The Jubilee Blend”, the second is called the Borgoe “Extra”  and the third and last one is the Borgoe 5yo “Vintage”. By the way, all White Rums made by SAB have different brand names, so Borgoe only exists as a Golden (or Dark) Rum, whichever word you prefer. Borgoe uses both simultaneously.

Borgoe 15yoColor: Orange gold.

Nose: Very funky smelling. Still caramel and toffee, but there is a lot more going on. Very nutty. Organic clay. After the fatty and creamy introduction, Wood and deep sugared fruits. Honey with dark brown banana skin. This is completely different from the 8yo, not just an older version of it. I’m not completely sure everything is as it should be , but whatever it is, I love it. Fresh cigar box wood. Pencil shavings and dust. Just like the 8yo, the aroma’s it started with take a back-seat and it turns more dry. Smells like a worthy super premium Rum to me.

Taste: It starts out with the simple sugary sweetness, like the 8yo, as well as the fresh woody bit. After that, everything changes and it becomes incomparable to the 8yo. Where the 8yo went down in a hurry, this 15yo sticks to your throat and takes a long time to get down, developing along the way. Perfect balance between the nose and the taste. Again the thick creamy and nutty aroma. Tiny hint of burnt wood bitterness, but that only aids the wonderful taste. Excellent length in the wonderful tasting finish and a good aftertaste. Some tiny acidic wood note appears in the aftertaste, but that is hardly a problem, when so much other aroma’s keep lingering on. This one is far from tasting “thin” even when it shares the low ABV of the 8yo: 40%.

One thing strikes me as odd. The website mentions: “Our own master blender created this special Rum along with the best Rum makers of the Caribbean” and on the back label it states: “The golden rum was selected from each single barrel by our master blender and blended to ultimate perfection”. So several Rum professionals created this Rum or only their master blender? How can this be from a single barrel and be blended? Did they blend the Rum, put it back into a barrel, marrying it and then bottling it from a single barrel? Strange…

Twice the age of the 8yo, twice the price of the 8yo but also twice the taste of the 8yo. Definitely worth the money, if you can find it, because it seems quite hard to get lately.

Points: 86

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Borgoe 8yo “Grand Reserve” (40%, Suriname)

Borgoe is one of a few (Rum) brands of Suriname Alcoholic Beverages (SAB for short). Other Rum’s made by SAB are Mariënburg and Black Cat. Both are White Rums. SAB is foremost a producer of Rum, but also some Vodka is made. Besides this, SAB also functions as an importer of several foreign “alcoholic beverages”. SAB was founded in 1966, but its predecessor was founded in 1882 as the “Suikeronderneming Mariënburg” and today is one of the most succesful enterprises of the country. To commemorate its 40th year of existence, the 8yo Borgoe was released in 2006. Borgoe 8yo has fully aged in American oak barrels straight from Kentucky.

Borgoe 8yo Grand Reserve (40%, OB, Suriname)Color: Orange gold.

Nose: Nicely sugared, hints of fruit and full on aroma, that leaps out of my glass. Lively and leathery. Sunny and happy, this want to be drunk (pun intended). Heavy fruit syrup and elegant wood. The heavy nose is not always sweet, It has its dry spells. After a while, the wood starts to play a bigger role, but foremost a sort of vanilla powder, locked into the woody backbone is present. Wet warm cotton with a meaty twist to it. Powdered coffee creamer. Sometimes the heavy aroma retreats and it allows some notes of black tea and licorice to escape from the glass. When this happens, the fruit takes a back-seat as well and a more floral note appears, honeysuckle, so not typically flowery-floral. Sawdust, new wood, not particularly an oak aroma though, and a tiny hint of ashes. Even though I used many words up ’till now to describe the nose, I wouldn’t say it’s as complex as it seems. Medium complexity it is then, but, there is evolution in the nose. The sweetness retreats even more, the “wood”, played its part and now a more plant-like aroma emerges. Dried and fresh. It’s a more overall feel, so hard to pin anything down, although lavas seems to be one of them, as well as italian laurel (licorice). Funky.

Taste: Caramel, wood, burnt sugar and toffee, but the sweetness speeds down my throat, and a more watery episode follows. In that watery, and thus, thin episode, the licorice from the nose pops up. Sugar water with toffee aided by a wooded note, nothing more really. The nose presents itself as syrupy and heavy, but the taste and especially the mouthfeel is not. Definitely getting more oaky now, but not fat succulent old oak, but a younger type of oak, young, fresh and slightly acidic. Tree sap. Quite a short finish, also slightly unbalanced. Overall it tastes nice, but quickly gone. The, slightly bitter, Italian laurel licorice really shines in the aftertaste.

Tasty stuff that could have been more like a Pussers or Demerara style of Rum, judging by the nose alone. It isn’t, and maybe it shouldn’t. Where in Demerara the nose, the taste and the body are heavy, here it comes across as too much reduced, where some aroma’s even seem to be stripped, thus missing some complexity. I can’t explain that. The watery part is obvious, but missing something from the body is a first for me. Still, it’s a nice sipper, easy-going and easy drinkable. Although it looks like a premium Rum, it drinks like a daily drinker, a sipper, not a mixer. But for the money I expected a more complex Rum. Nevertheless, good stuff, so no cause for alarm, although I feel SAB can still improve on this Borgoe Grand Reserve, and turn it into a really good Rum.

Points: 80