Grappa Week – Day 3: Terre Antiche Grappa Amarone Riserva (42%, Roberto Dellavalle, 70 cl)

Grappa Week LogoWell this is a first. Starting a Master Quill week and really disliking the first two entries. I was hoping to show you that Grappa is a lot better now than it used to be, and the bad reputation is now false and far behind us. Where is this going? Since Amarone is such a stellar Wine, why not return to a, hopefully better, Amarone Grappa. Third time Lucky? By the way the picture is from Terre Antiche’s Grappa Moscato, but the reviewed Grappa Amarone looks pretty similar.

Terre Antiche Grappa AmaroneColor: Light sparkling gold.

Nose: Hay and dry grass. Like a good grappa should be. Warm haystack and oozes of summer. Wet cold tea leaves. Next the fruit. Hints of cherries and warm cherry compote. (not the sharp acidic smell, no, the soft and sweet part of the cherry smell). Citrus fruits, but like the cherries, not very acidic, but more the sweet and aromatic side of citrus fruits. Orange and tangerine. Nice balance and I like the overall smell. Compared to some other Grappa’s the smell gets more and more accessible. Hints of spicy wood. Lovely.

Taste: Yes it’s very sweet again! The taste matches the nose. Hay, grass, leafy and cherries are all over this Grappa as well, but not as much as the sugar is! It has a sugary sweetness you might remember from dissolving too many sugar cubes in your tea (when you were a kid). When the sugar film leaves your mouth, not a lot is left behind underneath the sweetness. Again a sort of Grappa Liqueur to make it more accessible and have a larger appeal to a wider public. Lots of the finer elements of the original Grappa are lost because it is drowned by sugar.

Easy to drink, but yet again lots of sugar. As a Liqueur it’s not even that bad this time. Better than the two previous Grappa’s in this Grappa Week, so we’re moving up. Although quaffable, I wouldn’t buy something like this. I’m very interested in Grappa and would like to have some top-notch stuff on my lectern. I do like the smell of this Amarone Grappa though, although nothing reminds me of Amarone at all. This sweet style is not something I’m looking for personally, and the amounts of added sugar is something, I guess, that is done to hide a lack in quality or make the product more interesting for lovers of Liqueurs. I think in this case, the latter is true, since this Grappa has a wonderful nose, so the quality is certainly there. Three rather inexpensive, and sweet Grappa’s down, four more to go…

Points: 69

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Lamb’s Navy Rum (40%, UK)

In the olden days, sailors liked to drink French Brandy. When Jamaica was taken away from Spain in 1655, Rum quickly replaced Brandy as the drink of choice. In 1731 however, The British navy started giving their sailors a daily ration of Rum, a tradition that lasted until 1970. Hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves with that giant leap in time. First let’s get back to 1849.

In 1849, Alfred Lamb, the son of William Lamb, a spirits and wine merchant from London, blended 18 Caribbean Rums together and formed a company called: Alfred Lamb & Son. Amongst others, Rums from Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana were used in the blend. During the second world war, Alfred Lamb & Son were bombed. Also their competitors, White Keeling Rum Merchants were bombed and both firms were accommodated by Portal, Dingwall & Norris. All involved must have liked each other, because by 1946 these three companies merged. The new firm was called: United Rum Merchants. After a few changes of hands along the way, today Lamb’s is part of Pernod Ricard.

Lamb's Navy RumColor: Orange brown, dark amber.

Nose: Fatty and sweet with fresh oranges. Not particularly the oil from the skins just the smell you get from a lot of oranges at a grocers shop. Very obvious notes of Demerara Rum with added dustiness. However, the “thick” Demerara aroma quickly dissipates and turns into a more dry and dusty note. The sweetness becomes more sugary and coffee-like (Haagsche Hopjes), yes still writing about the nose. Dryer and more woody now. Wood, with the old paint just stripped off. Hints of oak and vanilla. Aroma of slightly rotting leaves. Quite and unexpected turn of events.

Taste: Much thinner than I initially thought. Not as sweet as the nose promised. Actually a pretty strange overall taste. Thin, some wood, toffee and burned sugar, the Haagsche Hopjes are here too. No friendly sweetness and even some hints of mint. Sugared black tea and raw alcohol. Woody bitterness takes over the body of the Rum and disturbs the finish. Disturbs? Yes, it ruins the balance of the Rum completely. The aftertaste is quite bitter, and in this case it’s not what you want. Short finish (luckily). Quite disappointing actually.

The nose is quite nice and typical for Rum. The taste is a short string of disappointments. I don’t really understand why this is quite a popular brand and sells a lot of cases. I guess this is not meant for sipping, but you are expected to do something with it. I for one, will drink the rest in a coke. I’m no authority on Rum & Cola mixtures, but if I needed a Rum for a coke I would go for the simplest of Abuelo’s.

Points:  69