Worthy Park 8yo 2006/2015 (50%, Rum Nation, Pot Still, Oloroso Sherry Finish, Release 2015, L-15-020, Jamaica)

I just finished both bottles from Foursquare, Doorly’s 12yo and Foursquare 9yo Port Finish. Both close connected and although the latter is an exceptional cask selection, I did not really prefer it over the 12yo. Both were (too) easy drinkers @ 40% ABV. After trying whole bottles of both, I have to admit, I also got a bit bored with them, lacking in strength and development in the glass. For me it was clear, both suffered from too much reduction, since the potential was there. Sure, hot, cask strength Rums aren’t for everyone, but for a (sipping) Rum to carry its aroma’s well and excite, I would say 46% (to 50%) ABV is better, if you want to reduce it. Forget about 43%, just skip it and go straight for 46%. Both were enjoyable nevertheless because the Foursquare spirit is a good one, with lots of potential, so I will definitely seek out other expressions of Foursquare in the near future. Preferably cask strength ones, like the official 2004 vintage or one from an independent bottler, because Foursquare is hot these days.

Well, empty bottles call for replacements, so one of the new ones I picked from my stash is this Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still Rum 8yo, which has already been replaced by a 5yo expression, again with a Oloroso Sherry finish. Look, here we have a reduced Rum bottled at 50% ABV. I expect a better aroma transport system. since this seems to me to be the ideal drinking strength for a sipping Rum. With Jamaican Rum being a favourite (style) of mine and this one is seemingly not reduced to death, I expect quite a lot actually. Not sure about the Oloroso finish just yet. It works for Whisky, but we’ll see if that works for this Rum as well.

Color: Copper orange.

Nose: Big Jamaican funk shooting out of my glass, bold and eager. Nice dry woody notes and overall it doesn’t come across as very sweet and creamy. Dark chocolate and sandal wood. Images of sand and pan flute music. That’s a good start. Medium cream then and also a bit dusty and yes, a bit alcoholic as well, but that’s what we wanted, right? Hints of a well-integrated acidic wine-note on top. Nutty. It seems to me the Oloroso was matured in European oak. Licorice, toasted cask, black coal and hot asphalt. Wow, I love that! Lots of toffee combined with hidden vegetal notes. Dry leaves and even some burning leaves. Indian spices. Love how this smells. There is and indescribable and extremely appetizing note I recognize from a Cadenheads bottling of Enmore I have. This strikes a chord with me, because that was the first real Rum I bought based on its nose alone. Amazing nose on this Jamaican, where many different aroma’s just switch on and off, all the time.

Taste: Initially quite hot and funky, but that is only a short burst. Vegetal right from the start. Nice beginning with vanilla, toffee, honey and caramel, with the leafy bit in here as well. Cigarette ashes and cinnamon. Not as funky and big as the nose promised though, which is a bit of a shame really, especially after a few seconds. Turns quite dry with a paper-like quality. Less balanced as well. Medium sweet, or even less than that, since the dryness (wood) starts to dominate. Definitely less boring than both Foursquare bottlings mentioned above. Hints of wood sap, soap and blue ink with an additional bitter edge. The body dries out, and the finish is quite short, with hardly anything staying behind in the aftertaste, amazingly. If anything, I would say a small sour note from the Sherry. Character building stuff though. 50% ABV really helps this Rum forward. A shame though, the Jamaican funk got lost in the body and finish of this Rum. Take small sips in short succession to deal with this “problem”.

I understand this got replaced with a similar 5yo. Worthy Park again, as well as the Oloroso finish. It is said that the younger Rum is even more funky, which should be able to deal with the Oloroso finish better. It should also be more typically Jamaican on the palate. I guess this will help the taste reach a better balance, but we’ll have to see how the nose worked out. For me the Oloroso finish on this 8yo worked wonders on the nose, but was maybe a step too far on the taste. Probably the reason to repeat the experiment with a younger, bolder, Rum from the same distillery. Maybe they also tweaked the amount of time of finishing.

Points: 85

John Jameson & Son 7yo “Three Star Pure Old Pot Still” (43%, Bow St. Distillery, Dublin Whiskey, 75 cl, Circa 1965)

Who would have thought I’d still have an ace up my sleeve considering Jameson’s? The title seems a bit of a mouth full, but when you are identifying old bottles like these, you have to identify minute differences on the labels to carefully date them. I don’t know when exactly they started to use this exact label, but I do know the last year they used it was in 1968. So “circa 1965” is a carefull guess.

The Bourbon world has adopted the old “Stitzel-Weller” distillery as the ultimate Bourbon heaven on earth. Similarly, the Irish have the old “Bow Street” distillery that was/is situated in Dublin. The Bow Street distillery started working in 1780 with John Jameson acting as General manager. John bought the distillery in 1805. The distillery was eventually was closed in 1971. Since 1997 it is opened again, but alas only as a “tourist” attraction.

John Jameson & Son 7yo Three Star Pure Old Pot Still (43%, Bow St. Distillery, Dublin Whiskey, 75 cl, Circa 1965)Color: Light gold.

Nose: Extremely fruity steam punk kind of Whisky. Hints of old paint. Even if I would have tried this blind, you know when you have an old Whisky on your hands. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; They don’t make them like this anymore, and the other Jameson reviews just prove that. Wonderful old dried fruit intertwined with almonds and wax. It really smells of steam and coal and a bit of old engines. Warm machine oil and vanilla. Very appetizing. When you let it breathe the fruit gets less pronounced and a more dusty creaminess starts to emerge. A dustiness which seems to be coming from wood. A wonderful experience.

Taste: Quite different. It starts with old newspaper and luckily the waxy fruitiness hold it up. Still, somewhat lighter than the nose. The nose is special and quite “thick” this is less so. paper and wood but both are light and well-balanced with the rest of the aroma’s. Slightly warm apply note comes next. Those of you who are regular Calvados drinkers will recognize this apply note, and now that I recognize it, it’s there in the nose too. Hints of caramel and slightly burned caramel emerge, which is noticeable on the tongue. Not everything stays behind for the finish, but still a nice, but short finish, but we are left with a nice aftertaste. Good, but not as special as the nose was. The nose really oozes with times long gone.

The current Jameson and this Jameson are both tasted early in the morning before breakfast. The current Jameson is a nice aperitif. It’s niceness is in the detail, which is much easier to pick up in the morning, than in the evening, when you have just eaten and your palate is tired. The current Jameson has lost much of it charm when I tried it in the evening, after finishing the previous review. Tasting this, I fear this one will be better in the morning too…

Points: 87

Redbreast 15yo (46%, OB, 2005 Batch [L53273071 11:54])

Bourbon week is over. The king is dead, long live the king. Now we’ll try a very nice one from Ireland. Ireland, like the USA like to call it Whiskey, with ana extra ‘e’. I’ve already tasted a lot of Irish whiskies, and I know that Redbreast 15yo is one of the best there is.

Redbreast ia a triple distilled pure pot-still Irish whisky from the New Middleton distillery from County Cork, owned by Pernod Ricard. This bottle is from a 2005 batch when it was still called “pure”. Due to new rules for whisk(e)y, “pure” was deemed to be a very confusing word, so now it is called a single pot still Irish Whiskey instead.

There’s only one other pot still whiskey these days and that’s Green Spot. Redbreast is a blend of old whiskies from sherry butts and bourbon barrels. The difference between a single malt and a single pot still Whiskey is that the latter also uses unmalted barley, and therefore cannot be named a single malt. Besides this there are a 12yo (40% ABV) and a new 12yo, which is 57.7% ABV.

Color: Dark Gold

Nose: Malty with red fruit, but red fruit in a spicy way, almost smells carbonated. Milk chocolate and clean. Definitively some wood shines through. probably some older casks in there than 15yo? After a while more meaty, like a good Flemish stew made with dark beer.

Taste: Red fruit and blueberries, blueberry candy. Unique. It’s something we like in 60’s Bowmores (just a 100 times cheaper). Very smooth. Mocha and a hint of caramel or toffee.  Some tree sap, and slightly bitter oak, or maybe bitter chocolate. Again, are there some older casks in here? Besides the dark fruits, I guess I am tasting banana and some coconut too. After some oxidation, the woody part is enhanced and the fruityness is a bit more subdued.

All in all a very nice example from Ireland. And it sure has a place of its own, since it’s different from anything from Scotland or the USA. This just has to be compared to both 12yo’s and Green Spot. Recommended.

Points: 86