Monday, 12 January 2015

Review 21 - New Grove 25 year old Solera

Image courtesy of The Whisky Exchange
Nice effort from New Grove from Mauritius. But way too expensive!

Mauritius. An island paradise far, far east of Madagascar. Way out in the Indian Ocean.
Does one really find rum here? Indeed one does!

In fact most of the island is covered in cane fields and plantations. And rum has been made on this island for more than 150 years.

Although not a company of the old world, New Grove is one of the leading rum producers there.
This is their absolut top of the line: The New Grove 25 year old solera.

Solera 25 years … some online sources say ”at least” and some say ”up to”.  The name ”solera” suggests the latter. If they did actually put some 30 or 35 year old rums in the blend, why not advertise it?

It seems that the standard marketing trick with the label ”solera” is to make the product seem much more aged and matured than it actually is. If this New Grove is the exception to the rule, it will be a first for me.

Unfortunately the webpage is not of much help, as it simply states that it is a 25 year old. And I quite frankly didn't bother to look into it this time. 

From the looks of it, there is no doubt that this is the very best of New Grove.

Solid black, cardboard box covered in some kind of resin I believe. Unfortunately I only had a sample, so the premium presentation I had to spy online.

No matter what the coating of the box is, there is no denying that this is premium stuff. A golden plaque on the lid tells us what is found inside.

The bottle is a very beautiful decanter style thing with a thickened bottom and a cork with a glass stopper. Very nice.

On the front we have a golden engraving telling os the name, the origin, the ”age” and the 40% ABV.
On the back we have only a few words and thankfully no salesmans talk.

The most interesting detail is the ”Bottle xx of 2.000”. So apparently only 2.000 bottles has been made. It seems weird that New Grove found no reason to mention this on their website, and that I haven’t come across a single retailer that talks about this.

This is seriously limited stuff. Even if it should have been ”2.000 pr. year” it would still be limited enough to mention it.

The rum is of dark amber color. It seems darker on the official pictures, but in my glass it was a little more light.

A twirl establishes a nice ring which spawns tiny, fast droplets hinting a lighter nature.

The first thing that jumps at your face is lots of molasses with even more lots of ripe cherries. Following right in its wake is extract of almonds and marzipan.

There is a noticeable hint of nail polish, oak and spices to tie the relation to rum, but otherwise it could have been a fruity eau-de-vie.

In the end even more cherries and berries join in.

My first thought was that it is surprisingly light profiled for a 25 year old rum.
A rum of this age I would almost expect to have to remove from the bottle with a spoon. But this one is ever so light and tippy-toed.
The initial flavours limits them selves to a short burst of oak spices and the wave of warmth that often follows it.

As the heat subsides it turns very fruity. Particularly cherries and raspberries are participating. But there is also some shy peaches and cranberries in there.  In the background there is remnants of fruity tee.
All in all the flavours melt together quite fine, but it seems to lack complexity.

Strangely enough I found it a tad sharp on the alcohol despite it only being a 40%’er.

Apart from the warmth that keeps lingering for quite some time, the flavours disappear as fast as in bad fruity bubblegum. And when you reach the finish, bubblegum is the most protruding flavour left to battle with the oak spice.

The warmth and slightly spicy part is however very nice and helps you remember what you just drank. But after a couple of minutes a peppery tingle is the only thing left.

Rating and final thoughts
I am not impressed. The fruitiness and the very modest sweetness makes it hard to guess what the agenda is with this rum. Is it even meant to be a rum? I am not sure.

I know, I have criticised other rums for being too sweet, but the New Grove 25 Solera could actually use a little more sweetness. Not that it is pungent or tannic or some of those other things that usually need a little sweetness to mellow things out.

Apart from the fruits I don’t feel that it has very much to offer.

Value for money is very bad. The rum retails for around €200 and at that price there really isn't very many rums left that I couldn't choose instead. The weak complexity, the transparent finish and the synthetic berries are not the trade marks of a €200 rum.

It is a nice rum with interesting flavours. No doubt about it. But I wouldn't pay more than €35-40 for it. However the rating does not take price into account. Therefore I will have to award it with a…

Rating: 60/100

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