Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Review 41 - Rum Nation Jamaica 8 year old

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
Young, funky and powerful!
Another funked up Jamaican from Rum Nation.

Don’t know about Rum Nation? Go check out this huge essay by fellow rummie Lance The Lone Caner.

Full disclosure: This particular bottle has been supplied to me directly by Fabio Rossi of Rum Nation, free of charge.

Born at Worthy Park Estate, St. Catherine, Jamaica, this little wonder of the world, was distilled in 2006 on a pot still, aged for 7 years in ex-bourbon casks in Jamaica, and finished for 1 year in Oloroso Sherry casks in Piedmont, Italy.
Finally it was bottled in 2015 at a challenging 50% ABV.

No additive, colouring or general tampering at all.

Fabio Rossi of Rum Nation went to great lengths to have an actual lab report made, which detailed the composition of the Jamaica 8. I have a copy of the report in my possession, and it lists a sugar content of just 1,67 g/l.
As with many other of the latest editions from Rum Nation, you are getting a semi useless card board box with two non-existing sides. Standard black ting with next to no information on it.

I am sure it proves useful in stacking bottles for larger shipments, but it does almost nothing for the consumer. I ranted about this in an earlier review, so I and not going to elaborate very much on it today. But the box is waste, and I don’t like unnecessary waste.

The bottle is the short, squat thing that has become a new standard from Rum Nation.
At first I was a little bummed, as I liked the old, taller barroom bottles more. But the tiny fatty is growing on me (no pun intended!).

The new design is winning me over slow and steadily. It does have a nice thick bottom to add weight and give off an aura of quality. And the natural cork with the faux wood stopper is a nice touch. So is the black shrink wrap with the Rum Nation name and logo which hold the cork in place until the first opening.

The label has a modern expression with one third representing the brand name, one third describing the product, and the last third is the national stamp which decorates so many Rum Nation rums.

The rum displays a nice straw colour and when twirled it forms a solid ring, from which nice fat legs are crawling down.
Huge aromatic style and a fist straight to the face! At first at least.

The first impressions are punched in by plasticine, burned oak and tar with quite some force.

Breaking that intense surface, I found wood polish and an immense fruityness. Concentrated, unsweetened apple juice and incredibly stale cola (these seems to be common denominators of the Jamaicans I have tasted so far).

Further down the layers lurk a mild toffee sweetness and flavoured pipe tobacco.

It doesn’t rip you nose, but the strength is making it self noticed.

At first I found it quite pungent, but the more I nose it, the more I want to keep nosing it. It is intriguingly complex and seems to tease you a bit, if you let it display its massive plasticine, oak and tar ouverture first.

Very spicy on entry with reprises by the plasticine, burned oak and tar force from the nose. On the palate it is even more dominating.

The fruity sweetness is more competitive this time around, and does what it can to fight the overpowering trio of hellfire and brimstone.

But after a couple of sips, it seems to mellow out and go in an herbal direction. There is a sense of magical concoction about it, as cinnamon, pepper, cumin and chamomile joins in.

It does have some of that Jamaican funk, that I also got from the RN Jamaica 23, but also a extra layer of sweetness which I suspect to come from the sherry cask finish.

Shortish finish, and no where near as hot as I would have expected from a 50% spirit.

The alcohol level dries everything nicely upon exit, and in the end you are left with a perfectly balanced and mild aftermath of tiny warmth, green apples, caramel, burned oak. Beautiful.

This rum definitely wanted to leave me with the best possible expression before it had gone. So gentle and balanced, where the initial nosing and tasting was more brutal.

Rating and final thoughts
A great high proof from Rum Nation. No question about it.

Both the nose and the palate was hard hitting, very complex and wanted me to stay around for seconds. As with many other substancially-stronger-than-your-usual-around-40%-sippers it is no casual drinker. It does demand attention, but also lets you savour it and enjoy.

You don’t have to attack it knuckles first every single sip, as some other high proofs require.

The rather short, but straight to the point finish was a suiting end to another great experience.
By now it is no secret that I enjoy many of Rum Nations products, and this one indeed deserves a   recommendation.
The best part is, that the value for money is very good. At €53 it is a bargain for what you get. A funky, true age, untampered, high proof, enjoyable Jamaican rum. I know the Appleton 12 is a bit cheaper, but it is also weaker and in my opinion less challenging and exciting. Not worse, but a different breed never the less.

I am running out of superlatives to attach to this rum - and fast - so I will just call it a day, and pull out a…

Rating: 75/100


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