Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Review 82 - Samaroli 1990 Demerara 25 year old

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
"Swirling pencil vortex of doom" - Mr. Corner

I seem to be having an everlasting affection for the Guyanese, so it’s time for another indie Demerara.

Behold: The Samaroli 1990 Demerara 25 year old.

During 2015 we have been treated with quite a few of these 25 year old Demeraras from 1990. Being sure that I may have missed one or more, there is at least a Rum Nation, a Bristol Classic and a Samaroli.

I haven’t been able to find out any information which can clarify if they are related or if this is just a freaky coincidence.

The Samaroli has spent its 25 years slumbering in Scotland like all Samaroli rums typically do. It has been bottled at an ABV of 45% which is very refreshing in an ocean of 40%’ers, with just a few islands of stronger stuff.

This single cask offering consists of 340 bottles extracted from cask number 16. The bottle I have in my hands is number 248. I don’t even know why I wrote that. It doesn’t matter much which exact number my bottle has, as all 340 would hopefully be identical.

There is no information about how many casks were bottled. But seeing what other bottlers have done in the past, when bottling single cask rums and displaying limited numbers of bottles, I would expect that cask number 16 isn’t necessarily the only cask bottled. But I could be wrong and probably am.

I haven’t been able to track down information about which still the 1990 Demerara comes from, but there is a lot of 1990 Port Mourants floating around, so that would be my initial guess.

Typical modern Samaroli. A piece of contemporary art.

The bright orange box made from thin card board, with the window to shows off part of the label.

Black barroom bottle with foil screw cap. I raved about these foil caps before, so no need to do that again.

On the label we find the usual, brief, expected information about the rum. On the back, we are treated with quite the elaboration. Not bad, not bat at all.

The rum it self is an unusually pale straw colour for a rum this old and this Guyanese, perhaps the cask used wasn’t charred or very active during maturation. Guess we’ll never know, as Samaroli hasn’t been very keen to answer my questions.

When twirled it first creates a ring of mini-droplets, but soon after, millions of slender legs, start slowly moving down.

It leaped at me with very sharp and heavy oak notes.

My first thoughts were of pencil shavings and a hot saunas.

After that, some lesser rubber notes to make the illusion of pencil extract complete.

It feels like there was supposed to be another level to it, but for some reason the pencil extract doesn’t want to leave the stage long enough for other notes to get some time in the sun.

After about half an hour of air a slight feeling of molasses and vanilla appears. But not enough to justify the time spent waiting, and still they are caught in a swirling pencil vortex.

Very light in profile at first, but then comes a pencil blast of Death Star-ish proportions.

Again the wood shavings and the lighter rubber notes, are very dominating.

There is however a light and fruity sub level to the rum, where green apples, oranges and vanilla seems to want to break through, but never really do.

In the very last second the advertised tobacco notes shows up for a split second.

Not really that interesting or very pleasant on the palate. A little fun at best, but not something I would down an entire bottle of.

If I didn’t know beforehand, I would never have believed that I was dealing with a 25 year old rum. If it has aged with beauty, I don’t want to know how ugly it was back in 1990.

But then again I can’t really hold it against it. We were all somewhat ugly in the 90s, weren’t we?

The feeling of warm sauna and frantic pencil chewing lasts a long time.

There is a lot of general warmth which first expands rapidly before slowly fading into oblivion.

When there is nothing left to fade, it all dries up nicely and leaves you with a clean, wooden aftertaste.

Rating and final thoughts
Overall a very narrow experience. I’m a little reluctant to call it a one trick pony, but that is basically the best fitting description I was able to conceive with my current vocabulary.

It shows you every possible side of extreme pencil chewing before heat blasting its way off the stage.

The end.

On both nose and palate did it hint a lot of interesting things, which never really materialised because of the swirling pencil vortex of doom.

Even a considerable amount of time in the glass didn’t do much to change that. Although it was enjoyable to some extent, I must say that I am a little disappointed. I expected more from a 25 year old Demerara.

When I first found it, I thought that it would be almost identical to the Rum Nation Demerara 1990, which is also 25 years old. But they are very much opposites in the Demerara world.

Instead it reminded me very much of the Our Rum &Spirits Enmore 24 year old, which was also conceived in 1990. It had many of the same defining properties, but the OR&S was way more interesting. Perhaps the higher strength made a difference.

This also leads me to believe, that we are dealing with a Versailles distillate here - like with the OR&S. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

Wearing a hefty price tag of €300 in my opinion, you would be better off with a lot of other options.

If pencil shavings and a little rubber is your thing, then by all means, go nuts and grab a bottle. But if this isn’t your exact preferred rum style, then let it slide and go for something else.

For €300 you can practically choose whatever you want instead.

There is no doubt that this is a big rum, but I fear that the continental ageing hasn’t done it many favours.

And being as narrow and unimaginative as it is, I’ll have to award it with a generous…

Rating: 72/100



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