Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Review 94 - Kill Devil Guyana Uitvlugt 1997 18 year old.

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
Atypical, mediocre Uitvlugt. 

Since there is about one billion indie bottlers out there, why not try a newer one?
And one which follows a formula already proven to work by others.

Take an old and experienced whisky bottler and add rum.
That is how you get from whisky bottler Hunter Laing to the Edition Spirits side project to Kill Devil rums.

Yes. I know. Kill Devil is quite a rather arbitrary name, apart from the fact, that it is the oldest known name for rum. Personally I believe they should a moved a bit off path and chosen a more unique name. But perhaps that’s why I don’t work in advertising.

There is a lot more background story to the Kill Devil brand, but since I’m more about the rum and technical geekery, and not so much the company heritage, please refer to the link at the bottom, which will take you to a great interview with Andrew Laing, which is the man behind Kill Devil rums.

In 2015 they launched their first line of rums, and among those were an 18 year old 1997 Uitvlugt from Guyana.

A single cask rum yielding just 357 bottles at an interesting 46% ABV, without chill filtering, colouring or other additives. Just nice, clean rum.

Being an Uitvlugt it should be a continuous still rum, but I haven’t been able to get any confirmation, and many of these indie Demeraras can be a bit shady, when it comes to their exact birth place.

First you see the black card board tube, with black coloured metal lids. Quite nice.

On the front of the tube we find the brand name, along with a smaller ”box”, which contains info about the rum Not much. Just bare minimums.

Inside we are treated with a black bottled with slightly broadened shoulders, and a longish narrow neck. Up top we find a cheap synthetic cork with a plastic stopper.

The label is made from two parts. The lower one is identical to the info box on the tube. The upper one, is a rather large one, which depicts an lithography of a devil, with old style boarders, and the brand name printed  in a central position.

On the back there is another label, which tells the story about the Kill Devil name, and where it comes from.

Pouring a glass, we find a light straw coloured liquid. Kind of makes you wonder how some single digit rums can be almost black, when they claim to have nothing added … coughDonPapaYouBigCheatI’mLookingAtYoucough.

Swirling leaves a super thin layer of barely visible residue, and a few medium legs.

Rather sharp wooden scents on the nose, with a lighter profile.

There is not much else there. Kind of strange when I think about previous Uitvlugt encounters.

It bears more resemblances with the pencil shaving Enmore/Versailles than typical Uitvlugts. Behind 50 shades of wood, there is also a vague layer of menthol.

Beyond that theres is also some flower notes and itsy-bitsy marzipan, which are more classic Uitvlugt notes. But they are far, far way.

Very narrow and unfortunately quite boring on the nose.

It comes with lots of references to the nose.

Lighter profiled 50 shades of wood along with a lot of spices. Peppers, cinnamon, ginger and menthol. There is also a little bit of fruits, with a couple of nice green apples and black grapes.

At the very back I finally find some typical Demerara notes. Molasses, raisins and dates.

Not in the typical rich and heavy Demerara sense, but way more laid back.

Way more interesting tastewise than on the nose. And clearly a much needed improvement.

It leaves with a lot of heat, and more wooden notes.

The wood fades rather quickly, and leaves room for some bitter sweet caramelised lemon peel.

There is a nice dryness to it, which does the proper cleaning of your mouth, getting ready for another sip.

Rating and final thoughts
This is not a typical Uitvlugt, and if you like the flowery, marzipan richness of typical Uitvlugts, this rum is going to annoy the crap out of you.

Being a fan of that exact type of Uitvlugts, I must say that I’m a little disappointed.

Stripping it from its heritage, it is however an enjoyable drink.

You won’t be spending hours nosing it. It’s too boring for that.

But it is rather easy to drink, if you are into the woody stuff, and it doesn’t really hurt anybody with its manageable 46% strength.

It has long gone from the many online shops, but I paid €100 for it when I bought it. And for a price like that, you have a lot more options. Sure, you’ll probably not be able to find a 18 year old Demerara for a price like this, but there are many better rums out there in this range.

In hindsight, I should have let this one pass, and got another one.

My interest has been poked however and I can’t wait to try more Kill Devil indies. Hopefully this is the odd one out and other KD bottlings are just plain awesome. I’ll have to investigate further.

For now, this one feels like a mediocre first effort, which shouldn’t wow the avid indie bottle connaisseur.

But for what it’s worth, it leaves my table with a…

Rating: 71/100


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