Wednesday 14 December 2016

Review 101 - Rom de Luxe Batch #1 - Dominican Republic 12 year old Cask Strength

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
Best Oliver y Oliver I ever had.
As most of you will know by now, I’m a Danish guy.

Therefore anything popping up in the rum world, which has even remote relations to Denmark, is automatically interesting. As I found out with the A.H. Riise Royal Danish Navy Rum, it’s not necessarily good.

But it was interesting none the less. And when new Danish players emerge, I just have the check them out. I did so with Ekte, and today I have a nother Danish newcomer on review.

The Rom de Luxe Batch #1.

Rom de Luxe is a spare time project by three Danish rum nuts who decided that meeting online and swapping the occational samples just wasn’t enough.

At first they aimed to supply a trading platform for rarities, where people could offer up their rare bottles for sale for a small fee. They simply wanted to create a safe and trustworthy place for people to trade these rare collectors items hassle free.

As they started working on the solution, they found it much harder to market than first anticipated. Partly due to private sales on social media platforms and of course more established trading platforms like eBay. So the trading platform project was put on hold for a while.

But they also wanted something else: To find great rums in smaller quantities to bottle and supply to the Danish market.

The Danish market is one of the fastest expanding rum markets in the world, and especially in the more expensive price ranges, so it makes perfect sense that they wanted to introduce more great rums to this market.

So this is the primary focus of RdL today: Find and bottle awesome rum.

I can relate to that!

The Batch #1 is a Modern Rum native of the Dominican Republic, and is sourced from the (in)famous Oliver y Oliver compound. As with most OyO rums, information is rather scarse and undocumented, but looking back at previous OyO products and following a long talk with one of the guys behind RdL, there does seem to be a rather plausible background story about the rum.

It was distilled in 2002 or 2003 on a column still – probably multi – before being laid to rest for 12 to 14 years in what was sherry casks with 95% certainty. No mentioning if it was PX or Oloroso.

It was bottled at mouth watering 65,4% cask strength with a lab confirmed sugar content of 9,02 grams pr. litre of rum. But apart from that, it should be devoid of any other additives, colouring, chill filtering or anything else.

To me that sounds quite exciting and a little bit different that pretty much every single Oliver y Oliver product out there. Sure there is starting to show up some cask strength Dom.Rep. out there, but it’s still not something that we have gotten used to yet.

The RdL#1 comes in a rather stubby and squarish bottle closed by a synthetic cork with a wooden stopper, and absolutely no information anywhere on the bottle on it.

The only thing visible on the bottle it self is an etched Rom de Luxe logo.

Now there is something neat and fresh is a huge sea of boats, pirates and parrots.

Just a few piece of information is instead shown on a small card board tag tied to the neck and secured with a wax seal. The text is even handwritten by the wife of one of the guys behind RdL.

I feel the authenticity literally oozing out all over the place with this thing. This is really a small time indie bottler just wanting to get their little liquid treasures released into the world.

The rum is a dark copper beast which creates a very thin layer of liquid on the inside of the glass, the ring quickly transforms into a lot of tiny specks.

Heavy notes of dark chocolate and rum cream up front.

Thick toffee, lots of vanilla and a little oak comes after that.

There is a faint sharpness somewhere in the back, but nothing to suggest that we are in the mid 60s of ABV. Not even close. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was a 45%’er.

After nosing around with it for a while, I suddenly discovered some freshly cut, moist grass, which came off as insanely pleasant.

Not very complex and perhaps a bit nose heavy. Even though it doesn’t display any crazy unpleasantries, it still feels a little lob sided.

Very nice and unobtrusive on the nose. This could turn out the be my favorite Dominican so far.

The nose transfers beautifully on to the palate.

More dark chocolate and rum cream at first, with a very nicely added layer of soft oaks, which gives it a slight tannic bite. Perhaps it’s more of a nibble.

Then comes the toffee and vanilla with full force, to complete most of the things I would have expected from a Dominican rum, but it also brings a little squeeze of ripe oranges.

Far, far in the back, the moist grass is back, for just a dash of freshness among the rather sweet notes.

The massive proof suits it well. It helps the flavours expand and seem sweet without getting sticky.

It reminds me a lot of the way the Diplomatico Ambassador felt. But the RdL actually does a way better job of incooperating 65% than the Diplo did 47%, as the RdL doesn’t become sharp in any way, like the Diplo did.

It’s still very much a column rum, and it lacks complexity and depth to really knock me on my ass, but it is a very nice piece of rum.

The massive ABV also helps the finish last a very long time. It never gets lava hot, but it bring a lot of warmth, which takes a long time to disappear. For several minutes everything feels warm and nice.

There is nothing new happening during the fade, expect for a little bit of wet card board appearing, which unfortunately subtracts a bit from the finaly result.

Rating and final thoughts
Best Dominican I’ve tried so far. By miles.

It is still far from my favorite profile in rum, but this one actually had me going for both seconds and thirds. And I have to admit that I’ll be coming back to it from time to time from now on, when my sweet tooth kicks in.

It retails for around €120, which may seem like a lot. But remember that it is a cask strength rum, and we are pretty much where we are supposed to be with the price ranges we are seeing these days.

I’ll admit that there is a lot of other choices in the €120 range, but if you like your rums sweetened and would like to try something Oliver with just a little sugar, then you should definitely try to get hold of this bottle.

If you’re not into sweetened rums or if you’re just so over these kinds of rum, go to your sweet tooth friend and get him to buy a bottle, so you can try it. Then you can decide if it’s for your or not.

For me, this was a good example of something I forgot I once liked, and because it’s not over the top, it actually brought the sugared ones back to my attention.

Personally I can’t wait to see what else RdL comes up with in the future.

So far the Batch #1 is the only available product, but Batch #2 from Foursquare and Batch #3 from Bellevue is not far away. Stay tuned for that! I know I will.

Getting back to the #1, I have to wrap things up, and circling back to the ”best Dominican I’ve tried so far”, I’m sticking with that. That’s why it ends up with a very nice…

Rating: 77/100


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