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Rum Reviews

Gardel 1983, Rumclub Private Selection (Edition 16) Treasure Cask (38 years)



Background: another Treasure Cask from Dirk Becker of German Rum Festival and Rumclub Berlin fame. One of his previous selections is still my number one rum. Gardel of Guadeloupe is a closed distillery that used to distil rums, possibly from both cane juice and molasses. This specimen is molasses-based, aged 38 years. I am guessing it spent a good half of its barrel life in the tropics.

Nose: extremely expressive; herbs and spices and assorted condiments up front; soy sauce; plum sauce; balsamic vinegar; cumin; anise; cloves; sage; coriander; lemongrass; bell peppers; then comes the funk; a basket of sweaty clothes; kimchi; minced chicken and pork, raw; pickled jellyfish; french fries; nachos; going deeper into the glass, we get a plethora of perfumey and fruity notes; talcum powder; sandalwood incense; grapeseed and bergamot oil; green papaya; overripe pineapple and soursop; sultanas; dried fig, apricot and mango; more mango, of a particularly creamy kind -- think mango custard and mango lassi; a nice tropical fruit salad of a cognac; the base notes are earthy and industrial; hot tar; motor oil; WD-40; a well-oiled rifle; old copper coins; a basket load of liquorice sweets; coffee dregs; cocoa butter; Saphir renovateur on leather; finally, some terpenes and plastics, primarily peppermint, camphor and Tiger Balm; as a whole, the nose reminds me of a more measured Savanna grand arome, matured in ex-cognac casks, with influences from Long Pond, Monymusk and Saint Lucia Distillers (SLD), all weaved nicely into a coherent package.

Palate: good body; the astringent front-palate is very much cognac-esque, or rather, it conforms to my impressions of an overoaked cognac; grape Hi-Chew; overbaked raisin bread; dried fig and dates; coffee dregs; bitter chocolate; orange marmalade; it dials up the fruits on the mid-palate; stewed apple; dry apple cider; Kickapoo; pineapple juice; yang zhi gan lu, or mango sago with pomelo, topped with nata de coco; soursop; overripe papaya and jackfruit; the back-palate is dark and empyreumatic, peppered with hints of savouriness; rooty, earthy grape pomace as manifested in an old marc; some bitter Chinese herbs, notably American ginseng and angelica root; premium pu-er and rougui teas; burnt rice crisp; aburi tuna belly; walnut skin; almond paste; liquorice.

Finish: very long; starts with metallic-tasting congeners like those found in some pure-Vendome SLD distillates; liquorice; root beer; gingerbread; steak tartare with old balsamic vinegar; pork floss; sweet savoury preserved meats, such as Cantonese lap cheong and Taiwanese xiang chang; tobacco; tar; blood orange; tropical fruit punch; grape bubblegum; indistinct floral notes, like a mish-mash of floral perfumes; crushed antacid pills; the aftertaste consists of baked nuts, olive brine, sugarcane juice, coconut cream, cling wrap, and yet more liquorice; not the most intense of aftertastes but damn, does it last.

Conclusion: yes, this has definitely spent too much time in wood, and should have been bottled a few years ago. That it is past its prime does not stop it from being bloody remarkable, though. The oakiness is pretty well-integrated beyond the front-palate, but I am compelled to dock a few points for the overly astringent front-palate. This would have been an all-time favourite otherwise.

Score (assuming a normal distribution with mean 50): 91/100


Image Courtesy of u/zoorado