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Rum Reviews

M&E Diamond 2003, in collaboration with Charles Fazzino (17 years)


Background: another local bottling, this time from the Uitvlugt French Savalle still. A friend passed me this sample in exchange for my tasting notes. I have tried one of his previous bottlings (a Glen Moray), and I like it, so this opportunity excites me a little.

Nose: on first nose, this is very elegant; dark fruits, particularly berries and currants; dried plums and figs; sarsaparilla; these are wrapped around a kernel of nicely integrated funk; varnish; grass jelly; sweet-smelling resins the likes of benzoin; there is also a flinty, mineral aspect; struck matches; wet rocks; large amounts of salmiak liquorice; soft char siew, like that found in traditional char siew pau; Chinese tonic soup; the base notes are surprisingly briney, and yet there is quite a bit of freshness still; canned tuna; steamed pork patty with chives; eucalyptus; papaya milkshake.

Palate: a silky and almost waxy mouthfeel; brown sugar; manuka honey; root beer; ginger candy; Chinese herbal candy; gui ling gao in simple syrup; liquorice; Christmas cake; overripe banana and papaya in butterscotch; jackfruit; resins mixed with the clean minerality of hard mineral water; toffee; the wood, cream and grass combination of a rich agricole rum; the brine becomes more apparent on the back-palate; stir fried olives with cooking herbs like basil; som tam with an additional dose of fish sauce.

Finish: medium-length; peppermint Mentos; sandalwood incense; fresh grapes; stewed apples; more liquorice, this time coated with tobacco and wrapped in plastic; the aftertaste comprises vanilla cream, kueh bangkit, grass jelly, and sweet barley soup.

Conclusion: one of the briniest and most savoury non-pot-still demeraras I ever tasted, it never comes across as brash or even rugged. The delivery is nuanced, composed and seemingly effortless. I doubt an Uitvlugt is ever going to topple the best Port Mourants or Versailleses, not in my ranking, but this rum has got me rethinking my opinion on DDL’s modern column-still distillates. More than any rum in the El Dorado Rare Collection, this is a fabulous exemplar of the potential DDL is sitting on.

Score (assuming a normal distribution with mean 50): 90/100



Image Courtesy of u/zoorado