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Rum Reviews

Chalong Bay Lunar Series Fût Ex-Shochu New Vibrations, 60.7% ABV – Review

New Vibrations is part of an annual release of Maison Du Whisky’s Creations catalogue. For the year of 2024, New Vibrations focuses on “innovation and experimentation”, spotlighting the folks in the spirits industry who have been pushing boundaries. The New Vibrations collection has 230 bottlings under it, ranging from whisky, rum, cognac, and sake - featuring over 100 distilleries and brewers. 

 

 

The launch of Maison Du Whisky’s New Vibrations features composer and music producer Saycet, Saycet created Vibration, an original work created within the distillery still rooms and cellars of the Arran and Lagg distilleries. 

 

You can give the musical piece a listen here.

 

Under the New Vibrations Rhum section, titled “Pioneers and Explorers”, rums from Caribbean distilleries like Hampden Estate, Caroni and Renegade Rum, the asian represent Chalong Bay, and independent bottlers like Velier. 

 

 

I spotted this bottling at Whisky Live 2023. We’ve covered the origin story and a deepdive (+ masterclass) of Chalong Bay here, but here’s a quick summary: Chalong Bay is a distillery located in Thailand, featuring an Armagnac still and uses Thai sugarcane juice for all their rums.

 

Source: Chalong Bay

 

For this expression, Chalong Bay aged their clear rum, in an ex-shochu cask for 26 months, casked in 2021 and aged in France.The rum is bottled at cask strength, a respectable 60.7% ABV. On the label, there is a rabbit motif, a call to the Year of Rabbit (2023/2024). The hiragana on the label, うさぎ, translates to rabbit in Japanese.

Unfortunately, when I asked about where the shochu cask came from and what shochu inhabited in it before, those are undisclosed details. 

Let’s get to tasting! 

Chalong Bay Lunar Series Fût Ex-Shochu New Vibrations, 60.7% ABV – Review

 

Nose: I think of banana flavoured rice pudding. There is tropical notes as well as a mild artificial-esque flavouring of banana, but alongside it is that milky, cereally rice pudding aroma as well. As it sits, I get some sandalwood aroma - I imagine a bit of incense powder sprinkled over heavy cream. 

Taste: Zappy, yet sweet. After the initial sting of alcohol, I got goreng pisang (fried banana fritters), in particular, that part starchy, part fragrant, somewhat meaty taste of the banana (pisang raja). Amongst the heavier flavours, there is some lemon curd as well, just a slight lemony spritz.

 

 

Finish: It lets up to dried longan and dried lychee. There is a dense, tropical fruit taste that weights heavy on the tongue, being a bit sticky and sappy. The deep, stalk-like sugarcane aromas is more prominent here at the finish as well. As the finish tapers to an end, I get a bit of candied lemon peels.

Rating: 8/10

Delicious stuff! I really appreciate the shochu cask influences in the rum. I really like the banana, curd-dessert profile of the rum here. The high ABV doesn't exactly scorch your palate either, but rather, a gentle burn that grows with intensity. It's quite novel and reminds me more of barrel aged shochus than rum, but I can still feel some of that fruity rum flavours.

 

Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, 10/10 would buy if I could.
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most in its category, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.

 

 

@vernoncelli