Malternative: Jamaican New Yarmouth Rum, 1994, 26 Years, 67.9% abv, Japan Exclusive, bottled by Malt, Grain & Cane, Precious Liquors, Bar Lamp, Rum & Whisky Kyoto and Rudder Ltd.
We continue on our rum voyage across the Caribbean with Singaporean independent bottler, Malt, Grain & Cane’s New Yarmouth Jamaican Rum. This was bottled in conjunction with Precious Liquors (formerly Wealth Solutions Singapore) and MGC's Japanese partners Bar Lamp, Rum & Whisky Kyoto, and Rudder Ltd.
Those ingratiated with the rum world may be familiar with Appleton Rum. Now if they’re really good, they’d pinpoint its provenance to Jamaica. But fewer are aware that Jamaica is actually also home to the New Yarmouth Estate (often marked at NYE). In fact, NYE, located in the Clarendon Parish area, actually supplies white overproof stocks to Appleton. This explains why we don’t see New Yarmouth rums often bottled singularly, except in the hands of rum bandits like MGC and his pals who managed to sneak one out.
Make no mistake, many rum bottlers are often looking to bottle NYE rums, but alas they are few and far between, making it a fairly rare and unique offering.
Given its (unfortunate) overshadowing by Appleton, there isn’t too much else that’s known about NYE and so that is our cue to talk less and drink more.
Jamaican New Yarmouth Rum, 1994, 26 Years, 67.9% abv, Japan Exclusive, bottled by Malt, Grain & Cane
Colour. Red Copper.
On the nose. A strong apple note, like that of Turkish apple tea. It’s really aromatic but at the same time packs a massive punch. You’re gonna wanna let this simmer down and air alittle bit.
Aromatic Turkish tea lends a heavy apple scent. (Image Source: Flickr)
Swirling it around, more scents begin to surface. I get something that’s very familiar – dates, sultanas, raisins, very sweet and rich. Comparable to a compote or reduction of stewed orchard fruits. Somewhere in there, and this is upon constant swirling, there are also blackcurrants, reminding me of Ribena Blackcurrant cordial.
Picture says it all. (Image Source: Campaign)
The sweetness is oozy almost, much like melted down gula melaka or the gooey insides of ondeh-ondeh.
A gooey gula melaka core gives this rum a sweet, syrupy nose. (Image Source: Tickikids)
There’s also a touch of bitterness, much like cocoa or coffee grinds. Or perhaps like a Moca Pot brewing with Italian espresso.
The rum funkiness here is much more gentle, and instead takes a more creamy and rich turn in terms of texture. There’s an element of vanilla cake icing with milk chocolate shavings layering a sponge cake, that cleans up the nose.
Imagine a rum that could embody this delectable slice of cake. Who would've thought? (Image Source: KCET)
Onto the palate, ahhh very strong indeed. “But at 67.9% did you expect any less?” I ask myself in mild annoyance at my quickness to go for a big gulp. I can’t help it can I? The nose was delightful. Here the spiciness really shows, but it does wash off. It’s nothing like the spiciness from say chillis. The same dates and sultanas on the nose carries over. Very sweet, creamy and rich on the texture. It is slightly heavier in weight and gets to be more viscous and syrupy on the palate.
You can smell this picture. That distinctive grassiness of a market heaped with fresh vegetables. (Image Source: Go Guides)
It gets somewhat medicinal and herbaceous as the plums and figs turn more vegetal, and there are notes of coriander and bell peppers. There is a leafiness that reminds me of tomato leaves, spinach, watercress. It’s a freshly cut grassiness here.
The gorgeous bitter bite of a rich espresso freshly brewed. (Image Source: Life and Thyme)
On the finish, it’s fairly long and drying. There’s a good dose of tannins. This one is very consistent from nose to finish, with the same almost Sherry notes and grassiness that carries through. Again little bits of coffee grind and mocha that pops up from time to time.
This rum looks old but has the fighting spirit of a young’un. At 26 year old, you’d expect it to develop a more mellow, deeper side, but instead this one shows you it’s still a fiery spirit at heart. It packs a punch at such a high proof and yet retains a really firm body. You can kinda understand why Appleton uses them to shore up the high notes with YNE’s overproof rum. It’s flavors are really on full display here.
The gorgeous mountains amidst which this New Yarmouth Estate rum is distilled. (Image Source: Go Guides)
It has a very distinctive character that only emboldens as you drink it. It truly makes no apologies and pulls no punches here. There is also a good amount of complexity with it, on the one hand giving us some Sherry notes, and on the other a very vegetal quality.
I’m not huge on the herbaceousness (well certainly not as much as @charsiucharlie) but what really stood out to me were the mocha base notes that felt like little bits of coffee grinds that you bite into with little bursts of fragrant coffee bitterness.
Tiny bits of aromatic coffee grinds make for a pleasant surprise. (Image Source: Mashed)
This one is not for the faint hearted but you’re definitely gonna be in a for a very memorable tasting experience here.
I give this one a trifecta of grass leaves, a steaming cup of espresso and a dragon (there’s no emoji of a dragon with smoke coming from its nose) because this is a beast with its high proof.
In you’re interested in trying one, you could probably still find a few bottles over at Malt, Grain & Cane or if you're in Japan, check out these amazing bars who'll be carrying it as well.
Alternatively, find them at one of MGC's partners, LMDW, Auld Alliance, The Single Cask, Swan Song, Limehouse Asia, Cafe Gavroche (all based in Singapore), or Miles Whisky Bar (Indonesia) and Rudder (Japan).
Of course be sure to follow MGC on Instagram and Facebook (@MaltGrainCane) or follow Marcus himself @HampdenPirate.