Savanna Grand Arome Single Cask #392 (14 years)
Background: from a single cask selected by LMDW. Grand aromes are rums rich in esters, giving them perfume-like qualities. Think of them as the French counterparts to high-ester Jamaican rums. Savanna’s rendition of grand aromes gives them a very unique flavour profile, an example of which, while technically accomplished, did not entirely capture my heart. Let’s see if this can do better, and achieve the greatness I think Savanna is capable of.
Nose: balsamic vinegar, heavily salted; overripe pink guava; clothes drenched in sweat; nutmeg oil; floral perfumes; glue; fresh ABC juice; sweet pork belly, dongpo-style; sugar glazed dried anchovies; Thai fish sauce; burnt sugarcane; red fruits the likes of cranberries and strawberries; sweet tropical fruits; with time, the kind of sweet-savoury smoke idiosyncratic of a Rockley still rum makes an appearance; the grilling of rice cakes and malt candies; freshly baked baguette; new leather upholstery; toasted nori sheets; natural bath salts; the base is more traditionally rum-like, redolent of liquorice, brown sugar and wood spice.
Palate: unique and complex, in a Savanna kind of way; sweat; smelly socks; lime-flavoured isotonic drink; bitter gourd soup, with a surfeit of pork fat; Chinese braised pork belly, this time more in the style of black vinegar than dongpo; fresh ABC juice; pink guava; rambutan and longan; strawberries and cream; bandung; sultana raisins; dried apricots; candied kumquats; leather draped in chocolate; olive brine; sweet pastries such as baklava; molasses; sugarcane juice.
Finish: liquorice; gingerbread; mint; the vinegar and dried fruits come back; the dried fruit notes become more dominant; eventually, only raisins remain, and raisins of all colours at that; the raisins gradually fade out, and there is an aftertaste of ripe papaya, less-than-ripe banana, and fresh celery; all of these are underlined by a sweet-savoury brine, in a way perhaps only Savanna can manage.
Conclusion: an intense, aromatic whirlwind of a rum. The vinegar notes are toned down a notch here, and it segues very naturally into the savoury, and the umami, and the sweet and fruity. The whole experience is balanced, complex, and most importantly, immensely enjoyable. One of the great rums, indeed.
Score (assuming a normal distribution with mean 50): 91/100
Image Courtesy of u/zoorado.
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