The Sloth III Rockley Still Rum by Kingsbury for Rum and Whisky, 1986 (31 years)
Background: this is another one of those bottles I sampled at The Auld Alliance. The Sloth series comprises single-cask bottlings from various rum distilleries, selected by Mr Sadamoto of Rum and Whisky in Kyoto. This third iteration comes from the esteemed 1986 batch of WIRD distillate, (EDIT: rumoured to be) made in the style of the apocryphal Rockley still. This is the second Bajan rum I have tried, and the first non-Foursquare one.
Nose: soy sauce and balsamic vinegrette; cola; liquorice; tobacco; mint drops; the sweet-savoury sauce you drizzle onto an okonomiyaki pancake; something briny and oily, perhaps oyster sauce or Thai fish sauce; sugarcane juice; beneath all these it has an almost-cognac like quality -- dark fruits and wood, perfectly integrated; the spices (pepper, thyme) show themselves after some time, along with scents of talcum and other floral perfumes.
Palate: woody and herbaceous; camphor; aniseed; liquorice; then comes the hogo -- a musty earthiness that accompanies sweet rotting fruits, a saliva-inducing dose of tar a la Caroni, all lightly salted; as the funk lightens, stewed fruits appear to complement the wood -- we are again in cognac territory; more freshness in the form of sugarcane juice; menthol; incense; then it gets sweeter -- mint bubblegum, followed by toffee, caramel and vanilla -- is it a bourbon now?
Finish: medium long; liquorice comes back, big time; so does the tar; these slowly segue into the signature, grassy, "toothpaste" finish of an armagnac.
Conclusion: idiosyncratic, in a good way. An excellent balance of sweet and savoury, especially in the nose. And what a nose! The umami is a breath of fresh air; indeed this is exemplary of how different rums can be even in old age.
Score (assuming a normal distribution with mean 50): 91/100
Image Courtesy of u/zoorado.
Filling a bookshelf? We picked these for you.