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Rum Reviews

Young-ish New Yarmouths: Rum Artesanal Jamaica Rum 2009, JNY - Second Edition (10 years) & Compagnie des Indes New Yarmouth 2005, high proof version (12 years)


Background: One is a stalwart of IB New Yarmouths, from years back. The other, a very recent release. Also, a roughly 10-percentage-point difference in a.b.v. does tilt the odds a little. But let’s see how they match up in the areas that matter.

Name: Rum Artesanal Jamaica Rum 2009, JNY - Second Edition (10 years)

Nose: my oh my, a savoury Hampden at first glance! The top notes are rice-y, salty and green; rice left overnight; makgeolli; sake koshu; hints of salted seaweed; being in a rainforest in the early morning; beyond those, there are tropical fruits galore; mangosteen; passion fruit; jackfruit and its stinkier cousin, cempedak; papaya milkshake; of course, there is the funk and the weird; nail polish remover; baby vomit; used frying oil; some whiffs of fried durian, even; with time, the funk settles into delectable confectionaries, ranging the gamut from marzipan to custard tarts to caramel biscuits; coconut shavings and burnt coconut pastries; roasted seeds and cereal; the base notes combine liquorice, organic soil, WD-40 and a car mechanic’s workshop.

Palate: an extremely thick and oily mouthfeel, rivalling some of the best tropically aged Jamaicans; the front-palate is butter cookie and fleshy tropical fruits; I get papaya, jackfruit, banana and mango; the fruits quickly get battered and deep-fried, and are served with excess oil and grease; throw in some churros, because why not? The mid palate is earthy and nutty; bitter chocolate and peanut butter, or perhaps roasted peanuts coated with cocoa butter; the back-palate is reminiscent of all kinds of dirt; hydrocarbons and soot; cigarette ash; burnt bread; hot bitumen; black soil; and of course, bags of liquorice.

Finish: long, as expected of a continentally aged high-ester rum; tar and more hydrocarbons; herbal jelly drizzled with molten dark chocolate; black liquorice on roti prata, the latter a popular savoury snack in my city; used ghee that leaves a residual film on the tongue; the obligatory olive brine; tropical fruits and cream, with toffee at the side; the aftertaste comprises grilled pineapples on steamed fish and honeyed grass jelly.

Conclusion: everything just falls into place here; every note is a hit, the structure is incredible, and the balance about as good as it gets for something this high in congeners. It won’t blow the minds of a seasoned funkhead, but there is something to be said for consistent, pitch-perfect delivery of familiar flavours.

P.S. I did not get any hint of youth from this rum. There is no way this isn’t tropically matured for a very large part of its age.

Score (assuming a normal distribution with mean 50): 91/100


Name: Compagnie des Indes New Yarmouth 2005, high proof version (12 years)

Nose: sweeter and more overtly reeking of acetone, compared to the RA; more confectionary, less pastry; the confectionary notes are at the fore too; marzipan and turkish delight; then it becomes very floral, with jasmine and wild orchids in place of used cooking oil and fried dough; mint leaves in rosewater; an ensemble of tropical fruits, progressing in sequence from the greenest to the most pungent; the association with durian is stronger here than in the case of the RA; that said, there is much similarity between the two rums -- same damp forest floor at the peripheral, same industrial grease and dirt among the base notes -- though in general, the intensity of the aromas are dialled down.

Palate: the mouthfeel is noticeably thinner here, and the flavours less luscious; a huge dose of acidity is observed upon entry; sour barley; sweetened calamansi juice; frozen yoghurt; mango lassi; cranberry juice; then it gets savoury, fast; the savoury notes are accompanied by light fermented funk that somehow, whets the appetite; feta cheese dip; nacho cheese sauce; vegetal notes appear towards the back-palate; the cheese-based condiments morph into fermented vegetables the likes of mei cai and kimchi; roasted flax seeds and fresh sugarcane and celery juice round off the back-palate.

Finish: shorter than the RA, but not by much; the industrial notes get deferred here; no hint of liquorice, although I do get some mushrooms; more earthiness in the form of freshly brewed chinese herbal tea, with some Poh Chai pills thrown in to be chewed on; bananas and cream; surprisingly, the aftertaste is salty, and evokes impressions of grass jelly, poached spinach sprinkled with sea salt, and perhaps a little maritime brine.

Conclusion: this is definitely high-ester, and nearly light and refreshing -- an uncommon combination indeed. This is a rum which gains a lot through breathing. My first sip from the bottle was messy and acetone forward even on the palate; now the flavours have congealed nicely, and are much more palatable -- moreish, even. A very good rum, though I sometimes wish to have it unreduced. It is just that the RA is a tough act to follow.

Score (assuming a normal distribution with mean 50): 87/100


Image Courtesy of u/zoorado