Hyde No. 4 Rum Finish

Type: Single malt whiskey

Origin: Ireland 🇨🇮

ABV: 46%

Malt Mileage rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Bundaberg Small Batch

Type: Rum

Origin: Queensland, Australia 🇦🇺

ABV: 40%

Malt Mileage rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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As Melbourne’s scorching 37 degree Celsius day came to a close and the sun set, I craved sweet sugary rum over ice. A bottle of Bundaberg Small Batch had been sitting in my drinks cabinet for some time and I was worried it felt neglected. So, I decided to give it a bit of attention. 

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The Kraken Black Spiced Rum

The Kraken is Caribbean rum blended with natural flavours and bottled at 40%abv. 

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Penny Blue XO Batch #2 Single Estate Mauritian Rum

Penny Blue XO

Rating: ★★★

Recommendation: Consider it

Type: Rum

Origin: Mauritius 

ABV: 43.2%

Reaction:  😐

Nose: 

Green banana and raw sugar seem to dominate the bouquet, with undercurrents of  wood vanilla and the faint vaporous burn of ethanol. Descent, but flat and somewhat boring. The aromas sit lazily in the glass, and do not really jump out or put on much of a show. There is some menthol on the nose, with tea tree oil.

Taste:

Sharp, rough, sugary, sweet and a little herbal with hints of creaminess and mandarin. That herbal note is similar to menthol/eucalyptus cough drops.

Finish:

The sugars remain on the palate, with a layer of creaminess and a haze of medicinal and herbal notes. The taste of mandarin remains, but it increasingly becomes zesty.

Bottom line:

Consider it. This rum strikes me as a mediocre spirit which showcases sugar (the raw material from which rum is made) and an interesting herbal/medicinal twist. There is better rum out there, mateys, but this one isn’t all that bad… it is not all that good, either.

Macanudo Estate Reserve Robusto (Dominican Republic)

Name: Macanudo Estate Reserve
Batch: 0290/1800 – 2014
Rating: ★★★★★
Origin: Dominican Republic
Cigar details: This cigar is handmade from Jamaican binder and filler tobacco and wrapped with a US Connecticut shade wrapper. The tobacco has been aged for at least 8-10 years.
Draw: Flawless
Burn: Flawless, with an even burn that did not extinguish even when the cigar was left alone.
Construction: Excellent
Consistency: Excellent
Flavours: This is an ultra-smooth cigar that errs to the milder side of a medium strength smoke. It can easily underwhelm an experienced smoker, but its subtle flavours are sublime for those who enjoy an elegant cigar with lots of nuances and complexity – find a foundation of cocoa, cappuccino, ground coffee, crushed nuts, vanilla and soft cream beneath the silken cedar infused tobacco smoke as it prickles the palate with hints of pepper.
Format: Robusto
Match with:

This is a very smooth cigar that can easily be dominated by some whiskies and spirits. The last thing you want with a cigar of this age and style is to lose its flavours to a tsunami of malt and oak. Try it with Glenmorangie Companta, Appleton Estate 21 year old rum, Glen Grant 10 year old or any Chivas Regal. This cigar also matches nicely with a mild espresso (try a Honduran single origin) or an iced coffee.

Old St Andrews “Nightcap” 15 year old

OSA Nightcap

Rating: ★★★★

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ABV: 40%

Origin: Scotland

Price: £37

Old St Andrews, purveyors of blended Scotch whisky in fancy golf ball inspired bottles, produce the Old St Andrews “Nightcap” 15 year old. Old St Andrews “Nightcap” is a blended malt Scotch whisky that contains malt whiskies that have been aged in European oak casks for at least 15 years. A number of Old St Andrews bottles have sat collecting dust in many liquor cabinets I have seen, never to be opened. The bottle design, which admittedly looks pretty spectacular when the light catches it the right way, means that Old St Andrews has always had a reputation – at least in Australia – as a “display bottle”. Many people buy Old St Andrews for the bottle, not the whisky. That is a real shame, because having just tasted it I can say that the Old St Andrews “Nightcap” 15 year old is one of the better blends I have tasted.

The nose is rich, aromatic and vibrant – a fusion of vanilla, honey, flaky baklava, crushed nuts, preserved cherries, icing sugar, brown vinegar preserved plums with raw sugar and fruit pie fills the glass with undertones of anise alongside piercing spices and the warming burn of fresh chili and drying yellow plum. As the whisky rests, more pronounced coffee notes emerge with raw sugar and chocolate milk splashed over honeycomb, fennel fronds and increasingly denser chocolate. What a fascinating bouquet on this dram! On the palate the whisky is sweet and sugary with reduced brown pear in syrup, browned toffee, cracked cinnamon and heavy layers of rich Navy style rum with sticky molasses, counterbalanced by drying and astringent fruits such as damson plums. The finish offers brown sugar and aged rum notes, as the crystalline sugars emerge with maraschino cherries, coffee drops and the aftertaste of chocolate cake.

Overall, Old St Andrews “Nightcap” 15 year old is a whisky that belongs in your belly, not on display. Its smoothness is accompanied by a flavourful malty punch that offers a very distinctive rummy style, crystalline and almost sticky, that is balanced by undertones of drying fruit notes and enhanced by the European oak.  At its price, it is great value for a blend of whiskies that have aged for at least 15 years.

Old St Andrews have hit this one right on the green. A job well done. Fore!

Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series (Nicaragua)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Draw: Exceptional

Burn: Exceptional

Construction: Superb

Consistency: Excellent

Flavours: The draw and initial flavours are woody with twigs and dry leaves, leather and a smoky note (think smoked meats) with a maduro rich finish, the slight bitterness of green olives and a mild oiliness. More roasted ground coffee, nuts and very dark chocolate evolves with each puff, with olive leaf undertones and dried oregano. This is an absolute classic cigar, one of the best burns and draws I’ve encountered in a cigar. Beautiful. I want a box of these. The tobacco has, apparently, been aged for four years and this is certainly noticeable in the complex yet smooth flavours offered by this box pressed cigar. Some tweezers might be advisable, because I found myself puffing it until it reached the width of my fingers!

Origin: Nicaragua

Format: Robusto

Match with: Savour with espresso and a teaspoon of raw sugar, ginger beer or a Spanish style rum (Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros immediately comes to mind) or a Navy style rum such as Pusser’s Blue Label. It also pairs particularly well with an old cognac, with rancio notes in the eucalyptus and umami spectrum (DEAU Louis Memory).