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Heavy molasses, overripe banana, guava, and a hint of spice.
Heavy molasses sweetness into lemon zest and sweet prunes. Fades into an oaky finish with black pepper. The spicy finish is short, but a deeper molasses finish hangs around with some of the more complex funky esters. There is also a hint of dry cut grass. I do notice a somewhat heavy chemical note on the finish that is similar to pool chlorine.
Fantastic value for $25. I wish they wouldn't overcolor it because I think the chemical note is from caramel coloring, and this would be improved without that flavor. Still fantastically interesting. This is like a budget Hampden 8.
Appearance: Dark brown, presumably heavily colored as with all black rums (not sure I'd touch anything turned this color by a barrel!). A thin body. Negligible legs.
Nose: I'd be surprised if this was unusually high-ester, but low-ester it is not, as its heritage is clear on first sniff as it invades the nose with tropical vegetation, a pronounced sour edge, and an undercurrent of gently sulfured molasses. Bright acidic fruits lead - papaya; passion fruit - laced with floral notes, but transformed and deepened by molasses and ripe banana peel. No ethanol singe, but not for the faint of heart regardless.
"funk" and "hogo" don't resonate with me as descriptors, despite their ubiquity. I get the benefit of a quick way to describe the style, but it seems like they are often used to describe:
- all Jamaican rums, even where not applicable whatsoever or extremely subtle (ex: aged Appleton rums) and
- extremely complex flavor profiles, in a single catchall word, that can differ wildly from one expression to the next
which ultimately throws a lot of beautiful, assertive spirits and all of their myriad component flavors and differences into one "note".
Opening: sweet and rich syrup, subtle molasses
Mid-palate: tart tropical fruits from the nose build then fade to growing oak astringency with a vein of Juicy Fruit gum
Finish: brief flash on the swallow; lingering dryness and the molasses returns for a lengthy finish
Empty glass: prunes all day; smells like a port and it's delightful
Very satisfying overall. Don't have a good feel for value without tasting competition (Corbua? others?). Head and shoulders above Myers's in refinement and depth.
Gosling's is half the price and would still be my preference for Dark & Stormys, but this has much more character, plays lead instead of 3rd chair like Goslings, and was a delightful foil for the creamy, sweet spices in coquitos over the holiday.