Thursday, December 18, 2008

[Rum Log] Pyrat Rum XO Reserve

Rum: Pyrat Rum XO Reserve
Age: 15 year blend
Price: $30
Region: Caribbean rums, bottled in British West Indies
Proof: 80

Apparently making good (LOT) tequila wasn't good enough for Patrón - they decided they needed to make high-end rum as well! As it turns out they also felt the need to put said rum in really cool boxes that look like books, and thus we couldn't resist picking up some to try out - if only for the cool box and the novelty of being able to hide our alcohol in the library.

The Pyrat (yes, pronounced pirate) rum is a blend of Caribbean rums, up to 15 years in age. Getting into the bottle was both fun and challenging - first we had to untie a festive orange ribbon, then remove a plastic seal, then pull off the paper seal (while noticing the official hand-written bottling number). After that we had to examine the lovely medallion of Hoti (the Zen patron saint and protector of fortune tellers and bar tenders), and resolve that our next addition to the home network will now have a name. Finally we had to break out the pliers to get the gods-damned cork out. The previous steps were fun though!

The color is a light butterscotch (described as toasted apricot on the bottle). It swirls nicely with an ice cube without getting cloudy. My first impression of the smell was the lovely nose of rubbing alcohol; luckily this faded with a bit of air, so I was less turned off. Once the unpleasant scent faded, a more flowery scent was revealed. And I do mean flowery - we're not talking red wine "flowers" we're talking, like gardenia flowery. There are also hints of brown sugar, vanilla, and cloves.

The taste of the rum is a lot like the smell. Predominantly it tastes of vanilla-coated candy flowers with quite a big kick of lemon. There's also a hint of smooth, cool honey. The flavour improves vastly with some ice to mellow it out, and it has a very soft, wet feeling in the mouth with absolutely no sting or burn. It's very easy drinking, and has little aftertaste other than "cool and refreshed."

Tasting Pyrat provided a lot of review fodder, but I don't think we'll be buying another bottle. We have the cool box now, and plenty of other more subtle liquors to drink.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

[Scotch Log] Glenlivet Nadurra Single Malt

Scotch: Glenlivet 16 Year - Nadurra
Region: Speyside
Malt: Single Malt [Cask Strength]
Price: ~$60
Proof: 112.4

This is my first cask strength, and it's been a very interesting experiencing tasting it. The flavors are much deeper and more complex, I can definitely see why proper scotch drinkers are so fond of cask strength malts. I first tasted it neat, which was good and delicious. I then tried it with a touch of bottled water, which totally ruined the glass. I would highly recommend avoiding ice or water with this scotch. It becomes cloudy, which is to be expected since it is unfiltered, but the taste drastically changed and not for the better. The notes below are for a neat.

Color: Very pale straw coloring, clear and brilliant
Nose: Oaken, and fruity. A bit of pine.
Very oaky, with a bit of other woods. Not much peat or smoke, but not terribly sweet either. It's very smooth after the first couple sips, once your body gets used to drinking a fairly high proof liquor.

*looks up a professional's opinion*
Well, I don't know that I've ever been so far off the mark in my tastings! I tasted mostly wood, and hated it with water. This guy and I weren't even tasting on the same planet I don't think!

Without water: Intense, tickling. Fresh and clean. Resolutely fruity. A full basket of ripe fruit, mostly exotic. William pears, baby bananas, pineapple, coconut, a touch of passion fruit. Lemon pulp. Green apple. Gives a feeling of appetizing freshness enhanced by an aniseed fringe. Lingers on that fruity mood for ever. Creamy note of praline. In the back, some herbal and spicy notes. Green tea, coriander seeds.

With water: The nose becomes softer and more biscuity. Cereal notes come through with buttery aromas. Lemon curd. Freshly squeezed tangerine. A floral touch of gorse.


Without water: Crisp, appetizing. So mouth-coating, with an oily feel immediately followed by a fizzy sensation on the tongue. Lavishly challenging for the taste buds but alcohol is perfectly tamed and never burning. Custardy. Poached peaches in vanilla syrup. White chocolate. Aniseed lollipop. Candied ginger.

With water: Gets more chewy. And even more refreshing on sweet malty and minty flavors. Thirst-quenting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

[Rum Log] Zaya Gran Reserva

Rum: Zaya Gran Reserva, 12 year
Price: $35
Region: Trinidad
Proof: 80

I by no means consider myself a Rum Connoisseur, even less so than I can call myself a scotch or wine snob - which is saying a lot, considering as how I'm barely a dabbler in either of those. My usual experience with rum involves something cheap and coconutty meeting equal proportions of coke.

And then I met Zaya.

Now, I'm assured that the latest batch of Zaya (from Trinidad, rather than its original Guatemala) is inferior, but I find that hard to fathom. Honestly, if it were any more delicious, I'd be in a bit of trouble.

The rum itself is a really gorgeous dark honey amber color, much darker than even the spiced rums I've seen. Certainly darker than any of my scotches. The scent is overwhelmingly of brown sugar and vanilla - it seems like there's something else hiding underneath, but these two scents are overpowering enough that I can't quite put my finger on it.

The flavor is much like the scent, if more heavily weighted towards the vanilla. It goes down with no sting whatsoever - very warm and smooth. The aftertaste is a little woody with some nice hints of cinnamon.

I tried the Zaya both neat and with a little ice, and I decided the ice is a bit of an insult to it. It waters down the flavors and really detracts from the overall taste. With no ice included there's a bit more sharpness and sting going down, but that's made up for in richness of flavor.

So that's my glowing review... because I really needed to get into expensive rums, in addition to exepensive scotch.