Sunday, 13 November 2016

Review 96 - Bristol Classic Jamaica Vale Royal Wedderburn 2002 9 year old

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
Welcome to Long Pond, Jamaica.


It has been quite a while since I went by Bristol Classic – well, in the figurative sense of reviewing some of their stuff. Personally, I have never been to Bristol Classic or even just Bristol.

So, I’m going to do that. Right now. In the figurative sense, that is.

Since I’m growing a habit of trying out new things these day, we might as well combine the trip back to Bristol with something new:

Say hello to Bristol Classic Jamaica Vale Royal Wedderburn 2002. 

A Jamaican coming for the now defunct distillery Long Pond, which have a long, long history of producing awesome rums.

This particular one was made on a pot still in 2002, in the style of Wedderburn, before spending 11 years in the barrel. In 2011 it was bottled by Mr. Barret at Bristol Classic at 40% ABV.

So, what was that about Wedderburn, you may think?

In the old days Jamaican rums were divided into a few categories based on the level of esters.
Wedderburn was as estery as it could get, which means that we should be in for a funky ride full of crazy flavours. But first a look at the package.

No box or tube with this one. Just the typical Bristol Classic bottle.

Classic spirits bottle with a long bulbous neck. It has a simple and clean look to it.

The label is a nice blue thing, which only contains a bare minimum of  details, such as the name and origin. On the back there is a short story about the rum. Nothing spoiled by marketing, but it does suggest mixing a long drink or making cocktails. I’m not doing that though.

Let’s see … relocated from bottle to glass, we get a very pale straw coloured liquid, which reminds me quite a lot of white wine.

When you put your face in the glass, you won’t be in any doubt.

This is indeed Jamaican pot still, with many heavy funk notes.

Massive rubber comes out first, but is quickly joined by concentrated apple juice, and a handfull of lichees. 

There is a layer of light woods, which feels treated in soft oils.

Not super interesting or special in any way. Just a plain old funky Jamaican.

Super funky and fruity with great balance.

Primary flavours are the apple juice and lichees, which were also present on the nose.

But add to that a layer of resin with a dash of juniper.

Finally there is a soft caramel touch to it, which cloaks a couple of sharper notes.

The rubbery notes from the nose peeks in, but quickly leave again.

Very tasty little thing, with a couple of interesting flavours, which I haven’t encountered very often.

It doesn’t feel very long lived. It heats up for a while and then it slowly fades away.

Nothing new materialises along the way, and in just a few minutes it’s all gone.

It leaves peacefully and bodes a speedy return – because I really want another sip now.

Rating and final thoughts
Another good rum from Bristol Classic. I must say that I’m happy, that my unexplained love for the brand lasted beyond the first couple of rather dubious encounters, past the Caroni 74 and onwards from there.

Very nice and well made Long Pond.

Comes off a bit boring on the nose at first. But when you start sipping it more than makes up for it.

It is not in any way a marvel, and it feels a little young. But it is still very much drinkable and in fact quite good.

I can’t help but wonder if another 5 or 10 years in the barrel would have been good for it, but it does already have a sharp wooden edge to it, so I’m not sure that more wood influence would do it any favours.

I found it for around €50 and at that price, you get a good, proper rum. Nothing fancy, just a good old flavourful pot still rum. If you like pot still Jamaicans, then this should definitely go on your list.

At the end of the day you could do a lot worse, and if you’re not particularly fond of pot still rums, then this could be a great way to give them another go.

Having tried a fair amount of Jamaicans, I have yet to find a distillery, which stands out in a negative way. So, Long Pond seems as safe a bet as any other Jamaicans.

This particular one has been a great experience. Fairly good rum at a very decent price. What’s not to like about that?

And when putting it into the context, the score lands at a…

Rating: 79/100


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