SMWS R6.2: “My Thai Spice in Bimshire” Rum
Single Blended Rum – A blend of only pot still and traditional column still.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 56-57% ABV @ 20°
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) occasionally offers something other than fine and rare single cask whiskies. For the second time in a few short months, they have released a number of single cask rums that follow their whisky criteria of straight from the cask, uncoloured and additive free. Having re-joined the SMWS again last year in order to buy the last outturn of rums, I was delighted to find more being released so soon. That said, my wallet is not the least bit happy!
The SMWS has a numbering system for its bottlings aimed at concealing the identity of the distillery with the aim of offering a flavour style and profile instead. This may tempt consumers to try offerings from distilleries less familiar to them, due to the consumer buying a flavour style and profile rather than a brand and also that some of the bottles offered may taste very different to what a consumer expects from a specific distillery. I believe that sometimes the distilleries themselves also request that their identity is not publicised on the bottles. I specifically asked SMWS about the distilleries and was told:
“Many of the rums we purchase are on the condition that we do not use or reveal the brand name.”
The first number on a SMWS bottle is the distillery number and the second is the cask number.
Today, I am reviewing R6.2 “My Thai Spice in Bimshire” a 14 year old rum from distillery number R6 and from cask 2. Having previously had confirmation from Richard Seale of Foursquare distillery that R6 is from Foursquare in Barbados when I reviewed SMWS R6.1″Spice at the Races”, I therefore know that this offering is also from Foursquare. So, I asked Richard Seale for any info he has about this barrel and was told that he does “not know specifically” but is assuming that it “has to be a blend and partially aged at Foursquare – I would think our 8 year.” On this basis, under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Single Blended Rum” – A blend of only pot still and traditional column still
The ABV when measured with my hydrometer is between 56 and 57%.
FYI…..Bimshire is a colloquial term for the island of Barbados.
As is always the case, SMWS’s descriptions of their bottles are somewhat flowery and obscure and generally not to my taste, although I do appreciate the effort that has gone into their creation. This is the official description:
“As you sit at the Thai restaurant looking at the setting warm Barbados sun, the sweet, tangy spices from the Asian cuisine caresses your nose. There is a touch of pears drops in the air too, probably from the pear tree hanging over our outdoor beachside dinner table. The spicy fruit continues onto the palate, opening up with even more intense peppers, green orchard fruit, orange peel, almonds and a touch of bitter wood to lengthen to taste. The long slightly caramelised sugar finish, was like the burnt sugar on a crème brûlée. The perfect ending to a Bajan Thai experience.”
To be fair, this description is far less obscure than previous ones and is far more likely to relate to the actual nosing and tasting experience. With that in mind, let’s pour a tot and test it out.
The SMWS bottles are quite distinctive, presented in a traditional dark ‘bottle’ green colour, with an unusual shape.
The labelling is interesting as SMWS have their own extremely unique way of describing their spirits, which is quite flowery and obscure. As they do not present a spirit as being from a distillery, that info is absent as is the type of still, but what is present is:
- The date of distillation (31 October 2002),
- The type of cask (refill ex-Bourbon barrel),
- Region (Barbados)
- Number of bottles (228) and
- ABV, which is 56.8%.
The rum’s colour is quite pale, but of course, this is its natural state as SMWS do not add colouring to their offerings.
As usual, when nosing a high ABV rum, my Neat glass is very useful as it traps some of the alcoholic aromas inside the glass to allow the rum to shine through. The nosing is full of fruit – bitter plums, ripe pears, juicy apples and dried raisins notably. Some burnt toffee and wood shavings appear, too.
Taste, Initial-middle 30/40
The spicy element is the first part of the tasting. Initially it is a little overpowering with so much pepper and fire, but a couple of drops of water calms it down nicely. The fruitiness from the nosing does not materialise at this point but there is an abundance of very dry and almost bitter tasting oak.
Taste, Middle/Throat 36/40
The spiciness continues right through the tasting. It is almost like capsicum by the time one swallows the rum. The pepperiness gives off some real rum fire, although it might be a little too overpowering for some. After several tastings subtle fruit nuances appear – sweet pear drops (the ones you used to buy when you were a child) with bitter plums and baking apples. Alongside the fruit is an evolving astringency and dry tannins coating your cheeks, making you grind your teeth together. Just as you do so, a welcome touch of sweetness appears.
A couple of drops of water does help to soften the pepper, which some people might prefer.
The pepper and spice linger long after swallowing. The capsicum is fiery at times along with a very long lasting dry finish.
Morning After Aroma
Wow, it is as if the glass was still full of rum. Those pot still aromas are fresh and powerful.
I think that for the first time, I really appreciate SMWS’s description with this rum. I am not sure about Thai specifically, but there is a very spicy theme to the rum with fruity notes along the way, too.
This rum can be quite challenging at times especially at full strength but it is worth persevering to taste real rum flavours and something that is unblended, too. There is a real rum fire to this, which will please neat rum drinkers but put off those with a sweet tooth. Some will have to add water to it, but obviously, this is a personal tasting preference.
I do not think this is as good as Criterion or Triptych but this is a superb expression of rum in its natural state, unblended and untainted – essentially, this is how rum is meant to taste, in the eyes of its creator.
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn Out of 7