SMWS R8.2: “The Hunt Master Before Lunch”
“Rum” – from a modern multi column still.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 57.5% ABV @ 20°
The first bottle of my third batch of purchases from SMWS is from Nicaragua, 18 years old and presented at a warming 57.5%.
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.
The first number on a SMWS bottle is the distillery number and the second is the cask number.
R8 is from Nicaragua – I am assuming it is from Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua who produce Flor de Caña. This is the fourth cask SMWS have offered from Nicaragua. The first one, cask number three is SMWS R8.3 “Fruit and Nut Case”, the second is SMWS R8.1 “Sneaking a Tot Into Woodwork Class” and the third is SMWS R8.4: “Campfire in Nicaragua”.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Rum” – from a modern multi column still. My hydrometer measured between 57 and 58%, implying no added sugar.
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 (31st December 1998),
- The type of cask (refill ex-Bourbon barrel),
- Region (Nicaragua)
- Number of bottles (315) and
- ABV, which is 57.5%.
- Age: 18 years
- SMWS rums tend to have had dual ageing – part tropical and part temperate. The amounts of each are not declared.
The liquid is a medium amber with subtle greenish hues on the surface. The aromas offered up are sweet, notably burnt Demerara sugar, rich salted caramel, dark cacao, fresh juicy pineapple and a pinch of tobacco.
Taste, Initial-middle 30/40
This rum has a freshness about its entry albeit the flavours are a touch bland at first. There is juicy pineapple and a touch of soft white pepper. As it approaches the mid-palate, sweetness appears alongside sticky toffee. Leave the liquid on your tongue for a few moments and it becomes very spicy.
Taste, Middle/Throat 34/40
As this passes from the mid to rear palate, one notices a syrupy viscosity developing. The spice from the mid-palate starts to build to a more fiery capsicum. Surprisingly, the sweetness disappears somewhat as the rum becomes far more dry, like an Amontillado Sherry – lightly fruity with raisins and oranges. There is also a touch of rich dark chocolate here too.
For me, it takes time and multiple tastings to appreciate the oak.
The rum lingers nicely after swallowing. The spicy pepper dominates, but a touch of rich woodiness is also present.
As with the other SMWS 18 year old rum from Nicaragua SMWS R8.1: “A Tot In The Workshop” the 18 years of ageing do not shine through to produce a stunning end product. This is tasty and decent quality, but just lacks a bit of depth and character that I would want from an 18 year old rum.
The official description from SMWS reads:
This was the sixth rum that we had tasted on a cold day in January. “It was like a grown-up version of Jagermeister”, said one Panel member. “Yes, and I also get that fresh magic marker pen”, said another. The third Panel member highlighted the old woody notes, with liquorice, tobacco leaf and cedar wood. They all agreed that the taste was initially sweet and spicy but quickly evaporated like the angel share of rum from a barrel in Nicaragua. And once water was added, it reminded them of ‘orange marmalade, with a hint of buttered caramel and toffee’. A nice way to finish the first tasting session before lunch.
Overall, not bad, but not amazing either.
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