Pure Single Agricole Rum: 100% Pot Still from cane juice
ABV Hydrometer Test: 50/51% ABV @ 20°
* P A
Today, I am taking a brief breather between the flurry of recent & forthcoming Foursquare releases (2008, V&B Private Cask, Diadem).
I am tasting a rather special rum from Madeira:
Rum 970: 15yo Cask Strength.
I have written on many occasions about my love of rums from Madeira, long before any Madeiran rums were on UK rum shelves. In 2019, I visited a couple of the distilleries and will hopefully return in 2021. The most famous brand (on Madeira) is Rum 970 – named after the year the brand was created: 1970. Please have a read below for my previous Rum 970 reviews, which include background info on the Engenhos do Norte, where Rum 970 is distilled:
This 15yo rum is limited to just 1,396 numbered bottles and I have number 1,064. It is a cane-juice rum, and being from Madeira, it is allowed to be called Agricole. It is entirely distilled using a batch distillation in Engenhos do Norte’s pot still. The ageing is a minimum of 15 years in ex-Madeira wine casks, it is presented at 50.9% ABV and was bottled in 2019 from a total outturn of 9,772 litres.
Rum 970: 15yo is a Pure Single Agricole Rum:
100% Pot Still from cane juice.
The bottle is very reminiscent of a Velier bottle (it isn’t), with its black opaque glass and tapered design.
We are treated to labels full of useful rum-based info such as the method of distillation, ageing and bottle numbers (see above/below for full details).
The rum is a medium-deep amber in my glass. Swirling the liquid around reveals small dotted legs and large, medium paced tears sliding down the sides of my glass.
The aroma has green bananas with an underlying musty grape note. It is a powerful nose with lots of alcoholic fumes. As usual, using a Neat glass helps, but also, give this rum some time in your glass and it will reward your patience.
There is a background of paint stripper and also spice-coated raisins. Further nosings and the addition of a few drops of water lead to tropical fruits – at times it almost reminds me of when I was standing near the dunder pit at Hampden distillery in Jamaica.
Taste, Initial-middle 33/40
The entry feels slightly cloying. Nothing has been added, but the texture is a little sticky at first. Lots of rich caramel, spiced raisins and tropical fruits. Through the mid-palate, the caramel continues and the spiced fruit notes develop further.
Taste, Middle/Throat 32/40
As those spiced notes grow, the rum becomes drier leading to an odd note of something similar to a beef stock (broth). There is star anise and an oak influence, which grows towards the rear palate. As the rum reaches the rear of the palate, its power builds – you can feel the ABV at this point. It is not rough, nor fiery, but it has a real oomph to it. Now there is spicy pepper, which coats your mouth. It becomes increasingly dry with a generous oak influence joined by licorice and baked Bramley apples.
Rum 970 15yo lingers long leaving a pleasantly dry, astringent feeling. Some pepper, dried citrus peel and baked apples appear too.
I have said many times before that if you have history, heritage and natural production methods on your side, then your labels will shout about it to all and sundry. If you have none of these, the label will feature a dodgy pirate-based tale or something similar. This is something that I regularly like to apply to spirit brands, especially in the rum industry because you can very easily work out if what you are buying is proper rum or a marketing fallacy.
In the case of Rum 970, they are proud of their history, heritage and adherence to tradition, hence their labels are full of useful information. Rum 970 produces top quality juice using traditional methods and honest age statements.
This is a powerful pot still rum, carefully aged for at least 15 years. It is not the kind of rum that would suit everyone. If you like your rums to be sweet and soft, one might say tame, then this is not for you. But if you appreciate the real flavour of traditionally distilled pot still rums, then this is exactly what you are looking for.
This is a tough call. On the one hand, yes, it is quite expensive, but on the other hand, you have to pay for something of this quality, not least of which for the 15 long years of ageing. Top quality juice, good ABV and a genuine age statement make this a great rum.
Review No. 160
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/Finish Out of 7