Review: The Duchess 28 Year Old – Guyana, Versailles

Now I know today is the Black Tot Day and unfortunately I don’t have any new bottle to review that has “Navy” on the label, but I guess a 28 year old Guyanese rum from the historical Enmore Distillery could do the trick. The Duchess is a dutch independent bottler, part of Best of Whiskies, that deals with single and cask strength rums. They managed to grab the attention of rum enthusiasts/geeks with unique unadulterated releases.

Nils van Rijn of The Duchess was kind enough to send me a sample of his 28 Year Old made in the Versailles pot still. This is only the second The Duchess release that I’m trying but one of the oldest rums I’ve ever had the chance to enjoy, I do feel blessed.

This release marks the end of their Tropical Flowers series, but no worries, there are more to come. All the bottles from the series have artworks of exotic flowers, each from the country of origin from where the rum inside hails. The bottle I have is a small sample, but the label of the original one is adorned with gold to celebrate the series’ end

What also makes this special is the fact that it was made at the Enmore Distillery, Guyana in 1990 before they closed in 1993. It was distilled in the Versailles single wooden pot still (1 of the 3 working wooden stills in the world – all housed at Diamond Distillery today). Molasses based, aged for 28 years in ex-Bourbon cask (definitely continental aging involved, although I’m not sure if/how much tropical aging) and bottled at 54.9% without any additives. Oh boy if I’m not excited to crack this open.

On the nose, it’s quite intense. I have a small sample but as soon as I poured it I could feel some Guyanese fruity funk – reminds me of Hampden a bit. Pineapples, pears, liquorice, black currant, banana peel, apricots and sultanas. Light tobacco, old leather and musty oak. Oily and nutty. A slight smoke followed by a hint of custard. Yum!

On the palate the smoke dials up. Rotten pineapples, chocolate covered liquorice and tonka beans seasoned with black pepper. Good balance of wood and fruit. Sweet strawberries, pears again, ripe red apples, banana bread followed by coffee beans, nutmeg and black tea with a hint of cinnamon. It goes from fruity to spicy to smokey to woody and repeats. Very complex, if you enjoy this in a bar it should be a quiet one. The finish goes on and on with a bit of menthol, black pepper, anise and burnt wood.

Oh man, what an experience, thank you Nils for this amazing sample! Would I recommend this? Hell yea! Is it pricey? Yes to that too, but if you have the budget it’s worth it from my point of view, this rum is older than me and I enjoyed every sip.

The Duchess 28 Year Old – Guyana, Versailles score:
Flavour/taste: 62/70
Value for money: 12/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 89/100


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