Review: Chairman’s Reserve Master’s Selection 2006 – The Whisky Exchange

As I mentioned per my last review Saint Lucia Distillers (…from the island of St Lucia) have been busy recently with some interesting releases. First the very first Chairman’s vintage, a 14 year old rum distilled in 2005 and a series called Master’s Selection featuring rare single cask bottlings some of which are made exclusive for different retailers, one of them being quite ‘local’ – The Whisky Exchange.

One of the best things about the Master’s Selection releases is that they are cask strength, something you don’t see very often coming out of St Lucia especially now as SLD doesn’t sell bulk rum for independent bottlers anymore.

My Master’s Selection is exclusive to TWE and the label tells us all we need to know. It’s molasses based, a blend of 50% John Dore pot still and 50% Vendome pot still distilled in 2006 and aged (in St Lucia) for 13 years in an ex-Bourbon cask before being bottled on 16th of August 2019 at 56.3 % ABV free of any additives. As mentioned above this is a single cask with a limited number of 286 bottles, mine being number 174. This got 5/5 stars on so I’m curious to see how it will behave in my glass.

On the nose it feels both sweet and sharp. Dry figs, black tea, acetone, Luxardo cherries, pine tree, marmalade and lemon zest. Tropical fruits with notes of fresh mangoes and passion fruits. Smells quite acidic and a bit peppery. Hints of white vinegar and moth balls. Has a specific glue aroma that I’ve found before in the Mhoba 101, just not as intense. Vanilla, some oak spices, milk chocolate, tobacco and prunes. Love the combination of the two pot stills, this is quite sharp and pungent but still rounded and it doesn’t punch you in the nose when sniffing it.

On the palate it’s more intense. Moth balls and wasabi is what I used as flavour descriptors for the Chairman’s 2005 as well, just here they are more pronounced. Followed by umami, ground pepper, dried plums, unripe pear, melon, passion fruit and vanilla. Black tea with a little bit of milk, some menthol, peach, blackcurrants, pink grapefruit and fresh-out-of-the-oven bread. The glue note is back along with some tobacco. Quite acidic on the palate as well. There’s a smoke flavour ‘seasoning’ the whole experience. The finish is long with pine tree, smoke and a lingering umami-tomato note. Very enjoyable!

Definitely very intense and complex. Not as easy to sip as the 2005, it’s one of those rums that you need to let it grow on you, but once it happens there is so much complexity to explore. The cask strength definitely adds more punch and spice to it. Retailing at £70 on TWE and very limited, I’d rush to grab a bottle if anything.

Chairman’s Reserve Master’s Selection 2006 – The Whisky Exchange score:
Flavour/taste: 58/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 88/100


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