Review: That Boutique-y Rum Company – Diamond Distillery, Unconfirmed Still, 18 Year Old (Batch 1)

I’m on a Guyana Rum crave lately and when I saw this That Boutique-y Rum Company (TBRC from now on for obvious reasons) released I couldn’t stay away. I have a few TBRC reviews uploaded, but this bottle is quite intriguing at the very least. The rum is sourced from Diamond Distillery, Guyana (whose flagship rum is El Dorado) and it was distilled in one or more of their Heritage Stills.

Let’s have a short chat about these Heritage Stills. Around 20 years after Guyana’s Independence and the nationalisation of their sugar industry (circa 1993) there were 3 distilleries left – Diamond Distillery, Uitvlugt Distillery and Enmore distillery, and by 2000 there was only one left: Diamond Distillery. All the equipment and rum making techniques from the former distilleries were housed under the same roof at the Diamond Distillery. These stills are today known as Heritage Stills and 3 of them (out of 4) are made out of greenheart wood which imparts very specific flavours to the distillates – they are the only remaining functioning wooden stills in the world. The 4 stills are named as it follows, some keeping the name of the estate where they originated from:

  1. Versailles – Single Wooden Vat/Pot Still
  2. Enmore – Wooden Coffey (Column) Still
  3. Port Mourant – Double Wooden Vat/Pot Still
  4. Savalle – Metal Four-Column Still

The order above is the order in which the said stills are illustrated on the label of my TBRC bottle along with a fairly dashing Peter Holland and a signage that says “Which Still Is It Anyway?”. The reason for that being that while the juice in my bottle comes from one or more (heritage) stills from Guyana, the information on which one/s got lost, therefore the “Unconfirmed Still” moniker.

Many thanks to Matt Pietrek aka the Cocktail Wonk for his insight into Demerara Distillers Limited which helped me write this review. If you wish to know more about DDL and their history and stills click here and here.

So distilled from molasses in an unconfirmed still at Diamond Distillery in Guyana and aged for 18 years in ex-Bourbon casks (10 years tropical + 8 years continental), bottled at 51.3 % ABV in a 50cl packaging, with a limited run of 970 bottles (Batch 1) and as usual with TBRC – free of additives.

On the nose it smells like a sharp cognac. Grapes, apples, pears and apricots followed by a strong licorice note. Pencil shavings, raspberries, pink pepper, melon, lemon and grapefruit zests. Very fruity followed by dark chocolate aromas, cacao and coffee. Hints of menthol and mothballs add to the complexity.

On the palate the fruitiness is not as intense and acidity takes over. Wasabi, mothballs, peat smoke, menthol and milk tea. The obvious licorice note with black pepper, blackberries and hints of salt. Mango, raisins, walnuts and peaches with sprinkles of cinnamon. Dark cacao and coffee again lingering towards the end. It has an Armagnac flavour profile going for it. The finish is long with notes of Fernet, dark chocolate, grapes and smoke. Complex and tasty.

The label challenges us to have a guess at which one would it be and while I wish my palate and experience were advanced enough for me to take an educated guess – people more qualified than me have mentioned that this delicious liquid most likely comes from the Versailles Single Wooden Vat/Pot Still, and I tend to agree as it has a pot still vibe going on and I’ve had quite a few Port Mourants and this doesn’t really fall into that flavour profile for me. Regardless this is a delicious tipple and fairly priced at £53 for a 50cl of 18 year old Guyanese juice.

That Boutique-y Rum Company – Diamond Distillery, Unconfirmed Still, 18 Year Old (Batch 1) score:
Flavour/taste: 55/70
Value for money: 14/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 84/100

Cheers!


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