Review: That Boutique-y Rum Company – Diamond Distillery, Versailles Still, 14 Year Old (Batch 3)

Now that’s a title right there, this is a Guyanese rum from Demerara Distillers Limited (the house of El Dorado rums) bottled by That Boutique-y Rum Company whose ethos is taking a “no BS approach” – they are all about transparency, information and purity and I rate that.

The Versailles still is a single wooden pot still made of greenheart wood – a very durable type of oak native to Guyana. It’s one of the four heritage stills, one of the three greenheart wooden stills and one of the two remaining original wooden pot stills in the world, with the other one being its older brother – the Port Mourant double wooden pot still – all of them housed under the DDL roof.

The label itself puts emphasis on the whole “still made out of wood” bit illustrating a few useless items such as a chocolate teapot, a fire extinguisher with gasoline in it and a slightly gruesome representation in the background of a helicopter pilot being decapitated by the rotor blades after ejecting – that one actually made me chuckle. Obviously the wooden still isn’t useless, otherwise this review would also be useless… and I’d like to think that’s not the case. Always a bonus when Peter Holland is on my bottle as well.

TBRC Versailles Still Batch 3 is an SGX marque – not sure what exactly that implies, but at least I can say I tried it now. This batch is a blend of 5 casks, the youngest being from 2004, but there are older ones in there as well, bringing it up to a total of 2207 (50 cl) bottles released with mine being number 431. So molasses based, distilled in the Versailles single wooden pot still and aged for at least 14 years in (I assume) ex-Bourbon casks – not sure of the tropical/continental ratio, but there will be some continental maturation involved as well. Bottled at 55.6% ABV free of any BS (additives).

On the nose it feels quite tropical. Bananas, mango and kiwi. Earl Grey tea with milk, mild cheddar, sultanas and wood shavings. Some pear, damp cardboard, liquorice and candle wax. I have to say it’s very inviting.

On the palate it becomes more intense. Mango puree and candied banana. Yellow apples, dried figs, pineapple juice, black pepper and charred oak. Chocolate coated liquorice, breakfast tea and butter. It’s pretty fruity and soft upfront with layers of peat-like smokiness throughout the whole tasting experience. A pinch cayenne pepper heat, wood shavings again, ginger and a touch of peppermint. The finish is long with floral honey, smoke and oak spices.

Last week I reviewed El Dorado 12 Year Old, which is part of the DDL core range, where I expressed my disappointment vis-a-vis the adulteration due to the sweetness drowning most of the complexity that the DDL stills and blenders are capable of producing. If it weren’t for Luca Gargano and the independent bottlers that followed after him, Diamond Distillery would probably be seen as just another sugar bomb rum producer – it would still sell, but imagine all the awesome rum we’d loose if all we had was their range.

This TBRC Versailles would be one of them, is very complex and also fairly easy to drink if your palate is accustomed with higher ABV offerings – the natural sweetness in it is just so palatable. I bought it on a flash sale for about £45 and it can usually be found for £53 on Master of Malt which is not a bad price for a 14 year old single still from DDL.

That Boutique-y Rum Company – Diamond Distillery, Versailles Still, 14 Year Old (Batch 3) score:
Flavour/taste: 58/70
Value for money: 14/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 87/100

Cheers!

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