The Barrel Sample: Mhoba High Ester 68% ABV

Today I have a sample of unaged full bodied rum from Mhoba Distillery located in South Africa.

It’s sugar cane juice based, with the cane coming from their own estate. Fermented for around 3 weeks with dunder (stillage) added in order to enhance the ester count and batch distilled in their handmade pot stills at a lower ABV for more flavour to come through. Bottled at a mouth-watering 68% ABV without any additions.

On the nose the pungency is intense. Paint stripper, brasso, over boiled corn, palinca (Romanian plum brandy), vinegar, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur and blue cheese. Lime zest with a touch of overripe bananas and rotten pineapples. Very sharp!

On the palate it definitely stings my tongue. Wasabi, sour cream, green (very) hot chilli, pungent cheese, nail varnish, basil and plums. This will make someone uninitiated cry, I know I’m close. Some pineapple juice, passion fruit and sweet coconut cream. Tomatoes, pickled gherkins, black olives and black pepper. The finish is long with vinegar and some sort of lactic note.

Wow… let’s just say that “Baby it’s cold outside!” would be a whole different song if “baby” had a swig of this. It’s sure to warm you up no matter what! The complexity isn’t particularly mind blowing, but the intensity definitely is. I’d sell this at “hipflask size”, no way I could finish a whole bottle anytime soon, but I’d definitely take a sip here and there to keep my palate engaged. Just wow!

Mhoba High Ester 68% ABV score:
Flavour/taste: 55/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 85/100


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