I’m a big fan of the Single Barrel Selection (S.B.S) brand from the Danish company, 1423 World Class Spirits. They have released an impressive portofolio of single cask rums, experimental series, interesting finishes/maturations and so on.
The S.B.S Origin is showcasing a collection of four unaged rums that were/will be used as a base for their maturation experiments – basically the origin of their products. The rums in question are a Grande Arome from Martinique, a TECA marque rum from Jamaica, a Port Mourant distilled rum from Guyana and a high ester Aroma Grande rum from Dominican Republic. I chose the Guyanese and Dominican rums due to their rarity and with this review I will explain why.
Single Barrel Selection Origin Rum – Guyana PM
This is a rum distilled in Guyana at Diamond Distillery (home of El Dorado Rum) using the most famous still in the rum world – the Port Mourant double wooden pot still. It’s unique, highly recognisable aroma, comes from its weird, double vat configuration as well as the fact that is made from green heart wood making it one of a kind.
The original still came from the Port Mourant estate which was established in 1732, but according to the Cocktail Wonk, its current setup was likely installed later.
While there are quite plenty Port Mourant releases bottled by various independent bottlers, unaged PM bottlings are actually pretty rare – I’ve only reviewed one other, a sample of Habitation Velier. That’s why I was so keen on getting this bottle and review it.
S.B.S Origin Rum Guyana PM is molasses based, wooden pot still distilled in 2021 and bottled in 2022 at 57% ABV without any additions.
On the nose it’s crisp and rich. Earl Grey tea, liquorice, black pepper and iron rich blood. Fresh tobacco, dusty cardboard and rocket salad. I can see why PM is mostly bottled after spending time in a cask, it really brings out all its flavours. Coconut water, toffee and biscuits. Spicy with some ginger and nutmeg as well.
On the palate it becomes way more intense. Liquorice, Earl Grey tea, brown sugar and raw cacao nibs. Salted caramel, whipped cream and a touch of allspice. This is the PM I know, vegetal and rich with a lovely oily mouthfeel. Unripe plums, blackberries, burnt biscuits, activated charcoal and some salt. The finish is long with black pepper and liquorice.
The nose of this PM seems a little restricted, but comes back on the palate. I really enjoy it because it has so many “dark” notes without even spending time in the barrel. As far as unaged or white rum goes, this is definitely unique and I will have to use it in a Daiquiri soon.
Single Barrel Selection Dominican Republic Aroma Grande
Dominican Republic rums usually don’t pique my interest much, but this one is an exception. This was distilled in Dominican Republic at the Alcoholes Finos Dominicanos, same distillery that makes Barcelo. They normally use cane juice as the raw material which they process on their multi-column setup up to around 95% ABV stripping it of any cane aromas… or any aromas in general.
Despite all that, this is advertised as a rum with an ester count of almost 500 g/hlaa, quite similar with the recently reviewed Foursquare LFT – now how do you get to that? I asked Joshua Singh, the owner of 1423 and he said this was an experiment made with the distiller of A.F.D. Probably a process very similar to what Cuban distilleries do to get their heavy rum component/arguadiente on their multi-column stills – probably simplya matter of drawing the rum at a lower ABV before it’s completely stripped of its flavour congeners
The Aroma Grande moniker is basically the Spanish version of the French Grande Arome which makes sense since Spanish is the language of the Dominican Republic – although it isn’t an official marque or style of the DR rums given that they are almost always quite light in flavour. Joshua also mentioned there are more experiments following this – colour me interested.
S.B.S Origin Rum Dominican Republic Aroma Grande is cane juice based, column still distilled in 2021 and bottled in 2022 at 57% ABV free of additives.
On the nose it’s definitely not Barcelo. Nail varnish galore, raspberry syrup, glue and over-overipe bananas. Furniture polish, almond essence and honey. If I didn’t know I would’ve thought this is some sort of high ester Jamaican distillate. Dried figs, unripe pears, pine needles and allspice.
On the palate it’s somehow darker. Hot chocolate, black cherry jam, nail varnish and canned blackberries. Maraschino liqueur, almonds and overripe bananas. Very very far from any Dominican Republic rum which is interesting and weird in the same time. Cardamom, coffee liqueur and some gherkins. Treacle soaked raisins and new leather. The finish is long with nail varnish and banana flambee.
This is a great slap-in-the-face kind of rum and I very much enjoy it, but I’m also a little troubled. Dominican rums are known for their light bodied and easy-going rums, this is very much not that. I don’t know how they didn’t try anything more full-bodied before as they’re clearly capable of it. This is very much a contrast and potentially even a bit too much for the DRs rums brands. I’m not against it whatsoever, it’s just a bit of a shock currently.
Both very interesting rums, from the very classic aromatic profile of the Guyanese PM to the unorthodox flavour of the Aroma Grande from Dominican Republic. Some fantastic unaged rums showcasing what the distillation process can potentially achieve.
Single Barrel Selection Origin Rum – Guyana PM score:
Value for money: 14/15
Single Barrel Selection Origin Rum – Dominican Republic Aroma Grande score:
Value for money: 15/15