Another Belgian bottler on the docket today. This one bottles under the name of Rasta Morris, the man behind the label is Bert Bruyneel. A whisky-lover who’s been involved with whisky in one way or another -be it starting a whisky-club or bottling his own- for about 20 years now and who has recently set his sight on rum
Many moons ago, Bert thought -like most people still do- that rum was a sweet, repulsive drink that belonged in college dorms or on resort beaches buried in Pina Coladas. Until he started drinking real rum, the rum we all know and love. After this revelation he started to bottle rum under his slighty renewed label “Rasta Morris”.
First I want to go over the name of the label. It’s derived from his whisky-label “Asta Morris” which to many an international whisky drinker may sound very abstract and highly thought over. To the West-Flemish however (I’m proud to say I’m one of those) the name basically says “is that all?”. A rather funny take on the sarcastically underwhelming reaction we give to some of the best products in the world: “what? Caroni 1974 at 69%? Pffff Asta Morris/Is that all?”
When Bert visited the shop I work at a couple of weeks ago, we had a pretty great time and I can’t wait for the bars to open up here and go paint the town red with the man. I also received a couple of samples from him which I’ll be reviewing throughout the following weeks. Thank you for the samples Bert! I’ll give them an unbiased review though.
Okay, enough blowing smoke up dark cavities for now. Review time!
Today’s rum is the Rasta Morris Venezuela 2008 11y bottled at a cask strength of 63.1% ABV. Now, I’ve only seen a couple of independent bottlers enter the Diplomatico and pamper infested wilderness which is Venezuelan rum, and I haven’t tried those yet. This will thus be my first venture in proper high ABV Venezuela. I of course did my first review about Santa Teresa, but I hope this will be an experience on another level, as I haven’t touched my bottle of 1796 in a while… since it’s started reeking of caramel and additives. Let’s hope this Venezuelan doesn’t do that and gives me more than I anticipate from this Multi-column country.
One more quick rundown of the specs. The rum was distilled in Venezuela in 2008 it then aged for 9 years there, after which it was shipped to the UK in 2017 and bottled in 2019 at 63.1% ABV. The rum is un-chill filtered and no additives were added
A light and familiar kind of smell. The nose gives off the classic kind of scent of which people who are new to actual premium rum think of when they think of rum. An alcoholic tingle is definitely present, but not as much as you’d expect with this ABV.
Vanilla, brown sugar, glue and paint are the main players here.
On the taste, the ABV is more noticeable instantly in heat. The rum is pretty hot and may be disruptive to some. for me it’s feasible, but only just. The palate is very accessible and reminds me of a light foursquare but a bit simpler and sweeter. It’s more straightforward and less complex. This leads me to conclude that it is probably (mainly) column still, though not the monstrosities mainly in use in middle- and south-American countries. As it still has plenty of flavour and general character to be happy about.
These are pretty much identical as the nosing reveals. Mainly darker, deeper flavours of vanilla, woody spice, caramel and a bit of coconut. No fruitiness whatsoever, this might have to do with a shorter fermentation (as it gives less flavour).
The finish mainly revolves around the ABV hanging around for a considerable amount of time. Flavourwise it’s pretty straight-forward and onesided, the same flavours of the nose and taste transfer over to the finish as well
For a Venezuelan rum this is an outstanding rum. Venezuela unfortunately doesn’t have the highest standards to surpass, and since I haven’t tried any other Venezuelan rums from indy bottlers, this will once again be a benchmark.
The quality and ABV is definitely there, I can taste it’s a very pure and well-produced rum. This being said, it’s a bit one-sided for me and the ABV should be a bit lower for this straight-forward rum to be very enjoyable. Normally I don’t have a problem with high ABV, the rum has to have some more complexity and congeners (flavour giving components) to work in these high ABV instances. This one simply doesn’t do that. It has all the intensity without the necessary complexity and that makes it a bit of a shame. If these two components would be better adapted to each other this could really be a belter of a rum. It reminds me a bit of the Daily Drams Belize.
I am looking forward to the next ones, as I’ve organized them in ascending preference to my palate.