I don’t drink a huge amount of rum but have on occasion had the opportunity to try a number of high-end pours. I would put this rum in that category as well. The Papa’s Pilar Marquesas Blend Rum is “inspired by Ernest “Papa” Hemingway and his adventures on his boat, Pilar. The limited-edition blend pays homage to Hemingway’s experience with rum and whiskey in the Marquesas Keys, a wild group of uninhabited islands near Key West.”
I intentionally didn’t read about these whiskies before trying them and logging my tasting notes. I’m generally skeptical of “new techniques” and certainly skeptical of producers in Southern California. Throw in corn whiskey and the wine-barrel finished product and my inclination would be to write a negative review without even tasting it.
This is why blind tasting is so important in the whiskey world. Your palate doesn’t lie. Even when you want to argue with your palate all those points above. Seth Benhaim may be on to something here. He sourced some very young corn whiskey and turned them into something enjoyable, even desirable.
The first time I smelled my sample of Remus Volstead Reserve, I thought my nose had gone wrong. What I was smelling just didn’t compute in my brain. I took a walk to settle my mind and tried again. Same thing. Next, I smelled my arm (a tried and true method of resetting one’s sense of smell) and no change. “What the hell is going on?” I asked myself.
I finally decided that what I was smelling was not something “off,” but instead, a very unique combination of aromas. I was picking up the sweet aroma of wet leather mixed with sour fruit (almost like sour candy). A bit jarring at first, I started to enjoy the unique clash of scents accompanied by hints of fudge, oak, and spiced oranges. While it wasn’t what I’ve come to expect from older MGP releases, it had my attention and beckoned me to dive in further.
If you’re not a Scotch fan because things like peat or band-aid qualities turn you off, you really should consider a Lowland Scotch. There aren’t a lot of Lowland distilleries, and in my opinion, Auchentoshan does a consistent job of representing the region.
The Bartender’s Malt is the first of a proposed series of limited edition Scotches for the distillery. In this initial offering, twelve bartenders from around the world collaborated to create a whisky by the bartender for the bartender. The idea behind this is to give bartenders a Scotch that could be served neat or made into various cocktails. I chose to test this whisky neat.
This gin would be excellent sipped with an ice cube and a lemon peel expressed over the top. With its heavy lemon notes, it goes very well with anything peppery or lemony. I tried it neat, on ice, and in a gin and tonic with a few pink peppercorns. Though many may argue such a product doesn’t exist, Wonderbird is a great sipping gin. For this one, keep presentation simple, as too many added layers will veil the delicate layering of the base botanicals.