Monymusk 12 year old (2003) – Duncan Taylor

What is it? The Duncan Taylor Monymusk 12 year old (2003) is a single cask Jamaican Pure Single Rum (100% Pot still, from molasses, produced at one distillery) from the “Monymusk” distillery. Monymusk isn’t actually a distillery, it’s a brand or type of rum that is produced at the Clarendon distillery in Jamaica – their 100% pot still rum. You can read a lot more about the Monymusk brand and Clarendon in this review; which is of a 9 year old bottled by Kill Devil.

This rum was distilled in August 2003 and bottled in February 2016 by independent bottler Duncan Taylor, making it 12 years old. No details on the location of the maturation but going from from own historic reviews of Duncan Taylor bottles, the colour and taste profile I’d say it was matured in Europe. This bottle is one of 194 bottles from cask number 2. No details on the cask marque or ester levels for this.

Not coloured, not chill-filtered and bottled a cask strength of 52.1% abv.

So, molasses based, 100% pot still Jamaican rum at cask strength. Proper rum then. Perfect. On to the review:

Sugar? No

Nose: Ah, beautiful. We’ve got a soft Jamaican here, but don’t be fooled; there is some ester’y goodness inside lying in wait. Baked bananas drizzled with honey, golden syrup and salted butter. Pineapple jam spread on toasted brioche, toffee and pecan yum-yums and churros straight out of the oil. There is some fresh papaya, pear and lime lifting it up and a grungy smell of shipyards with old ropes, a little tar, distant boat engines and salty sea spray. Right at the back there is some oak evident but it’s pretty mild and doesn’t really impose any will on the rum here.

Palate: Full, rich and oily. A lot more savoury than the nose; olives, olive oil, sticking plasters, salted butter and maybe even a little seaweed. Very little spice, maybe a touch of white pepper but for 52% abv its not hot at all. At the back of the palate things sweeten again to light toffee sauce, maybe butterscotch, green bananas, orange rind and some fresh strawberries, of all things.

Finish: Medium to long. Carries on where the palate left off with sweeter notes, more strawberries, tangerines, cantaloupe melon, mango, limes and a funny sort of salted vanilla. There is a hint of rubber bands and olive oil right at the end.

Thoughts? Delicious. A lighter “heavy” rum if you will. Really good pot still notes, some good esters and amazing texture/mouth feel but plays it with a sweeter, more approachable side. I really like this softer Jamaican pot still stuff, lots of complexity and flavour without blowing your head off. Jamaican rum doesn’t need to be maximum ester, 100% of the time.

I picked this up for £60(!) at the time – late 2017 – and it’s a bargain. I’d easily buy this again at that price, although I suspect it’s likely to have gone up a bit now if there are any left about. I saw one recently (March 2019) for £80, which I think is pushing things a little too far. You’re getting into a different price category altogether there.

 

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