What is it? This one doesn’t have a category in the Gargano Classification. It is sugar cane juice rum, rather than molasses, but is produced on a single pot still rather than a column. It was produced at the O Reizinho (which means “The Little King”) distillery in Madeira and was aged for 3 years in ex-Madeira wine casks until it was bottled by That Boutinque’y Rum Company for batch 1 of their release. From what I’ve been able to find O Reizinho cask their rum at a very low 50% abv and the rum increases in abv with aging due to the water loss over time – this is all to do with climate, where a lot of spirits loose water and alcohol as they mature but some locations cause water loss at a greater rate thereby increasing the abv of the spirit. Also, such a low abv will give an increase in the water soluble components in the cask such as sugars and any residual wine that’s imparted into the cask so a 3 year maturation may seem short but the result could be interesting.
My bottle is number 1340 of 1936.
Not coloured, not chill-filtered and bottled at 52.6% abv.
Nose: What the fresh hell is this?! Prune juice, liquorice, anise, juniper, pink peppercorns, lavender and parsley. Very odd, but very good. There’s some thick toffee or treacle like notes, nutmeg, mud, black olive and a load of burning leaves. It’s like someone has taken a bag of liquorice Allsorts, chucked a load of herbs in, smoked it, poured in a bottle of prune juice and chunks of treacle toffee to make some weird smoothie – “I fancy a smoothie, what’s in the cupboard, oh this lot will do”. This isn’t like anything I’ve tried before and it’s fascinating. Smells awesome.
Palate: Full mouthfeel. Woah, liquorice again at first, then the herbs, then some sour pickle water, capers, brine, black olives and a massive scoop of raisins. Surprisingly little oak influence given the colour but that’s likely to be down to the low cask fill abv (you get tannins and higher wood notes at high cask fill abv as the ethanol is better at dissolving this than the water is), we’ve got a little clove and nutmeg but not much more from the wood. On the back half of the palate we’ve some dark chocolate, some milky coffee and a dark orange note in there too, the ones you use to make marmalade out of.
Finish: Medium. Big on the raisins here, spice with peppercorns and ginger, the occasional dry dusty soil note blowing around, butterscotch, liquorice and dark chocolate again. It’s much less phenolic and much sweeter in style as it ends, which provides a nice cool-down from the palate before the next sip starts.
Thoughts? This is hilarious stuff, I’ve never had a rum with this profile before and it really took some getting used to indeed. Once you’re in the zone with it though then things are really enjoyable. Sure, I certainly wouldn’t give a glass of this to someone and be all “This is what rum is like”, but I’d give them a glass of it and be all “Hey, look what rum can be like”.
This set me back £43 for a 50cl bottle, which does seem a lot for a 3 year old rum but really in the scheme of things these days it’s pretty much getting on pocket change for something decent. It is a fantastic rum? Probably not. Is the experience of drinking this worth the money I paid? Most definitely. Would I buy another? Absolutely. In fact it’s made me turn my eye to what else is being produce in Madeira and has put the country on my watch list.
If you fancy this you can pick this up from The Whisky Exchange here: