Mezan Belize 10 year old – 2008/2018

What is it? Rum from Molasses, distilled in a triple column still at a distillery in Belize. The bottle doesn’t state the distillery but says that it is in Belmopan, which makes this a Travellers Liqours rum. The rum was distilled in 2008 and bottled in 2018 by Independent bottler Mezan. Now Mezan have really upped their game. Gone as the low abv bottlings with screw caps and along have come a new(ish) bottle complete with wooden topped cork stoppers and a higher abv, but more importantly the back of the bottle is excellent in terms of information – just the sort of thing this rum geek loves! So it tells us that the rum is matured in ex-bourbon casks for a period of 6 years tropically and 4 years in Europe, giving a total age of 10 years. However, the 6 tropical years are worth 12-18 years of European ageing due to Angels Share, so it puts this on a maturation par with a European rum of 16-22 years old. The bottle also notes the raw material used and the still type (molasses and triple column in this case); excellent Mezan, exactly what we’re after!

No added colour, not chill filtered and bottled at 46% abv.

Sugar? No

Nose: I really like this style, sometimes. It’s some quasi rum/bourbon thing going on; loads of warm oak, incense, cedar, sweet pipe tobacco, warm leather that has been in the sun. Brown butter, some lovely violets and bitter orange. There’s a zippy sherbet fizz to this too and some tinned pineapple chunks in juice – as well as the metallic tang of the tin they are in. Right through there is an earthy note of cashew nuts and dry roasted peanuts.

Palate: Medium to full mouth. Quite floral at first actually, with parma violet sweets, some orange blossom and rose. Then we get the oak, bitter dark chocolate, stem ginger, cinnamon and a whoosh of nutmeg. There is some orange caramel in here mid-way, vanilla, a tiny bit of coconut and butterscotch. The peanuts from the nose are there too under it all, but it’s creamy like a peanut ice-cream.

Finish: Long. Sweeter finish here with the chocolate, a little black cherry jam, cherry stones (like a cooling nutty taste), overcooked fruit loaf, raisin & cinnamon bagels that have been toasted and covered in salted butter. Some coconut appears here and a surprising rubber note of new tyres, rubber bands or a balloon. It starts to tighten up and gets tannic as it goes on, but just in time for another sip.

Thoughts? Like, like, like. Travellers rum can be quite hot and spicy, but I like that sometimes. It’s a rich, flavourful and warming rum. Very whisky or bourbon like at times and has a lot of complexity. There is a nice balance between the sweeter notes and the spices from the cask, and it’s always nice to have the option of something a little different from your normal rummy flavours on the shelf.

I think Mezan have the ageing balance and abv spot on here – I’ve really enjoyed drinking this rum and would happily buy another at the £45 it cost me. This is quite a price increase on older Mezan bottlings but you’re getting a decent increase in abv, nicer bottle and a damn sight more information. I’m more than happy to pay that bit extra to get that from my rum.

Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos

What is it? Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos (aged 7 years), is a molasses based rum distilled in a single column still in Cuba, and comes off at around 75% abv – so “Traditional Rum” under the Gargano Classification. The rum is aged for at least 7 years, tropically, in ex-bourbon casks with the additional twist of what Havana Club call “continuous aging”; basically, when casks are ready and selected, some of the aged rum is added back in to casks along with new spirit. They don’t say how they do this but it’s going to be similar to the way a Solera works I imagine, or atleast the principle and intended result is the same. The rum is intended to sit at the top of the standard lineup of Havana Club rums as a basic sipping rum in the light Cuban style.

Please note that this is the European version of this rum. The version that is available in America, as far as I’m aware, is actually from Puerto Rico.

 

Coloured, chill filtered and bottled at 40% abv.

Sugar? No.

Nose: Spirity at first, once that blows off it’s really quite good. A lot more decadent than I expected; chocolate praline, lightly roasted coffee beans, fudge, vanilla and toasted coconut. There’s a lovely smoky cigar leaf to this, but it’s not intense. Some cedar, nutmeg and clove in there too. A definite note of cane juice and some warm hay.

Palate: Spirity again, medium mouth feel. Quite zesty and fruity here at the start with limes, grapefruit and a bit of tangerine. It moves on to vanilla, caramel and then thickens to melted milk chocolate, roasted cashews, pecans, coffee and a roll of smoky cigar on your tongue. A touch of tar or oil at the back of the palate too as it moves to the finish with is surprising and adds a nice savoury touch.

Finish: Medium, just about. Milk chocolate again, Cafe Latte, pralines, coconut, toasted oak and a fruit that I can’t quite put my finger on, like a custard apple or lychee. There is a little slightly tart stone fruit and green apple right at the end.

Thoughts? I’ll point out that this isn’t my preferred style of rum, I’m generally not really into the light Cuban style and I wasn’t really expecting a lot from this, but I’m very pleasantly surprised indeed. Sure, it’s a lighter style and it’s certainly got some of the more sweeter notes than I’d normally choose, but it’s balanced, clean, well made and reasonably complex for what it is. Ok, it’s not the best rum I’ve ever had in my life but I’ve got to judge it for what it is and it’s a really solid rum. It can 100% be drunk neat, it can be mixed, and it’ll reward you well if you take a bit of time with it – especially if you manage to pick it up on sale like I did for £19……yes, £19. Very good value for money, I must say and one I’d pick up again for the right price.