Thursday, March 5, 2015

K&L Rums

Photo Courtesy of K&L Spirits Journal
Today I take a look at K&L's exclusive barrel rums. These are single barrel rums that were bottled in Scotland by Hunter Laing. Both of the Guayanan rums are from closed distilleries.  I'm not usually one to care about bottle design, but I have to say that there is some pretty cool label art on these rums.

Faultline Jamaican Rum 14 yo, Hampden Distillery, 50% abv ($75)

The nose on this is fantastically fruity with cherries but also a vegetal note; it noses more like a rhum agricole. The palate opens with pineapple then gets spicy with mint.  The finish has overripe mangoes and herbs and even some kalamata olives.  I really dig this stuff; it's funky with a ton of flavor packed into it. Just great.

Faultline Single Barrel Guyana Rum 20 yo, Uitvlugt Distillery, distilled 1994, 52.8% abv ($150)

The nose is light and crisp with apples.  It almost smells like an apple brandy.  The palate starts fruity but quickly turns spicy and trails off with black licorice.  This is another great rum with a lot of flavors mixed in.  The licorice notes on the finish are a bit strong for me, but other than that, it's both complex and enjoyable.   

Faultline Demarra Rum 25 yo, Enmore Distillery (Guyana), distilled 1989, 51.3% ($200)

This is another very fruity nose with fruit cocktail.  The palate, though, comes on very spicy with anise and clove and less fruit than the other two. Then it moves to a caramel note.  It's got a spicy finish with peppercorns and anise. Sweet, densely flavored and spicy, this is another winner.

This was a great end to this series of K&L tastings.  These were really exceptional rums.  My favorite was definitely the 14 year old (luckily, it's also the cheapest), but I keep flipping over whether I like the 20 or 25 year old better. The 20 year old is lighter while the 25 is more dense. It just depends on the style you like or the mood you're in, but all of these were great.

Thanks to David Othenin-Girard for the samples.


tanstaafl2 said...

Did you decide to pass on the "bargain" bottle of Faultline rum from St. Lucia or was it just not available? Admittedly it did not quite fit in with the other three, especially the two cask strength Guyanese rums.

sku said...

Though it's still in stock, I think that one was part of an earlier series. These three are brand new.

Anonymous said...

I think the St. Lucia is part of the line of rums Ed Hamilton released about 18 months ago. I'm not sure if the K&L is the 5,7,8 or 9 year or something different entirely.


Anonymous said...

Um, those aren't closed distilleries. Those are heirloom stills used by demerara distillers

Artur said...

Anon, those are definetely closed distilleries. Uitvlugt was closed in 2000 and Enmore somewhere between 1993 - 1995. You are right that the stills are still in use today. But at the Diamond Distillery (home of El Dorado) since they were moved there after the original distilleries closed.
The K&L Rums however were distilled at the original facilities.
Sorry if I sound like a know-it-all, that was not my intention.

sku said...

Anon, I'm far from an expert on rum distilleries, but this is what I got from K&L's information on these rums. If it's wrong, please education me.

They state that both of the stills are still in use at the Diamond Distillery but that Uitvlugt: "continues to operate today as a sugar refinery and molasses production center, but the distillery it once housed was closed in the year 2000." and Enmore closed in 1993.

Anonymous said...

What was the reason that all Guyana distilleries were closed and only Diamond Distillery was left to operate with other distilleries' equipment? Where those other distillereies forced to close for some reason? Nationalised?

kldavidog said...

The consolidation was due to market pressure in both the sugar and rum industry. From a peak of nearly 300 distinct sugar estates in the 17th century, the Guyanese sugar industry was eventually nationalized in the 1970s. Not sure how nationalized the rum company is but they might be partly owned by the government as well. The government is responsible for something like 40% of Guyana’s agricultural production. Globalization, world sugar markets opening up, the abolishment of the rum ration, high fructose corn syrup, etc. continued to encourage restructuring in the last 40 years. So eventually the various distilleries were closed and equipment moved to the Diamond Estate near Georgetown. It’s simply more efficient to produce all the rum in one place rather than run a number of separate operations.

kldavidog said...

actually the peak was in the 1800s and there were 380 estates.
Here is some history if you're intereseted!

sku said...

Fantastic info David. Thanks for posting it!

Anonymous said...

When you're interested in Demerara rum, this is for you: