Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Whiskey, er Brandy, er Rum of the Year
I discussed some of my favorite whiskeys of 2016 in my review of the Year in Whiskey, but I realized I didn't do much of a wrap up of all of the other spirits I tried, so here it is, better late than never.
For the last two years, the best spirits I've tasted have been brandies. In 2016, I had some good whiskeys and some great brandies, but the very best stuff I tasted was rum.
The best current release spirit I had all year was, unfortunately, a European only release of 24 year old, cask strength Hampden rum under the Douglas Laing Kill Devil label. It was probably the best rum I ever tasted, and maybe one of the best spirits I ever tasted period. It has this marvelous funk that you get in those Jamiacan rums. While it wasn't quite in that league, the similar, 24 year old Hampden that K&L brought in under the Golden Devil label was also excellent with a lot of those same notes.
I also loved the 2004 Foursquare and the cask strength Clement that K&L brought in (which is still available). My rum rule of thumb lately is buy anything from Hampden or Foursquare.
While my favorite 2016 spirits were rums, I drank plenty of good brandy, especially apple brandy. Highlights were the Pacory Reserve and Pacory 15 year old Calvados and the pricey but tasty Domaine Du Tertre Calvados. And I absolutely loved the Double Zero apple eau de vie from Cyril Zangs, one of the best unaged spirits ever.
Armagnac-wise, my favorite new release was a Europe only release, the fantastic Lous Pibous from L'Encantada, though I'm told we may see some of this in the US this year. If you do, buy it! And K&L brought in two great Baraillons, the 1986 and the 1988 Folle Blanche.
All in all, it was another great year for brandy and a phenomenal year for rum. Hopefully, more of that great rum will come to the US.