My curiosity and appreciation of the output from Mhoba ought to be obvious to anybody that has visited this web site beforehand. I’ve a couple of multi bottling critiques (right here and right here)and one very massive reference piece charting the origins of Mhoba Rum and it’s founder, Robert Greaves right here. Robert is a person that I’ve an excessive amount of time and respect for. Not solely does he produce nice Rum, he’s additionally a particularly humble, open, sincere and likeable man. So think about my delight after I discovered that one other individual that I additionally think about to be completely first rate was bottling a Mhoba product. That individual is Eric Kaye and alongside along with his associate in crime (and spouse), Maura Gedid, they’re unbiased bottlers Holmes Cay.
Holmes Cay have grown slowly however certainly since my first encounter with Eric and their merchandise again at Rumfest in 2019. Their mantra is “No Components. No Adulteration. Simply Rum”……and it’s one which I totally assist and may get on board with. Spanning Australia, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Guyana, Jamaica, Mauritius, South Africa and Trinidad, they’ve not been too shy to encourage exploration past the Caribbean. Sadly, they’re additionally unavailable right here within the UK outdoors of Rum public sale web sites and that may be a actual disgrace.
How due to this fact have I come to accumulate this bottling. That’s all because of a espresso and a ham & cheese toastie on the Starbucks across the nook from Crewe railway station in October final 12 months. Eric had been in Liverpool exploring the delights of the Predominant Rum warehouse and uncovering some new treats to bottle. Eric had kindly agreed to satisfy me in a cease off on his manner right down to London. I duly collected him from the station and we seconded to the sterile wasteland that may be a Starbucks in a railway city on a weekday mid morning. I took some samples of fairly coveted bottles for Eric to attempt to he kindly gave this bottle in return…..and a fairly cool hat too. I additionally received to strive a few samples, straight from a plastic Starbucks cup, of some insanely good upcoming bottling’s. Even then, they shone by means of their dire, drab environment and offered a short journey to a different place, if just for a second.
So sufficient speak of trains, hats and sterile espresso store environs, let’s transfer into the Rum.
Holmes Cay Mhoba 2017 4 Years Outdated – 59% abv – 0g/l components
Because the title would recommend, this can be a Mhoba bottling distilled in 2017 and bottled in 2021. It was bottled at its barrel power of 59% abv and drawn from an ex-South African Whisky barrel (quantity 49). The barrel was certainly one of a batch obtained from the James Sedgewick Distillery in Wellington, South Africa. Sedgewick’s produce Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky which is a Grain Whisky (could be created from any grain together with unmalted Barley, Wheat, Corn & Rye) and Three Ships which is a Single Malt Whisky (Malted Barley). That parcel of barrels contained each malt and grain whisky barrels, all barrels have been previous and due to this fact very properly used, and Robert being Robert, he refurbished round 2 in 10 barrels by eradicating materials and re-toasting. As a result of losses to evaporation (the temperatures are at Caribbean ranges however with higher fluctuation of highs and lows) the casks have been consolidated, due to this fact it’s doubtless that any releases from the 2017 ex-South African Whisky barrels might have seen time in each ex-malt and ex-grain whisky barrels.
Nostril: We frequently say that distilleries have a signature aroma, honed from their strategies crafted and perfected over various years, Robert has positively achieved that in a brief area of time with Mhoba. It’s like a novel mix of excessive ester Jamaican output, unaged agricole from the French West Indies, the heavier and massively interesting (to me) pot nonetheless facet of cane juice and the glue-y output from Fiji. However that amalgamation is quintessentially Mhoba.
Vibrant, shiny, ester laden sugarcane juice. Gentle acetone. Plastic. Mannequin glue. Lingering gas aromas in your hand following filling up the tank. Earthy notes of turmeric, saffron, ginger root and freshly foraged mushrooms creep in. Layers of complexity preserve constructing and revealing themselves because the glass sits. A fruitier facet reveals itself with sticky caramelised pineapple, pineapple the other way up cake, manuka honey. Think about oily lemon and lime rind lined in powdered sugar. White wine. A extremely unshakable candyfloss notice. Wafts of chocolate coated raisins, toffee pennies. Advanced and rewarding……and extra unnervingly, approachable.
Mouth: Initially there’s an unmistakable and outstanding liquorice root……these little wood sticks that rewarded fixed chewing with earthy, rooty, bitter and infrequently candy liquorice. Strong, oily and possessing loads of grip on the palate. As you sit and take repeated sips that sweetness grows with toffee pennies, pineapple cubes and tinned pineapple juice. Superbly managed acidity. Citrus oil. Sticky and nearly damp muscovado sugar being added to a spiced fruitcake combine. Liquorice. Honey on toast. Sugared almonds. A drying and spiced mid palate which is the place the barrel affect first exhibits itself, and it brings white pepper, ginger juice, baking spices. The end is a contact shorter than I’d’ve favored but it surely builds in the direction of it on the previous sips to go away that drying candy, bitter and woody liquorice root, sugared almonds, peaches and possibly a touch of espresso on the dying.
In conclusion: This rum is on the lighter facet of the Mhoba output. Manner much less wooden affect than their traditional choices and it feels extra approachable for it, however don’t let that make you consider that it’s missing in any manner. Fairly the other. It’s complicated, rewarding and exhibits nice improvement from nostril to palate and into the end. Robert has once more produced an exemplary distillate and Eric has been sensible sufficient to snap it up and bottle it. An ideal match.
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