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The word "unique" is overused, but I'm not really sure how else to describe this rum. The core component is 18-year-old pot-still Jamaican rum while the remainder of the blend (about 30%) is made up of Guyanese rum (21 years old), Barbados rum (12 years old) and a small quantity of Martinique rum (3 years old). These are blended together and then aged in a single amaro cask for a further six months. Pretty crazy.The nose is all fruit, smoke, and funk, and the Jamaican aspect really stands out. Notes of roasted pineapple, tropical fruit medley, baked apple, pear skin, banana, banana leaf, baking spice, nutmeg, vanilla, burnt sugar, treacle, a hint of burnt rubber (in that amazing Jamaican rum sense), vegetation, undergrowth, and crushed sugar cane. The palate is expansive, introducing all of those flavor components, but also adding a hint of bitterness, and an herbal component, especially on the finish. It ends on a really lovely bitter note (kind of like the song "Disintegration" by The Cure), but the incredibly complex finish just keeps going and going. I like it neat, though it is bottled undiluted at a whopping 65.9% abv, so a few drops of water softens the palate. Oskar Kostecki
Boukman is a classic Haitian 'clairin trempè' or spiced rhum honoring the great Dutty Boukman who led the slaves of Haiti to freedom in 1791. The base is fresh sugar cane juice from two of the best sites in Haiti, Croix des Bouquets and Cap Haïtien. It is fermented with indigenous yeasts, distilled and then blended with seven botanicals, many native to the island, making this a true expression of Haitian terroir. There is no sugar added, but the addition of whole and extracted vanilla, clove, and cinnamon give it a warm, sweet spice on the finish. If you notice the stain on the front label, that's there, as Voodoo tradition dictates, to ward off evil spirits. This may be a part of why I enjoy it so much in hot toddies when I'm feeling under the weather, but this is also delicious on its own as a digestif. Michelle DeWyngaert
Another exceptional release from Foursquare! This 14 year old rum spends its entire life aging in ex-bourbon casks, though the lack of a cask finish is not a detraction from complexity. One of the more intense recent releases (and not just in abv!) this is a rich and full-bodied rum that exudes a lot of style. Notes of raisin, sultana, dried figs, candied apple, ginger, ginger snaps, baking spice, vanilla, shaved coconut, dark honey, something slightly musty, worn leather and pipe tobacco all interplay on the very complex nose. The palate introduces some dried apricot and other stone fruit, and almost a hint of orange marmalade, along with the savory and spice notes. Supremely delicious, this is also a fascinating continuation of where the Foursquare releases are going, with an added layer of fruitiness and lift to this bottle. Foursquare keeps setting new benchmarks for quality. Oskar Kostecki
From the island of Minamidaito in Okinawa, Japan, comes this full-flavored, potent rum made from locally and sustainably grown sugar cane (which means production is limited as the island is subjected to not-infrequent typhoons). The cane juice is converted to molasses and then distilled once and then aged for three years. Try this on its own with a squeeze of yuzu, or better yet, a yuzu daiquiri!
Rested in barrel for seven years in the tropical climate of Trelawny Parish in Jamaica, this is the first official distillery bottling of aged Hampden Rum, and we couldn't be more pleased to see it. The nose is a medley of tropical fruit and savory, slightly vegetal notes. The signature "funkiness", or hogo (a term adopted from the French haut goût, or high taste, used to describe the je ne sais quoi bold character and aromatic mélange of high ester rums) apparent in all Hampden distillates is front and center. The palate is assertive, with more pronounced savory and vegetal character, intermingling with notes of coconut, charcoal, roasted meat, rubber (in the best possible way) and slightly decaying pineapple and banana. Oskar Kostecki
Single casks of Fiji rum are quite rare, and are about to become even more scarce, with the recent exclusivity agreement between South Pacific Distillery (the only commercial rum producer in Fiji) and Plantation. This 16 year-old, 100% pot still rum spent 12 years of its life aging in the tropical climate of the island, and a further 4 years in northern Europe. This is a dense rum, with immediate heavy notes of vanilla, baking spice, and toffee. There is a slight saltiness to this rum, and some nuanced spice character, with cinnamon, pepper, and ginger all showing nicely on the palate. There is a hint of smokiness on the long finish. Even though the rum has intensity and weight to it, there is also really great balance that keeps all the flavors from overwhelming each other. A fascinating rum, and very drinkable. Oskar Kostecki
The Port Mourant still is totally unique; the last double wooden pot still in operation in the entire world. Originally built in 1732 on the Port Mourant Estate, it then moved to Uitvlugt Estate, and after that was shut down, ended up at Demerara Distillers Limited, the last rum distillery in Guyana. Since then the rums coming off the Port Mourant still have been used in blends for El Dorado, the flagship brand of DDL. To find a single cask of exclusively Port Mourant still rum is a treat indeed. This cask has spent most of its time aging in a continental climate in Northern Europe, and is bottled at cask strength without any additives. Off the bat this feels slightly funkier than one would expect from a rum from Guyana. There is tropical fruit here: a hint of guava, a hint of banana, under-ripe pineapple, coconut, along with apricot, green apple peel, mirabelle plum. There is an herbaceous and savory edge to this rum, with some vegetal notes of dried grass and undergrowth, along with a hint of engine oil and a touch of iodine. Incredibly complex, and maybe even a little bit mysterious, this is a rum I kept coming back to, trying to figure out it's shifting and mesmerizing profile. Oskar Kostecki
Privateer is a New England based rum distillery dedicated to using the highest quality molasses, the best techniques, and never filtering or using additives or coloring. The white rum starts with 100% Grade A Guatemalan molasses from a single source: the Madre Tierra Sugar Farm. Madre Tierra is a member of Sugar for Good, an organization committed to the best environmental practices and standards for sugarcane workers. The mash is fermented at a lower temperature than is typical for rum in order to coax out the most vibrant flavors. The fermented molasses base is distilled twice and then transferred to steel tanks where it is slowly proofed and settled for two months. Finally it is bottled at 80 proof as a clean, incredibly aromatic, tropical, white rum. Michelle DeWyngaert
Our friends over at a fellow retailer sometimes just put "!!!!!!!!!" in product descriptions, and I'm tempted to copy them on this one, as there are almost no words to describe Rum Fire. Clocking in at a huge ester level (over 500 ppm) and bottled at 63%, it might rip your face off and kick you in the privates, but you know, you just might like it. Untamed and bombastic, this is funky rum at its finest, guaranteed to take you on a journey. A hate it or love it scenario. An angel-demon from bygone days shredding sweet and funky heavy wattage straight to your soul. I can't help myself, I'm utterly in love. Oskar Kostecki
Michal Sajous makes this wonderful clairin in the small town of Saint-Michel de L'Attalaye, situated on a plateau surrounded by mountains, about a hundred kilometers north from Port-au-Prince. He grows several different varieties of cane, with the Cristalline being used for this particular bottling. Fermented in stainless steel with all indigenous yeast, this a beautifully mineral expression of fresh-pressed sugarcane juice rum, more effusive and intense than anything I've had from Martinique or Guadaloupe, but still carrying a similar flavor profile. Perfumes of dried flowers, tropical fruit, and the hallmark green grassiness is supported by the more herbal and dense aromas of tea tree oil and eucalyptus. There is an undercurrent of salinity, and the pronounced acidity keeps this fresh and lifted. Drink this neat or make the most phenomenal Ti' Punch. This is the second batch to hit New York, this one coming in at 54.3%! Oskar Kostecki
This aged Vaval cask was picked by Sarah Morrisey, formerly of Frenchette, and was meant to be an on-premise exclusive for notable bars and restaurants, but with the Covid-19 shutdown, a number of bottles has been released to NYC retail.Fritz Vaval makes this completely unique clairin in the village of Cavaillon, on the southern coast of Haiti. The distillery Arawaks was founded after the war by Fritz's father, and today they have 20 hectares of a variety of sugarcane called Madame Meuze, farmed without the use of any fertilizers or chemicals. Fermentation takes up to 5 days and is done using only indigenous yeast. Vaval uses a home-made pot still that is steam powered (using a repurposed locomotive engine) by burning bagasse, the leftover pulp once the cane is crushed.The aged Vaval is terrific, with spice notes beautifully interplaying with the funkiness of the base spirit. Overwhelming tropical fruit, mixed with the vegetal characteristic of sugarcane juice rum and cinnamon, graham cracker, and baking spice notes of the barrel aging. Absolutely delicious. SO much fun to drink. Oskar Kostecki