Diamond The Duchess 17 Years Old Guyana Cask 26 59.3% 2003
€ 91,90 (in. BTW)
Serge Valentin (87)
A good feeling here too. Colour: gold. Nose: rather more varnish, bark, butterscotch, quince jelly, pear cake... In short and unless the high voltage numbs it a wee bit, it's probably not a high-ester Diamond. The liquorice is loud though. With water: varnish and preserved fruits, with notes of rose petals and vetiver. Definitely not one that's very high on petrol and olives. Mouth (neat): a tad hot and spirity but mind you, 59.3% vol. With water: there, some salt, olive oil, seawater, salted liquorice, anchovies… Finish: long and rather on liquorice, seawater, and fermenting fruits. Say strawberries. Perfect aftertaste on cough drops. What we call 'Pulmoll'. Comments: another very excellent one by The Duchess. Hope she's not the Duchess of Sussex behind this lovely little company (oh S., come on!)
A little bit of research tells us that Diamond Distillery is an interesting one. They approach things quite differently from scotch whisky, and in some ways more in an American way.
For starters, they cultivate their own yeast instead of buying commercial stuff. I like this, and while it’s common in bourbon distilling, it’s a rarity in Scotland.
Also, when a lot of other distilleries in Guyana closed their doors, Diamond bought their stills. The result is that they have nine different stills at the distillery: 3 English two-column coffee stills, 2 French Savalle four-column stills and, perhaps most interestingly, 3 wooden stills, one of each: Versailles, Port Mourant and Enmore. The first two of these are pot stills and the enmore is another Coffey still.
While this results in some cool products and the option for the distillery to produce a wide range of products, it also makes output from Diamond Distillery quite unpredictable. If you like one release, as a casual rum drinker, you might have something completely different the next time around. And, on the label of this 17 year old rum, the type of still used is not on the label.
Funky distillate, overripe fruit. The outside of a pineapple, whatever that’s called. Peel? Skin? Shell? Acidic and fruity, simple syrup, cocktail bitters.
The crisp and slightly bitter spicyness is here too. Grilled pineapple, with its skin. Oak, sugarcane, sugar.
The finish brings some molasses and sugarcane juice. Some burnt sugar, palm leaves, coconut.
I’m having a hard time describing this rum. There are some weird and deliciously funky flavors manifesting, but I find it hard to pin them down. What I do know is that I really like this one, and it’s quite different than what I expected. It wouldn’t surprise me if this came from one of those wooden stills, although I would put my money on the Enmore Coffey still instead of the pot stills.
EDIT: I was wrong, it’s from the Versailles still. So a distillate from a wooden pot still!