After the wonderful Jamaican Great House rum, I decided to indulge myself and went for another connoisseur experiment. This year, you may have noticed the intriguing Monymusk bottles, filled by Luca Gargano’s Velier and by the well-known Amsterdam-based broker, Mr. E. A. Scheer. Together, they did an interesting experiment. The same bottles, aged tropically and continentally. Unfortunately, they do not come from the same batch, so small differences may be perceived. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome the side-by-side review of the MonyMusk Velier & Scheer 11y MMW and 14y EMB rums: Tropical vs Continental Ageing.
About Monymusk rums
These are molasses-based rums, distilled solely in pots (Pot-still) in the Clarendon distillery. That’s where the tropically aged rums were stored. The continental ones aged in Liverpool, England.
11-year-old Monymusk Wederburn (MMW)
Wederburn means the ester content in the final distillate must be between 200 and 300 g/hlpa after distillation.
MMW 11y – tropical ageing 69.1 %
This is a blend of two barrels from 2008 and 10 barrels from 2007. The ester content is 315 g/hlpa.
The colour is dark, imagine the colour of forest honey.
Intense aroma of caramel, vanilla, nuts, cinnamon and maybe dried fruits. Or maybe thinning agent. 🙂 The nose is very strong and intense, esters in full power.
The taste will probably tear your tongue out and burn your throat. Strong woody notes, nuts and slight bitterness in the back. It reminds me of Long Pondy.
Due to the bitterness in the end, the long finish gives way to aniseed notes.
MMW 11 y – continental ageing 63,9 %
This is a blend of 2 barrels from 2008 and 10 barrels from 2007. The ester content is 243 g/hlpa.
Light yellow colour of morning urine. 🙂
Sweet, very fruity smell. First impressions of a young cognac or armagnac. From the fruit notes definitely pears. No woody notes whatsoever.
Young, sour and again with slight bitterness but a lot subtler. Slight bite but not much. Notes of young bananas.
Young wine and a little like licking metal. The finish is long but less intense than with tropical ageing.
14-year-old Monymusk (EMB)
EMB distillate’s ester content after distillation must be 125 – 175 g/hlpa, thus rather low in esters for Jamaica.
EMB 14y – tropical ageing 69.7 %
A blend of 10 barrels from 2006, 2 barrels from 2004 and 3 barrels from 2002. The right age statement should thus be 13, as the youngest rum in the blend is from 2006 (2019 – 2006 = 13). The ester content is 324 g/hlpa.
The colour is very similar to MMW but a few shades darker.
A pleasant nose with no alcohol notes, smelling of oranges and marzipan. Very nice and delicate.
Very woody, bitterish, with sourness in the finish. I would go as far as to say I don’t like it. The sourness is very prominent.
Woodiness and burning sensation remains in the finish, the sourness subsides and you may get some mint notes.
EMB 14y – continental ageing 64.8 %
Blend of 12 barrels from 2004. The ester content is just under 130 g/hlpa.
Light yellow colour. Surprisingly lighter than 11y MMW.
Very similar to the 11-year-old MMW and even a little more delicate. Lower ester content provides less alcohol and fruity notes. It also seems a bit more mature and “calmer”. The smell shifts more towards bananas.
Pleasantly smooth, very nicely transfers into taste, bananas are also accompanied by a very slight bitterness.
Pleasantly long finish with notes of banana and dark chocolate. Slight sourness shows.
11 vs 14 Comparison
The couple of extra years spent in barrels shows and with them comes smoothness and a certain maturity. This is not universally valid, in fact I like the tropical 11y more than the tropical 14y. With continental ageing, it is the other way round.
Comparing tropical ageing vs continental ageing
It is different, very different. With tropical ageing come different qualities and they are very interesting. I can’t say tropical ageing is better and it certainly isn’t worse. It is just very different. I feel that a skilled Master Blender can make a great rum even in Europe.
Price and availability
The bottles are quite affordable at approx. EUR 500.