Duncan Taylor are an Independent bottler of whisky and rum from Scotland. This is a Uitvlugt Demerara rum. Uitvlugt is the name of a now defunct distillery. Some of the stills from this distillery are now housed at Demerara Distillers Limited or the Diamond Distillery if you prefer.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to determine the exact origin of all the Independently bottled Demerara/Guyana rums. Not only are bottlers using non-standard terms. Some are using the old Distillery names, some the stills and others are just stating Diamond Distillery. There is also an issue with where the stills on which these rums were at the time of bottling. This is particularly confusing the older the rums are.
Anyway enough of my moaning. Duncan Taylor have actually done a good job on this front. This rum was distilled during the last couple of years of production at Uitvlugt Distillery, which closed in 2000 (I have seen 1999 noted also). The rear of the bottle reveals there were two stills at Uitvlugt, at this time. A four column French Savalle Still and a Copper Pot still.
On the front of the bottle the rum is denoted as Column so I guess it is from the French Savalle Still.
Duncan Taylor Uitvlugt 1998 is bottled at a very exacting 52.7% ABV. It is a single cask rum – cask number 35 which produced only 258 bottles. Aged in oak casks, no chill filtration and no added colour. Now many people assume that these rums are Cask Strength. There is nothing on the bottles which says they are. As they have been aged in Scotland I’m not sure if an ABV of 52.7% would compute with cask strength. They may be slightly watered down. In all honesty I don’t know either way.
The rum was distilled January 1998 and bottled in February 2014. Despite this being a quite old bottling by date – I don’t think it was released until late 2016. Either that or the Whisky Exchange, where I got it from held some stock back. Which I doubt. A bottle will set you back around £65.
As you can see from the rear image you also get a few tasting notes. (Which will likely be very different to mine)
In the glass the Duncan Taylor Uitvlugt presents itself nicely despite being a very pale straw colour. It is as the same time quite “glimmery”. The nose even at the full bottle ABV, is not particularly big. Quite a gentle easy going nose with a fairly light profile of vanilla, a touch of oak. Unlike the nose notes on the back of the bottle, I find the grape profile to be more of a white grape than red. It has a light fruitiness with perhaps a little banana and some very light buttery toffee notes.
There is a nice balance but in comparison to the Velier Utivlugt 1996 (Modified GS) it is much lighter and has a lot more in common with the Mezan Uitvlugt 1998. It is likely it will have had a similar ageing in Europe, as opposed to the Tropical ageing of the Velier.
When sipped the rum offers a light almost creaminess – its all very polite and I don’t feel any need to add any water. It has a nice balance and a good bit of spicy bite to it. You get a touch of chilli heat but never anything overpowering so the notes stating green chilli are pretty close. It is more of a zesty vegetal heat rather than a peppery one.
I’ll return back to my original rant about how Independent bottlers label their rums. This is another case where you really need to do a bit of research to make sure you understand what you are splashing out on. Duncan Taylor Uitvlugt 1998 is a single cask column distilled rum. Now whilst a single cask rum will often have a bit more “edge” to it than a commercial blend of Pot and Column this rum is only from a column still.
As a result it doesn’t lift itself into the stratosphere in terms of what most will be looking for in a Demerara. Especially those used to the richer fuller Tropical aged flavour of Velier and even El Dorado’s bottlings.
The finish of this rum is as polite and easy going as the rest of the rums profile. It’s easy drinking and the finish whilst not short, is not particularly long or overly interesting.
Further sips reveal a bit more character. There is a touch of something slightly metallic and a touch of aniseed.
In summary it is a nicely balanced, if slightly too light Demerara. It’s a million miles away from a Woods 100 or a El Dorado 8 or 15. Don’t expect an upgraded version of those. The Velier bottlings in the main are much richer than this.
It occupies more common ground with Bristol’s 15 Year Old Diamond Distillery bottling and the Mezan Uitvlugt, mentioned earlier. I would say this is slightly better than both of those, especially the Mezan. If you are looking for a lighter profile column Demerara, then this is a good option. Thing is I can’t help feeling it might have been more interesting at a younger more lively age.
Good but be careful and be aware of exactly what you are getting before buying would be my advice. A Velier alternative it is not. A reference rum for a geek – definitely.