Mezan are a relatively new independent bottler. They are in Marussia Beverages portfolio (which also include’s Doorly’s). I’ve spoken with the firm so hopefully I will be able to ask them more questions etc in the near future. Their website does have a lot of good information though and showcases the brands current line up of rums.
What I do know about Mezan is that they are carving out a nice little niche in the rum market. Relatively inexpensive independent bottlings.
I’m not a huge fan of buying miniatures or samples. I don’t really think you can really judge a rum until a few sittings and a good few “drams”. As an introduction to the sometimes weird and wacky world of Independently bottled rum Mezan offer a nice little gateway, without you having to spend huge amounts of money. Independent bottlings by Velier, Samaroli and Silver Seal regularly cost over £100. That is a lot of money when you are just feeling your way into less commercially orientated rum.
All of Mezan’s rums retail at around the £30-35 mark. Which when compared to rums from the likes of Velier, Samaroli and Silver Seal is very competitive. One of the reasons Mezan can offer such value is probably due to the ABV of each bottle. In the main their rums are bottled at 40% ABV (or thereabouts). Straight away this means they can fill more bottles with rum diluted to this ABV than a Cask Strength bottler. If you have a 70cl bottle of a spirit with an ABV of around 60% you have in effect got well over a litre of regular strength spirit to sip. The idea of sipping rums of 60 and 70% neat is frankly stupid not to mention dangerous. Water should really be added to find the sweet spot.
Another reason I suspect Mezan can afford to sell their rums for a fraction of other Independent bottlers is the packaging. Simple inexpensive labelling. The only downfall to the packaging despite being a bit basic are the awful screw cap tops. They quickly become clogged and sticky and virtually impossible to remove without a cloth. This is something that urgently needs addressing.
Buying independent bottlings is always a bit of a minefield. With such limited releases sometimes only a couple of hundred bottles or less it is difficult to judge whether you will truly enjoy the spirit. Let’s face it if someone has forked out £150 for a bottle of rum its unlikely they are going to admit to it being a stinker! You must also be careful of online reviews – there is a snob value to some bottlers work and I’m not 100% convinced every rum that is put out by Velier or Samaroli is brilliant. As I mentioned earlier I think Mezan offer consumers a way of determing if Independent bottlings are for them. Many people will be happier with a bottle of Pyrat, El Dorado 15 or Zacapa than a 25 year old Caroni or a Single Cask Port Morant.
This Mezan is a 1998 Demerara Rum from the now defunct Utivluigt (no idea how you pronounce that!) Distillery. It is from the Savalle Still which is still in operation at Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). It has then been aged in small oak casks until 2011. When it was lightly filtered and bottled.
So I think we have single still rum (not sure if its single cask) which has been aged for 13 years. The El Dorado ICBU mark Single Barrel rum comes from this still. The Savalle still is capable of producing many different marques of rum from heavier rums to very light rum.
Mezan do not colour or use any additives. I understand they do undertake some very light chill filtering. Despite this I still notice quite a lot of sediment in my bottle. (That bothers me not one bit, nor should it you its perfectly natural).
This rum is perhaps the lightest Demerara I have come across to date. As unappealing as it sounds its urine coloured. No commercial operation would put out a rum this colour I’m convinced of that.
The nose on this rum is pretty muted. It is mainly just a light syrupy kind of smell. Its sweet but not hugely sweet. Its almost floral. This on nosing seems a very light Demerara rum. I would imagine a rum such as this would be used in blends a lot to give balance.
Much like Mezan’s Jamaica 2003 from the Hampden Distillery I think I would have liked to have exlored the rum at Cask Strength or maybe 50% ABV. I can’t help feel that there is a little something missing.
Sipping the rum, it is very easy going if slightly one dimensional. The rum overall is very light with a sweetness running through it. The finish is pretty non existent it leaves little on the palate. It lacks complexity and any real depth or character. There is no spicness or oak ageing. The label says it has a prolonged finish. It might have a long finish but its pretty much tasteless – theres just a little bit of a tingle and a slight warming sensation. It just tastes like a slightly sweet, unremarkable column distilled light mixing rum.
To be fair mix is pretty much what I have done with it. Much like my Bristol Diamond 1998 – both have proved to be quite light agreeable mixers. Nothing to challenging. The Bristol I found slightly more engaging than this. At the price a little over £30 I’m not hugely concerned. I don’t feel ripped off or cheated by Mezan.
In spite of me finding this rum pretty average I still have a soft spot for what Mezan are doing. I like the way they want to produce quality rums without the additives and without all the marketing bullshit or fanciful tales and made up histories. I like their simple labels, though I hate their screw tops and despite the fact I have been left a little disappointed by both this and the Jamaica 2003 – both of which ended up used as mixers, I’ll still persist with some more Mezan bottlings in the future.
The reason for that is simple. The price. Mezan still gives me the option to try rums from different Distilleries and stills and determine if I want to consider spending mega bucks on something similar. There is also another reason.
I’ve a couple more Mezan reviews to write up and when Mezan do get a rum right and it costs little more than £30 you are getting yourself a great bargain. I have one in the pipeline from a slightly unusual source which is very, very good!
This one was average but this is what happens when you experiment.