Mezan Jamaica 2003

Mezan Jamaica 2003 Monymusk rum reivew by the fat rum pirateMezan’s 2003 Jamaica Rum comes from the Monkymusk Distillery.  Monymusk is Jamaica’s oldest sugar and rum estate.  It has been producing rum for over 200 years and was named after Scottish Baronet Sir Archibald Grant’s estate in his home country.
The distillery has 6 pot and 3 column stills.

The rum in this blend was produced by being double distilled in one of the pot stills.  The rum is a medium-heavy ester rum.

Rum production in Jamaica is slightly different to many islands and countries as the yeasts used in the fermentation are formed from the “wash” of previous distillations.  (This is a process which the Hampden Estate do not let visitors see on their visits!).  It’s pretty pungent stuff to say the least!  Production in such a manner along with Pot Still Distillation is why most Jamaican rum has so much flavour or as many call it “funk”.

Mezan are a UK based firm.  They state as their company vision “Mezan the untouched rum”.  They also note that their vintage rums (of which this is one) are “Unblended, unsweetened, uncoloured and only lightly filtered”.  Mezan are part of the Spirimonde Ltd group and are also part of the eauxdevie distribution group/Marussia Beverages.

I was able to pick up this 70cl 40%ABV bottle of single distillery rum for just over £30 from Master Of Malt.  Mezan rum is also available via Amazon and I’ve noticed it in a few independent shops in the UK.

Mezan Jamaica 2003 Monymusk rum review by the fat rum pirateIndependent bottlings can be very expensive.  European bottlers such as Samaroli and Velier can price their rums in the £100 plus end of the scale.  It is worth noting that rum from independent bottlers can be a very different beast to that from more commercial outfits.  The best examples I have found of how different rum can be is Demerara rum.  Compared to El Dorado and the numerous blended Demerara brands the independent bottlings are very different.  It has long been noted that a lot of rum produced by DDL has added sugar and quite probably other additives.  The independent bottlings largely does not have added sugar and offers a very different experience.

However, rum from Jamaica and Barbados is governed by laws regarding this so I am expecting less of a difference in the independent bottlings from those islands.  Also Mezan bottles their rums mainly at the 40% ABV mark rather than the Cask Strength 60% ABV plus efforts of Velier and Samaroli.  I’m expecting a fairly gentle introduction to the world of independently bottled Jamaican rum via the Mezan route.  I certainly shouldn’t have to find the sweet spot when tasting by adding water to the spirit.

I’ve tried a fair few Jamaican rums and one of the things that I note with the Mezan Monymusk rum is the colour.  It is clear that Mezan’s statement regarding “uncoloured” is completely true.  The filtration statement looks true as despite the light colour the rum it is very slightly “murky”.  Which brings me to the first thing that strikes me about this Independent bottling.  No commercial rum company in the world would release a rum that looks like piss……..

Despite the colour of the rum I like the clear uncluttered presentation of the Mezan.  I also like the consistency in the branding.  I was a little disappointed that the seal was a plastic screw top rather than cork.  Having said all that I am getting a 10 year old rum for £30 so I don’t feel particularly cheated.  The rum has been aged for ten years and was bottled in 2013.

In the glass the Jamaica 2003 is very light straw colour, slightly lighter than in the bottle.  The rum has a pungent intense nose.  More similar to Hampden Gold than an Appleton.  It is a million miles from the molasses heavy nose of Myers’s.  The nose is quite strong in terms of alcohol almost varnish solvent like fumes.  There is a lot of banana on the nose as well.  A little pineapple and some gentle spice.

If your Jamaican rum experience is limited to Appleton Estate than you may find the initial nosing a little odd and off putting.  If you are familiar with J Wray and Nephew’s White Overproof then you may notice some of the pungent similarities found in that 63% ABV beast or Smith and Cross.

Personally I find this to be slightly more refined and gentler than those two.  From my experience the nearest match is Hampden Gold. At £17.99 a bottle you might wish to try that first.  It’s not a rum for everyone.

Tasting the rum I am a little disappointed at a lack of punch.  The nose which was pretty pungent is quite misleading.  The 10 years of ageing have certainly smoothed out this spirit.  It’s very easy to sip.  It also feels very slightly thin.  It would have been interesting to try this at a slightly higher ABV.  I think Mezan have done this to keep cost down.  There is still enough flavour to enjoy.  It isn’t a hugely complex rum.  It’s Mezan Jamaica 2003 Monymusk rum review by the fat rum piratepretty smooth but is slightly one dimensional.  It’s sweet enough and has a lot of orange peel and hints of banana.  The finish is medium and gives a little spice but only very little in the way of oak.  If you haven’t tried Hampden, J Wray and Nephew Overproof or Smith & Cross you might find this a bit odd.  It is an acquired taste.

It’s a decent enough sipper but I wouldn’t buy it instead of say Appleton Reserve or the 12.  A lot of the flavours I am getting from the Mezan I can get from Hampden Gold.  The overall profile is very similar this is just slightly more refined. Taste wise however its very similar.  Especially when mixed.  The rum makes a very nice rum and cola.  However I get the feeling the people at Mezan would string me up at such a suggestion.

I’ll certainly be trying a few more Mezan rums.  At the price point (around £30-40) they offer a nice gateway to Independent bottlings and pure unadulterated rum.  I will certainly continue to explore Independent bottlings.  This rum hasn’t blown me away but it is certainly very different to the Appleton Estate line of Jamaican rum.
At the price I think Mezan are well worth considering as a purchase.

3 stars

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