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Real Reviews for Real People

 
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Capn Jimbo
Rum Evangelisti and Compleat Idiot


Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3467
Location: Paradise: Fort Lauderdale of course...

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 3:18 pm    Post subject: Real Reviews for Real People Reply with quote

Hey bro, have I got some great rums for you!

Honest, they're truly amazing! Dig these reviews:

1. The rich bouquet is the highlight: toasted caramel, sweet molasses, ripe banana and vanilla. Round, creamy, and warm, the tastes are classic and fairly uncomplicated: lightly burnt caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and vanilla with some smoky alcohol.

Nice, huh! And check out this one...

2. Sweet caramel, vanilla, coconut cream pie and mild phenolic aromas. A soft round entry leads to an off-dry medium-bodied palate with caramel, dark roasted nuts, peppery spice, and smoky flavors. Finishes with a long, sweet , toffee, nut, and brown spice fade with a deft touch of smoky woodiness.

Cool! And here's just one more you have to try...

3. Powerfully seductive aromas of vanilla and sweet molasses embrace the nose. The even deeper taste features creamy vanilla, caramel, brown maple sugar, virtually no smoke or spice, all wrapped up inside a full, round cozy body. Finish is like pure caramel sauce drooling down the throat.

All very different, all very enticing, all top-rated reviews. And be honest now, if you dare tell me you now understand these three rums you're a damn liar. You can't.

No one can. How do I know?

They're all reviews of the same rum! Yup, you read it right. Three different reviews by three respected resources, two with whom I often agree. But they all suffer from the deluge of descriptors common to "professional" reviews by remote professional tasters.

The reviews are more like a shopping list of descriptors or recipe ingredients. Unless you are a professional taster or cook, it's really hard to imagine the end result. But how bout this....

"Bananas Foster ala mode on real vanilla ice cream."

Any problems imagining that? Sound like a rum you might want to try? Here's the rest of the review:

"My defining aroma was of banana, brown sugar - pan browned in butter, also a nice light vanilla, like a vanilla/brown sugar cookie. The taste is entirely consistent with this wonderful and lingering aroma, and light bodied. The finish is very smooth and peppery warm."

This review is accessible, memorable, accurate and useful for the rest of us. It's Angostura 1919, an amazing value at just $19 and which earned all of the above reviews, including the last.

Our review. If you try this rum (and you should) you'll agree.

We came to this style of reviewing quite by accident. Sue Sea (who is a superb taster) and I were early on in our learning experience and to be fair were struggling with our drams of 1919. I'd pulled out a couple reviews - from El Machete and RnD - cautiously and later in the process (to avoid being overly influenced). There was a distinct, but elusive aroma that we just couldn't place. The reviews both mentioned banana among many other descriptors. After a few more minutes of head shaking and repeated nosing it came to me of all people...

Bananas Foster!

Not just bananas or any of the other descriptors in the reviews, but unequivocally "Bananas Foster". Sue Sea and her niece and boyfriend, also present, heartily agreed. The boyfriend was so impressed with this nomenclature that he called a couple weeks later to ask me the name of "that Bananas Foster rum". The point:

Long lists of descriptors, like recipe ingredients - though meaningful to professionals - really don't describe the end product. "Bananas Foster" does. It is meaningful, accessible, memorable and effective. And accurate.

Bottom line:

It's all too easy to be intimidated or confused by professional reviews or by experienced tasters. Don't get me wrong, sooner or later you may get into tasting wheels or even create one of your own. In the meanwhile, we hope our reviews - grounded in common experience - will serve as handy and useful guides to how a rum is really perceived...

Up spirits!
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