Before I sail off to a different topic, I find it fitting that I end this series at Port… Morant. He he. Port Morant or sometimes spelled as Port Mourant, like the Enmore, is one of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) famous wooden stills. Unlike the wooden coffey still Enmore though, Port Morant is a double wooden pot still.
Just like Enmore, Port Morant means many things. Firstly, there used to be a sugar estate that was started in the 1730s. Secondly, there was indeed a Port Morant distillery whose history seems unclear. Just in case this causes you to rummage through your favorite physical or online stores in search for these, you’re most likely going to see some independently bottled Port Morant labeled as PM. This seems to have 2 marks, which it has been bottled under. One is the UPM which stands for Uitvlugt (pronounced eyeflut) Port Morant. The other being MPM, which stands for Modified Port Morant. What is the difference between them? I actually don’t know, there might not be any difference.
It seems that whisky has been considered “the best” spirit for a long time. It has conditioned most whisky drinkers to be unable to fathom why more and more of them, are slowly turning to malternatives like rum. “Why would anyone in their right mind look away from “the best spirit” in the world?” Perhaps they asking these questions because rum’s perception is being held back by “only for mixing”, or a cheap and confusing image? Have we been conditioned to focus only on age statements and casks?
Most Caribbean aged rum cannot afford to have the double-digit age statements due to the high angels’ share. I’m guessing a lot of the smaller companies also have a hard time sourcing new barrels. I’m curious if it’s because the basics of alcohol, that are fermentation and distillation, aren’t being discussed enough by the brands who advocate education. Or is it propaganda? I get confused. One is often mistaken for the other. Because comparing rum to whisky, is often said to be like comparing apples to oranges, rarely are these questions ever asked.
Whereas, I have been asked by my whisky loving friends why I went on a major rumpage. Since mid-2017 the ratio of my rum to whisky purchases have become 5:1. The simple answers are price, quality and variety. My Macallan Cask Strength review, shares some of my thoughts on price and quality.
The awareness of rum’s massive variety first hit me, when I listened to an episode of the now defunct “The Educational Drinks Show” podcast back in 2017. Martin Cate was their guest. He mainly talked about his then-new book, The Smuggler’s Cove. Being a tiki book and also named after his tiki bar, one has to talk about rum. During the show he said that rum is the spirit with the most variety in the world. Wherever there is sugarcane, there is rum, or some form of it. There are more rum producing countries in the world than there are whisky producing countries. Booze-wise, if variety is the spice of life, is rum the best spice there is? The answer became obvious to me. I was sold.
Despite being a straightforward person, the existence of more snowflakes has refrained me from asking whisky fans I’m unfamiliar with, why they claim to like drinking whisky above all other spirits? Is it a concern for their image? Is it because they don’t want to risk making a bad purchase or look cheap? Is it because they’re not curious enough?
Have you heard of a whisky distillery with wooden stills? How many whisky distilleries can boast of a variety of “single still” bottlings? Aside from the Suntory and Nikka distilleries and Loch Lomond, who house different stills in one distillery, I’m unaware of others. I’ve never even seen a single still release from them. How often do whisky distilleries talk about the length of fermentation, or the use of wild yeast? Not often. Aside from the plethora of rum being produced at styles out there, the topics being discussed are also seemingly unending and refreshing. Hence my growing fetish for honest and quality rum, especially the unique Demerara rum.
Are the struggles of rum, merely teething pains? Are these teething pains even the proper term for the resurgence rum is going through now? Let’s not forget rum was the spirit of choice when the European powers were exploring and taking over the world. As gin and whisky demand continues to increase, will rum enthusiasts be “charged” with heresy, just like Galileo was? Or will the rum renaissance grow at an alarmingly quick pace? Or are these merely the rumblings of contempt by someone a bit too familiar with the whisky scene shenanigans?
El Dorado Port Mourant 1997 – review
On the nose: Similar to the Enmore, the nose is also gentle. Licorice, a persistent absinthe smell followed by prunes, dandelion root tea and hints of wooden furniture. A lot of shy scents of dates, coffee, milk chocolate and some dark fruits I can’t pinpoint.
In the mouth: Gentle in the mouth like Enmore. A gentle and thankfully dissipating stroke of sulfur with some sweetness. Followed by hints of licorice, anise, dates and prunes. After swirling it more in my mouth, I got more persistent notes of anise, licorice, hints of coffee, chocolate and dates.
Anise and licorice notes being all over the place constantly, made me think I was drinking something with absinthe. Then, I get the rich dark flavors, which reminded I’m drinking Demerara rum. The amount of anise and licorice notes one gets, is said to depend per releases also. I guess, this release just had a lot of it. The sulfur notes upon tasting it, gave me a fright. I thought it would ruin the dram, like how sulfur ruins sherry influenced spirits for me. Thankfully, it vanished quickly.
This PM is sadly not as complex as the Enmore. Though, I’m told by more experienced rum collectors that PM rum constantly grows on everyone. Let us see! While I did not enjoy this as much as the Enmore, I still find this interesting enough that I’ll try and buy more in the future.
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