Comparison: Gregarious Grump – 2003 – Guyana – Diamond Distillery – 16 Year – 52.1% vs. 54.5%

Comparison: Gregarious Grump – Guyana – Diamond Distillery – 16 Year – 52.1% vs. 54.5%

Stats: Houston-based indie bottler Gregarious Grump brought three casks of 16 year old Guyanese rum to market as part of their first batch of releases. They were each distilled in 2003 and released at different barrel proofs without additives or dilution.

Background: Last year a friend from FL hipped me to the fact that someone named Gregarious Grump released a TX exclusive Port Mourant. I immediately hopped on the interwebs to see for myself. Sure enough, I found some online reviews and the company’s website indicating not just one but three casks of Port Mourant were bottled. As far as I could tell it was only available in the Houston area so I asked my friendly neighborhood boozery if they could get it to Austin. I was informed soon after that they had arrived, so I dropped everything and zipped over to see what deliciousness awaits. The shop received the 52.1% and 54.5% expressions, of which I purchased one of each. There is also a 48.8% version they did not get that I have yet to try.

Disclaimer: Before I share my impressions, I want to make it clear that neither of these distillates tasted like Port Mourant to my palate. After discussing the matter and sharing samples with some friends who are well versed in the profiles of the different stills at Diamond, we agreed it shared no resemblance to PM. So I reached out to the owner of GG to see where this PM claim originated and posited that it tasted like Savalle distillate to me and others. He was very responsive and we had a nice back and forth dialogue about it. He relented after I sent him some known PM samples to compare his to, and has since removed the language referring to these as Port Mourant from his website as he does not want to make false claims or mislead consumers.

I bring all this up for two reasons…

1) Port Mourant is an over 200 year old double retort wooden still, the only one of its kind left in the world. It is finicky and limited in capacity. Not only does it create distinct, unusual, and unmistakable characteristics, it’s unable to churn out anywhere near the amount of product as the metal Savalle continuous column still can, making it inherently more valuable. I pushed to bring these expressions to Austin and purchased them for $160/ea (Houston pricing was a more generous $130) solely because I believed they were Port Mourant distillates. I would not have purchased them at those price points had I known they were Savalle still because I’m just not that big a fan of the Savalle profile and personally couldn’t justify the associated cost.

2) Most of the 600+ bottles produced from the 3 casks were sold by the time the language was removed from the website, meaning many people unwillingly or unknowingly bought it under the pretense of it being something it’s not. It’s rare for single cask PM to surface in these parts so the majority of consumers are unaware of the profile, meaning this would be the supposed introduction to PM for many. Whether they like this rum or not is besides the point. Their perception of what Port Mourant is, will have therefore been skewed, which could impact their decision to purchase other PM bottlings in the future.

Alright, philosophizing over, onto the reviews…

_____

#1: Gregarious Grump – Guyana – Diamond Distillery – 16 Year – 52.1%

Nose: Worn leather, coconut scented lotion, peppermint candy, menthol, old shoes, soursop, cinnamon, blueberry, brown sugar, chocolate.

Mouth: There’s an initial bright sweetness followed by light soy sauce, salinity, and some heat. A bit of bitterness from the wood transcends to lingering tobacco. The mouthfeel is thick and viscous. Swishing it around brings out a lot of the wood influence. After some time resting, caramel and baking spices surface, though it seems to have thinned out and become oily and dull. I hit it with a couple drops of water to see what might develop and dirty gym bag revealed itself.

Final Thoughts: This is a very decent sipping rum, and I could see it having mass appeal to the general public, but it doesn’t wow me. It doesn’t have the signature green foresty/chocolate milk/anise notes I associate with wooden pot still Guyanese rum. It actually reminds me of the Holmes Cay Uitvlugt, which was also made on the Savalle Still (Review coming soon). It’s rich and easy to drink, it’s just not wild like a Port Mourant, which is what I expected when I threw my money down.

My Score: 3

My Scale:
1 – I don’t want this in my mouth ever again
2 – Best used for mixing
3 – Decent sipper
4 – Very enjoyable
5 – I’m buying a back up bottle

_____

#2: Gregarious Grump – Guyana – Diamond Distillery – 16 Year – 54.5%

Nose: Some heat, brown sugar, caramel, burnt molasses, vanilla frosting, yeast, baking spice, chlorine

Mouth: Barrel spice, rich molasses, some bitter tannins. Mild heat, mild cigar, leather, cola syrup

Final Thoughts: This may seem a cop out description, but this tastes exactly like rum. Like if you wanted to present someone a quintessential profile for rum, this is it. Rich, smooth, molasses-forward with barrel spice. Wholly inoffensive and a winner for most, but my Demerara preference remains with the profile of the wooden stills.

My Score: 3

My Scale:
1 – I don’t want this in my mouth ever again
2 – Best used for mixing
3 – Decent sipper
4 – Very enjoyable
5 – I’m buying a back up bottle

Overall I think both rums will appeal to the general public. It’s good rum. It’s just not Port Mourant.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: