Mezan Jamaica 2000 - Long Pond Distillery

Mezan Jamaica 2000-Long Pond-RG1

Product of:  Jamaica
Aged:  10 years (approximate) 
Price: $55-$60
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
Sugar: 0-5g/L (estimate)
Context: Premium Aged  Rum 
RG Rating:  8

Tasting Notes
A potent bouquet of sweet, sulphury and funky molasses-based rum permeates your local atmosphere immediately after unscrewing the cap and pouring Mezan Jamaica 2000 Long Pond into your tasting glass.  Delicate sniffing is not required:  this rum is a bouquet bomb.

The color is golden like an oaky chardonnay, surprising light for a rum that spent ten or more years aging in an oak barrel.  Admittedly, color doesn’t necessarily mean much as long as it’s real and not the result of artificial colorants.  Still, the light gold hue might be a clue that the ex-Bourbon barrels used to age this rum were nearly exhausted.  A sniff n’ sip will be more revealing. 

A crown, crowded with rum droplets, clings to the side of the glass at the top the smear left after swirling, and the beads quickly form into  many fast, short-lived legs, leaving very little residue from a lack of surface tension.  So, clue #2 suggests that nothing’s been added to this rum. 

OK, Mezan is easy on the eyes, so let’s move onto the sniffing.  Inhale – Mezan Jamaica 2000 Long Pond is true to the island’s traditions, it’s a pungent rum that smells exactly where its comes from:  molasses wash enhanced with old dunder, then pot-distilled.  Jamaica, there’s nothing else quite like the smell of your rum.  Lesser notes of pineapple (contributed by the dunder), roasted fennel seed, mild phenyl/paraffin scents, cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet vanilla spice, all a bit harsher to the nose than expected from 40% ABV.

Sipping reveals is a pleasant surprise; the rum is more kind to your palate than to your nose.  The aromas are well balanced, expressed as subtly nuanced flavors of milk chocolate and caramel, tempered by a sweet coconut-buttery texture (perhaps the extent of the old oak barrel’s contribution), and a finish that ends flavorful but dry.  Mezan Jamaica 200 Long Pond comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.

Mezan Jamaica 2000-Long Pond Seal-RG1

Anecdotes
Mezan calls their products “the untouched rum”  Rums sourced from various Caribbean distilleries are aged in used Bourbon barrels, and bottled without adding sweeteners or coloring agents, but are lightly filtered.

Fermented and distilled at the Long Pond Distillery in Trelawny Parish, Jamaica, using a production technique (some call it voodoo) that uses uses waste from previous distillations in subsequent fermentations. This dunder is added to the fermenting molasses wash, adding considerable bacteria and yielding high-ester, pungent aromas and flavors.  This technique is more refined than it sounds, and has been practiced by Long Pond and Hampden Estate for decades.  Dunder gives the rum a characteristic often referred to as Funk or Hogo, the aromas being somewhat of an acquired taste.  (Personally, I cherish them). Long Pond uses copper pot batch distillation, and this rum reportedly made two passes through the still and double retorts.

Opinion 
It’s a shame that this particular Mezan rum was discontinued after a short period of availability, because  aged stocks from this distillery are all too rare and/or pricey. Their Jamaica 2000 vintage rum was distilled either.  Bottles still exist on shelves, so be on the lookout for this Jamaican jungle pussycat.

Reviewed:  January 2016 at The Rum Gallery, USA.: February 2014 while sailing around Thailand and again in September 2014 at the Rum Gallery, USA.


© Dave Russell 2017