So what the heck is this? Another newbie indie bottler with an urge to conquer the rum world? Yeah, pretty much. Although EKTE is not as newbie as you would expect.
Actually, to tell the story of EKTE we have to go a bit back in time.
EKTE is spearheaded by the most flamboyant rum geek I know: Mr. Daniel Bascunan.
A fellow Dane (imported from Chile a long time a go) who according to legend was the man who brought the Mojito to Denmark. Furthermore he was the mastermind behind legendary Rum Club Copenhagen, which is, so far, one the only, serious rum bars in Denmark.
Sure other bars have rums, and some even have quite a few. But nothing beats the 500+ collection at Rum Club as far as I know.
Anyway, as time went by Daniel started issuing his own blends under the Rum Club name.
And now he has launched a brand new lineup of limited edition single casks in collaboration with a large Danish liquor store chain, which also assimilated the aforementioned blended products.
For more incredibly detailed information on Daniels professional rum journey, please refer to the link at the bottom, which will take you to a huge interview on www.gotrum.com.
The new line of single cask rums are also cask strength ones, which only spiked my interest even more.
I take it you have been by this blog before, so it will come as no surprise whatsoever, that I am indeed a frantic cask strength fanboy.
So, when Daniel reached out and asked if I would like to try out a couple of samples of the new EKTE rums, how could I say no?
And here I am, holding a cute little sample bottle of the ”EKTE No2 Jamaica 12 year old”, which originates from the Monymusk distillery and is bottled at 60% ABV. Nice.
I haven’t been fortunate enough to try that many Monymusks yet, so naturally I’m quite excited to get down to business. But first things first.
Daniel is a huge advocate for transparency and information in rum, so I know for absolute certain, that this rum is untouched in the sense of additives, sugar, caramel, extracts from bubblegum trees and what have you not.
Just a pure rum with a story to tell.
Since this is only a sample, I’ll have to rely on information from the internet to describe the packaging.
First of all: It is a seriously fresh breath of air in a world full of bottles with pictures of ships, pirates, parrots, writing in script fonts and long more or less believable background stories.
The bottle is a nice, short and stubby one in a pure black colour. Again quite refreshing.
The front label is split in two, with a coloured upper part, which carries the number of the limited single cask rum in side (EKTE has chosen to number their releases, and this is No2).
The lower white part of the label tells the story of the rum is as few words as possible.
Origin country, distillery, age, date distilled, type of still used, if it’s molasses or cane juice based, ABV and number of bottles. That’s it. All you need to know.
FYI this particular release yielded only 270 bottles at 50 cl., so if you want to try it out, you’ll have to act fast.
One insanely interesting feature is the glass ”cork”, which isn’t actually a cork per se, but more a tiny lid with a rubber ring connected to it. It looks super stylish, it doesn’t dissolve and it doesn’t taint the rum inside. Innovation happening right here in our own little rum world. Awesome.
Time will tell if this kind of solution sticks or it’s too futuristic.
So, on to the fun part. The rum.
The colour is dark straw – almost yellow. And due to no filtration, we also see a lot of tiny floating specks in there.
In the glass it seems a bit thick and viscous, clinging to the sides of the glass for its life. A nice thick ring evolves into many medium sizes droplets, which very, very slowly moves down towards the surface of the pool of rum in the glass.
Super soft, and super funky Jamaican. No doubt.
The fruity funk seems a bit mellow compared to other Jamaicans, and there is a pleasant but unusual velvety softness to it.
First up is the fruity funk composed of overripe bananas, sour green apples and a bit of stale cola.
Beneath that came a layer of cocoa and vanilla cream, which is where the velvet texture came from.
Blended in between it all came a bit of rubber, and a rather sharp wooden edge. But nothing to compromise the great over all expression.
Suddenly it hit me: Oh yeah. This is a 60% cask strength beast. Nowhere on the nose did it hint such force. But then again, maybe it didn’t come off quite as strong on the palate as well.
The strength reminded me more of the 50% Cadenhead’s Classic Rum than any of the 60%+ Veliers and Compagnie Des Indes beasts.
Despite the high strength it feels very controlled.
At first sip it comes of surprisingly woody with both some heavy oak and some pencils (yeah, I know. I’ve gotta work out which wood type I keep referring to as pencils soon!).
But whereas other pencil-drinks has been associated with a bit of pain and suffering, this rum somehow manages to break that trend.
The wooden layer is supported by a huge bag of cinnamon with a minor brown sugar influence. Very nice.
The fruity notes from the nose translates very well on to the palate with no real surprises or shortcomings.
It is now where near as fruity as the common Jamaican, and if you buy this after having finished an Appleton or a Hampden, you will find it quite different.
It fades rather quickly until it reaches a certain level. And then it stays there forever to let you savour its fruits and spices for a long time.
Nothing new. Just the same great song I had already experienced, but at lower volume.
Even 10-15 minutes after finishing, you can still taste fruits and woods.
Rating and final thoughts
Awesome stuff. So controlled, so balanced.
Once before I’ve compared a rum to a katana, and I’m quite tempted to do it again. It is crafted with the same amount of skill.
I can see why EKTE chose to bottle this rum. It is absolutely stunning.
Sure it could have packed a larger punch. It could have been more of a flavour explosion. But it really didn’t need to. It has a certain set of qualities, and it takes them all to the max.
I’ll be honest and say that the sharper wooden notes aren’t among my favourite ones. But in this case they are displayed in such a controlled environment that I truly enjoyed them for the very first time.
So, what does it cost?
Well, a 50 cl. bottle will set you back around €130-140. So when doing the math and converting to a 70 cl. standard bottle, the equivalent price would be €180-200.
Sure. It is a great rum, no doubt. But the price still seems a bit steep.
Over the past year or so we have experienced a massive increase in prices from indie bottlers and at the moment I can’t really start to guess where we will end up.
Perhaps these prices are just the natural place where supply and demand meets these days, as rum has really started to take off in popularity.
Being an old fart I tend to adjust to change quite slowly, so for now I’ll frown a little at this new price level, preach about how nothing is like the old days, and be disappointed that I have to start prioritise a lot more before buying new bottles.
In reality the value is probably quite great. But I can’t help comparing the price to other bottles in my collection which cost me the same for 70 cl. and this one costs for just 50 cl.
Much has been said about old stocks of great rums dwindling fast and that present day rums will never be as awesome as the old ones. But if the EKTE 12 year old Monymusk is the standard of the future, I suspect we will be alright.
Even though the price may be high, and it still could improve on some points, it still performs better than several ”old world rums”, and therefore it lands a solid…