• Ivar

The Big Daiquiri Challenge - Chapter 4

Updated: Jul 23

Welcome to the fourth chapter of The Big Daiquiri Challenge. It's been quite a while since the last time we did this. Thanks to the pandemic we simply couldn't gather in our kitchen for this fun tasting session. Good thing about that was that I had some time to gather more suitable rums, although even that was harder thanks to Covid 19. Once I knew we were all vaccinated, I started sending messages out to the crew. The responses I got were all very enthusiastic. As if we'd all been walking through the desert for days, looking for water but seeing hallucinations of daiquiris. The best response came from Matthew. He sent me a screenshot of his calendar, stating:"8pm - Daiquiri Challenge AKA the greatest day of my life". :)


If you've never read any of the big daiquiri challenge articles, I'll paint a picture of what it's like. I gather 6 pairs of rums and a crew of four to five friends (Hamish Grant, Matthew Wise, Andrew Toplack, Mariangela and myself) to taste them. One of them, Dr Andrew, always makes the cocktails following the same recipe: two rum, one lime, half sweet. We then taste them, Rum A vs Rum B, single knockout. Apart from tasting the daiquiris, I also have a notepad on my lap where I'm frantically writing down as many of everyone's comments as I can. I miss out on some of them or course, as I can't always keep up. I publish all the comments as is. Don't expect much from a scientific perspective, but they are usually rather fun to read through.


If you want to check out the previous chapters, here are chapter one, chapter two and chapter 3.


As a reminder, the winners from chapter 3 were: Mount Gay XO, Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black, Ron Colón, Privateer Navy Yard, Smith & Cross and Rum Bar Overproof.




The Cast


· Wray & Nephew Overproof, New Yarmouth, Jamaica, 63%

· Clairin Communal, Clairin blend, Haiti, 43%

· Clairin Sajous, Distillerie Chelo, Haiti, 55.9%

· Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 2015, Worthy Park, Jamaica, 57%

· Longueteau Le 50, Distillerie Longueteau, Guadeloupe, 50%

· A1710 La Perle, Habitation Du Simon, Martinique, 54.5%

· Doorly’s 12, Foursquare, Barbados, 40%

· Mhoba Strand 101, Mhoba, South Africa, 55.5%

· Stolen Overproof, Hampden, Jamaica, 61.5%

· Equiano, Barbados/Mauritius blend, 43%

· Appleton 8, Appleton Estate, Jamaica, 43%

· Chairman's Reserve, St Lucia Distillers, St Lucia, 40%



The Tasting




















Chairman's Reserve vs Appleton 8


Chairman's Reserve

Ivar: Very lime heavy

Matt: Tropicana! Great nose

Mariangela: Smells like vacation

Toplack: Not impressive

Hamish: Doesn't stand up to the lime well


Appleton 8

Iv: I smell Jamaica

Matt: Eau de Joy

Top: This is better by a hair, both not great

Matt: If you are at a resort with this daiquiri, you are doing well

Ma: I'd drink this by the buckets at a resort

Iv: Has more character than the Chairman's

Ha: Chairman's is sweeter


Vote:

Iv: Appleton 8

Ma: Appleton 8

Matt: Appleton 8

Top: Appleton 8

Ha: Appleton 8


Conclusion

Appleton 8 the clear winner. The flavour comes through more solidly and wins the battle with the lime. Chairman's needs more rum in the blend. I have a sneaky suspicion that it would turn into a very solid daiquiri if you do that. Of course Appleton benefits from a few years more ageing and a 3% higher abv.


Winner: Appleton 8





















Doorly's 12 vs Equiano


Doorly's 12

Iv: Oranges!

Matt: Orange oil!

Ma: Key lime pie!

Matt: Lemon starburst!

Iv: Very fruity, mixed with Foursquareness

Ha: It's taken the edge off the lime, this is more complimentary

Ma: Easy drinking daiquiri

Matt: The rum is still not walking out the door


Equiano

Iv: Smelling chocolate???

Ma: Licorice smell

Matt: Finally a tiny tingle of alcohol

Ha: More spirit forward than the Doorly's, but less daiquiri

Iv: It's nice and easy going, but I finished the Doorly's with more pleasure

Ha: I wouldn't want this at a resort

Matt: Agree on the licorice


Vote:

Iv: Doorly's 12

Ma: Doorly's 12

Matt: Doorly's 12

Top: Doorly's 12

Ha: Doorly's 12


Conclusion

Another easy win. Doorly's is a little older, but Equiano has the higher abv. In the end, Doorly's 12 makes a daiquiri that's a little heavier and rounder. We all preferred its flavour over Equiano, although that was a nice one as well. They are both very all round and versatile rums.


Winner: Doorly's 12





















Clairin Sajous vs Clairin Communal


Clairin Sajous

Matt: Rum night has begun

Ma: It's ridiculous (good), but I'm biased

Ha: This is more what I want

Top: For a daiquiri, a rum needs to be a bit rough and raw

Iv: Divine daiquiri

Top: Warms your heart

Ha: More like a home made daiquiri

Iv: No longer at a resort

Matt: It doesn't have separate parts, it all comes together as one

Iv: Bit of petrol flavour Ha: Definitely petrol!

Ma: Smells grassy and like band-aids


Clairin Communal

Matt: Pineapple, fruits

Ha: Brand new leather couch

Top: Less rum forward

Matt: Finishes like a flavoured lemon vodka

Iv: Lots of lemon

Iv: Has less peaks than the Sajous, is a little more mellow


Vote:

Iv: Clairin Communal

Ma: Clairin Sajous

Matt: Clairin Sajous

Top: Clairin Sajous

Ha: Clairin Sajous


Conclusion

Finally we didn't all agree on one. Still, Sajous came out as the big winner. I chose Communal even though it isn't as flavourful as Sajous. I found it more approachable and balanced, which makes me think it's one you'd drink more often than Sajous. The difference in abv plays a role in this of course. We all agreed that these Clairins are somewhere at the top for daiquiri r(h)ums.


Winner: Clairin Sajous





















Longueteau Le 50 vs A1710 La Perle


Longueteau Le 50

Top: Doctor's office smell

Matt: Smells like Flintstones chewable vitamins

Ha: Styrofoam is in there somewhere

Matt: A bit of nuttiness to it and red fruits

Iv: Slightly bitter on the finish

Ha: It's like the plastic sheet you pull off your brand new tv


A1710 La Perle

Ma: Licorice again

Ha: Nice meaty daiquiri. Thicker in the mouth. Solid!

Iv: Smells like Christmas cake, raisins. Liquid newspaper!

Matt: Quite a lot of grapes in there

Matt: More industrial chemical. Pisco!

Ha: More interesting drink than Longueteau, but not as a daiquiri


Vote:

Iv: Longueteau Le 50

Ma: Longueteau Le 50

Matt: Longueteau Le 50

Top: A1710 La Perle

Ha: Longueteau Le 50


Conclusion

Both very interesting drinks, but one being the favourite daiquiri for the majority. La Perle takes you into multiple directions and is a little thicker. Longueteau is refreshing and the flavours are coming together more than with La Perle.


Winner: Longueteau





















Stolen Overproof vs Mhoba Strand 101


Stolen Overproof

Iv: High ester Jamaican nose. Nice! Very Hampden

Top: Pineapple with a band-aid. It's been bruised

Ha: Floral nose

Matt: Overripe funky pineapple. Ma: Exactly

Iv: New car smell

Matt: I'd say more a re-financed leased car

Top: Nice quality

Matt: It's delicious. Berry medley

Ma: There's some chocolate


Mhoba Strand 101

Top: More wildly flavoured than Sajous

Ma: Turpentine, like Varsol. Top: From a good year!

Iv: Petroleum smell

Matt: Banana pudding, slightly synthetic

Top: Delightful in a strange way

Iv: Marzipan!

Iv: This is incredibly interesting in a being out there kind of way


Vote:

Iv: Mhoba Strand 101

Ma: Mhoba Strand 101

Matt: Stolen Overproof

Top: Mhoba Strand 101

Ha: Mhoba Strand 101


Conclusion

Big win for Mhoba, although it was much closer than it seems. We all love Hampden, but for some of us the Mhoba provided an extra layer of "interesting". Top: Mhoba is crazy in a good way, Hampden more of a crowd pleaser. Iv: I want to prefer the Hampden, but Mhoba is more interesting in the end. Ha: The amateur drinker in me wants to take Hampden, but the professional drinker in me (hahaha) chooses Mhoba.


Winner: Mhoba Strand 101





















Wray & Nephew vs Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 2015


Wray & Nephew

Iv: Nose is perfection

Top: This will make you drunk and enjoy yourself along the way

Matt: I love it, but if I have two of these I'll have reflux the entire night

Ma: Grapefruit on the nose


Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 2015

Iv: A bit metallic, which reminds me of Rum Bar Overproof

Top: Yes, but it has a lovely balance

Matt: Marshmallows and burnt sugar

Top: Definite crowd pleaser

Ma: Very thick, syrupy

Ha: Better mouthfeel than Wray

Top: Lovely daiquiri but I like the craziness of Wray

Iv: The more I drink this, the better it gets. Has a certain sweetness to it

Ma: Normally I feel Wray is in your face, but it doesn't feel that way now in comparison


Vote:

Iv: Rum Nation

Ma: Even

Matt: Rum Nation

Top: Even

Ha: Wray & Nephew


Conclusion

This one was so difficult that Andrew and Mariangela couldn't pick a winner. Overproof rum isn't easy to come by in Canada, except for Wray & Nephew luckily. We are all used to its flavour, which might play a role. I found the Rum Nation (Worthy Park) a little more interesting, rounder and sweeter. Andrew summed up his feelings well:"Rum Nation is rounder and more of a crowd pleaser.....but in the end, Wray is Wray".


Winner: Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 2015



Andrew hard at work

Final notes


I asked everyone for their top 2 of the night. These are the answers I got:


Top: Wray & Nephew and Rum Nation Jamaica

Matt: Clairin Sajous and Rum Nation Jamaica

Ha: Clairin Sajous and Longueteau

Ma: Clairin Sajous and Wray & Nephew

Iv: Clairin Communal and Rum Nation Jamaica


In the end it's a tie between Clairin Sajous and Rum Nation Jamaica for the night. Interesting fact is that all of the top 2 rums are unaged, even though half the candidates are aged. There is something special about unaged rums in a daiquiri. That doesn't mean aged ones don't work well. We've had plenty of examples of that in previous daiquiri challenges. I do find a drop of Jamaican overproof rum can help an aged rum stand out even more in a daiquiri.


This was so much fun again and we are no doubt going to continue this in the future. First need to collect some more daiquiri worthy rums. That shouldn't take as long as the pandemic has lasted us so far though. Can't have another daiquiri challenge break for more than a year.


Until then, please do this at home!



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