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.
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.
· 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%
Chairman's Reserve vs Appleton 8
Ivar: Very lime heavy
Matt: Tropicana! Great nose
Mariangela: Smells like vacation
Toplack: Not impressive
Hamish: Doesn't stand up to the lime well
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
Iv: Appleton 8
Ma: Appleton 8
Matt: Appleton 8
Top: Appleton 8
Ha: Appleton 8
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
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
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
Iv: Doorly's 12
Ma: Doorly's 12
Matt: Doorly's 12
Top: Doorly's 12
Ha: Doorly's 12
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
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
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
Iv: Clairin Communal
Ma: Clairin Sajous
Matt: Clairin Sajous
Top: Clairin Sajous
Ha: Clairin Sajous
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
Iv: Longueteau Le 50
Ma: Longueteau Le 50
Matt: Longueteau Le 50
Top: A1710 La Perle
Ha: Longueteau Le 50
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.
Stolen Overproof vs Mhoba Strand 101
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: This is incredibly interesting in a being out there kind of way
Iv: Mhoba Strand 101
Ma: Mhoba Strand 101
Matt: Stolen Overproof
Top: Mhoba Strand 101
Ha: Mhoba Strand 101
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
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
Iv: Rum Nation
Matt: Rum Nation
Ha: Wray & Nephew
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
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!