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Review: 1998 Guyana 20 yr. - The Duchess

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

1998 Guyana 20 yr. - The Duchess - 50.8%

Most of the Guyanese rum I've sampled has been pot distilled and enjoyable. I don't have much context for column still bottlings from Diamond Distillery or official releases from DDL. When it comes to other rum, Panamanian and Nicaraguan column still rums haven't provided the crave worthy profiles that Jamaican pot stills or pot/column blends from Barbados inspire. If I'm in the mood for something lighter and clean, I'm not usually looking at rum.

This release is a 1998 vintage distilled on Diamond's Wooden Coffey Still, aged for 20 years with 8 of those spent in an armagnac barrel, guessing most of the aging happened continentally. I've previously enjoyed the 2006 Worthy Park bottling by The Duchess.

Note: Review isn't on the first pour. Bottle was at ~50% at time of review.


Nose: It's tight. Needs time and water to open. Light wood and spice. Big eucalyptus. Raisin. Citrus. Black licorice. Water brings out a lot more savory spice and molasses. Wood takes on more character. Very reserved for rum.

Flavor: Mostly wood and raisin. Touch of glazed sugar. Again it's very light wood. Earthier and spicier with water here too.

Structure: Extremely light. Thin and linear. Moves too quickly. Ends abruptly. Water fills out the palate and extends the finish.

Alcohol Integration: Needs a few drops of extra dilution. It's in trouble without water.

Score: 5 (Acceptable) Water saved the day. We were in 3 territory before the extra dilution. Took a few drops (and extended air time) to significantly improve the nose and fill out the palate. Still, this isn't delivering the kind of depth, complexity, or expressiveness you'd hope to find with a 20 year age statement.


You May Also Dig:

20-30 year single grain whiskies hit similar light wood and burnt sugar profiles.


Rating System

10 - Reevaluate The Budget

9 - Stash Two (If Able)

8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)

7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers

6 - Solid - Above Average

5 - Acceptable For The Situation

4 - Not Vocally Complaining

3 - Anything Else To Drink?

2 - Nothing Nice To Say

1 - Drain Pour

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