Alfred Lamb's 1949 special reserve


Average score

Bottle Profile
Distillery Unknown
Origin Jamaica
Bottler Undefined
Type Pure Single Rum (100% pot still)
Alcohol By Volume 40%
Sugar Measured 0 g/L
Description A limited edition of 510 bottles, Alfred Lamb's Special Reserve was distilled in Jamaica in 1949 (09.09.1949). Bottle #155/510
Review 3


Review by "Serge" Score: 86

This old rum was bottled at Dumbarton in Scotland and I guess it was an ‘early landed’ rum. It matured in three puncheons in the Highlands of Scotland and was bottled around 1990 (it’s a 75cl bottle), so it’s probably around 40 years old.

Nose: it’s quite monumental and I just understood that I should have tried the Glenlivet first. Well, long pauses will be needed between both! Anyway, this is no clean, ueberfruity rum, it’s even kind of disturbing at first nosing, with some rotting fruits and vegetables. I even get old cooked cabbage, which should be a disaster but it’s kind of an asset in this context. Bags and bags of overripe bananas, a lot of natural vanilla (whole pods), something such as tamarind jam, butter cream, old ham (Italian for once), fermenting hay, whiffs of horse sweat… Well, you got it, it’s a big and unusual old thing. I haven’t tried many very old rums but I remember a Jamaican 1941 by G&M that was much more polished and, well, civilised.

Palate: molasses and liquorice all over the place at first sips, it’s quite massive again despite the low strength. Very creamy, very rich mouth feel, almost oily. Then the mint kicks in, together with even more sweet liquorice (like rolls) and a feeling of old-style cough syrup. It’s all very compact, very pleasant, very satisfying but without all the complexity that we can find in the best malts (or the best Demerara rums for that matter).

Finish: long – an even longer pause will be needed before we get down to the old Glenlivet. More sweet liquorice and a tiny salty feeling – did that come from all these years in Scotland?

Thoughts: it’s relatively youthful, compact, not too sweet and, frankly, really lovely, but I wouldn’t swap a bottle of this for 10cl of an old Port Mourant or Skeldon by Velier, for example.

Review by "Lance" Score: 82

This rum is one of the reasons I love the spirits made so long ago - they shine a light into the way things were back in the day. Alfred Lamb started making dark rum from West Indian bulk rum back in 1849, ageing his barrels in cellars below the Thames and laid claim to making "real" Navy rum. These days the company seems to make supermarket rum more than any kind of serious earth-shaking popskull...but the potential remains, as this rum (almost) points out. It's issued by United Rum Merchants, who trace their own heritage back to Lyman "Lemon" Hart in 1804 (yes, that Lyman Hart). Back during WW2 and the Blitz (in 1941) Keeling and Lamb were both bombed out of their premises and URM took them under their wing in Eastcheap. It's a little complicated, but these days Pernod Ricard seems to own the brand and URM dissolved in 2008. Put to rest in Dumbarton (Scotland), matured in three puncheons and 510 bottles issued around 1990, so it's forty years old...with maybe some change left over. It's from Jamaica, but I don't know which distillery. Could actually be a blend, which is what Lamb's was known for.

Nose: Well, unusual is a good word to describe this one. The leather of old brogues, well polished and broken in with shoe polish and acetone, perhaps left in the sun too long after a long walk in the Highlands. Old veggies, fruits, bananas, light florals, all perhaps overripe - kinda dirty, actually, though not entirely in a bad way - somehow it gels. Vanilla, brine, a certain meatiness - let's just call it funk and move on. Wish it was stronger, by the way.

Palate: Ahh, crap, too damned light. I've come to the personal realization that I want Jamaicans to have real torque in their trousers and 40% don't get me there, sorry. Oh well. So...light and somewhat briny, citrus and stewed apples, some flowers again, some sweet of pancake syrup and wet compost, leather. It seems to be more complex than it is, in my opinion. Plus, it's a bit raw - nothing as relatively civilized as another venerable Jamaican, the Longpond 1941. Still, big enough, creamy enough for its age and strength.

Finish: Pleasingly long for a 40% rum, yay!. Vanilla, leather, some brine and olives and fruits and then it slowly fades. Quite good actually

Thoughts: A solid Jamaican rum, feels younger and fresher than any forty year old has a right to be, even if it doesn't quite play in the same league as the Longpond 1941. Makes me wish Lamb's would stop messing around with "everyone-can-drink-it" rums, which are made for everyone, and therefore no-one.

Review by "Henrik" Score: 79

Nose: Classic jamaican up front. Fruity funk composed of green apples and pineapple. Soft caramel and oak, along with some rotting bananas. Very much like any other Jamaican I’ve tried.

Palate: Rather light bodied with more of the fruity funk. Green apples are the most evident note, along with just a slighy oaky nature and a hint of maple sirup. But also freshly cut grass and decomposing forrest floor. At the very end also a bit of menthols. It ends up coming off as very fresh and flowery. Rather soft and not a brutal as most Jamaicans. Suffers a bit from the low proof.

Finish: And then again. Perhaps the low proof is suitable. As it starts to die off, it gains a couple of levels of heat and suddenly feels a little hard on the edges. It gives off more of the fruits and the grassy notes, but then slowly dials it down. Way too soon it’s over and builds towards only having a fresh, grassy note left.

Thoughts: A very nice and fresh piece of Jamaican. Not at all surprising and the low proof keeps everything a little too much in check, and I suddenly realise that it’s quite boring. But it is tasty and feel nicely built. Good rum for sure.

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