Ultimatum is the new rum series from Van Wees, a Dutch indie bottler that releases some killer bottles (and the occasional dud) under their "Ultimate" whisky series. Their prices are always fantastic and below market rate, and this new rum series is no different: less expensive than Laing's Kill Devil, Kintra, or Cadenhead (though all of those have very fair prices too, and I'm not complaining).
Much like the other indies, Van Wees is doing it right: no additives, non-chill filtered and proofed to 46% (hey, I'll take it!), and no coloring added. Cheers, lads! Great to see another bottler bringing so many affordable, excellent single-cask rum options to market.
Four Square distillery in Barbados has won accolades from my two favorite critics, Serge Valentin and Sku, and RumShopBoy has also extolled their virtues. I tried an indie Foursquare last week (Dorley's 12 year) but found it a bit dilute and sweet. Can this one hit my sweet spot? RumShopBoy scored it an 85, but said it takes some time and it's a bizarre cask.
It's nice. Good-not-great, very pleasant, an approachable spicy affair with a mild funk. It kind of tastes like Clynelish or Benrinnes, actually. Tasting this blind, I might have guessed it was one of those, as the fruit isn't overpowering and the funk doesn't knock your head off. The finish is a bit short, but it doesn't disappear entirely.
It fits into that "dangerously drinkable" category. It's not a "wow, I need to hoard this" type of bottle, but I can give this to noobs and snobs, and they'll both enjoy it. A bottle like this is an important bridge for people who might recoil at the barnyard stink of Hampden, or who are skeptical of rum but love bourbon/malts.
86 pts/B. Almost the score as RumShopBoy. A real crowd pleaser. Easy. Enjoyable with enough depth to keep you interested. Lacks that extra gear to totally wow me, but this is lovely, like a "Diet Hampden" in some ways. A fantastic value for the price.