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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

March 12, 2017


More French malternative-y rhums

Since we had some intriguing rhum from La Favorite last time, maybe could we try to taste other expressions of theirs. Agreed? Let me check how many we’ve got… Right, three, that’s already a session…

La Favorite 12 yo 2002/2014 ‘Réserve du Château’ (43%, OB, La Martinique, agricole)

La Favorite 12 yo 2002/2014 ‘Réserve du Château’ (43%, OB, La Martinique, agricole) Three starsSome small batch agricole that’s rather expensive. It seems, according to some trustworthy sources, that La Favorite are adding some special concoctions to some of their rums (fruits, honey, whatever), which makes them sweeter without having to add proper sugar (or sugar syrups). A bit like liqueurs de dosage in Champagne. Colour: gold. Nose: well it does not smell ‘sweetened’, and rather delicately cane-y, spicy, and tropical. Some bananas cooked in honey, a touch of liquorice (of which we had found plenty in their Coeur de Rhum) and a little milk chocolate. A Martiniquan that’s close to the best Cubans (aged Santiagos). Mouth: spicier and rather different indeed. Some sour fruits and plenty of spices. Sour pears, oranges, small pineapples, then cloves and caraway, cinnamon… It’s rather firm altogether, and pretty much to my liking. Finish: medium, spicy and liquoricy. Comments: some singular agricole, but I’m finding this cuvee less ‘idiosyncratic’ than  other Favorites. Still different from most other agricoles, though… SGP:651 - 82 points.

La Favorite 14 yo 2000/2014 ‘Réserve du Château’ (43%, OB, La Martinique, agricole)

La Favorite 14 yo 2000/2014 ‘Réserve du Château’ (43%, OB, La Martinique, agricole) Three stars and a half This is the older sister, launched around the same time if I’m not mistaken. Colour: dark gold. Nose: rather more oak in this one, unsurprisingly, and more coffee and cocoa. More cigars, cedar wood, polished wood, also damp earth, mushrooms, autumn leaves… I tend to enjoy this style, I have to say, we’re getting closer to some excellent heavily oloroso-ed, say old Glenlivet. Mouth: a sweetness kicking in, this could have been a little dier, but other than that, it’s complex, chocolaty, coffee-ish, and even, quite bizarrely, a little malty (Ovaltine/Ovomaltine). Also blood oranges, the usual liquorice, and quite some tea-ness (black Russian tea). Finish: quite long, perhaps a notch gritty/tannic (more black tea) but the cane-iness is still there. Cocoa powder in the aftertaste. Comments: the 2002 was brighter, this is ‘darker’ and more a classic. SGP:561 - 83 points.

La Favorite 1985/2015 ‘Cuvée de la Flibuste’ (40%, OB, La Martinique, agricole)

La Favorite 1985/2015 ‘Cuvée de la Flibuste’ (40%, OB, La Martinique, agricole) one star and a half This baby’s more or less thirty years old, which is huge given that it was aged in the tropics. Colour: office coffee. Nose: a ‘converging’ old rum, meaning that it’s going towards all other well aged spirits, including cognac, armagnac, and indeed ex-sherry malt whisky. Very soft globally, a notch jammy (quinces, bananas), and rather honeyed, with a molassy side. Prunes are also to be noticed, as well as big phat raisins. Chestnut honey. Mouth: badaboom, it’s very sugary and liqueury. Cloying arrival, light and thick at the same time, feeling very ‘doctored’. Coffee liqueur, molasses, maize syrup, Cointreau… Well it’s certainly very well made, but it’s not quite for me. I shan’t call this ‘Zacapa-ish’, but you get the idea. A shame. Finish: medium, too sugary and syrupy. Whenever I need banana or pineapple liqueur, I know where I can find some. The aftertaste is a little better though, thanks to some oak. Comments: really, feels doctored. Why would you do that to some thirty years old agricole rum? Tradition, perhaps... SGP:740 - 68 points.

Quick, some French medicine…

Karukera 2009/2016 ‘Select Casks’ (45%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole)

Karukera 2009/2016 ‘Select Casks’ (45%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole) Four stars and a half From fourteen ex-Cognac casks, bottled at cask strength - really. I’ve already heard good things. One of the first genuine Karukeras (long story short, previous ones were sourced from immediate neighbours Longueteau). Colour: full gold. Nose: peaches, vanilla, golden raisins, quinces, overripe apples, apricots… Indeed this could be artisan cognac. Very lightly cane-y, and perhaps a notch ‘international’, but other than that, I find it perfect. Drops of yellow Chartreuse, perhaps. Mouth: excellent, starting a tad bourbony (varnish, vanilla, gooseberries), getting then much more cane-y than on the nose, and developing on tart tropical fruits, with an impeccable brightness. Tangerines, pomelos, Timut pepper, and simply more peaches. Rather ‘meta’, and certainly excellently made. Finish: rather long, going more towards… malt whisky this time. Think a blend of Rosebank and Bruichladdich. Comments: perhaps not the most ‘rooted’ French agricole, but the execution was perfect. Totally the opposite of that Flibuste 1985, which was my aim anyway. SGP:551 - 88 points.

Karukera 2008/2016 ‘L’Expression’ (48.1%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole)

Karukera 2008/2016 ‘L’Expression’ (48.1%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole) Four stars Apparently, this is totally ex-blue cane. And, un-chillfiltered, at natural strength, un-caramelised of course… Where have we seen that already? Colour: amber. Nose: it’s a little fatter than the 2009, jammier, more floral, more ‘classic’… Now the cane is more obvious, liquorice, rounded oak spices, liquorice (twice, S.?), a little wild raspberry eau-de-vie, pineapples, bananas… It’s totally lovely, just a little more, say ‘girly’? (I’ll get shot one day). Mouth: I hate it and I love it. I hate it because it’s much sweeter and jammier than  the 2009, almost syrupy and, please don’t shoot, ‘Don-Papa-ish’, which is the ultimate insult. On the other hand, what’s inside this sweetness is pretty brilliant, with many delicate spices and tropical fruits, and quite few oak oils. Tannins coming out after a few minutes. More black tea! Finish: long, with a lot of strong and dry chestnut honey. Liquorice in the much drier aftertaste, a bit La-Favorite-style. Comments: look, I’m sure rum lovers will like this one better, but as I’m a whisky guy, and since I like to just argue the opposite of whatever others say, I’m rather in favour of the 2009. There!  SGP:661 - 85 points.

(With thanks to Cyril and the Rumaniacs)

More tasting notes Check the index of all rums I've tasted so far







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