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

February 26, 2017


Un peu de rhum malternatif

Let’s see what we can find, without ceremony. Mind you, you cannot taste old Appleton every time. So, we have some French rhum on the table today…

Damoiseau 8 yo (42%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2016)

Damoiseau 8 yo (42%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2016) Three stars We’ve had Damoiseau’s Cuvée du Millénaire in 2015 and thought it was good (WF 80) but this one should be a more mundane cuvee. Not sure… It comes from Distillerie Bellevue. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s quite amazing how much pineapple we find in this nose! Added touches of earthy liquorice do complement that and make this baby very easy and attractive. Fruity and rounded, but not dull at all. Z., take that. Mouth: really good, easy yet firm, less pina-colada-ish than on the nose, yet smooth, yet fresh… No, it’s really good, even if it won’t make you scratch your head. Fine oak spices, perhaps a wee slice of banana pie, a little cinnamon… All that is well integrated. Finish: medium, rather more cane-y, which is obviously nice. A little salt in the aftertaste. Comments: another session that started well. A great example of an easy agricole. SGP:641 - 82 points.

Let’s hop to…

La Favorite ‘Coeur de Rhum’ (40%, OB, La Martinique, agricole, +/-2016)

La Favorite ‘Coeur de Rhum’ (40%, OB, La Martinique, agricole, +/-2016) Two stars and a half La Favorite are relatively secretive when it comes to ‘how they make their rhums’ but the small distillery’s got an excellent reputation. This baby’s said to be around four or five years old. Colour: dark amber. Nose: very fragrant, with many more flowers than in the Damoiseau, but also some coffee and burnt sugar. Whiffs of cedar wood, as well as a molassy side – and yet this is well agricole. A pack of liquorice. Mouth: starts earthy, gets then very liquoricy, extremely liquoricy, hugely liquoricy… Well, we’re just having all the liquorice from the pack we had just opened. In some way, this is to la Martinique what the 105 is to Glenfarclas. Minus the high strength. Finish: long and, you guessed it, very liquoricy. The cedar wood is back in the aftertaste. Comments: very good, but perhaps a little monolithic. SGP:651 - 78 points.

Saint James ‘Fleur de Canne’ (42%, OB, La Martinique, agricole, +/-2016)

Saint James ‘Fleur de Canne’ (42%, OB, La Martinique, agricole, +/-2016) Three stars This one’s between 4 and 5 as well. The parallelepipedic bottle reminds us of that of Jonnie Walker (and?) Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a much fresher, cleaner, more floral and fruitier rhum after the dark Favorite. Some cane juice, some oranges, tinned pineapples, perhaps touches of tinned litchis, a wee coppery side, a touch of honeysuckle… All is well in this rather elegant nose. Mouth: same flavours, it’s fresh, very cane-y, with touches of oranges, a mild spiciness, bits of zests, Jaffa cake… Indeed, all is good and well. Finish: medium, fresh, with a little more candy sugar, tobacco, café latte… Comments: a fresh, rather lovely composition. SGP:641 - 81 points.

J. Bally 3 yo (45%, OB, La Martinique, agricole, +/-2016)

J. Bally 3 yo (45%, OB, La Martinique, agricole, +/-2016) Three stars and a half What are we doing, they are getting younger and younger! This bottle is pyramidal this time, this is a very geometrical session, isn’t it. Oh and they make it at Saint James, by the way. Colour: deep gold. Nose: well, it may be young, but it rocks. Perfect caramelly and coffee-ish cane juice, dry, with an obvious floral side (broom) and these olive-y touches that, again and again, we just adore. As if hey had added a few litres of Jamaican to each cask. So it’s not all sweetness, all for the better. Mouth: really excellent. Gentian, bitter oranges, Bénédictine, cane juice, crystallised oranges, triple-sec… Fewer olives this time, and it’s probably a little sweeter than expected, but it’s a perfect distillate. And this gentian! Finish: long, rather salty, rooty, with a Cointreau-ish aftertaste. Perhaps a little sweet now, loses one or two points. Comments: only three years old and all its teeth already. SGP:652 - 84 points.

Five’s a deal, so a last one, eenie meenie… Oh yes, La Réunion!

Savanna 12 yo 2004/2016 ‘Lontan’ (64.2%, OB, La Réunion, cask #323, 721 bottles)

Savanna 12 yo 2004/2016 ‘Lontan’ (64.2%, OB, La Réunion, cask #323, 721 bottles) Four stars Ex-Cognac cask and Grand Arôme, so prolonged fermentations for more funky flavours. Hopefully. This is not agricole, it’s traditional rum, ex-molasses. The word ‘Lontan’ means ‘longtemps’ which means ‘for a long time’. Colour: amber. Nose: wahouh, as we say in France. There’s even more varnish than in Bufflao Trace’s strongest, and more black olives than in a jar of black olives. That’s the long fermentation, and believe me, it’s almost as funky as some 6 months old Worthy Park. Quite. With water: ooh! Diesel oil and crushed sardines and anchovies, plus something that I cannot seem to manage to describe, maybe something extraterrestrial… Mouth (neat): if you would excuse me… This is probably excellent, but it burns you. So, with water: there, we tamed it. Can you believe it? But what’s surprising is that it’s ridden with peaches and apricots. No, really. Jasmine tea. Perhaps ylang-ylang jelly? Yes that does exist, they have that in Madagascar. Really very funky and sometimes rather surreal, as Dali would have said. Finish: very long, and saltier. Always a great sign. Comments: if, like many a connoisseur, you believe that everything happens during fermentations, maybe you should try this baby. SGP:652 - 87 points.

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







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