Google Young French rums from the Caribbean

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

September 24, 2017


Young French rums from the Caribbean

So, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and adjacent island Marie-Galante. The very heart of rhum agricole, although contrarily to popular belief, not all rums from those islands are agricole (and ex-pure cane juice)… And let’s do that randomly, and see what we have, with a thought for all the people in the Caribbean who have been struck by those terrible recent hurricanes.

Montebello 3 yo ‘Vieux’ (42%, OB, Guadeloupe, +/-2017)

Montebello 3 yo ‘Vieux’ (42%, OB, Guadeloupe, +/-2017) Three stars and a halfMontebello, from Distillerie Carrère, is one of the lesser-known makes, and stems from the Basse-Terre part of the island of Guadeloupe. Fermentation is a little longer at Carrère (48 hours) and they are doing something funny that some Scots may try as well one day, they put their barrels into huge metallic containers, which seems to speed-up aging in a fairly natural way. In other words, a cheaper equivalent to heated warehouses. This is molasses-based, not agricole. Colour: pale gold. Nose: reminds me of other Montebellos, with this slightly whacky style, slightly ‘rotten’, in a good way. Fermenting cane juice, warm croissants, custard, and aniseed/fennel seeds. Do they add pastis? Mouth: simply good, mentholy and pastis-y indeed at first, then with ripe bananas and pineapples, and a rather lovely cane-y background. Finish: rather long, a tad rubbery and slightly salty, and with notes of pineapple-flavoured gums. Caramel in the aftertaste. Comments: very young and already very good, in my opinion. A very singular style, worth trying. SGP:642 - 84 points.

A 1710 ‘Soleil de Minuit’ (46.4%, OB, Martinique, 1300 bottles, 2016)

A 1710 ‘Soleil de Minuit’ (46.4%, OB, Martinique, 1300 bottles, 2016) Four stars A brand new distillery in Martinique, at Habitation du Simon, but this is sourced rum, not theirs as they just started. This baby’s 8 years old, it seems. I’ve heard some rum lovers complain about the fact that this was too expensive (170€, but the Cognacqy decanter is lovely). Colour: deep gold. Nose: rather complex, polished, with precious woods and some cigarette tobacco, then touches of red currants and, maybe, black cherries. Then ripe bananas, olives, and a little tar. I don’t find it very ‘agricole’, I have to say, but it sure is pretty complex. Mouth: it’s funny that it’s rather in the style of the Montebello, with a feeling of salted pastis and ultra-ripe bananas, then salty liquorice. A lovely earthiness in the background, as well as some salty menthol and tar liqueur. Really very nice rhum that will please many a whisky lover, too bad the price is too high. Finish: rather long, on earth, tobacco, liquorice roots and a little charcoal. Nice caraway and nutmeg in the aftertaste. Comments: probably not worth the price, unless you love decanters, but I think quality’s very high. Not my business but they should make a cheaper version in regular bottles. SGP:552 - 86 points.

Neisson ‘Réserve Spéciale’ (42%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2016)

Neisson ‘Réserve Spéciale’ (42%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2016) Four stars Neisson is probably the French rum that’s most talked-about these days. The Foursquare of the French Caribbean ;-). This is a multi-vintage Neisson from 2004, 2006 and 2007. Colour: gold. Nose: some kind of tarry butter at first nosing, then dried pineapples, figs and dates (we’re very close to malt whisky at this point), then rather flowers (lilies, honeysuckle) and natural vanilla. A wee metallic touch in the back, lovely. Mouth: really easy, yet characterful, with this feeling of fruits just starting to rot. Okay, to ferment. Some light fruitcake, angelica, banana jam, and some clove-y oranges. Half a Belgian speculoos (aren’t all speculoos Belgian, S.?) Finish: medium, fresh, on cassata and all-honey gingerbread. Comments: easy and good, with something of some young fresh estate Cognac. High quality, as expected. SGP:641 - 85 points.

Distillerie de Paris ‘Rhum Faubourg’ (46%, OB, France, 2016)

Distillerie de Paris ‘Rhum Faubourg’ (46%, OB, France, 2016) Four stars This is not quite made at Distillerie de Paris, it’s a vatting of rums from various origins, finished in small casks at the lovely wee Parisian distillery. I’m not too sure about the proportions of proper French agricole or ‘industriel’ inside. Colour: light gold. Nose: wholegrain bread, pumpernickel, bergamots, geranium flowers, quinces, and caraway in some rum? Doesn’t quite feel like ‘100% rum’ I have to say, but what is rum? Could be high-end gin, which would make it a gin-rummy (oh come on, S.!) Mouth: indeed, not ‘rum’ as such. Or say not organoleptically rum, but this sort of herbal eau-de-vie is just brilliant, in my opinion. The oak doesn’t quite feel, but there are many lovely spices, caraway, juniper, lavender, liquorice, then rather yuzu… In short, it loses you but it’s fun. Finish: rather long and extremely fresh. Yuzu and caraway to the power of ten, as well as juniper. Comments: not quite rhum or rum, but “c’est si bon, de partir n'importe où, bras dessus, bras dessous…”… SGP:561 - 85 points.

Bielle 2010/2016 ‘Extra Vieux’ (56%, OB, for LMDW 60th Anniversary, Marie-Galante, 1200 bottles)

Bielle 2010/2016 ‘Extra Vieux’ (56%, OB, for LMDW 60th Anniversary, Marie-Galante, 1200 bottles) Three stars Utmost love and respect to Bielle! Colour: deep gold. Nose: makes you want to eat it. Gingerbread, banana cake, honeycomb, cumin, cigars, pu-erh tea, buttercups, ultra-ripe mangos (a.k.a. airplane mangos, seen from here), small Cuban bananas, more cigars, sandalwood… What a whirlwind! With water: butter and copper, then stewed mangos and passion fruits, then big bready oak spices. A little heady, perhaps? Mouth (neat): heavy and thick, very spicy, and perhaps a tad too woody for me. Many oak spices, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, all that over a bucket of pina colada (coconut and pineapple, you know). A bit too much for me. With water: easier, but it’s still pretty much on polished wood and exuberant pineapples and mangos. Goes a little too far. Finish: medium, sweet and sour (wood sourness). Comments: some great Bielle, but on steroids. Perhaps a tad too overworked for me – again, that’s just me. SGP:651 - 80 points.

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






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