Google Insane tasting, twenty white rums

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

September 29, 2019


Insane tasting, twenty white rums
(a little more, actually)

Do not try this at home! And do not expect any long notes, as we’ve really got many such white rums that we’ve accumulated over the last two years. But sometimes white rum can be just superb, especially good agricole or proper ex-pot still juice. Let’s do this randomly if you don’t mind, for more fun…


Karukera 2016/2017 ‘L’Intense’ (63.8%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole)

Karukera 2016/2017 ‘L’Intense’ (63.8%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole) Four stars and a half
This is own-estate blue cane still distilled, I believe, at Longueteau. I don’t think it’s very smart to start such as session with such high voltages, but there, we said ‘randomly’. Colour: white. Nose: oh! That’s the thing, you could never achieve proper terroirness with molasses, you need pure fresh cane juice. This is a perfect example, it’s just terrific, on samphires, capers, rainwater, and green lemons (not lime). It’s even noseable at nearly 64% vol.! With water: some grassy and salty cane juice. No ideas if this is kind of esterified, but it feels like it is. Let me remind you that I do not know much about rum, thanks for your understanding. Mouth (neat): too strong, but it’s luminous spirit. Extremely well-carved, salty and lemony. Wow. With water: I love this. In the same category as the great white. Love the olives inside. Finish: long, fresh, grassy, with notes of smoked fish and overripe bananas. Perhaps a tad ‘lighter’ than expected at this point. Comments: impressive distillate, only the finish was a tad less convincing, but that often happens with ‘new makes’.
SGP:372 - 88 points.

Blimey, we had said we’d keep this short and sweet…

La Favorite 2016 ‘Rivière Bel’Air’ (53%, OB, Martinique, agricole)

La Favorite 2016 ‘Rivière Bel’Air’ (53%, OB, Martinique, agricole) Five stars
This is red cane this time, from a single terroir (named Bel-Air). Hey, whoever talks about barley in whisky? Everyone should, for crying out loud! I wasn’t a huge fan of La Favorite because of some of their heavily sauced-up expressions, but I know other bottlings have been or are way better. In short, I’m ready to change my mind… Colour: white. Nose: much softer and gentler than the Guadeloupean, a tad earthier, but also rounder, with lower definition, I would say. With water: tinned anchovies, asparagus, and tar. And fresh cane juice. Amazing now. Mouth (neat): oh nice! It’s a tad cologne-y at first, but a sumptuous earthiness arises, together with notes of Jerusalem artichokes and fennel. Sumptuous, really. With water: oh s***t! This is just marvellous, brine-y, waxy, earthy, with notes of pistachio syrup. Incredible. Finish: long, superb, complex, earthy, brine-y, herbal… The best of agricoleness. We’ll see if we have some white Neisson in the boxes, but otherwise, we already have a winner. No, really, not many provenances can compete with proper terroir, in the ‘white’ category. Comments: and there, La Favorite becomes one of my favourites. I know, too easy.
SGP: 362 - 90 points.

Too fast, we’re too fast…

Bacardi ‘Facundo Neo’ (40%, OB, Puerto Rico, +/-2018)

Bacardi ‘Facundo Neo’ (40%, OB, Puerto Rico, +/-2018)
This is different, it’s aged rum that’s then charcoal-filtered (aarghg, where have we seen that horrible thing before?) to make it white. And remember, in marketing speak, white = pure. Total B.S. Colour: white. Nose: nada, niente, nothing, nichst, rien. Crush and dilute three sugar cubes in a litre water, you’ll get the same. Mouth: barely acceptable. Sweet and sour, bizarrely herbal, badly defined, and unpleasant. Finish: short and sugary, very bad. Comments: junk in a lovely bottle. For posh bars, I suppose newly born bearded mixologists won’t know what hit them. Bwaaah.
SGP:620 - 20 points.

That’s what happens with randomness, but we’ll persevere!...

Cor Cor ‘Green’ (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2017)

Cor Cor ‘Green’ (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2017)
Japan’s been very disappointing recently, as far as spirits were concerned. Fake Japanese whiskies, use of rice, denials, anger… But this pure cane rum may stand out, let’s see… It’s from Okinawa, where people live longer than elsewhere., but the minimal strength’s a bad sign. Colour: white. Nose: interesting! It’s different, very muddy, a bit bacterial, with notes of rotten fruits (bananas and others), new Chinese plastic (bisphenol, phthalates and friends), a curious kind of paraffin that smells of.. dried fish?... But I do like all these differences, even if it’s very light. Forgot to mention fish oil. Mouth: rather difficult. It’s cool to produce different flavours, but in this case we’re rather in lost sake territories. Glues, fennel, horseradish, molasses, bottarga (fish eggs), coal smoke… Finish: rather short, and that’s rather a relief. Sugar in the aftertaste? What? Comments: clumsy but very nice, in the sense that it’s very creative distillate. But what did they distil? Durians? No, this is supposed to be rum, but this is also Japan…
SGP: 231- 55 points.

I think we’ll go back to French rhums, if you agree… Wood can mask many flaws, but when a spirit is white, truth comes out. Ever tried white Zacapa? Diplo? Don Papa? Macallan? (joking)...

Depaz ‘Cuvée de la Montagne’ (55%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2017)

Depaz ‘Cuvée de la Montagne’ (55%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2017) Three stars
All canes have been harvested on the slopes of the volcano Montagne Pelée. More proper terroirism, you see. Colour: white. Nose: rather delicate this time, almost whispering, with fresh almonds and hazelnuts, and just three crushed olives, as well as a little kelp. Fresh and maritime. With water: rosewater, soap, lady’s moisturizer, kelp, almond cream… Some fun to be had with this one. Depaz, really? Mouth (neat): oh funny indeed, aquavit, caraway, menthol, pastis… Is that all really natural? Of course it is. With Water:  fish sauce, sugar syrup, almonds, sour fruits, more aniseed… This one really plays with you, but some would say it lacks focus. Finish: medium, salty, with some ink this time. Comments: what was that? Free rum, perhaps, as in free jazz. There’s always something mysterious with mountains, not to mention volcanos that already killed thousands in the early 20th century. La Montagne Pelée, kss, kss...
SGP:451 - 80 points.

Domaine de Séverin ‘Blanc’ (55%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2017)

Domaine de Séverin ‘Blanc’ (55%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2017) Two stars
This one’s got a GI. It’s to be noted that 50, 55 and 60% vol. are common strengths in the French West Indies. Séverin mature this rhum for six months in stainless steel, to ripen it a bit. Colour: white. Nose: it’s a rather earthy one at first sniffs, while it would get then very brine-y. Olives, green tea, liquorice wood, cactus juice, gherkins… Lovely, really tense and lovely. With water: same-ish, with touches of new plastic and soap. Which is not unseen in proper good raw rhum agricole. I believe that comes from some kinds of essential oils. Mouth (neat): it’s lacking definition this time, while it’s rather lost the lovely brine that we fund on the nose. A tad too raw and brutal too. With water: indeed, it’s bit sugary and dirty at the same time. Pixelized white rum? Finish: rather long and a little fruitier. Overripe bananas and pineapples, I would say. Some salt. Comments: rather a disappointment. We’ll try other cuvées soon. What’s really weird is that we had an earlier batch just last year and that we just loved it (WF 88).
SGP:451 - 73 points.

J. Bally ‘Blanc’ (55%, OB, La Martinique, agricole, +/-2017)

J. Bally ‘Blanc’ (55%, OB, La Martinique, agricole, +/-2017) Three stars
Since the 1970s, Bally’s not made at the old distillerie anymore, it’s distilled at St. James. Colour: white. Nose: this baby’s much rounder, rather less on brine-y cane juice, and more on pineapple liqueur, and perhaps mangos. A very different style, I suppose that comes from the yeast they’re using. There’s also something slightly medicinal, iodine, aspirin tablets, bandages… With water: tarmac, whelks and clams, really! Mouth (neat): indeed, it’s fruitier, with coastal notes as well as touches of artichokes and concrete. So not quite a fruit bomb, while the vegetal side is less on olives here. With water: soft, rather on green bananas. It’s a sweeter one for sure. Finish: long, saltier. Salted bananas. Comments: I’m more in favour of the ‘mezcaly’ ones, but this one isn’t half bad, for sure.
SGP: 641- 81 points.

Trois Rivières ‘Anniversaire 355 ans’ (55%, OB, Martinique, agricole, 2015)

Trois Rivières ‘Anniversaire 355 ans’ (55%, OB, Martinique, agricole, 2015) Three stars
Trois Rivières is made at La Mauny, it’s not a distillery, although it’s probably the French brand that’s most seen on shelves all around the world. And 355 years, that’s a lot of years. By the way, Campari just bought the brand, as well as La Mauny. Colour: white. Nose: back to the saltier, brine-ier ones, In short back to mezcal, olives, new plastic, and rotting bananas. With water: chalk and fresh concrete, plus rubbed herbs. Mouth (neat): very good, perhaps rather between both styles (sweet and dry). Olives, lemons, green pepper, overripe bananas, cane juice, tar, earth… With water: more fruits this time, especially grapefruits. Banana skin. Finish: long, a little saltier again. Fish cooked in banana sauce or something. Comments: no problem here, it’s rather cheap, it is or was widely available, and it’s really good. Only the bottle is a tad too unlikely and really looks like a bottle of gin. But who cares…
SGP:551 - 82 points.

Rhum J.M ‘Jungle Macouba’ (51.2%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2017)

Rhum J.M ‘Jungle Macouba’ (51.2%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2017) Four stars
J.M is a proper distillery and this was a limited edition, matured for one year. Colour: white. Nose: yeah! Kerosene, diesel oil, brake fluid, tar, new tyres, hand cream, then broom and gorse, then fresh pineapples. Extremely well-defined this time, what a wee rum! With water: love these coastal notes, seawater, oysters, and of course crayfish, as well as the pink grapefruits. Mouth (neat): exceptional, rich and yet refreshing, with touches of Turkish delights and litchis at first, then olives and tar, then engine oil and liquorice. Love these three well-defined stages. With water: perfect, rather more on grapefruits again. Shall we call it ‘Margarita’?  Finish: rather long, saltier. Grapefruits and green olives, with an earthy/tarry touch in the aftertaste. Comments: fruits perfectly well mastered. But the bottle, come on! Do they share the same designer with 3 Rivières?
SGP:652 - 87 points.

Bologne ‘Blanc’ (55%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2017)

Bologne ‘Blanc’ (55%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2017) Two stars and a half
Not a rum that I’ve tasted very often. Colour: blanc. Nose: rather hard after the J.M. This one’s much rougher, kind of dirty, hot and raw, but water should improve these things, let’s see. A little fish oil, perhaps. With water: got clean and sweet, and rather floral. Elderflowers. You would have thought it would be much more ‘agricole’, but it’s very gentle. Some raisins. Mouth (neat): it’s very creamy, very sweet, almost sugary. And almost some papaya and banana liqueur! With water: it’s good, very easy, pretty simple. Some kind of grapefruit liqueur. Finish: medium, rounded, sweet. Comments: possibly the roundest and sweetest of all Guadeloupean agricoles. Pretty good, just not exactly what we’re looking for.
SGP:641 - 78 points.

Longueteau ‘Blanc’ (50%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2017)

Longueteau ‘Blanc’ (50%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, +/-2017) Four stars and a half
Their white ‘Genesis’ was very good. They also have a 55% and, I believe a 62% that may rip your head off. Colour: white. Nose: oh yeah! Cod liver oil, engine oil, olive brine, fisherman’s rope, woodruff, wormwood, verbena, clams, crushed strawberries… With water:  impeccable freshness. Rain water, seawater, lime juice, brine, ripe bananas, fish, almonds… Mouth (neat): we’ve known some Cuban aguardiente that used to be kept in some private cupboard in Cienfuegos (I’m being smart)… With water: there’s a wee cologne-y side but that’s nothing and that would go away. Otherwise, sardines, olives, lemon, lime, cane juice, strawberries… Finish: long, saltier and more coastal yet. Touches of williams pear spirit. Comments: immaculate distillate. I’m asking you, who needs wood when the distillate’s this good? And some big savings to be made, on all accounts.
SGP:562 - 88 points.

Since we’re at Longueteau’s…

Longueteau ‘Parcelle N°1’ (55%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, 2014)

Longueteau ‘Parcelle N°1’ (55%, OB, Guadeloupe, agricole, 2014) Three stars and a half
This is red cane from a very specific ‘parcelle’ and from a single vintage. In short, stuff that only proper vine growers would do, as well as just a handful of whisky makers from the Mark-Reynier school. Colour: white. Nose: clearly wilder, more deviant, with more plastic-like aromas, paraffin, sour fish oils, acacia gum, fermenting hay… It’s quite something. With water: not sure it swims too well. Gets closed, with just whiffs of cane juice and fresh almonds. Mouth (neat): I hate to say that I liked the generic Longueteau a little better. This is grassier and hotter, with much more hard liquorice as well. Let’s see what water will do to it: sweeter, easier, almost mundane after the fantastic generic white Longueteau. Finish: medium and curiously gentle. A nice brine-y aftertaste, though. Comments: excellent white rum, of course, and indeed it’s singular. Single estates or parcels make even more sense with cane than with barley, but ‘singular’ doesn’t obligatorily mean ‘better’.
SGP:551 - 83 points.

So, grey cane, blue cane , red cane, black cane… I just couldn’t tell you about the differences I’m afraid. But let’s go on…

Clément ‘Blanc’ (55%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2017)

Clément ‘Blanc’ (55%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2017) Two stars
Rhum Clément is made at Distillerie du Simon, where they also make HSE a.k.a. Habitation St Etienne. Colour: white. Nose: a little hot and a little burnt, with notes of pineapple juice, sweet cider, and simply sucrose. Mouth: Woops! With water: rose petals? Other than that, it’s rather empty, I hate to say. Mouth (neat): no. It’s fine-ish, but too sweet and ethanoly. With water: a little better, with some brine indeed, but it’s really simple. For cocktails only, I suppose, while you could sip all the others like that, or with some ice (or with three olives, as rumtinis). Finish: medium, simple, sweet, with a little earth. Comments: this had to happen. No you can’t sip just any white agricole as if it was Clynelish. 1965.
SGP:640 - 70 points.

Perhaps try an improved Clément?

Clément ‘Colonne Créole’ (49.5%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2016)

Clément ‘Colonne Créole’ (49.5%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2016) Two stars and a half
This one came in a flat decanter. The colonne créole is the traditional still that they use for rhum agricole in Martinique and Guadeloupe. So, nothing really fancy or unusual here, but there. Colour: white. Nose: it’s rather earthy and nutty, and rather light. Notes of roots but not much else. Beetroots? (which would take the biscuit, historically!) With water: lemon grass, celeriac, green tea. Mouth (neat): better, and rather in the gentian-like category. Roots, gentian, tonic water, Suze… With water: gets sweeter, but it would never lose its gentian-ness. Finish: medium, rooty, clean, fresh. Saltier aftertaste, as almost always with white rhum agricole. Comments: clearly much better, although still a bit lazy or sluggish. These rhums are pretty light.
SGP:650 - 78 points.

No, I’m not dead yet, let’s go on…

HSE ‘Cuvée de l’Année 2010’ (50%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2014)

HSE ‘Cuvée de l’Année 2010’ (50%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2014) Three stars
This cuvée has been kept and nurtured for more than three years before bottling. Remember HSE comes from Le Simon, just like Clément. Colour: white. Nose: extremely soft, gentle, on soft cakes and tartes. Mirabelle is particularly obvious here. Ylang-ylang. With water: just as soft. Hints of cane juice and anchovies. Mouth (neat): did they distil mirabelle plums indeed? With water: a few salty touches over all these ripe or stewed or baked (or distilled) mirabelles. Finish: medium, nice, delicate, salty. Comments: very fair, well made, easy, a good introduction to white agricole, I would say.
SGP: 551- 80 points.

La Favorite ‘Coeur de Canne’ (50%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2018)

La Favorite ‘Coeur de Canne’ (50%, OB, Martinique, agricole, +/-2018) Four stars
If we’re anywhere near the fabulous Rivière Bel’Air, we’re in for a treat with this Heart of Cane, even if this very cuvée is said to be softer. I’m asking you, who needs softness in a harsh world? Colour: white. Nose: softer it is. Ripe bananas, balsa wood, macadamia nuts, hints of smoked salmon, gorse and honeysuckle, fresh cane juice… It is intriguing, let’s dig further… With water: some paraffin, fresh concrete, books, engine oil… that’s all good! Mouth (neat): oh this is good indeed! Sloe eau-de-vie (not gin), caraway, violet sweets, curaçao… It’s very different. With water: do not add too much or it’ll down. Otherwise, some saltiness, pepper, sloe, juniper… And o, still not gin. Finish: quite long, salty, more lemony. Zucchini flower beignets and pepper. Comments: clearly one of the better white agricoles. I’m so glad I could change my mind, it’s true that the first Favorites I could try, quite some years or decades ago, were heavily sauced-up, Plantation-style. Happy, I am happy.
SGP:551 - 85 points.

Rhum Transat ‘Blanc’ (45.1%, Charbonnaud, agricole, +/-2016)

Rhum Transat ‘Blanc’ (45.1%, Charbonnaud, agricole, +/-2016) Two stars and a half
This is rhum that’s travelled on some ship from La Martinique to Burgundy. Yeah, and? Now it is said that this is rhum from J.M, which ought to inspire respect. Colour: white. Nose: rose petals, gewurztraminer, litchis, lilies… Well this is one of the most floral rums I could nose. It’s really lovely and in the 1980s, you would have called it ‘a little feminine’. Mouth: a little less focussed, a little grassier. Lime juice, grass, grapefruits. Not huge, but pleasant. If it’s well J.M, it’s gentler J.M. Finish: only medium but very, and surprisingly peppery. The aftertaste is very sweet, almost too sweet. Comments: their 15 yo was rather superb (WF 85), this is less entrancing, I think. J.M, really?
SGP:640 - 78 points.

Hop to French Guyana? Why not?

Or Blanc de Guyane (50%, OB, French Guyana, agricole, +/-2018)

Or Blanc de Guyane (50%, OB, French Guyana, agricole, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
This baby was distilled at distillerie Saint Maurice in St Laurent du Maroni. That’s the only distillery in Guyane, where they also make Belle Cabresse or Toucan. Some of their rum is industrial (molasses), but this is well agricole. Colour: white. Nose: it hasn’t got the depth and the wideness of most Martinique or Guadeloupe, but it’s fine, rather earthy, with some bananas and a wee pack of liquorice allsorts. A bit shy, perhaps? With water: no further developments, I’m afraid. Perhaps a little more earth. Mouth (neat): good, rather sweeter, and clearly different from its neighbours in the East. Blood oranges are to be found, while you won’t find any in the rhums o the isles, also the traditional pineapples and bananas. It’s good, simple juice. With water: same, plus notes of muscat raisins. Finish: medium, rounded, easy. More muscat. Comments: pretty good and easy, this little white gold. They make good rum at Saint Maurice. I think I liked the original Belle Cabresse at 50% a little better.
SGP:630 - 78 points.

Perhaps a short hop to Grenada?

Westerhall ’12 Degree Clear’ (40%, OB, Grenada, +/-2018)

Westerhall ’12 Degree Clear’ (40%, OB, Grenada, +/-2018)
Terrible packaging here, looks like a bottle of English milk. Frightening… (not English milk of course, just this bottle!) Colour: white. Nose: oh, that thing that we managed to avoid since the start, coconut! We not want that in any spirit, you keep coconut for coconut liqueur, thank you Mister Distiller. Mouth: light, smooth, coconutty. We can do without coconut. Finish: short. Comments: it is not sauced-up, it’s even pretty clean, it’s just that all this coconut just wrecks it all, although I wouldn’t say it’s flawed, its just characterless, beyond the coconuts.  Weak rum.
SGP:620 - 50 points.

So, back to France. I mean, metropolitan France this time…

BOWS ‘HEOC 2017’ (56.5%, OB, France)

BOWS ‘HEOC 2017’ (56.5%, OB, France) Five stars
Organic Thai molasses distilled in Montauban, north of Toulouse, what could go wrong? Well, not sure, they’re using some kind of dunder/muck-style fermentation, so who knows? And I have to say I rather like the very minimalist post-growth (and post-Pollock) packaging. Colour: white. Nose: instant love! Pinewood smoke, changing room, gherkins, cancoillotte (you may google that), acetone, model airplane glue, mango eau-de-vie (terrible when pure, very varnishy), fresh bread, bandages… They call the Jamaicans ‘funky’, well this is George Clinton in full form. With water: dead bacteria, cheeses, tar, rotting Chinese fruits (no I won’t mention Durian), more acetone… Mouth (neat): so funny, so unusual. Pumpkin soup, caraway liqueur, rotten bananas, mouclade (spicy mussels pot), sorrel soup, more model glue, other rotting fruits… Well this one talks! With water: caraway and curry. A tad sweeter when reduced. Finish: very long, very fermentary and bacterial,. It did not calm down. Comments: so Serge, you wanted some distillate-driven spirits? Well, coffee is served. PS rumour has it that the Thais did throw a few ill-mannered tourists into the mixture. Dead ones, naturally. Seriously, I’m a fan of this funk.
SGP:473 – 90 points.

Good, a last one and we’re done. This getting a little insane anyway.

BOWS ‘HEOC 2018’ (57%, OB, France)

BOWS ‘HEOC 2018’ (57%, OB, France) Four stars and a half
Also high-esters, like 500g/hlpa. Colour: white. Nose: very close, obviously, I suppose they have used the same methods. What I realise though, is that we’re also very close to the craziest mezcals, like true unreduced pechugas.  And that I forgot to mention onions. And aniseed, fennel, dill, wild carrots, and ‘stuff’. Now we all know that ‘smart’ bacterial fermentation will soon be all the rage with many spirits, including Scotch, while that’s forbidden as of now, unless ‘it would just happen’. Nature is queen anyway. With water: reminds me of both Issan and Chalong Bay. And Real Minero mezcal. Mouth (neat): clearly gentler than the 2017, better civilised, and more on citrus, lemongrass, gherkins and capers, lemon curd, angelica, olives, pearl onions, wine vinegar… With water: super, earthier, rougher, gritty, green, gherkin and olive-y. You could almost use this as a dressing. Finish: rotting bananas sneaking in! Comments: the 2017 was a little more fermentary, this 2018 is rather grassier and rounder, and a tad more ‘normal’. Not Havana Club-normal, mind you.
SGP:572- 88 points.

I think we’d better stop this madness here. Unless we give Westerhall another chance…

Westerhall ‘White Jack’ (70%, OB, Grenada, +/-2018)

Westerhall ‘White Jack’ (70%, OB, Grenada, +/-2018)
At 70%, this should roar and kick us in the tenth. Which would be very welcome… Now on the brand’s website, they tell us that this is ‘smooth’. Ooooph… Colour: white. Nose: I seem to detect a few asperities and idiosyncrasies; this is not just some window cleaner. Olives, for instance, and some kind of smoked vegetables, hard to describe. Who would smoke French beans, for example? With water: not quite. Big brand-quality rum, burnt and smoked. Smoked ham. And burning balsa wood. Not the first time I’m finding balsa wood in these whites. Mouth (neat): shall we really take one or two drops of this kerosene into our mouth? Well, I’ve tried, and it’s horrible. Liquid soap. With water: no. Soapy sugar syrup, that doesn’t work at all. Plus, you should only try this one in the open, or it would make all your windows opaque. Finish: long and pretty poor. Burnt sugars., molasses, corn syrup. Lazy rum-making. Comments: cross my heart, I’ve tried my best.
SGP:430 - 40 points.

Twenty-two white rums. Adios, ciao, au revoir, auf wierdersehe,. I shall probably never do this again.

(Merci Anthony, content d’avoir découvert ces BOWS!)

Last minute bonus, this just in (as if we hadn’t had enough whites already!)

Grand Arôme de la Baie du Galion (60%, Latitudes, Martinique, 2019)

Grand Arôme de la Baie du Galion (60%, Latitudes, Martinique, 2019) Four stars
This is called a ‘rhum de sucrerie », or ‘traditionnel’, that is to say not an agricole made from cane juice, as it’s made out of by-products of sugar-making, such as molasses or some cane syrups. So it hasn’t got the appellation contrôlée, but it’s still got an Indication Géographique (IG). This is a grand arôme, so some high-ester rhum that was originally only meant to go into blends, as a dresser. As in, for example, Jamaica, bacteria and indigenous yeasts are most welcome during fermentation. Actually, they do not add any commercial yeasts at Le Galion. Let’s try this little baby (which, by the way, is the first commercially available grand arôme by Distillerie Le Galion). Colour: white. Nose: extremely fermentary, bacterial indeed, balsamic, dry, and full of yeasts. It can happen that I get the same kinds of aromas when I let some fruits ferment before distilling them, but with fruits, that’s not always good news. With rum, it is! I even find a little garlic, beyond olives and coaltar. What it hasn’t quite got so far, and which the Jamaicans or Guyanans do usually have, is citrus. With water: we tamed it! It got much gentler, yet not dull at all, with rather lovely notes of fresh almonds, touches of candlewax, a few olives as usual, touches of fennel and always wee hints of garlic, which works extremely well. Absolutely not a ‘sweet’ nose. Mouth (neat): it’s a raw spirit! Some lemon skin, raw greens (zucchini?), tar, artichokes… This baby means it! With water: very dry, vegetal, peely (do you say that?), with some tar and paraffin, as well as our beloved liquorice and gentian roots. Celeriac. Finish: very long, with more aniseed and liquorice. In the aftertaste you could believe you just had some good pastis! Pastis without water. Comments: the trick is to find the right amount of water to add. And to enjoy rather brutal spirits, in any case.
SGP:372 - 87 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all rums we've tasted so far







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