Google Various French rums on a Sunday

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

February 25, 2018


Various French rums on a Sunday

Easy young stuff from some French, or ex-French islands. A curate’s egg, really…

Labourdonnais ‘Classic Gold’ (40%, OB, Mauritius, +/-2017)

Labourdonnais ‘Classic Gold’ (40%, OB, Mauritius, +/-2017) Two stars
This is agricole-style rhum, from a new distillery located in an old rhum estate. Bristol had a fair 5 yo a few years back (WF 77). Colour: gold. Nose: rotting pineapples and your grandma’s old copper kettle. Really very singular… Also hints of rhubarb, ylang-ylang, elderberries and fresh litchis, then caraway and absinth. Funny, really funny… Mouth: may I write ‘LOL!’ here? Liquorice and caraway liqueurs, chartreuse, a touch of coffee (rather Kahlua), notes of fennel and celeriac, and certainly quite some sugar, by the ways of some kind of pineapple liqueur or something. Funny and even rather good, but you’d need quite some ice if you want to quaff more than 2cls. Finish: short, sugary, herbal. More Chartreuse. Comments: you’d almost believe this is made by monks. We’re closer to a herbal liqueur, but it is a fine herbal liqueur.
SGP:760 - 72 points.

Rivière du Mât ‘Grande Réserve’ (40%, OB, La Réunion, +/-2017)

Rivière du Mât ‘Grande Réserve’ (40%, OB, La Réunion, +/-2017) Two stars and a half
This is said to be five to six year old rhum, and it stems from the French island of La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean. It’s traditionnel rhum, as opposed to agricole, so ex-molasses and not cane juice while an earlier ‘Opus 5’ was ex-vesou/cane juice (WF 78). As for ‘grande réserve’ and just like ‘rare’ in Scotland, it means… nothing. Colour: deep gold. Nose: well, this is ‘nice’, rounded, cake-y, nutty, and cane-y. We’re very close to anything from La Martinique, except that this is a tad rounder and certainly not herbal. Maple syrup, ripe bananas, lilies, wallflowers, liquorice… Mouth: very good. You’d really believe that it comes from the Caribbean, it’s just a tad sweet(ish) and a notch more syrupy. Some sweet sauce may have been added, but not too much of that. Tinned pineapple, rose jelly, figs, straw wine, mandarins… Really, this is good and almost of sipping-quality. Finish: medium, a tad sugary, sadly. Sucrose, pineapple sweets, Turkish delights… Comments: one of the best sweet rums I’ve tried in recent months. I’d love to try one that never saw any kind of liqueur…
SGP:750 - 79 points.

Perhaps another Rivière du Mât?

Rivière du Mât 2004 (43%, OB, La Réunion, +/-2013)

Rivière du Mât 2004 (43%, OB, La Réunion, +/-2013) Three stars
Once again, it’s not an agricole, while Rivière du Mât are making both styles. It seems that they finished this one in Port wood, which, to me, is the equivalent of topping black truffles with melted cheddar. Ahem. Colour: deep gold. Nose: hold on, this seems to work. Herbs, roots, cane juice, marmalade, roasted peanuts, praline… It does remind me of that very nice Cuban called Santiago de Cuba. The best Cuban, I think, but I digress… Now watch the 11 yo… err… Mouth: really good, no question about that. Liquorice, sugar cane, marmalade, praline, pecan pie, maple syrup, late-harvest cider… There’s nothing not to like. Finish: medium, on burnt sugars and liquorice, plus many kinds of cakes. Raisin bagel. Comments: very fair, and totally Martiniquan I have to say. I think I’ll have to find and taste newer vintages…
SGP:650 - 81 points.

More of La Réunion…

Savanna 10 yo 2002 ‘Cuvée Maison Blanche’ (43%, OB, La Réunion, +/-2013)

Savanna 10 yo 2002 ‘Cuvée Maison Blanche’ (43%, OB, La Réunion, +/-2013) Three stars and a half
Maison Blanche meaning White House, It’s reassuring to know that this was bottled before the current ‘president’ was enthroned. But I agree, no politics… Let’s rather remember that Savanna are also making some superb high-ester/grand arôme rums… Colour: gold. Nose: ten’s already quite old in Rumland, and indeed this one’s pretty complex, slightly olive-y and grassy, and only marginally cake-y. Nice mentholy raisins, black olives, prunes, rose petals… Gets more fragrant over time, with also a wee metallic side. A few old copper coins… Mouth: oh very good! Grapefruits, fresh pineapples, one black olive, a touch of earth, crystallised oranges, cane juice… We’re flying quite high here. Finish: medium, a tad sweeter, with a drop of litchi liqueur, banana liqueur (or Pisang Ambon), and a good chunk of almond tarte (frangipane). Perhaps a tad too sweet for me now. Comments: very good nonetheless (you could rack your brain, S.!)
SGP:641 - 83 points.

Since we were talking about Savanna’s high-ester rums…

Savanna ‘Herr 57’ (57%, OB, La Réunion, 2300 bottles, 2017)

Savanna ‘Herr 57’ (57%, OB, La Réunion, 2300 bottles, 2017) Three stars and a half
This one’s unaged, it’s being fermenting for eleven days, and it’s got 423.4g/hlap, g/hlap being to rum what ppm peat is to whisky. That means ‘grams of esters and other congeners per hectolitre of pure alcohol’. So, we’ve got almost 5g of congeners per LPA – are you following me? Now the heaviest Jamaicans can go up to approx. 1500g/hlap if I’m not mistaken. As for ‘Herr’, that’s a fantasy name that means High Ester Rum Réunion. Colour: nose. Nose: UHU glue, fermenting longans, dried jojobas, nail polish remover, rotting bananas. There. With water: more brine, olives, gherkins, capers, all that… Mouth (neat): exceptional rotting fruits of many kinds. Bananas for sure, raisins perhaps, pears… Some flavours are unknown to me, so I just couldn’t put names on them. Some extreme tropical fruits, most probably. With water: amazingly funny, water generates new flavours that are just as unkown to this humble taster. I remember I had tried such fruits in the 1980s while wandering throughout China, but no one ever gave their names to me. Lost in (a poor attempt at) translation… Finish: long, ‘rotten’, in a good way. Long forgotten raisins in a very old tin box. Comments: unkown territories, really…
SGP:652 - 84 points.

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






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