The La Mauny distillery, which received its AOC in 1996 has three distillation columns, including one that is completely made of copper. It’s there that Chantal Comte selected this single cask, traceable to the Section T of the La Mauny cellars.
The Rum: Chantal Comte Tour de l’Or 2006
Origin : la Mauny – Martinique
Raw material: fresh sugarcane juice
Distilled : 2006 – column still
Matured : 20% new French oak (Tronçais Forest) and 80% ex-cognac casks
Bottled: april 2017 – 2000 bottles
The Nose: the first impression is rather agricol-y, but in a subtle way. It’s not the in-your-face sugarcane but more a soft herbal, grassy kind of rum. It has a rather sweet floral perfume with hints of tropical fruits. In the nose also an autumn forest: wet leaves and humus. Dried prunes and sultanas and some sour cherries. Despite the high alcohol volume, the nose is rather soft. At the end it reminds a bit of a cigar box with soft cedar wood and a whiff of smoke. Adding water brings out more nutty flavours.
The Taste is firm with pungent alcohol. A soft swet touch and a big wood influence, but not bitter. The wood is spicy. After adding some water the rum gets very dry (ah, the irony!) bringing back the humus and a basket full of mushrooms. An autumn rum with a firm herbal touch.
The Finish is rather long with vibrant wood until the very end, turning just a very little towards bitterness. The herbal taste is now accompanied by some mocha.
Our Score: ****
A 100% European rum? Yes, it’s possible: on the Canary Islands where sugarcane is grown.
The Rum: Ron Aldea Caña Pura
Origin: Canary Islands (Spain)
Raw material: sugarcane juice
Distilled: double column copper still (Egrott, France)
The Nose: the initial aroma is rather alcoholic, camouflaging the more subtle aromas. As it should be for an Agricole style rum, the Aldea Caña Pura is vegetal and grassy with the sugarcane character being well present. I also have some red pepper combined with a muddy (or is it dusty?) touch. It goes a bit towards olives, but more earthy. I agree it’s a bit of a strange note in a rum but I really don’t mind; it gives the rum some character. There’s a very faint watery fruity aroma too.
The Taste: the first sip is again rather alcoholic and definitely not too sweet; even a bit dry. In this light bodied rum we taste this watery fruity notes again. Pears or water melon, with a bit of a zesty citrus side.
The Finish is rather short with a bit of a sweeter touch and again that watery fruity side. A subtle mineral touch stays on the pallet until the end.
Our score: **
The Rum: Atlantico Platino
Origin: Dominican Republic
Raw material: both molasses and sugarcane juice
Distilled: Column still
Maturation: 12 months American white oak + 6 months Tempranillo casks
The Nose starts a bit vegetal grassy with a slight herbal touch. I also have a bit of citrus and some winegums. Vanilla and caramel are well present and accompanied by the aroma of some freshly cut green wood. Apart from the vanilla the wood influence is non-existing. Tempranillo casks…really? Used for the 87th time maybe… .
The Taste: surprisingly sweet with loads of vanilla. There really is no correspondence between the nose and the taste, apart from that vanilla. The body is very light. And again… tempranillo? That surely must be a joke, right? Being a rather aromatic raisin variety, there is really no influence in either aroma or taste. None whatsoever!
The Finish is rather short. This isn’t a bad rum, there are no flaws or off-notes. But this is once again such a very boring rum. It lacks character, it lacks depth, it lacks body. Commercial? Maybe…but a rum WITH character can be commercial too!
Our Score : **
Yet another rum trying to surf on the name and fame of Dominican rums without adding any value.
Let’s turn away from Latin-America and the Caribbean for a moment, and turn our eye and tastebuds towards India. India is a big rum producing country, making so much more rum than Old Monk alone. In fact, in terms of volume, India is the biggest rum producing nation worldwide – not taking Brazil and the cachaça into account that is. In the old days of rum, India produced an Agricole style rum, nowadays they mainly use molasses.
The Rum: Wild Tiger Special Reserve
Raw material: Molasses with some fresh sugarcane juice spirit blended
Distilled: mainly column still, small part pot still
Matured: 2-4 years in charred American oak
The Nose: The first impression is a rather closed and shy nose, with some grassy vegetal notes. Secondly comes lots of vanilla and lots of the good light brown toffee caramel. A third wave of aromas provides more sour vegetal notes and even some light iodine. Overall, the nose promises a rather sweet rum. Give the rum 10 minutes in the glass, and it becomes intensely perfumed. Not really fruity or floral, but a more synthetic kind of perfume. I do like how the aromas keep changing in the glass; that’s what makes it more exiting.
The Taste: sweet, with lots of vanilla and tangerine juice, strong hints of mocha and almond. It’s a bit liquor-like, but without being extremely sweet or artificial. Imagine a much improved and much more elegant version of Don Papa. The mouthfeel is rather creamy.
The Finish: The aftertaste starts with an explosion of mocha and toffee. It stays rather sweet in the mouth, with once again lots of vanilla and almond. Reminds me a bit of marzipan. The finish is medium long.
Our Score : ***
Well, this kind of sweet vanilla rums aren’t really my favourite style of rum. But it’s not too extreme. Plus the fact that 10% of sales goes to the preservation of the wild tiger in India makes this rum a 3-star.
Let’s be clear: although most websites claim this is rum from Guatemala, it is in fact a rum distilled in Panama. Most websites indicate the Industrial Licorera Quezalteca as a producer, but this is incorrect. Malteco is produced by Bodegas de America in Panama, albeit following a method from Guatemala using sugarcane juice instead of molasses. The frontlabel says ‘Ron al ESTILO de Guatemala’ but if you look at the back label, Panama is clearly stated.
The Rum: Ron malteco 15
Raw material: sugarcane juice
Distilled: column still
Bottled: ca 2016 – matured in ex-bourbon casks
The Nose: The first nosing gives some soft vegetal aromas and sugarcane juice with warm spices. But soon the vanilla takes over. Vanilla pudding all the way, accompanied by some light muscovado sugar and a touch of wormwood. After a good ten minutes some maraschino cherries pop up.
The Taste: rather sweet with a truckload of vanilla and soft orange zest. Sweet fruits, almost haribo-sweets and red drinking syrup. The alcohol i.m.o. is perfect: not too soft and flat, not too aggressive.
The Finish is once again rather sweet but short.
Our Score : ***
24 Days of Rum – Day 4
The Rum: Domaine de Séverin XO
Origin : Guadeloupe
Raw material : sugarcane juice (agricole)
Distilled : column still
Bottled : 6 yo
Maturation : bourbon casks
ABV : 45%
The Nose : Pleasant floral notes with a delicate vegetal grassy side. Loads of vanilla custard and warm spices, with some cinnamon. This rather delicate Agricole gets a bit more fruity after 5 minutes, but quickly fades away after 15 minutes.
The Taste: no surprise there, this is indeed Agricole. It’s soft vegetal with a subtle sour undertone. The alcohol (45%) is there with a mild tingle, but without being aggressive. Give it some time to breath and the sugarcane starts popping out, together with a whole basket of soft fruits.
The finish is rather long, with a bit of a bitter woody touch at the very end. The balance between the sugarcane and the wood is almost perfect, but the whole is a bit monotonous. I wouldn’t say dull…but still.
Our Score : ***
24 Days of Rum – Day 3
The Rum: Bristol Spirits Reserve Mauritius
Origin: Mauritius – Domaine La Bourdonnais
Raw material : sugar cane juice (Agricole)
Distilled : 2010- Column still
Bottled: 2015 – 5 years old
Matured in the UK, in sherry casks
The Nose: now this is a very strange aroma for a rum. I get some brine and sea weeds, with white pepper. Reminds me of some island whiskies in fact. After a few minutes more soft fruity notes and a vegetal touch. Grassy. After about 10 minutes it all gets a bit softer and more round, with pleasant hints of herbal honey.
The Taste: again very vegetal and grassy, with a lot of funk. While the initial nose was a bit whisky-like, the taste is more cachaça-like, with the sugarcane coming through in full force. After 10 minutes sweeter and less grassy, with the honey gaining control again.
The Finish: Medium long, with those grassy cachaça notes again. A little bitter, like biting raisin seeds. The last word is for some overripe fruits.
Our score: ***
A rather strange rum in both smell and taste, but not too bad.
The Rum: Reimonenq Vieux -2004
Raw material: agricole
Nose: The rather strange aroma strikes immediately. I have varnish and a bit of glue, and firm notes of tobacco. But also some stewed fruits. After a few minutes, the fruity side gets the upper hand. Also some spices and green herbs jumping all over the place. All this covered with a strange dusty smell, like an old attic. Adding a drop of water makes the nose even more extreme and nervous.
Taste: now what a strange rhum this is. It starts rather flat and very vegetal, but it quickly jumps from fruity to herbal to woody. Every sip reveals a new facet of this rhum. I really don’t know what to think about this…which obviously makes it interesting. On the one hand you could say that this rhum has it all, it covers all aspects. But on the other hand you could call it very poor balanced and nervous. I can imagine this rhum being the kind of love it or hate it rhum. Alas…for me it’s just not working.
With a drop of water, you just kill this rum. Really…I added a drop, and it became a flatliner.
Finish: is rather short, very vegetal with big wood, with the tobacco notes coming back again. Even a bit tarry even.
Score: ** – as I said, I can imagine some people really loving this one. But it’s not working for me.
The Rum : Dillon single cask 10 yo
Distilled: 03-2002 in column stills
Bottled: 11-2012 by Duncan Taylor
Abv: 54.5 %
Single (bourbon) cask number 4 – 240 bottles
The Dillon distillery in Martinique was an agricole producing distillery situated on a sugar estate dating back to 1690. First rhum production took place in the 19th century.
In the first years of the 21st century (2005 to be precise) production (distillation) was moved to the Depaz Distillery in the north of Martinique, but ageing and bottling still takes place at the Dillon estate.
A few years ago independent whisky bottler Duncan Taylor started to bottle a series of single cask rums. Some rather good, some very poor. So buying a bottle of this series is always a bit of a gamble.
The Nose: Forget the official tasting notes on the backlabel of the bottle. I’m not sure what they were drinking at Duncan Taylor, but definitely NOT what’s in the bottle. Tropical fruits? Lime? Banana?? Most definitely not. Vegetal and sweet-grassy with a slight acidic touch and firm wood. Hints of toasted bread but also a bit of a metallic aroma. Lacks depth and complexity. After a good 30 minutes more dusty notes. Adding water makes the aroma more pleasant, with some fruitiness (apricots) coming through.
Taste: firm alcohol and bitter woody taste. Definitely a rhum that stayed a couple years too long in the cask! Rather mineral with an unpleasant kind of sweetness on the background. Again lacking depth and complexity. Adding water softens the alcohol but does nothing more than that.
Finish: Medium long with – again – way too much wood. The metallic aroma is now more present in the aftertaste.
Score : ** Not really bad, but definitely nothing special. It would be OK if this was a 30 euro bottle, but with a price more than double (almost tripple) : no thank you! I’m afraid another ‘hit and miss’ by Duncan Taylor
The Rum: Aguardente de Cana
Producer: Soc. dos Engenhos da Calheta Ltda
Distilled: july 2016 – pot still
Bottled: july 2016
Although very famous for its exquisite wines, the Portuguese isle of Madeira also produces some excellent rum in the agricole style. It was here in Madeira that the first stills were shipped to Brazil (early 16th century) to make the first cachaça.
The Sociedade dos Engenhos da Calheta was founded at the end of the 19th century during the second sugar wave, and is a typical example of an early industrial distillery. Besides being an active distillery it also hosts a museum with ancient machinery. Do take a look at their Facebook page to get an impression : https://www.facebook.com/Sociedade-dos-Engenhos-da-Calheta-Lda-1686351704969112/
Nose: Sugar cane juice and new make (duh…it IS new make of course) but smooth and round, softer than most cachaças and agricoles, but a tad more vegetal and grassy. The nose is very rich without ever giving the impression of high alcohol strength. I also got some hints of wet wood, pink grapefruit, broken black pepper and even some vanilla. The grassy notes get softer after a good 10 minutes, making room for a slightly sour tone.
Taste: Spicy and powerful, again rather grassy but with a pleasant sweet touch. Also some white flowers, green bananas and I even get notes of old port wine. very strange indeed! The higher alcohol volume is more present now, but the 50 abv never gets over agressive. The backlabel of the (alas…plastic!) bottle states it’s an ideal mixer for cocktails. Well, I do believe it is. It’s punchy and rich in taste, but still as a sipper this most certainly goes down very well too! That is: if you don’t mind that spicy, peppery alcohol.
Finish: A very long finish, again rather sweet with a very subtle touch of strawberry. At the very end the finish evoluates towards marzipan.
Our Score: ***
Excellent as a mixer, but also pleasant as a sipper. Too bad the bottle is plastic, the screwcap of rather poor quality and the label…well…plain ugly.