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: ****
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 : ***
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.
When tasting rum from the French isles, we always tend to think in terms of agricole rhum. But let’s not forget that on the isles of Guadeloupe, both rhum agricole and rhum traditionnel is being made. So in our Transcontinental Rum Line by LMDW, let’s have a molasses rhum from Guadeloupe. I somewhere read this rhum was distilled at B-M distillery, but I honestly have no info that can back this information. So as far as we’re concerned: undisclosed distillery.
The Rum: Guadeloupe TCRL, 2014²
Origin: Guadeloupe, at an undisclosed distillery
Maturation: 3 years tropical, 1 year European
The Nose: rather soft and sweet, with a firm hint of sea breeze – anchovies even. Nice delicate fruity aromas with a pinch of cracked black pepper. It’s a whole fruit basket, with some pineapple and plums as the dominant aroma. Licorice and orange peel, nicely balanced. The rum needs some time and air to open up on the sugar and the molasses, although they still stay rather discrete. After a bit of aeration, a slightly metallic touch.
The taste: although I don’t mind strong rum, I feel the 43% alcohol is ideal here. Again pleasant fruity flavors, albeit more subtle than in the nose. Again that salty touch. Not too sweet, with the sugars as well as the alcohol very well integrated
The Finish is medium long and confirms the taste, with a the very end even a taste that reminds me of…yes: beer! A soft bitter touch at the very end. Strange but good!
Our Score: a pleasant rum, another bang for your bucks; and one that might even please the whisky drinkers. Well done chaps at LMDW! Who said the ‘French’ rhum traditionell isn’t half as good as their agricole??
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
What we taste today is a Jamaican ‘rhum’ bottled by Italian liqueur producers Ercole Gagliano in the 1960s. They would later be taken over by Marcati in the 1980s.
In 1919 the Marcati brothers, Pietro and Luigi, began their business in the family-owned pharmacy, which soon became their first craft workshop. In 1929 the first industrial plant was established in Verona, but was destroyed during World War II. Following the post-war reconstruction the company continued to grow and during the Eighties it began to export, first to European countries and later to various other continents. Today, the Marcati brand is present with its products in 25 States throughout the world. Brothers Pietro, Andrea and Maria Paola are the latest generation that is running the company.
Those products are mainly grappa, cream liquors, sambuco, limoncello and amaretto, and also gin and vodka.
The Rum: Liquore Jamaica Rhum di Fantasia
Nose: pfeww…what a bomb of vanilla and tangerine. Imagine Don papa but a bit more subtle and natural, more elegant. Also notes of coffee and baking powder, with a summer meadow on the background: warm and vegetal notes. But let’s be honest: you really have to search for these notes beyond the powerful vanilla and tangerine.
Taste: Sweet, tangerine and loads of vanilla again, with big fat hints of caramel. There’s actually nothing more to say about it. It is what it is. No subtle tastes on the background, no evolution in the glass.
Finish: Rather short on the same notes as the taste. Slightly drying towards the end.
Our Score: **
These bottles are sold now for about 200-230 euro. But believe me, the price says nothing about the quality but more about the scarcity of the product. If you like Don Papa, you are going to love this. If you like rum, you won’t.
I’m very aware that I’ve been neglecting this blog for quite some time. Time, flue, holidays, kids, work… ‘les excuses sont faits pour s’en servir’.
But let’s get back to business with a rhum from Neisson. Their older rhums are truely magnificent, so let’s see if this unaged youngster can live up to the expectations.
The Rum : Neisson Blanc Rhum Canne Bio – 2016
Distilled: 2016 – column still
The Nose: A very vegetal nose, a bit cachaça like but more subtle. Bread dough and white flowers, followed by some fruity notes (hard green bananas. Yes, cavendish of course 😉 ) A very subtle perfume of lemon zeste and warm brioche. Adding water makes the vegetal side (the sugarcane juice) pop out even more. A pleasant and intriguing nose.
The Taste: Punchy alcohol, despite the reduction to 55 abv. Sweet start with a slightly medicinal touch, clove, agrum and again rather vegetal. Adding some water makes it softer and rounder, and less medicinal. More sweet now, with a touch of almond.
The Finish: oh dear… first impression is very bitter. Since this rhum hasn’t seen a wooden cask, the bitterness comes from the rhum itself. What the hell went wrong here?? The finish is rather long, but it’s especially that bitterness that seems to linger on forever. Adding some water takes away the bitterness, but makes the rhum rather flat and..well..dull too.
Our Score: ***. Pleasant nose, OK taste, disappointing finish.
The Rum: Rhum JM- XO – 45 abv
Bottled: November 2015
Maturation: over 6 yo in re-charred ex-bourbon casks
Nose: Rich and very spicy. Influences of bourbon and even some rye, with fresh menthol notes on the background. After 10 minutes warmer with lots of vanilla now, and some aniseed (pastis). The vanilla keeps growing, but with a bit of a sour undertone lingering through.
Taste: the first attack is strong, with punchy alcohol and a bit acerbic. The bitterness grows, with loads of cocoa powder and a hint of orange peel. Verbena and a general spicy-herbal palate with always that little bitterness around the corner. In my humble opinion, it lacks the freshness and fruitiness of other agricoles – of other JM’s even.
Finish: medium long to long, switching between the sweeter and more bitter notes. Also some aniseed again, ginger and the whole shabam of spices.
Our score: ***
The Rum: Clairin Casimir Batch 2
Distilled: 2013 by Douglas Casimir – double distilled in continuous stills
First of all…is this technically speaking a rhum? The question and debate is open. Sure, it’s made of fresh sugar cane juice, and there for a rhum agricole. But then again, during fermentation certain spices and herbs are added (in this case wild aniseed, citronella and ginger), making it just a bit different.
Secondly…clairin: the name is often used and abused in Haïti to refer to low quality headache rum. Real clairin however can be a fantastic product!
Nose: to be honest, this isn’t by far the most inviting nose a rum has ever had. Unless you are a professional painter and used to these kind of aromas. It’s really a mixture of fermenting sugarcane juice, old motor oil, nail polish remover, olives and an old fisherman’s harbor in Scotland, where the brime is hitting you right into the face. Very vegetal nose with some wet leafs. The nose actually reminds me very much of its far cousin from Brazil: cachaça.
Taste: never judge a clairin by its nose. This is surprisingly pleasant in the mouth. Punchy, but oh so rich. Again very vegetal, with loads of sugarcane and grass (the green kind, not the kind they smoke in Jamaica). Again a bit similar to cachaça, but with a serious edge. This is brutal, raw, uncensored. It even has some distinct smoky notes. Also a very fresh touch…the influence of the aniseed and ginger during the fermentation maybe?
Finish: fresh and not too sweet, with…no surprise there: lots of sugarcane. Also some agrumes and that slightly brutal smokiness again.
And talking about sugarcane…this clairin is made from Hawaii White (Ko Kea) and Hawaii Red cane. Read more about Hawaii cane at this page (click)
Our Score: **** Clairin…love it or hate it. I love it; and think every rum lover should have at least one of these brutal beauties in his bar!
The Rum: Vana
Bottled: n.i., ca 1980
Nose: loads of caramel with a slight metallic hint. Not the richest aroma, but could have been worse for a rhum in this price range.
Taste: sweet, just a little touch of fresh sugarcane juice; rather flat and one dimensional. Little bitter touch, liquorice. What else is there to say? Well, nothing, since this really is rather one dimensional.
Finish: mediumlong, sweet with a touch of anisette at the very end.
Our Score : ** – I suppose this isn’t too bad to make a Cuba Libre with..