One does not go without the other, the two iconic distributors LMDW & Dugas, struggling to find out who will have the most qualitative portfolio of spirits, hold their own fair every year a few days apart. We come back with news from the front lines on the Dugas side. France Quintessence and whisky live are also two major spirits events.
Once you have gone through the expert club, you will consider that the other two were a walk in the park in terms of space, number of people and ease of tasting the products. We are almost approaching a training session in order not to have an organ descent during the Club Expert Dugas. So, the place is magnificent, the Musée des Arts Forains, it's beautiful for sure, on the other hand they must have a problem with the air conditioning since in the afternoon, it's around 50°C Thermostat 4 in the room... the drops of sweat mixing with the divine beverage, no need to draw you a picture.
Ah yes, some brands are much more popular than others, so it's a bit like at Disneyland, there's more waiting... And you have to come early because on some "rarities" after noon, there's nothing !
In short, after this rough little intro let's move on to the finds and other bottles expected from this show.
Let's take a tour of the newcomers before attacking with those we see again each year.
We start with a little reminder of a sensational discovery, there would be cane and rum distilleries in Mexico! Global conspiracy? Wake up, we are lying to you!
Little information circulates on Pixan, but we tasted it and we like it! The rum is distilled in Monterrey in the distillery "Espiritus del Norte" literally the spirits of the North. It also seems that the rum is 8 years old but we don't really know much more about it…. In the aromatic palette we find exotic fruits and the flambéed banana side of Saint Lucia, it's quite cool!
Let's move on to Manutea, the rum from Tahiti distributed by Dugas.
For Manutea, in theory everything is pleasant and clear, in the style of agricole rum - without being able to call itself that, the fault of the appellation - the monovarietal o'tahiti sugarcane cut manually, the “vesou” distilled quickly, the long reduction …
The rum is distilled in a still surmounted by a column (Arnold Holstein for purists) and comes out at 80%. We therefore avoid the large industrial columns that come out at almost 92% like vodka, so much the better for more taste.
Manutea is in a purely agricole style and the first thing that comes to mind is the irresistible urge to add a teaspoon of good sugar and a little lime zest! A Ti Punch! Or rather a Tahi'Ti Punch -registered trademark-!
The highlight of the show is surely the 100% Dugas brand, which is (re)launching independent bottling with La Maison Du Rhum -any resemblance to a possible competitor is purely coincidental-. La Maison du Rhum will ultimately have 8 distilleries to begin with, bottled at alcohol content ranging from 42 to 47%abv. Here is the “line-up” which is pretty impressive: Diplomatico, Maison la Mauny, Botran, Rivière du mât, Santa Lucia Distillers, Coloma, Damoiseau. In the end, the will of Dugas is to present to you another facet of these distilleries mostly known to all amateurs. The packaging is very elaborate, the labels are very beautiful, the price should be moderate, the juices are interesting. 3000 bottles of each to start, enough time to taste without rushing! A nice gift under the tree for your father-in-law? If he does not drink rum, all the more reason, you will have something to drink when visiting the family in law, all is not lost!
Toucan releases its N°4. You probably know the Toucan brand whose juice - agricole rum of course - comes directly from French Guyana. This time the bird is locked up for 15 days in a wooden cage that has contained Armagnac, the time to train the little rascal!
Well, we still fed him a little with oak shavings to finish calming him down. A good rum with a mastered recipe.
Coloma, the liqueur maker specializing in coffee, returns with his 15 year old - a real 15 year old - who spent the last 5 months of his life in a barrel used to age their coffee liqueur.
The coffee is not predominant, on the contrary, it adds a few small notes of roasting in the background, the nose is greedy without aggressiveness.
We move on to Diplo, which comes to us with two ingredients used for the Venezuelan sauce!
It is impossible not to pass by this stand, which is modest, unlike Don Papa's very colorful stand. Diplomatico wants to play the producer card and that's good.
2 new limited edition rums are therefore arriving, two radically different distillations which therefore participate as ingredients in the Diplomatico that we all know, the “Reserva exclusiva”.
It goes to show that the research and development team was not limited to adjusting the sugar level! Just kidding! Diplomatico therefore offers us a probable response to an outcry that was fomented among spirits merchants and consumers, seeking novelty!
The first, a Single Batch Kettle is a distillation of cane honey in a Kettle Still, imported to the distillery in 1959. Distilled in 2011, aged in bourbon casks, it evolves on the fairly powerful aromatic register with a Foursquare type! A coconut and a vanilla on quite straight notes, the nose is quite tense. A fairly dry palate for a Diplomatico with a pretty alcoholic grain side.
The second was distilled from molasses in March 2013, in a Barbet column made of copper also purchased in the French West Indies by the distillery in 1959. Aged in ex bourbon casks, it is fruitier, rounder, with more “toffee” again and milky flavors of coconut milk. Its finish is longer than for the Kettle Batch. A light burn on the taste buds which counterbalances this smooth effect.
Conclusion, I prefer the Barbet, in my opinion better built, more flexible, less unequal between nose and mouth than the Kettle Batch.
Both are bottled at 5000 copies each for this first batch.
In fact, we simply needed to exchange a few words with the charismatic and discreet Daniel Baudin, cellar master at Trois Rivières and Maison La Mauny to understand the meaning of these letters and numbers that tattoo the latest beautiful things from 3R. "L23", this letter and this number resonates in the heads of many rum lovers. Indeed, last year, Trois Rivières bottled this famous L23. L23 therefore means Loge 23, which housed 400L new American oak barrels that contained juice from the 2006 vintage, at a natural degree of 55.5%. A great success, a taste of too little, bottled in 50cl format.
Back in this Loge n°23, Daniel decided to tackle the 2006 vintage again, but this time it has spent its life in 400L cognac barrels.
No doubt it will quickly become a bestseller!
Daniel then passes a little feather duster on the VSOP from Maison La Mauny, now made up of a blend of a 9-year-old rum with another 5 and a half-year-old rum, and to use the words of this talented cellar master "it's sweetness and character".
Nothing new under the HSE sun except a nice chromatic variation with the possibility of tasting everything, quite cool!
Let's gear up for La Favorite, which was a little overtaken by events with a Bel Air 2017 expected but unfortunately not "tastable" in the final version on the stand. However, the version we were able to taste is already very promising, no doubt that with a slow reduction as planned it should be even crazier! Fruit, pepper, it is expected for November, what else?
What to say about the 2009 vintage, which will certainly be re-tasted because it did not leave us with an imperishable memory...
The Flibuste were comforting as usual, a good rum by the fire, here are some aromas found during the tasting:
Flibuste 1987: Warm, caramel, bold gourmet, salted butter caramel
Flibuste 1988: straighter, floral, mineral, rancio
Let's finish up with Japan, Nine Leaves is cool!
The standard white is cool, the Cabernet barrel finish is nice and wacky, but there are still some nice sulfur notes in one of the two finishes available.
Follow closely the new Dugas brand called La Maison Du Rhum which shows great promise, go for a ride on Tahiti, go back to Martinique and say hello to Daniel Baudin then go home!
Alternative circuit: Venture on a trek in South America armed with your best commando shorts and your tasting glass to add a few good things like Coloma!