Meeting with Florent Lenziani

21 September 2022 | Interviews & Meetings
Meeting with Florent Lenziani

We all have backgrounds, different experiences with a common denominator, that of passion for this sugar cane distillate, Rum.We have decided to give the floor to each of the actors who work daily at Excellence Rhum, whether it is bottling, the preparation of your parcels or even advice in the shop. Make way for the interview with Florent, manager of the parisian store.

Hello Florent. At what occasion did you cross paths with rum?

The illustration of this 23-year-old Caroni is the work of Florent

One of my best friends had spotted two rare bottles from Velier in a bar, the Liberation 2010, an agricole rhum, and a Caroni 1991. We tasted them. There was like a sensorial shock. It was really two very different tastings, a very fruity and gourmet note on the Liberation with the surprise of its finesse and complexity, and secondly, the Caroni, which was an additional aromatic slap, more powerful and contrasted with its notes of hydrocarbon following one another with an aromatic depth on the exotic fruit. The next morning I thought about this tasting and the machine was on: research on the internet, social networks, cellar visits...

How did you come to work at Excellence Rhum?

I was previously a freelance graphic designer for about fifteen year. Four years after my first tasting, my passion for rum increasing, my desire to go to the other side, to know the rum industry had materialized. I contacted a few people working in this field to express my interest. And finally it was the first person I contacted, Alexandre Beudet, the founder of Excellence Rhum who made me an offer. That's how it started.

What does rum mean to you?

I've always needed to be passionate about my work and rum has become obvious to me. I had the chance to receive an education in taste, my father wrote a guide to restaurants in Corsica (where I come from), and so I had the chance to grow up in a context where I could educate my palate. It was an emotional relationship with smells and tastes that triggered my appetite for rum. Then I pulled the thread to understand what I tasted, I read, learned about production, countries, terroir. I love discovering new spirits and expanding my knowledge without having as strong an emotional connection as with rum.

What aspect of your work today appeals to you the most?

The opening of the store in 2018 brought about the real learning of the merchant profession. I discovered a passion for the transmission of knowledge. I have the will to make understand the spirits and in particular the tasting. There is something gratifying in seeing this knowledge circulate and seeing the customer leave with a good rum but also knowledge that he can pass on.

We also have the privilege of being both actors and spectators of the evolution of the world of rum, and of seeing how rum has revamped it's image as an object of tasting.

And finally, from a professional point of view, as an independent bottler, we are in the world of selecting exceptional cuvées. It is rewarding to see customers have confidence in our products and validate our work by their reaction, by their purchase.

Creation of the Caroni illustration in Indian ink
Signature of the work. Each bottle of Caroni is hand-signed by Florent.

What is your role as Manager of the Excellence Rhum store?

You need to have as many products as possible in store to meet a very large demand. You have to feed the shelves, be attentive to the market. I must have a comprehensive understanding of the rum market, from entry level to exceptional products. Finally, you have to understand the destination of each product and be attentive to all types of customers. There is a significant price difference between all the references that you have to know how to explain and defend.

Running a specialized shop means respecting a balance between a base of reassuring products for people who are new to rum, and products that are the cutting edge of the market for confirmed amateurs.

In addition, you also need to know how to lead tastings in the shop and be in contact with the professionals who come to present their products.

What rums or types of rum do you want to introduce to customers?

Understanding what we drink is of particular interest to me. Depending on their taste, we can introduce this or that profile, without hesitating to sometimes get people out of their comfort zone. During an exchange, I want to find what will arouse the interest of the customer to study the possible directions, either to deepen a terroir or a tradition that he already knows, or to drift on to another discovery. This is what mainly interests me.

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