The most anticipated Rum fair of the year has kept its promises. The reception of visitors is optimized from year to year, the aisles are wide, the traffic is more fluid, we find friends and above all many beautiful brands of rum, with some new ones of course! We were all there, and we share here, with you, our favorites!
The public eye was on Braud and Quennesson and this interest is not misleading. Soon the 59% abv version will be released, which is a real aromatic bomb, balanced with a crazy sweetness while letting express a fruity freshness.
In Marie-Galante, it is with a yellow cane that Père Labat brings us a fresh and smooth rum. This rum is exuberantly rich on the sweetness, with a slight vegetal hint which is welcome
The balance was impeccable in my opinion on the Bally 2004 cask strength: a nose of rare elegance, notes of varnished wood and while tasting, touches of candied fruit and a length that does not let go. The wood is powerful without ever becoming bitter. It is a very great rum!
Another crush. The Montebello, Chassagne finish: The Guadeloupean brand signs a powerful shift in this range and dares to explore less standard aromatic notes. The aromatic balance is perfect and the alcohol is not felt. It is a gourmet sweetness with sweet spices with a lingering desire to "come back to it".
The famous El Dorado house signs three old blends bearing the very solemn name of "Last Casks". My heart swayed to a 22-year-old Vintage 2000, this barrel-aged Diamond Coffey still blend from Uitvlugt. The result resembles a stroll on the Demerara River. This selection revives the Guyana style, powerful, warm, spicy, with an intense flavor with accents of crème brûlée. A delight !
The Plantation house had a 27-year-old Longpond STCE from the Antipode range released for the last Whiskey Live. This 69% profile is a real aromatic shock. Everything that sets Jamaica apart is present. The tangy notes of the long fermentations are there, however nothing chaotic in this profile because a warm woodiness and a deep roundness end up lining the palate bringing an infinitely sweet finish.
The Révélation cuvée from Père Labat was truly one, characterized by a beautiful freshness and a perfect balance between fruity and vegetal notes. A great way to open hostilities!
It was then to Jamaica that I turned with the latest anniversary cuvée of Swell de Spirit, a Hampden 2013 finished in New Yarmouth barrels. I expected a lot from this bottling, needless to say that I was not disappointed. The bet was daring but it is indeed a success for this little Jamaican. It marvelously combines the fruity robustness of Hampden with the more gourmet wisdom of New Yarmouth. An explosion of exotic fruits supported by sweet notes of cocoa and caramel which give more roundness and balance to the rum. What a beauty !
Finally, it was an explosive blend at Famille Ricci that caught my attention. The Aries cuvée from the Zodiac series is a surprising blend of rums from Panama and Jamaica. A round and greedy attack on notes of caramel, followed at the end of the mouth by a bouquet of exotic fruits. An extremely surprising product to say the least, but nevertheless, very well done.
This show had a particular taste for me, because it celebrates the first year of the closure of my establishment. It was an opportunity to reconnect with the world of rum, through its brands and their ambassadors, its exhibitors and of course its atmosphere with its visitors. I was able to see many acquaintances and friends again, and even if I was able to do two full days this year, a feat, I was not able to see everyone.
I will remember many new brands present, such as HBS, Braud and Quennesson, Swell de Spirit, the Bellevue distillery with a range of old rums that are more than successful with exotic fruit, the generosity of the exhibitors with really a lot of products to taste like at Maison Ferroni or Premium Craft Spirit with a line up that would make blush more than one.
There were a lot of new faces and a nice mix. I had the pleasure of being on the exhibitor side several times during the show and I noticed a real curiosity and a sincere interest on the part of the visitors.
For my favorites, on the agricole part, there were many candidates including Braud and Quennesson, the Bout du Monde cuvée from HBS, the XO from Héritiers Madkaud. In the range of Montebello and their finishes, special mention for the finish in Breton whisky casks, we do not get over it! I will finish with the Saint James Ephémère 6, whose aromatic power and bouquet of spices I loved.
For the molasses rums, there too we will notice the number of independent bottlers who have released many cuvées: the Ricci Family, Old Brothers with some rather crazy blends, at Valinch and Mallet, there was a friendly Australian on notes of blackcurrant. I really liked the new amber from Ferroni, the black amber, a very interesting blend, with a finish in a Beaume de Venise cask and at 47°.
Père Labat Révélation is indeed a beautiful one. We smell the fresh cane with a nice sweetness in the mouth.
Montebello stood out with its “Rencontres”, a series of rums with particular finishes that give very fruity products. The 2014 vintage of La Favorite is balanced between the flesh and the skin of the fruit. Marsolle Rums are making a comeback, with very good rums “élevé sous bois” (a few months of maturation), especially those aged in Acacia barrels.
But my favorite in this category is definitely the Reimonenq Fernand d'Or 2009, 11 years old. It has notes of roasted almonds, a slight touch of coffee and beautiful flavors of nuts.
Among the independent bottlers, the Australian rum from the bottler Valinch et Mallet was remarkable! And on the side of the Ricci Family, the 7th Symphony cask strength is a delight!
Habitation Bellevue rums are finally arriving in France! The 6, 10 and 12 year old decanters are truly magnificent with lovely woody and fruity notes. St Nicholas Abbey, the small distillery in Barbados, stands out with its finesse, a real work of craftsmanship! Swell de Spirits, Jamaica Hampden 2013 Anniversary Cuvée Series, powerful and fruity, is simply magical: a big crush!