Welcome back to the third part of our Agriole Blanc and Ti’ Punch cross-tasting. Please refer to the links below for the other sessions.
Part I (Bielle, Damoiseau, Depaz, J.M., La Favorite, Neisson)
Part II (Bellevue, Bologne, Clément, HSE, Longueteau, Trois Rivières)
Part III (Charette, J. Bally, Karukera, La Mauny, Montebello, St. James)
Part IV (Final ranking and bonuses)
St. James Blanc (Martinique, 50%): We’ve had a relatively old St. James already but unsurprisingly there aren’t many similarities. The Blanc is slightly smoky with a small dosage of chemicals in the nose. On top of that a couple of herbs and white, dried cheese perhaps. The herbs are very dominant at the palate, I did not expect this. It’s still a bit smoky at the end with a hint of fruits (plums). In the Ti’ Punch I can find the plums again, which are now being joined by sweet-chili sauce and metallic elements. It’s quite weird but not in a good sense. The flavours seem to work against each other and don’t taste like they should be part of the general profile. Not a good fit for the punch I must say.
J. Bally Blanc (Martinique, 50%): Vegetal and earthy. I usually get vegetal associations with aged J. Ballys and the Blanc seems to stick to this tradition. Mineral rich soil and something like cauliflower are the aromas in the nose. The palate is quite similar to the nose, except that the earthy notes are now more dominant. I also get roots, cassava and even batatas perhaps. Neat, it is below average for me but of course I cannot deny that I am generally more into the fruity Blancs! The Ti’ Punch is not too bad however. Not necessarily good, but also not trash. It is very plain and simple which is why you will never dislike this one. On the other hand, the lack of an exciting flavour profile is also why I would never place it in the upper bracket of the ranking.
Montebello Blanc (Guadeloupe, 50%): A very classical Agricole Blanc just like you’d imagine one. A bit grassy, slightly floral and without any dominating flavours in the nose. At the palate, vanilla and other spices as well as a couple of herbs join the party. Towards the end it is becoming somewhat bitter. The Ti’ Punch is solid. For some it might not be exciting enough but I am quite content with this combination. I wouldn’t even want to pick out individual flavours here but it is relatively spicy with a decent herbal touch, thus not too ‘classical’ after all…
La Mauny Blanc (Martinique, 50%): The release for La Confrérie du Rhum was great but that was pretty much my entire exposure to La Mauny (save for the most recent Chantal Comte releases!). Neat, the nose has a strong note of vanilla with white chocolate and cherries to round it out. The palate is very mild, floral and slightly spicy with a mix of berries, mostly currants and juniper berries. The vanilla is nowhere to be found however. Let’s mix a drink. What we get is a slightly bitter Ti’ Punch with a mix of dark berries. Once more, this isn’t your typical Ti’ Punch but a very good one, especially of you are into having a touch of berries in it. Can I get another one, please!?
Karukera Blanc (Guadeloupe, 50%): Very fruity. Lots and lots of pears in then nose, followed by mixed canned fruits in sugared water. The palate is very similar. The pears are still very dominant but I can find the sweetened canned fruits as well. Add some mint and citrus and you get what is a very nice Agricole Blanc. Does it work well in the Ti’ Punch? Oh yes, absolutely! The pear isn’t all too dominant anymore and now provides a very nice nuance to the drink. It is just soo harmonious and balanced. I love it!
Charette Blanc (La Réunion, 49%): Charrette is a a) public meeting or workshop devoted to a concerted effort to solve a problem or plan the design of something or b) period of intense work, typically undertaken in order to meet a deadline. Either way, it’s not an agricole but a molasses rhum. Fresh and sugary. Sweet notes and brush cleaner in the nose are met by sugar, citrus and lots of raspberries at the palate. It’s different but I have a feeling that this might work in a Ti’ Punch, even though it probably isn’t one, strictly speaking. Well, the experiment has failed. It doesn’t work at all, at least not for me. It is way too sweet and the raspberries are way too dominant. It’s just not a good combination, unfortunately. The less said, the better.
Two top tier combinations (La Mauny and Karukera) and a very good one (Montebello) is not too bad at all. I hate to say it but the Charette is a Blanc to forget about. Unfortunately the St. James and J. Bally don’t seem to fit my personal taste. My guess is that many will disagree with my ranking of these two in particular. Speaking of the final ranking, I’ll give it to you on Thursday, together with a few bonuses. Till then, have a good start into the week!