Besides the final ranking, we have a couple of bonus candidates today. These will not be considered for the ranking since they aren’t permanently available, except for the Savanna with 40% perhaps. For your reference, here’s an overview of the previous 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, Montobello, St. James)
Savanna Lontan Grand Arôme Blanc (La Réunion, 40% & 57%): These are actually two Grand Arômes, one with 40% and one with 57%. The latter has been bottled for LMDW’s 70th anniversary. It should be the same rum, just bottled at a different abv. Both have many similarities with the Karukera Blanc from the previous session. Lots and lots of pears and sweetened canned fruits in the nose. At the palate we can find the same aromas and I must say that the alcohol is relatively strong in the 40% version. Later I also get several exotic spices. Needless to say, I prefer the one with 57%, it just has so much more power and the flavours are way more concentrated. The Ti’ Punch with 40% is very thin. The reduction in abv more or less destroyed its mixability. Even though I have a Grand Arôme in front of me, its flavours are nowhere to be found. Just get the 57% version if you can, which is the nuts! Again, plenty of pears and the mix of canned fruits. This would easily be Tier 1 if I were to include it in the final ranking.
Rhum Arrangé (Depaz Blanc (50%) with pineapple chunks and a vanilla bean): Homemade usually means good. Flo from BAT already tried a different pineapple arrangé batch in the Mai Tai and liked it quite a lot! Of course you get what you expect, the rhum has a very strong pineapple and vanilla note. To my surprise, the arrangé also revealed notes of coconut and almonds in the rhum. In the Ti’ Punch it is slightly more exotic. Instead of the coconut and almonds I can now find more fruity flavours such as passion fruit or even mango in addition to the pineapple. The vanilla bean nicely rounds it off. I love it but I might also be biased of course. I greatly encourage everyone to experiment with rhum arrangés if you like a Ti’ Punch, Daiquiri or even Mai Tai from time to time!
Habitation Velier Muller LL IV/3177 2015 (Marie-Galante, 59%): Another major typo by Velier, I think this is supposed to read Mueller instead of Muller but who really cares as long as the product is good, right!? The label reads “Rhum Rhum at the highest proof” (It’s is forbidden to go beyond 59% on Marie-Galante), so we know that it is the result of the cooperation between Velier and Capovilla who distill at the site of Bielle. But enough of that. The nose is very pleasant and full of pears, spices and grain. At the palate we get more of the same, namely pears, a mix of spices, grain and now also corn. Yep, the corn is playing the central role here. It sounds weird but it works. Let’s throw some lime and simple syrup in. The corn is still quite dominant but the spices and the grain are also easily recognisable. There’s a tad of bitterness as well, especially in the finish. I like it, way more than the Bielle Blanc for what it’s worth. This would probably be a Tier 2 Ti’ Punch.
Habitation Velier Port Mourant 2015 (Guyana, 59%): I was very curious to try this when it came out as it’s ester count comes in at 538 g/hlaa. In Hampden terms this would be HLCF! To be blunt, whatever I have been expecting, this is not it. It is just not a good rum. Nose: brush cleaner, almonds, vanilla and mold. The palate is quite similar but we also get a hint of the typical Port Mourant (PM) anise note. It’s absolutely no comparison to more mature PMs however. I am already looking forward to tasting an aged PM from 2015 in the distant future. So how about the Ti’ Punch? It is not thaaat bad. The sugar and lime juice whitewash some of the nasty flavours of the rum but this rather dry and weird distillate should never be used to make this drink. I should have known beforehand but there’s no way I would have been able to finish this neat.
The Final Ranking
The following is my ultimate Ti’ Punch ranking, sorted by tiers and more or less in order within the tiers. Note that the ‘neat’ ranking would look a bit different though.
Tier 1 (world class): J.M, Karukera, Neisson, Longueteau, La Mauny
Tier 2 (recommended): Trois Rivières, Montebello, Depaz, Bologne
Tier 3 (below average): HSE, Damoiseau, Bielle, St. James, J. Bally
Tier 4 (not recommended): Bellevue, Clément, La Favorite, Charette
There’s one more thing to point out. This is only my personal ranking. I have my very own taste and preferences and yours might be very different. Hence you should by no means treat this ranking without the description of the flavour profiles. And even these are likely to be perceived very differently by different people with a few exceptions (I don’t believe there is anyone on earth whose first association isn’t pear with the Karukera for instance). At best, treat this as a guideline. I must say that I even had a great time with the Tier 3 (below average) rhums but by definition some just have to be below average. This doesn’t mean they are bad, even though some
producers people apparently do not understand this. We might make a cut between the Damoiseau and the Bielle however, the gap between the two is actually quite large. The rhums in Tier 4 either weren’t to my personal liking (Clément), were somehow odd (Bellevue) or not very good in my opinion (La Favorite, Charette).