This time we taste a rum that has been bottled before I was born. Bottled, not distilled! Crazy stuff. It’s the Damoiseau 1953 31YO.
If you ask me, I think it is rather crazy that you are still able to buy this rum, even if it is at four digits (I’ve seen it for way less on auctions). This makes me wonder: Is the rum just not that good and people know about it!? After all, Damoiseau is a relatively popular distillery. We should expect that the serious collectors have bought up all the bottles by now. Or were just that many bottles produces? I really don’t know. Something just seems odd here. I even know someone who has been sold a fake-bottle of another Damoiseau 1953 so apparently there is a market for this rum… Anyways, this rhum is part of a bunch of “forgotten” casks that have been rediscovered and bottled in the 1980s, 1984 to be more precise according to my information. I have already reviewed this excellent trio of full proof Damoiseaus, some of which were arguably already on the verge of being too woody at 20 and 14 years, respectively. So please forgive me if I am rather sceptical here but the fact that this is 31 years old doesn’t placate my concerns. Sure, we have had all kinds of great old rums recently but these have been sold out rather quickly. Another potential explanation is that even the die-hard collectors have their limits, which is a comforting thought. Nevertheless, I was very interested in acquiring a sample of it since, let’s be honest, how often do you get to drink these old rhums!? It’s always an experience, irrespective of how good it actually is. And so far, Damoiseau never disappointed me!
Dégustation “Damoiseau 1953 31YO”
Key facts: The rum has been distilled at Damoiseau Distillery on Guadeloupe in 1953. After 31 years, it has been bottled in 1984 at 42%.
Colour and viscosity: Brown sherry. A thick crown made up of thick streaks. The rum takes forever to flow back down.
Nose: Very full and heavy. Notes of spices and dried fruits dominate the profile in front of a voluminous wall of wood. On the side of the spices I get cinnamon, cardamom and coriander. There’s also plenty of brown sugar and caramel. The dried fruits come in the form of prunes, dark berries (blackcurrant) and perhaps unripe banana. Then also a hint of fir wood. It’s quite lovely and at least the nose is not too woody.
Palate: The profile is relatively creamy and very bitter, think fat walnuts. There really aren’t many fruity notes anymore and also the spices are way less prominent. What happened here? As you might expect, the woody notes are still very present but there is not much more unfortunately. The rum reminds me a bit of young Reimonenq. This is not necessarily a bad thing but definitely not what you expect from such an old distillate. The nose was nice, the taste is solid but not if you consider that this is a 31 year old Damoiseau… well. I’d say that this rhum should have been bottled earlier, like way earlier!
Finish: More of the same. It’s quite long with biter walnuts and woody notes.
What a disappointment! It is not that the Damoiseau 1953 31YO is a bad rum but it is not a good one either… Even more so in light of how good the Damoiseaus from the ’80s and ’90s are. At its price and age I was simply expecting a lot more! As mentioned above, it reminds me a lot of young Reimonenq and for comparison I have poured myself a dram of their 3YO with 40%. Well, the differences are not very large. Sure, the Damoiseau is a bit smoother but actually the Reimonenq has a few more interesting nuances even. And only costs a tiny fraction of the Damoiseau.
Thanks for the sample, Malte!