I am sorry that I didn’t provide any background information on Trois Rivières (aka 3R) so far and since time doesn’t permit it we are not going to change that today but I promise to add it in the future. That said, we will have a decent overview of 3R today, including three vintage single casks. But standards first.
Trois Rivières Cuvée du Molin (40%): The nose is clearly 3R with all its light and mild fruity nuances, but relatively speaking, it is rather salty and maritime. I get fresh peaches, citrus, floral notes and after quite some time also slightly herbal associations. The rhum has changed quite a bit after about 30 minutes in the glass and I now also get fresh sugar cane, spices and clearly also lime. Palate: So 40% are a pity but at this price we really cannot ask for much more. Interestingly, it is much spicier than the nose suggested (cinnamon!) and salty popcorn as well as oranges or clementine can be found as well. A really nice one, even though it is lacking some power and could be more complex for my liking. Finish: Relatively short with salt, popcorn and some wood. It’s a rhum your mum would like, I am sure. (80/100)
Trois Rivières 5YO (40%): Right after pouring it becomes clear that this is a more mature, more manly side of 3R. I still get some of the sweeter elements (fresh fruits and sugar cane juice) but now also a pronounced influence from the cask, some spices, musty notes and even hints of wood glue. All in all the rum feels a bit fuller/ heavier in the nose and while I wouldn’t say it is particularly interesting/ complex, it is quite mouth-watering! So let’s take a sip. Flavour-wise, the first thing I notice are the spices and some bitter, nutty notes. Now hints of ginger, black tea perhaps, quite some wood and clearly also pepper and nutmeg. At “just” five years, the cask has prominently put its mark on the rhum but it is still relatively mellow and floral with freshly cut daises and dandelion. Finish: Medium long, smooth and strong on the cask aromas such as spices, nuts and bitters. Not bad at all, but still not too exciting either. Some more “watts” or layers of additional flavours might have been helpful and could have made the rhum more interesting but for an easy, full-bodied rhum agricole there isn’t much to complain in the end. Yes, we might be overly critical but it is what it is. (81/100)
Trois Rivières Triple Millésime (1999, 2000, 2009) (42%): 3R has several of these Cuvées but this is the first and so far only one I’ve had. Nose: Since this is a cuvée I thought it is gonna be on the more balanced side bit here we get more of a spicy profile. There are few of the sweeter and fruity elements. Instead, my first impressions are fennel, coriander seeds, wood, pomace, hints of good old Armagnac, malt and cereal. Palate: Again rather spicy and reminiscent of some French brandy. Fennel and coriander seeds, red pepper, nutmeg, rich red wine, dark cherries and plums as well as malt is what I am picking up. It’s nice but not what I would associate with 3R somehow. But maybe that’s just me. The finish is medium long and comes with wood, chestnut and even slightly tannic notes. Not bad at all but for me it is not the “classical” 3R; but of course that shouldn’t take anything away from the rum’s quality. (81/100)
and on to the vintage single casks (the reason why we are here)…
Trois Rivières 2003 Single Cask (48,1%): The Single Cask go back to as recent as 2007 I believe but this is the latest one I could find. Nose: Very mature but it doesn’t seem to be too oaky. Nevertheless, I can find a slightly disturbing alcoholic note. Behind that we get a rather dry and unspectacular agricole without many interesting notes. It is slightly grain-y with sour cherries, pear, rooibos as well as vanilla and cloves on top. I am not sure what to make out if this yet but maybe the palate can tell us more. Again, my first impression is that it is rather sharp (read: alcoholic), which kinda blocks some of the aromas. I am almost willing to add water (no, it didn’t help). Quite some cereal, pineapple, wood, greek joghurt, now grapefruit and even a few briney elements here and there. You know, single cask are often a gamble but sometimes you don’t believe that things can go wrong. Here it didn’t but for some reason I was expecting a lot more. Finish: Medium long with pineapple, cereal, rooibos and wood. Actually the finish is quite nice. A good rhum, just not the promised land. (82/100)
Trois Rivières 2002 10YO Single Cask (50,6%): Agricole with more than 50% = <3. Nose: Just like the 2003 it is slightly alcoholic but all in all it is also a bit more aromatic. I get a mix of spices such as caraway, coriander seeds, cloves or nutmeg as well as dark stone fruits and aromas close to hay or old wood. It’s really nice despite the slightly disturbing alcoholic note. With some more time in the glass I further get brambleberries, raisins and dry port wine. Palate: Really dry and a bit sharp. The texture is very thick, heavy and creamy but the alcohol is very present nevertheless. My first associations are the spice mix from the nose, which is now followed by more nutty (cashew, hazelnut) and even earthy notes. In the background I find oak, hay and more hazelnuts but I am really missing the fruity nuances here. That, together with the poorly-integrated alcohol, makes this is a good agricole, but none that you desperately need. Finish: Medium long with hazelnut, oak, watermelon and aromas close to cocoa or chocolate. This one was quite a bit better in my memory and in terms of quality closer to the 2001 than the 2003 but today and in direct comparison with the others that doesn’t seem to be the case. (83/100)
Trois Rivières 2001 Single Cask (47,6%): This lady needs time to open up but then we encounter sweet notes of ripe berries, freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, citrus, a wee bit of nutmeg and oak as well as cashews and perhaps even Greek yoghurt. It is a very lovely nose but once again, it needs a lot of time to get to this point. Palate: It is as sweet and fruity as Depaz, as mellow as J.M and almost as complex as Neisson. An awesome mix indeed and I think I would fail this one in a blind-tasting. But it is good! Behind corn syrup and the ripe (red) berries I find a very soft and mature distillate with exactly the right influence from the cask. The oak is supporting the spirit and never feels misplaced. Flavour-wise, we get cut branches, sweet apples and non-sweet, hard peaches as well as a mix of exotic nuts, aged cane juice (if such a thing exists), mild coffee and other roasting aromas. The finish is relatively long with a nice balance of the spirit and the cask. All that sounds fantastic but somehow I am missing a thing or two here and I cannot quite nail it. Nevertheless, this is really great juice. (86/100)