Chantal Comte is one of very few independent bottlers that, from time to time, get the chance to select from the warehouses of some of the Rhum Agricole producers from, among others, Martinique. Well, I probably don’t have to tell you how rare this is and if you are a lover of Agricole or Agricole-style rhum, you will know Chantal Comte anyway but the crucial feature here is that they (or rather she) give(s) us the chance to get full proof agricole! And just for the record, this is full tropical ageing of course.
Now with La Mauny… I never really had too much love for their rhums besides the bottling by La Confrérie du Rhum, which was woody but excellent. I think we will move into similar terretories with today’s trio. And before I forget: all thee rhums carry the “La Tour de L’Or” tag line but I will omit it that.
Chantal Comte La Mauny 2006 10YO (57,7%): Full transparency here: This is a full proof, tropically aged Rhum Agricole that has been aging for ten years in French oak barrels (20% new barrels, 80% ex-Cognac) before it got to rest for 12 months in a stainless steel tank. 2000 bottles have been produced. Nose: What all three rums have in common is that the alcohol is integrated exceptionately well! The profile is quite complex and not straightforward to grasp. The general profile is dominated by wood, spices and roasting aromas. I get vine/ tendril, chestnut, blackcurrant, rhubarb, lots of wood, orange bitters and fruit stems. With more time, it gets a lot fruitier (sour cherry, quince, papaya) and I’d say it is definitely worth to let it breath for quite a bit. The nose is great but it gives you the feeling that the palate could be absolutely anything. Let’s see. Palate: Initially I get a mix of the spices from the nose and woody notes and all other flavour seem to come and go. Right here I get the orange bitters and apples, over there some coffee, now chestnut and some tobacco, then branches and grape stems but all these associations are just pieces in the wood and spices puzzle. The finish is very similar as the trend of the palate just seems to continue indefinitely. An amazing rhum that certainly will not suit everyone’s palate. I love it but I can definitely see why many will not have much use for this one. (92/100)
Chantal Comte La Mauny 2005 11YO (51,5%): The single cask of the session. Nose: Much more settled and fruity than the 2006 with a mix of dark berries, wood, vanilla and plenty of other spices, coffee/ mocha and other roasting aromas as well as ripe papaya, cherry and unripe, sour orange. Palate: Very similar to the La Confrérie bottling (it is the same vintage after all). This mix of brambleberries, wood and spices (the big “c”s: cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and cloves) is just too “obvious”. It’s a great rhum but somehow I am missing the complexity of the 2006. I decided to compare this again to the La Confrérie bottling and the differences are even smaller than I thought. Flavourwise, it might be the same rhum but I would give a small edge to the Chantal Comte as it is slightly better embedded in the wood and vanilla if that makes sense to you. The finish is long with wood, vanilla, brambleberries and now also sour cherry. So on the one hand I have to give this rhum the same mark as the La Confrérie bottling, on the other hand it is better than I apparently could appreciate back then. Alas, for what it’s worth: (88/100)
Chantal Comte La Mauny 2001 14YO (64,8%): Here we are having ex-Bourbon barrels and much more time in the stainless steel tank (18 months!). 1715 bottles have been produced. Nose: Where do we start? First of all, it is very clear that different barrel types have been used here as there’s a clear glue-like note in this one. Next, while it starts out much, much heavier, “darker” and more cask-intense than the other two, its has this certain metallic note that I did not find with the other two. Fortunately, we can still find plenty of distillate behind the influence of the wood! I get exotic fruits such as mango, papaya or galia melon, vanilla, cassava, a spice mix (mostly the big “c”s again) and cooking banana. Quite different but the brand specific golden thread is easily recognisable. Palate: Ever so slightly sharp at first but it is absolutely not problem. What I described as glue in the nose is now some sort of caramalized apple(!) and the metallic notes are more like toffees cooked in a copper pan. Then I get a mix of candied and dried fruits, ginger, almond, lime, different sorts of wood as well as some more herbal notes. With the second sip I now get even more of the ginger and more earthy/ root–y impressions. What a great rhum this is! The finish is long with an almost perfect balance between the wood, fruit and spices. At first I thought that this one is too woody but after close to an hour in the glass this couldn’t be much further away from the truth. What is more, it is totally different from the 2006 but just as great. These two rums are perfect complements as far as rhums from the same distillery are concerned! (92/100)