Since we are currently working on catching up with distilleries whose produce we didn’t review so far, it is a good time to move to one of Guadeloupe’s best distilleries (in my opinion, of course!). The Reimonenq distillery was established by Joseph and Fernand Reimonenq in the commune of Sainte-Rose in 1916. The distillery has been torched after a short circuit in 1969 and then rebuild as a more modern version. Over time, a rhum museum (1989) and exhibitions featuring the “most beautiful” (others might call them creepy) insects of the world (1994) and models of the largest sailboat ever build have been added to the estate. More importantly, it were engineers working for Léopold Reimonenq who invented a temperature control process that managed to eliminate bad tasting ethers during distillation.
Reimonenq 3YO (40%): For a starter, we have a rhum that I am very familiar with and it is a real value for money cracker! Nose: Very deep and heavy. Clearly not your typical 3YO! Just imagine comparing this to something like… say, the Havana Club 3YO. Jeez… Plenty of wood, menthol, chestnut, spearmint, barn, lemon, grapefruit, Earl Grey tea, muscovado and bamboo are my main impressions. Of course it is not incredibly complex but it is nice, intense (at just 40%!) and really makes you wonder what this thing might taste like. Palate: A wee bit watery but basically not at all if you compare this to other 40% rums. We really do not get any other notes than what we’ve found in the nose but this rhum is just remarkable on so many different levels. Again, at this age and abv, this is unmatched regarding maturity, intensity and flavour profile. I am simply not aware of any other such young and heavily diluted rum that is this heavy, creamy and aromatic. Especially the different woody notes paired with the mentholy general profile are worth pointing out. Finish: More wood, menthol, spearmint and fresh grass. There’s a faint bitterness (chestnut and Earl grey) that matches the profile very nicely. Now we clearly cannot give this one a crazy-high score but once again, this rum is rather special. At its price I really just can recommend it to everyone who has any interest in rum. Period. (80/100)
Reimonenq Première Cuvée (40%): Naturally there is no age statement with this cuvée (even though there could be one of course) but since this seems to be a standard range product there aren’t even vintages. Nose: Clearly Reimonenq and compared to the 3YO for example it is much fuller with a heavier body and seems to be more mature overall. This should be quite a bit older actually. The profile starts out sweet and slightly alcoholic but quickly makes a u-turn to go into a direction that is shaped by caoutchouc, bitter orange jam, sour cherry, lots of wood and quite some spices such as cumin or vanilla. Behind that we can also find a glimpse of glue and now more and more sour cherries, and now clearly also cherry jelly. Palate: Very sweet and mellow with a combination of cherry and vanilla that reminds me of J.M actually. The major difference is that we are having sour cherries here, whereas they are rather sweet with J.M. Then plums, orange juice, kiwi, wood, sweet lemon and nice, almost tannic nuances that some might interpret as spices such as pepper or nutmeg. An additional layer of cane juice/ simple syrup can also be found on top – nice! The finish is basically a sufficiently long (though in total rather short) extension of the palate without any new elements. A really nice and well-balanced Reimonenq that might be the perfect entry rhum to get to know the distillery. (85/100)
Rêves du Whisky Reimonenq 2012 3YO (57,4%): Just as old as the OB 3YO but at a higher abv. Nose: And it is totally different – both, in terms of general profile and quality. It’s heavy on vanilla, and come on, who doesn’t love vanilla!? Like natural vanilla! Now this is good, really good. The rhum is rather simplistic at first but that’s highly deceptive. Raisins, plums, marzipan and dried cranberries are my main impressions but we also get Rooibos, honey, sweet licorice and wood. What a lovely nose! Palate: It just has to be half as good as the nose to be great, really. The extra abv does wonders here by the way. Honey, beeswax, vanilla, plums, the dried cranberries, wood, chestnut, pepper and a slightly spicy, almost chili-like note, rubber and a creamy, almost otherworldly texture make this a crazy good rum. I just don’t want to believe that this is just a three year old rhum (yes, we might have said something similar above but this is a very different story, even!) but at the end of the day, we care about the product’s quality, not the numbers. Nevertheless, it is a perfect demonstration of what’s possible and it’s dangerously easy to sip! Finish: Medium long and with a large set of spices, which I didn’t necessarily detect as such at the palate. Yummy! I think everything has been said. It doesn’t matter if you want to have an easy sipper or if you are looking for a rum that is constantly revealing new nuances. This rum just does it all, with an insane mouthfeel. (90/100)
Reimonenq 2009 5YO “For Rossi & Rossi” (40%): The companies behind Rossi and Rossi are Wilson & Morgan and Rum Nation of course. At just 40%, we might get an idea of what we are about to taste. Nose: Is it really just 40%??? It is heavy with lots of wood, caoutchouc, raisins, menthol, walnut oil and flexseed. It reminds me of a much heavier version of the 3YO and at least the nose is a lot better. Palate: Indeed a bit thin but not thin at all given 40%. I get chili strings, sharp menthol, spearmint, fir cone, wood, walnut oil, orange peel and spices such as pepper and nutmeg. Again, it is rather similar to the 3YO but I prefer this one as it is a bit more intense and even oilier. No matter what, I am not aware of other comparably young rums at 40% that are this aromatic and full-bodied, that’s quite remarkable. Finish: Short to medium long with a mix of wood, menthol and walnut. Nice! Quite a good rum, especially given its rather unspectacular parameters. (81/100)
Rhumhouse Reimonenq 2009 7YO (53%): Nose: A bit on the perfumed side of things but this time with a dominant toffee/ caramel note on top. Eventually the toffee gets some additional aromas such as herbs, vanilla, oak and very mellow floral notes. Perhaps also something close to candied apple. The rhum isn’t extremely complex but it works very well for me. Palate: Not as sweet as the nose suggested and the toffee/ caramel combination is nowhere near as dominant. Instead, we get more of the herbal notes (dry mint, basil), a mix of different woods, something between bitter orange and sweet grapefruit, Rooibos tea, Spearmint toothpaste and a hint of red peppers in the back. It’s quite good and I really like the contrast to the nose. Finish: Long with spearmint, wood and lemon. At first (i.e. when nosing) I thought it was a rather simplistic rhum but going through the different phases of degustation revealed how wrong I was. There’s a lot to explore and discovering the different elements is a lot of fun. (86/100)
Rhumhouse Reimonenq 2007 9YO (47%): These Rhumhouse Reimonenqs are all excellent and here I expect nothing less. Nose: Walnut oil, orange bitters, wood, mushrooms (morels), teriyaki, algae… it has quite the “Asian” side to it. Behind that some pretzels, the typical Reimonenq floral perfume and chestnut perhaps. So far, so good! Palate: A bit thinner than I expected. With Reimonenq you just seem to need 50%+ for true greatness but then again, you actually don’t. Hmmm. On top of that, it’s also slightly sharp I think. Hmm… It starts with the walnut oil again, followed by wood, a minimally menthol-y note, branches and autmn leaves, a hint of cinnamon and cardamom, dry cheese (Peccorino), mild chili strings and a mix of herbs. Finish: Short to medium long with more and more of the menthol-y notes. The rhum is quite typical in a way and I’d award points in the complexity department, but have to deduct them in the texture category. What’s left is still very good of course, but the palate cannot quite keep up with the great nose. (86/100)
Reimonenq 1998 9YO “For Rossi & Rossi” (40%): Another Rossi & Rossi bottling. The nose is quite woody and full of licorice at first but then this super intense mango note strucks your nostrils. It’s like an ultra ripe one or these perfumed shampoos you get. Given that I love mango, this is great, of course, but it really dominates all the other nuances that might be there. I think I get hints of jasmin and maybe sweet orange here and there but no matter how hard you try, it always inevitably turns back to mango. How about the palate then? Of course it is as intense than we are used to and once again, it doesn’t really need much more than these 40%… The mango is not quite as dominant as before but still the most prominent impression here. Than menthol, some licorice, wood, autumn leafs and spices such as pepper, cloves or nutmeg. I really didn’t expect this rhum to be this good! Later some spearmint, a wee bit of walnut or hazelnut, vanilla and latte macchiato perhaps. Nice! Finish: Relatively long with latte macchiato, vanilla syrup, hazelnut, wood and chocolate. I am surprised on so many levels but no matter how you twist and turn it, this is a great rhum! (87/100)