Can La Favorite become a new favorite? Okay, that was poor… Anyway, it is one of the more likeable distilleries out there. La Favorite is the only remaining distillery in Port-de-France and is fully family-owned. A real rarity these days! #taces of a sugar mill go back as far as 1843 and there must have been two sugar refineries with a small distillery with five fermentation vats and a copper pot still around that time. Back then they were called “La Jambette” after the nearby river and they still distilled from molasses based wines. The name has been changed in 1851 and the legend goes that Napoleon has been offered a bottle of La Jambette at the beginning of the first empire and apparently he claimed that this is is favorite liquor. Curvoisier might be telling a different story though… I did have a few La Favorites so far, yet I wouldn’t dare saying what the distillery’s characteristic profile is. It’s about time to find out.
La Favorite 2010 8YO (52,8%): Nose: Very fresh with ripe and sour apples, Appelwöi (aka Cidre) and plenty of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, tumeric and cardamom. Next to that quite some wood, hints of pomace, hay and clearly also quince. So far so good but we have to taste this one to learn more. Palate: Very full and Christmas-y (you know I hate using these kind of associations but its true). It has plenty of the Glühwein (mulled wine, for those who don’t know ;)) notes such as cloves, anise, cinnamon, orange peel and grapes, but also dextrose and sweeter apples now. Even though the associations of the nose and the palate overlap to a large extent, both are actually quite different from one-another, which is usually a plus with me. Now also more vegetal notes such as cauliflower, broccoli or bio degradable waste, but these are essentially only nuances. Finish: Medium long with wood, spices and a combination of apples and the vegetal notes. A very good rhum, if you are into this particular profile. I am not, but I have to acknowledge its quality! RTN (85/100)
La Favorite 2009 8YO (48%): Nose: Really dry and strong on spices. I get hay, dried corn and wheat, cloves, cardamom, pepper and cumin. The spices are quite “powdery” and the profile inevitable makes you think of a curry mix (not necessarily the traditional “English” one though). Unfortunately, the rhum has lost basically all of its fruity notes after eight years in the tropics but maybe that’s going to be different at the palate. Palate: But not really. Here, the profile is once again mostly shaped by spices, such as those you’d typically find in a baked apple. The wood is also quite dominant and you shouldn’t mind a distinct influence of the cask if you consider getting this rhum. The profile is quite nice but not really complex with some nuts, the wood and spice mix as well as slightly bitter, almost tannic notes. It’s a very pleasant, heavy and mature rhum agricole that’s easy to sip, but not much more than that I am afraid. Then again, that shouldn’t be a bad thing. There’s clearly a place for rhums like these! Finish: Long with apple, wood and spices such as cinnamon or pepper. It’s a rhum I enjoy sipping but not really one I’d choose often when I’m in front of my cabinet. RTN (82/100)
La Favorite “Réserve du Château” 2000 14YO (43%): Nose Plenty of nuts and spices as well as notes of Shitake mushrooms. In the nuts department, we have a mix of peanuts and chashews while the spices are mostly represented by cinnamon, cloves and lots of pepper. Especially the latter is playing a prominent role here. Then a continental fruit basket (apples, pears, ripe plum), chocolate marshmellows, quince, lemon sorbet and wood. Not bad, especially at 43%! Palate: Very mellow but not as complex and interesting as the nose. I find almost none of the nutty notes but pretty much the same set of spices we’ve already encountered in the nose. Likewise, the fruity aspects move more and more into the background. Instead, I get something close to hay, oat and corn. It’s really good and the dilution is barely noticeable. I am guessing that the rhum has already been diluted close to this abv in the barrel. Finish: Medium long with wood, spices and oat. A really good rhum. I must admit that I didn’t really expect this for some reason. RTN (85/100)
La Favorite 1995 20YO (45,3%): A 20YO, tropically aged single cask agricole at cask strength. When was the last time we’ve got something like that!? Not often, at least. Nose: Really reluctant and I believe it might need some more time. While it is quite woody, the cask doesn’t seem to have destroyed the rhum. Nevertheless, wood and the cask aromas are clearly the dominant notes here. Heavy walnut, soy sauce, pomace, branches, cloves, anchovi, chili and something that makes your mouth watery. I am almost willing to say that this one smells quite… umami! Actually, the more time you spend with it, the better it becomes! Palate: Again incredibly umami and woody with lots and lots of walnuts and walnut oil, soy sauce, shiitake, salt, burnt caramel, licorice, dark chocolate, plenty of coffee and roasted coffee beans… well, I think you get the idea. I really like this rhum, there are incredibly many elements to discover and indeed, you don’t get something like this all that often. Finish: Long and heavy with plenty of oak, coffee, ultra dark chocolate, walnut oil and now more earthy notes. A really interesting rhum and there’s a sister cask with 44,4% that I have yet to try. After having this one I am really looking forward to sourcing it. RTN (89/100)