Today we shall have a few older rhums from Martinique and the idea was to have only molasses rums. At the end of the day, we’ve also included an old cane juice distillate as a small bonus, however. Mostly it is not clear which distillery todays rums are hailing from but we also have at least one lost distillery among them. Let’s start with one that’s still widely available. This tasting has not been done semi-blindely, by the way.
Boel Guilly (40%): I know little to nothing about it but it has to be cheap bulk ware that is bottled in France. There also exists an unaged/ blanc version and this one with at least two different labels. I am not sure if the content is the same or not though. My guess is that it comes from Le Galion, as they are the only distillery on Martinique that is still producing molasses based rums on a larger scale these days. Nose: Quite vegetal with chicory and cauliflower, somewhere between certain J.Ballys and Gardels I’d say – yet not quite at their respective qualities of course. Then spices such as pepper, anise or fennel seeds as well as dill or something close to celery. It is actually not terrible, but this particular profile isn’t to my liking at all. Palate: Mellow but watery with vanilla, cauliflower, pepper and the celery. Now quite some wood and even more peppery notes. I am starting to like this more and more actually – it isn’t bad, just way too thin if you ask me. Finish: Short with vanilla, pepper and wood. Here and there the cauliflower pops up. I didn’t expect anything, even thought that it is terrible before the tasting but I think I shall get back to it and try it again among a few other rums. RTN (72/100)
Corman Collins Dame Jeanne “Green label” (1960s/70s, 44%): A few years ago, Corman Collins bottled two old rhums that have been resting in Dame Jeannes for about half a century. They should date back to the 1960s/70s and be about ten years old, but we don’t know anything specifically. I’ve tried both of them and this is the better one. Nose: Quite dirty with soil, hints of tar and window cleaner. The more time you give the rum, the dirtier it becomes and eventually the soil notes take over entirely. There’s plenty of wood, some molasses and a whiff of nutmeg perhaps but not much more. Palate: The texture and mouthfeel is good and it doesn’t taste like just 44%. The maturity is definitely spot on but the rum lacks complexity and an interesting profile. Soil, pepper, nutmeg, bamboo – I kinda feel like this is a bad version of a good rum. Now a hint of vanilla and all of a sudden a slightly bitter note. Not bad on paper, but it doesn’t really work for me. Finish: Short, slightly bitter and without much besides the wood and molasses. Too bad. Once again, I like this a lot more than in a previous tasting and I am already looking forward to getting back to it in a year or so. On the plus side, we further have that it is an interesting rum historically as it is yet another example of what proper Martinican rum was like back in the days. Thanks for that, Hubert! RTN (78/100)
Chauvet 1968 (45%): We do not know much about this one either, only that the Chauvet distillery dates back to 1880, that they produced molasses-based rums and that it has been bottled in Martinique. But that’s what it is with these old bottlings. Anyway, we are happy to have a vintage and more than 40%! Nose: Oha, much better than expected. The profile is quite hard to describe and I’d put it somewhere between vanilla, raspberry, cream and grain Whisky. Palate: Very young and not as sweet and mellow as the nose. It is a bit grainy and uncharacteristic if you will, somehow closer to certain Bourbons or Ryes than to other rums in a way. That’s not necessarily bad, but at least for me that means that it is not as interesting. Now apple, yoghurt, corn, different grains, wheat – I think you get the idea. The integration of the alcohol could have been a bit better but hey, this is a young spirit from back in the days. Finish: Medium long and just as grainy with hay, wood, corn and bubble gum. I was constantly going back and forth between “oh, it is good” and “oh boy, it is really sharp and boring”. At the end of the day, the truth is certainly in the middle of the spectrum and the score probably doesn’t mange to capture the rum entirely so really just for the record: RTN (76/100)
As a small bonus, let’s have this old cane juice rhum.
U.P.R.A.N.A. (1950s, 54%): Before we start, I do not know anything about this one but the label states that it is a proper cane juice distillate. Nose: Quite fresh and slightly boozy. It doesn’t really smell like old juice but given its rather poor quality I would have discarded it as a rather bad, current product. Yeah, there’s the cane, some citrus and hay perhaps but that’s more or less it. Palate: It should be very young juice and this is pretty much the opposite of balance. The alcohol is integrated very poorly and all in all there’s little positive I can say about it. There’s a hint of citrus, the cane again but you will never get up in the next morning and think about this one – it just doesn’t have any memorable elements to it. Finish: Short and merely an extension of the palate, at best. I have been wanting to taste this for quite some time – too bad that it is such a disappointment. (48/100)