Looking to find new Favorites

Probably not the best headline we could have come up with. What’s even worse though is that our sample library ran out of La Favorites. Oh mon dieu!

La Favorite Cour de Rhum (40%): I believe that this is more or less four years old. Nose: Sufficiently intense at 40%. We get a mix of spices, sugar cane (I was close to calling them grassy notes), yellow stone fruits, humid wood, the smell of a rainforest and sweet grapefruit perhaps. This is surprisingly good and smells older than the supposed four years. Palate: Once again strongly on the spice-side, with lots of oak. You really only notice the relative juvenility in the texture so I am thinking heavily charred barrels here!? But it is really good, make no mistake. My associations are those humid woods / rainforest notes again, but we also find coconut, cocoa and chocolate next to sugar cane. It is easy going with quite some cask influence. Finish: Spices, cocoa, oak and nougat. This is a very nice, uncomplicated “every-day” sipper that is entertaining enough to be tasted next to nerdier stuff as well. Good job, La Favorite! (82/100)

La Favorite Cuvée 1990 (40%): I have read that this is 25 years old but I have absolutely no idea how accurate this is. Nose: Now it does smell very mature and elegant. The notes of fresh cane juice are present but have been smoothed by the cask, which also added vanilla, pepper, nutmeg and a note somewhere between cinnamon and cloves. There are very few fruity notes here, which strengthens my belief that it is indeed quite old. That said, the profile isn’t very complex, almost a bit boring even. Palate: My understanding from the nose translates to the palate, which is just as unspecatcular. The texture is nice, but all edges of the Rhum have been smoothed out entirely, which is almost always a no-go for me. Cane juice, vanilla, oak, apples, a few old branches and more floral notes is everything there’s to mention here. A real pity if you ask me. Finish: Short and forgettable. I understand that this is an excellent Cuvée from a blender’s point of view, one that will appeal to the masses. For us, it is nothing that we will remember tomorrow morning. By the way, I don’t really believe in those 25 years any more now. (75/100)

La Favorite Flibuste 1983 30YO (40%): At 30 years, this has to be one of the oldest Agricoles I have ever tried. Nose: Clearly one the woody side of things but still pretty much alive. My first associations are oak, unripe apples, grassy notes (you know that we don’t call that out usually!), grapes and old Yak (it could be either, Cognac or Armagnac…), a few spices and then more grassy notes. It is definitely not as complex as we’ve thought. Palate: Sweet at first, but then dry and bitter, woody and sweet again. What is this!? There’s clearly a sweet, syrupy note shaping the profile that reminds me of rich muscovado syrup and tamarinde. Then light chocolate, milk coffee, macadamia and Crème Brûlée. Here the 40% mean that the Rhum isn’t thin but I believe we might have lost a bit of complexity. Together with the sweetness, this surely does raise an eyebrow or two by the way but you didn’t hear me say anything, of course! Finish: Relatively short with wood, that muscovado syrup and a whiff of apples. All in all it is nice, tasty stuff but, as I’ve said, lacking intensity and complexity. (86/100)