Isautier is another distillery we never really cared for but as we’ve said last time when we’ve had Takamaka: When Velier choses to bottle them, there might be a reason. Since we’ve never featured Isautier outside of a blind tasting, let’s have some historical background first.

The Isautier Distillery has been founded in 1845 by the Isautier brothers Charles and Louis, who landed on La Réunion in 1832. After they died, Charles’ wife Antoinette Isautier (born Orré) took over the charge of the distillery in 1865 and renamed it “Widow of Ch. Isautier & Sons”. Around that time Isautier also got its signature stoneware bottle. In 1878, they presented their rum for the first time outside of La Réunion at the third Universal Exhibition in Paris and were even awarded a medal but real success didn’t kick in until Antoinette’s grandson Alfred Isautier (born in 1881) bought up his brother’s shares in 1910 to found the ‘Etablissements Isautier’. He increased the product range by adding punches, added a column still and started to distribute Isautier Rums around the world. The next step of innovations started in the 1960s and 70s, when Alfred used the sugar industry’s by-products to process it in goods such as chocolate, jam, vinegar, prefumes, wax polish, candles, mattresses cattle food and more, which opened the way for more than sixty new companies and economic development on the island. In 2011, the distillery has been closed and was moved to a new site in Saint-Pierre, where it was rebuilt in a more sustainable way, including France’s first solar air conditioning system. Today they produce both, Rum Traditionnel and Agricole as well es Rhum Arrangés and the flavoured punches mentioned above.

Velier Isautier 2007 15YO (57%): This is a traditional Rum that has been distilled from molasses. Nose: This is rather odd and a bit artificial. We get old candies, lots of banana, apricot and sweet oranges but as I’ve said, this doesn’t really smell natural at all. I am not saying that it isn’t, I am just describing what I smell. But seriously, what’s going on here? This one leaves me pretty clueless. Whatever it is, it just doesn’t smell right. Maybe the palate will tell us more. Palate: Same profile as the nose but even more artifical in a sense. Good lord. This just isn’t good I am afraid. I’d describe this profile as a potpourri of tropical fruits perhaps, as in a mixed fruit jam but that’s about it. We could be digging for more aromas, but at this point I really don’t want to. Finish: More of the same and just as bad weird. Really, it is not totally bad, it just doesn’t feel right. To be honest, I wouldn’t have bottled this and I don’t see why Velier did. At least it demonstrates nice why we’ve never cared about Isautier. (69/100)

Velier Isautier 2005 16YO (65%): This is an Agricole and as they say in Vegas: New game, new chances. Nose: This isn’t Martinique!? Wow, this is good and doesn’t have anything to do with that dismal molasses 2007. I get sugar cane juice, high quality oak, a mix of nuts (chestnut, walnut, hazelnut), pepper and cloves. I really like this profile and it it highly familiar or standard if you want. I certainly did not expect this. Palate: I wasn’t so sure about this while nosing but this one has Saint James written all over it. Lots of oak, coffee, some nougat, hazelnuts and more related roasting aromas. There’s nothing fruity whatsoever but towards the end of a sip we get pleasant yet somewhat fragile floral notes such as violets or orange blossom. What strucks me with the third sip and what has been there the whole time: dried prunes. Those are really all over the place now that we got them. Finish: Incredibly long with coffee, roasting aromas, oak and the dried prunes again. This is very good and blindly I am sure that I would have called this a Saint James but I don’t really see a big issue with that. At least it tastes as if it comes from a totally different distillery than the molasses-based Rum. (87/100)

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