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Tasty, but not quite great
If one ages rhum agricole for too long in charred bourbon barrels, it will wind up tasting like bourbon (or Clement 10 year). This one was aged for "at least one year", which is just enough to get it out of the league of white rhum agricoles and yet still retain it's rhum agricole characteristics. It was only $50 for a liter. I did not read the fine print until I took my first sip neat in the snifter. Whoah!!!! It is 100 proof! Adding a few ice cubes lessened the burn and brought out some flavors, but I see myself mainly using this one to make stellar Mai Tai's along with a fine Jamaican rum.
This stuff just goes all over the place. On the nose you get maple glazed nuts, and something... green. In the mouth you get caramel and raw white corn. That's definitely a first. The sweet notes from earlier evaporate on the finish leaving a flavor of polenta (just think cornbread, but wet.) I'm really not sure what to think of this. So, I'm just going to deem it "servicable," and not think about it anymore!
50% ABV. Somewhat sweet nose, with caramel and some brine. Rather dry on the palate; the brine is more prominent. Some mild harshness at the beginning gradually yields to smoothness with time.
I really like this; quite a bit more than Duquesne ESB (though it's been a while since I've tried that one). The agricole character is rich and not destroyed by the wood. The strength is excellent. No complaints, really :)
Neisson produces an excellent spirit at the 50º and 70º (Espirit) cuts; however, I find it hard to explain the desire for ambres with agricoles in general. The resting imparts color and an abbreviated interaction with the charred barrel wood, no doubt, but not in the extreme sense of the vieux ageing process, which clearly appeals to the whiskey/cognac drinkers and those who love aged or dark rums. Perhaps, as I'm not really in either of the latter categories, it's fair I qualitatively describe this pun of a drink.
A toned rhum agricole blanc is what I would start with describing this as. At the nose and sip - fragrant in citrus fruits (think orange and grapefruit) and a bitter wash upfront, quickly dissipating into the hints of caramelized burned wood barrel features, but not overpoweringly as in a vieux-style, as I had mentioned. The after palate is a warm burning ember tossed to the back of the chimney of your throat, and the taste liners with a hint of pungent citrus mustiness. I feel this one, and Pere Labat's gold, are definitely worth checking out for this middling rhum agricole category.
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