La Confrérie Du Rhum – La Mauny Millésime 2005

La Confrérie du Rhum began as a Facebook group created in March 2013 that developed into a platform to enable spirit professionals, bartenders, producers and everyday enthusiasts like you and me to come together and talk about their shared interest: Rhum. Since the beginning of 2015, a number of special vintages have been chosen for release by the guys heading up the group La Confrérie Du Rhum and this time it is the turn of Maison La Mauny to provide the liquid. They do so in the form of a 2005 vintage Extra Vieux Rhum Agricole that has seen a full 11 years in French Oak that proudly carries the Martinique A.O.C (appellation d’origine controlee) marque. It is released at 49.7% abv and the release is limited to just 1000 bottles priced at €90.

La Confrérie Du Rhum La Mauny Millésime 2005 – 49.7% abv

Tasting Notes

Glass: A deep, dark coppery red greets you when you pour the Rhum into the glass. It has the unmistakable aroma of a well aged spirit. Given that it’s almost 50% abv, there is nothing particularly aggressive jumping out of the glass. On the contrary, this Rhum has a well-rounded fruity nose. There is a hint of marzipan combining with ripe dark berry fruits and this combination is reminiscent of a jammy Bakewell tart. The nose develops into stewed dark fruits and begins to allow nutty and leathery notes to come to the fore. Further time sees the development of a light cocoa and an ever developing oak influence. Time in the glass uncovers layers of complexity in this Rhum which lets not forget, has seen 11 years of age in the tropical climate of Martinique. This is an island that I have read has a climate that leads to one of the greatest losses to evaporation. There was potentially the chance that this length of time could have been too excessive, but to my surprise the years have been very kind.

Mouth: An intensely dry entry sucks that moisture from every corner of your mouth. There is a lightly acidic quality and a very prominent bittersweet tang that reminds me of the bottle of Umeshu Plum Sake that I have chilling in the fridge. A second wave of stone fruits and a chewy homemade blackberry jam follows. The oak influence starts to creep back into the experience with a charred, almost toasted note coming to the fore. The long finish begins with a growing menthol eucalyptus note and further develops into drying oak shavings and a peppery, celery quality.

There are layers upon layers of complexity within this Rhum and it deserves time and patience far in excess of what this small taster allows. Benoît and Jerry really know how to pick their special releases as for me, they have delivered on all of the previous releases that I’ve purchased. This one will be no exception…..when it comes back into stock that is….

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Potted History of the Rockley Still

This will represent the first guest post to appear on the site and in this instance it will be written by my friend Nikos Arvanitis. I am very eager for it to appear here on this site given that I am a huge fan of the medicinal elements within the Rockley Still style of Rum and I have really enjoyed communicating with Nikos on this subject during his recent Caribbean adventure. Thus far am only aware of two years of distillation for Rums purporting to be from this mythical still. The year 1986 saw a couple of Samaroli Blackrock and Bristol Classic Rockley Still Rums and the year 2000 has seen a Rum Swedes, a La Confrerie du Rhum and an Our Rum and Spirits release in the Rockley Still ‘style’ (though the latter two do not state it in the label). Both years of distillation point towards W.I.R.D (Blackrock) as a point of origin but the following potted history may expose the fact that these Rums are not actually from the Rockley Still at all, but are merely a Rockley Still ‘Style’. Delving further into it, that also may be a misleading statement as there is a high likelihood that no-one actually knows what the Rockley Still distillate tastes like, and therefore we are simply unable to replicate it truly as it could be a lost style. Anyway, without further delay I shall leave it to Nikos, who after touring the Caribbean living like a local and not a tourist is best placed to speak with some authority on the subject.

A Potted History of the Rockley Still

Rockley DocumentI always thought that in order to understand Rum, I ought to follow the path of sugarcane in the Caribbean, the history of the plantations, the habits of the slaves and others not so technically aware of the production process issues. That was basically the reason that I moved to the Caribbean for a while. By communicating with the locals and by undertaking personal research, I was able to hearken to the personality of this mythical distillate, gaining experience through peoples’ stories. I would like to share with you a short and turbulent history of Rockley Still. The Rockley Estate is located on the Southwest coast on the island of Barbados in the Christ Church Parish. Its existence stems from the early to mid-18th century. The island of Barbados was rich in sugarcane plantations, and most of these plantations distilled. This was also the case on the Rockley Plantation.

BatsonsThe nationalization of the plantations of Barbados started, and this resulted in a slowdown in sugar production. A natural extension of this slowdown spread to molasses production and therefore Rum production. A company by the name of Batson’s started collecting the machinery and stills from the plantations that were beginning to close. All of these closures took place during the late 19th and early 20th century, and the truth is that they built up a very good collection of Pot Stills. Within their collection, there were two small-capacity Pot Stills which we believe date back to 1850 that were built in London. We are still not sure if one of the two (the smallest) came from Rockley Plantation, and simply sought a new ‘home’ because it was probably well-known that the plantation would be transformed into a golf course for rich tourists.

The continuity of its existence finds it relocated to the West Indies Rum Distillery (W.I.R.D), where it was purchased in order to allow W.I.R.D to possess a Pot Still and reduce the competition with Batson’s. This happened somewhere between 1905 and 1920. After conversations with members of the distilleries where the stills were originally located, we received confirmation that they were actually used for distillation. However, it is certain that they have both been inactive for at least 50-60 years, as no member of the company, even the oldest ones, have ever seen them active. They are well maintained and are located somewhere at the W.IR.D. So if we assume that actually the smaller of the two IS the legendary Rockley Still, it is apparent that Rum distilled from this has not yet been released to the market, since it has simply been inactive for so many years. We shouldn’t forget though that the name of a dead plantation and a lot of years without distillation make a Rum a lot more interesting to the market because it is all Smart Marketing. However, this is far from true, as the history is history and we are not able to change it…

Rockley Still
My love from Greece and the Port Cask finish Foursquare Rum which accompanies me whilst I write these few words about the Rockley Still.

Cheers

May the Angels Share Return to the locals…Save the Caribbean….Bless

Bio

Nikos Arvanitis has been working as a bartender since 2006. Rum is his passion and his desire to understand it lead him to the Caribbean. Using the Island of Barbados as his base, he has visited 15 Islands in the tropical zone of the ‘West Indies’ and over 30 Rum distilleries and sugarcane fields, both active and inactive. His journey is still on and he has named it “From The West Indies to the World”

email: nikos.arvanitis.rum@gmail.com

facebook : https://www.facebook.com/nikos.arvanitis.7

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

La Confrérie du Rhum Cuvée Anniversaire

Rhum ArrangeLa Confrérie du Rhum is a Facebook Group created in March 2013 that already has over 5000 members! Professionals and Rum lovers use it to talk about and share their common passion about Rum and sugarcane distillates. I use it to stare at pictures as my grasp of French is not the best!

For its second birthday, the administrators decided to bring out a Cuvée Anniversaire and teamed up with Cédric Brément, the famous French rhum arrangé producer of Les Ti’arrangés de Céd to produce it. On March 28th, this new bottling will be released in a limited edition of 500 bottles for sale at the Christian de Montaguère store in Paris. During this anniversary event the administrators of the group and the producer of this special bottling will release the Cuvée Anniversaire Ananas Victoria (Label Rouge) – Sauternes Finish Single Cask.

This infused Rhum uses a white AOC Rhum from Martinique as its starting point. This has been aged for 8 months in Sauternes Casks (Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux) prior to being infused with red labelled Victoria Pineapples from Réunion Island. These red labelled Victoria Pineapples are rare, of a high quality and are cultivated and chosen in a very selective way. The standard of this variety of Pineapple is very high in terms of its cultivation and final product.

The 700ml bottle of this Cuvée (32% abv) is presented with a white and gold label containing the group logo. This bottling is an exclusive only available for purchase at the Christian de Montaguère store in Paris (20, Rue de L’abbé Grégoire, 75006, Paris) priced at 32 Euros from 28th March.

Cuvée Anniversaire Ananas Victoria (Label Rouge) – Sauternes Finish Single Cask – 32% ABV

CED CONFRÉRIE RHUM 050315

In the glass: The Rhum is a pales straw colour in the glass and its agricole base is hugely apparent. You get that vegetal punch in the face straight away but it is tempered by the lower abv and the raisin sweetness that billows over the top of the glass. This is all accompanied by a huge dose of pineapple which is sublime. I can’t help longing for summer!

In the mouth: It has an all encompassing mouthfeel full of sweet pineapple and raisins followed up by the green agricole quality. There is an earthy character too. It is warming, refreshing, sweet and now its gone! I would love to try this with a touch of ice on a hot day…its beautiful stuff.

I’m a huge fan of pineapple anything so this was always going to be a hit with me, and as my first try of a rhum arrangé the experience has been massively positive. I’m fortunate enough to have planned a short break in Paris at the end of April / early May, so obviously visiting the Christian de Montaguère store is a given as we are staying close by and I’m hopeful that I can pick up a bottle (or two) as this is very tasty stuff.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

La Confrérie du Rhum Cuvée No2

This is the second release linked to the La Confrérie du Rhum Facebook Group and makes a switch to the French West Indies in the form of Guadeloupe. Hailing from the Bellevue au Moule Estate and Distillery which was established at the end of the 19th Century by a Mr Rimbaud from Martinique. The distillery is now owned and run by Mr Hervé Damoiseau after it was acquired by Mr Roger Damoiseau in April 1942.

Cuvee No2This particular expression was distilled in March 1998 in a column still. Cask #86 was aged in Guadeloupe until September 2013 when it was transferred to Germany. The Rum was extracted from the barrel in November 2014 and bottled in January of this year (2015). This makes the Rum a rather accurate 16 years and 9 months old! This is NOT an Agricole…..it is a molasses based Rum.

A little more subdued, this releases label has a more muted colour palette, being shades of cream but the same fonts have been used along with the same red text. There is also a greater availability of this release as 156 bottles have been produced. The bottle shape and familiar red wax seal from the first release remain.

Again, the Rum was inhaled so quickly that this only represents my initial thoughts based on one the one glass that I have enjoyed. As before, if I am successful in obtaining a bottle, I reserve the right to revisit my notes…

La Confrérie du Rhum Cuvée No2 – 42% abv

Cuvee No2 Shot 1

Tasting Notes

In the glass: The Rum is a crisp coppery gold in the glass. A little swirl leaves a wall of Rum, then long droplets lazily meander back down. The first aroma is perhaps one of my childhood, but it is of Fruit Salad chewy sweets. It’s beautiful. There is a little astringency, a tiny medicinal edge and a lot of fruit there. This smells like it will be quite syrupy. Next there is some freshly cut apple and a heavy dose of rhubarb! Spicy oak and vanilla round this one out. It is a pleasure to sit and smell.

In the mouth: Initially there is a whiff of smoke along with the medicinal note. This is not at all like the aromas. It is not syrupy and is most certainly not as fruity as the nose says. The oak is dominant and there is a slight vanilla sweetness that gets dried out very quickly by the moisture sapping oak. A touch of liquorice and some pepper hit my tongue next. This is so so drinkable. The finish is of a decent length and has a cheek tingling oak spice. Hints of smoke and that drying oak influence and medicinal note carry this over the finish line. Where did the fruit go? Would less age allow more of the fruit to push through the oak? There is a bitter note right at the end like treacle coated raisins. There is also a faint prune note right at the back of the finish.

Sadly this sample is now gone……but I’m hopeful of a bottle of this Rum when it goes on general sale. 156 bottles means that there is a better chance for more people to try this, and try it you should. It is a certain purchase for me.

Big thanks again go to Benoît Bail for allowing me the opportunity to try this Rum.

*Bottle Image Courtesy of MsOdD*

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

La Confrérie du Rhum Cuvée No1

Etiquette---Cuve¦üe-Confre¦ürie_2La Confrérie du Rhum is a Facebook Group that if you are not yet a member of, you should rectify by clicking the link. The group, set up in 2013 by Benoît Bail has over 3600 members drawn from all corners of the globe with varying levels of involvement in the Rum world from brand ambassadors, producers, distilleries, bottlers, bartenders to Rum lovers, bloggers and amateur enthusiasts. The past 18 months have seen the group have huge success becoming bigger and more well known for its forum activity along with its sharing of articles, images, websites and ideas.

Due to popular demand, Vincent Bidault de Villiers , Jerry Gitany and Benoît, the custodians of the group decided to bring to market a special bottling commemorating the group that will be sold to its members in January 2015. This special edition La Confrérie du Rhum Cuvée No1 500ml bottling will be very limited with just 55 bottles being produced.

The Rum itself is sourced from Barbados, specifically by way of commemorating what is seen as being the birthplace of the history of Rum. It was distilled at the W.I.R.D (West Indies Rum Distillery) in 2000 before being aged in American Oak barrels for 13 years, partly in Barbados, then Germany before being bottled for La Confrérie du Rhum in 2014. The bottles have been hand wax dipped by Benoît himself to increase the visual appeal and to compliment the red label. The label itself has a map of Barbados along with the name and logo.

This Rum was inhaled so quickly that this only represents my initial thoughts based on one glass, and whilst I have asked to be considered for a bottle once available for purchase, this is not a sure thing. If successful I reserve the right to revisit my notes…

La Confrérie du Rhum Cuvée No1 – 43% abv

Sans titreTasting Notes

Barbados 2000In the glass: The Rum is a pale gold / straw in the glass and is ridiculously pungent. A swirl leaves reluctant little beads decorating the glass…..there is the apparent aroma of something quite medicinal….almost like a peated whisky. I have encountered this aroma before and this alongside the distillery (W.I.R.D) would lead me to believe that it is a Rockley Still (style) Rum……for some reason, whilst I find these qualities a little suffocating, dominant and hard to get along with in a whisky, they are very appealing to me when found within a Rum! Oak is certainly apparent as is the faint whiff of heavy-duty cardboard boxes. There is also the hint of something resin like. There is also the aroma of tropical fruit but more like stewed fruit…it reminds me of a fruity teabag that has been left to brew for a while. It is certainly heavy on aroma with a good dose of smoke rounding it off.

In the mouth: Initially there is a little sweetness and it is very whisky like from the off. My mouth is instantly filled with the medicinal iodine, smoke and oak that I would associate with an Islay whisky. This subsides as the Rum drys out quite rapidly to leave liquorice torpedo sweets, tar like molasses, and a little more of the medicinal edge reminiscent of sticking plasters. The finish is a long one for sure with the faint medicinal notes remaining and accompanied by black pepper and more of that liquorice and tar like molasses.

I have tasted a similar Rum from the same distillery but that was at a much higher abv. That was more intense on the aroma but much of the flavour was hidden behind the cask strength and needed releasing with a drop of water. Colour wise you would think it a little light for a Rum of this age but the other Rum of this style also shares its colour. If you get the opportunity to try this then you really should. It’s medicinal notes won’t be for everyone but I’d love to hear your thoughts.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content