Rhum Rhum is a collaboration between Luca Gargano of Velier and Master Distiller Vittorio Capovilla.
Using small copper pot stills located near to the Bielle distillery on Marie-Galante – a small, very rural island just off the coast of Guadaloupe.
Rhum Rhum Liberation 2012 has been released at two differing ABV’s this “Version Integrale” is bottled at a hefty 59.8%. 1420 bottles were produced.
The Rhum Rhum label use what they consider to be the best sugar cane known, Canne Rouge B47.259. Which was fermented for an almost unheard of 10 days when making this rhum. The rhum was distilled in a copper alembic pot still, specifically designed by Capovilla and made by a the German artisan Muller. (You may have seen stills by this producer on some Habitation Velier bottlings recently)
After being double distilled in the Muller copper pot stills, it was then aged for 5 years in oak barrels which had previously been used for ageing sauternes white wine. The 2012 vintage was aged 5 years in oak before being ‘liberated’. The vintage on the bottle indicates the year of this ‘Liberation’. Hence the product name.
A bottle of this rhum when it was available would have set you back around £80 in the UK, which is quite expensive even for an agricole. The presentation is unusual and striking. From the very beginning Vittorio Capovilla decided that each vintage of the Liberation would have it’s own label. The label design comes from very old stamps from the University of Coimbra in Portugal. They represent different aspects of the Caribbean world.
The 2012 lobster label design represents Caribbean marine life. It is also connected to the food matches for this particular rhum. So a rhum pairing with this is going to be an expensive treat!
I’m not hugely experienced with Agricole Rhum. As this is a bit of an experimental bottling I’m not really quite sure what to expect. To be honest, that really was this rhums appeal.
In the glass the rhum is a quite surprising dark brown, with a reddish hue. I’m surprised as the rum is so young. If I didn’t know better I would suggest added colouring.
The nose on this rum is pretty busy and in many ways quite contradictory. Initially it seems quite light and vegetal.
However a deeper nosing reveals quite a lot of oak an almost liquorice like tannic red wine. So it is sort of light and heavy at the same time?
It’s very rich smelling and nicely balanced. Yet again it has something else going on beneath all that. After a further nosing you feel your nostrils twitch a little with the intensity of the ABV.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. One minute its a grassy Saint James like Agricole the next it is treading Velier Demerara territory! Very confusing but not at all unpleasant.
I’ve given up on this rhum as a conventional agricole rhum. I will just have to judge it on its own merits – comparisions to aged agricoles seem pointless.
Sipping the rum at bottle strength is again a quite confusing experience. Initially I thought little of the entry. Slightly grassy/vegetal again quite light
However, seconds later as the spicy hit of the 59.8% ABV hit. I found I had a very strong fruity, again almost red wine burst of intense flavour. Sweet and pleasant but perhaps a little too sharp and a touch too intense. I found it all a little overpowering.
With a few drops of water added I found the rum mellowed. It really does show a much better balance when the ABV is dropped. (This may well be a personal preference – each person may find a different “sweet spot” for this rhum).
For such a young rum, it is really surprising how much flavour and intensity has been packed into this in such a short period of ageing. The red wine notes used earlier don’t really do it justice – there is a lot going on with each sip. Plums, dates, raisins all come in on the rich fruity side. There is quite a lot of spiciness on the palate as well – a lot of interaction with the oak giving some really astringent notes. Maybe just a little too woody?
Which is my only real criticism of this rhum. Just a tiny bit bitter, especially in the finish.
Other than that it is a very fine rhum. Nice entry, good balance, good length as well. A very good finish spoilt slightly by bitterness towards the end.
I really should have reviewed this much sooner – its unlikely you will find a bottle now. Unfortunately I just didn’t think I could do it justice until I had tried it on a couple more occasions. I also needed to try a couple of other aged agricoles. Just in case I was perhaps missing something obvious with this rhum. I don’t think I have as it is a bit of a curious rhum, even for someone more experienced with Agricole Rhum.
Certainly a rhum for the more adventurous drinker. Very, very good but maybe not to everyone’s taste. It is very intense.