Rum & Cane Merchants Mauritius XO Single Cask Rum

Rum & Cane Merchants Mauritius XO Single Cask Rum Review by the fat rum pirateRum & Cane Merchants Mauritius XO Single Cask. I’ve covered a bottling from Rum & Cane Merchants previously. If memory serves me correctly that was an offering from Worthy Park Distillery in Jamaica.

The brand seem to cross over between being called West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants and just Rum & Cane Merchants. I fancy with all the cultural appropriation backlash, they may be looking to phase out the West Indies part in time. The brand is based in London but the parent group Crucial Drinks are based in Scotland. So not very West Indian in terms of location certainly.

The brand first came to my attention a few years back. As well as releasing Single Cask bottlings they have also released regional blends from around the globe. For the next couple of months I will be reviewing a series of their recent Single Cask offerings.

I am starting the series today with a bottling from Mauritus and the La Bourdonnaiss distillery. In 2006 Rhumerie des Mascereignes was built at the Domaine de Labourdonnais Estate. In 2014 the name as changed to La Bourdonnais. They produce a number of rhums under the La Bourdonnais brand such as Classic Gold, Spiced Gold and more premium offerings such as XO Vintage 2010. They have a website which covers the whole estate’s activities which is well worth a look.

The rum today is made Sugar Cane Juice made with Sugar Cane grown at La Bourdonaiss estate. In some of the information on their website they mention it is a “blend” of Cane Juice and Molasses. Either way it is distilled on a Coffey Column still. The rum has been aged in a refill Ex-PX Sherry butt. There are 481 bottles available.

Rum & Cane Merchants Mauritius XO Single Cask has been bottled at 46% ABV. It is 100% natural with no colourings or flavouring and is non-chill filtered. You can always tell when a whisky background is present in the rum world. They love saying stuff is non-chill filtered………

The rum comes in what is termed an “onion style” decanter and I can certainly see why. The rum comes complete with a sturdy circular tin for storage – which is a nice touch. In the UK the rum is available via Amazon and also direct from Crucial Drinks. It retails at £64.95.

Now before I begin my tasting I’ll just point out a couple of things which might hold this rum back and make people opt for something else…….

In the world of Independent bottlings and Single Cask releases – the age statement is absolutely key. With so many bottlings and choice even from smaller distilleries such as La Bourdonaiss, not having a clear age statement could lead to sales going elsewhere. Despite a lot of information about the cask used, distillation etc – their is no age statement beyond “XO”.

In the rum world doesn’t mean a lot unfortunately. However in the “rhum” world X.O. (Extra Old) refers to a rhum which is at least 6 years old. As such, I can’t really comment on how good value this rum may or may not be. Not that you should judge a rum by its age. That said age is a consideration for many, when buying these types of rums.

Rum & Cane Merchants Mauritius XO Single Cask Rum Review by the fat rum pirateAnother and personally this is not so much of an issue, is the ABV. A lot of the time when people buy Single Cask rum they like to feel they are getting it direct from the Cask, with no further interference. For some even the addition of water will lead them to seek out a Cask Strength alternative.

Rum & Cane Merchants Mauritius XO Single Cask Rum Review by the fat rum pirateAnyway,  enough of my jabberings. Lets get on a see how this rum goes down.

In the glass Rum & Cane Merchants Mauritius XO Single Cask is a reassuring medium-dark brown colour with a yellow to orange hue. As it is non-chill filtered it is slightly cloudy but that is certainly not an issue – that cloudiness adds flavour!

The nose is sweet. It’s slightly vegetal with some nice sweet sugar cane notes. It is certainly at least partially – if not entirely a Sugar Cane Juice r(h)um. It is reminding me very much of aged Agricole Rhum especially the Saint James line up.

Despite being aged in an ex-sherry butt it is still full of vanilla and caramel sauce. I’m getting a fruitiness as well – Apple turnover, hints of raisins, cherries and a slightly peppery spicy note making its self noticed.

It’s a complex and very moreish kind of nose. It’s the kind of rum you will leave in the glass for a long time – just nosing it. Not because it doesn’t seem very inviting, far from it. Just because it’s so very pleasant and so wonderfully balanced and aromatic.

Sipped Rum & Cane Merchants Mauritius XO Single Cask is sweeter than the nose suggests. The initial entry is very sweet with a fair hit of sweet sherry like notes and fresh sugar cane juice.

It’s very fruity with lots of stewed dark fruits, Apple Crumble, Stewed Plums and rich tart Gooseberries. Alongside this sweetness is a very gluey kind of note which might sound unpleasant but is actually quite interesting!

The mid palate moves the rum in a spicier more oak influenced direction. It becomes less sweet and drier and spicier on the palate. It has a real spicy tang. I’m getting what I can only describe as a very spicy chilli like heat – which reminds me of Thai curry or a spicy Pad Thai. This really is quite a spicy rum!

The finish remains quite fiery with the spicy chilli and the oaky spices leading the way. The initial sweetness of PX Sherry has all but disappeared and as the finish fades out you are left with lingering notes of Sugar Cane and a fading chilli/pepper heat.

The length of the finish is just right and it begins to fade at just the right time.

This is a really interesting bottling. It’s best described as aged Rhum Agricole with a drop or two of Tabasco towards the end. It combines everything you want and enjoy in aged Agricole Rhum with spicy twist at the end.

Considering the price of your average aged Rhum Agricole (and bear in mind many “brands” are bottled at 40-46% ABV anyway) – I don’t think anyone who is a fan of such rums would feel robbed by this bottling.

I do think this has got a good age to it and even if it hasn’t I’ve really enjoyed this bottling.

Equal parts familiar and equal parts different.

 

 

 

 

 

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