Karukera Rhum Vieux Agricole

Karukera Rhum Vieux Agricole

42% Alc/Vol

83/100

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Another Rhum Review and we’re staying in the French Caribbean,

From what I can gather Karukera isn’t a distillery but a brand that is made at “Distillerie Espérance” home of Longueteau Rhum. Karukera is the original name given to Guadeloupe by the Arawak settlers, it translates roughly to “Island of beautiful waters”

The property and plantation initial belonged to the Marquis de Sainte-Marie who decided that the solution to his financial woes was to be found in gambling. He promptly lost the property and it was bought on a provisional basis by Henri Longueteau in 1895,who wisely realized the path to solvency was in adding a distillery to the existent sugar production.

Distillerie de l’Éspérance is the oldest functional distillery on Guadeloupe and remains in the Longueteau family to this day.

karukera fermenter Les boubou en vacances

It’s hard to get exact info on Karukera as a brand, it’s not explained if this a separate venture that is simply distilled by Espérence or if they decided to offer different styles of rhum under the Karukera brand. The portfolio is fairly restrained, there is the white at 50%av, Silver at 40%abv, a couple of flavored versions and then the rhum vieux and a few  rhum vieux with specific vintages. It is column distilled and aged in Cognac and ex-bourbon casks.

Karukera rhum the world

The version we are tasting today is aged for 3 years in what I believe is mostly 350 liter ex-cognac casks.

Nose: Thompson raisins, fresh cut cane, caramelized banana skins (who would do this?), wet demerara, there is a hint of sea-spray. The next wave brings oaky, cellared wood, pine tar/resin, vanilla, cocoa butter and a slight whiff of kerosene and pepper notes.

Palate: Here the oak is more present, green bananas, pineapples, that grassy vegetal agricole thing, it’s pretty oily in texture. Allspice, mace, slightly bitter, tropical fruit rinds, oranges and their pith and a slight feeling of lamp oil.

The finish is long and drying, you can really feel the oak and tropical notes, green and ripe tropical fruits, a tad salty and again that orange pith feeling.

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It’s not the smoothest sipper it retains a bit of bite which might throw some off but with ice it calms those edges down enough to enjoy the roundness of the barrel aging. It sings in drinks providing that aged rhum bass note to fruits punches or a less in your face ti-punch. It was brought back from the duty-free store and was a gift but from what I understood it’s not terribly expensive.

Franck

 

 

 

Rapid Fire Tasting Session March 23rd 2017, Glen Breton, Armorik & High West.

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Ok another Thursday, another tasting session at the SAQ, this time around the focus would be on world whisky.

The line-up would consist of 1 whisky from Glenora in Canada, 2 Breton single malts from Distillerie Warenghem and lastly some good old sourced American rye from MGP by way of High West…let’s go!

Glen Breton Ice: This is a 10 year old single malt from Canada’s Glenora distillery, it’s finished (or aged sources differ) in icewine casks from Jost Vineyards…there seems to be different versions of this, 10,14 & 17 years old and some at cask strength, this is the 40%.

Nose: soapy, sour, wet wood, sharp, violets?? it’s not very expressive.

Palate: Bitter, oaky astringence, the texture is so watery it washes away from your tongue so fast. The finish has a slight, lychee and plum feel but it’s so faded and it’s too late to rescue this malt.

Next Armorik is produced by Distillerie Warenghem in Britanny. They are some of the few French whisky producers who actually use Scottish style pot stills (made in Italy actually) rather than the Cognac style stills that many other houses use. They have been around for a while and in the last few years have really improved the quality and types of casks used. They have also gone against the current trends and gone completely unpeated, which I think they we’re using the first few years..my hopes are high.

Sherry Finish f

Armorik Sherry Finish: 46%ABV NAS, Initial unknown ageing in ex-bourbon casks and then finished in Oloroso Sherry casks no mention of how long.

Nose: Sharp, lactic/acetone tang, cumin, wormwood, brown raisins, a bit of melting brown sugar. With water the nose opens up , you get more dark dried fruits and leather a bit, the alchohol vapour recedes.

Palate: Bitter, oak overload, the alcohol dominates, ginger, barley, grain alcohol. With water the palate is…worse! Grainy, bitter herbs, burnt spices, splenda or artificial sweetener…agh! I’ve never had the palate of a whisky get so violent with water…I’m speechless.

Armorik Double Maturation: 46% ABV, non chill filtered and NAS, first aged for an unspecified period of time in new Breton oak casks and then secondary maturation in Sherry casks.

Nose: Acetone again, coconut, caramel but everything is too sharp

Palate:  at first there is hope a bit fudgy, milk chocolate, bitter herbs, cumin and then it turns bitter, Indian spices and turmeric, sharp and unpleasant but the texture is also a letdown…sad

Ok last one

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High West Rendez-Vous Rye: A young distillery waiting on aging of it’s own stock, so it’s a sourced whisky at 46% ABV a mix of two rye whisky apparently a young (4+ yrs) 95%Rye mashbill from MGP and older (10+yrs) 80% rye mashbill from Barton…

Nose: Dill, rising croissants and buns in a bake shop, roasted cabbage, sweet fruit, hard candies, cloves, pepper, red fruits and a tinge of vicks/menthol

Palate: Rye, caraway,dill then red licorice, lacto-fermented vegetables, toffee, red pepper, Thrills chewing gum…the one that tastes like soap, coriander seeds. Sweet, oaky and a bit waxy but not cloying. Oh I really like this.

Verdict, this sessions was bust also in a way really fun, some would say i’m a masochist…yes but I also feel that it’s good to have these train wreck of a session, it really helps you re-set your gauge. There is a lot of average whisky out there but when you get something truly mediocre, it helps you re-align yourself. It allows you to become more in tune to how whisky is constructed and appreciate a truly outstanding malt. For what it’s worth that High west rye would have stood out among a strong roster of  whiskies as well.

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For the 3 readers of my blog if you are in Montreal (I just cut that down to 1 reader…hi mom!)  the SAQ Signature branch is sadly closing it’s doors on April 15th 2017, inventory and services will be split among the Atwater market and Maisonneuve (city concillors) locations. I believe the new Signature downtown location is being build but won’t be ready until next year…or the following this is Québec after all.

Franck