Karukera Rhum Vieux Agricole
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.
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.
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.
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.