Saint Aubin History Collection Cuvée Grande Réserve

20160922_204352What is it? Mauritian rum from sugar cane juice and distilled in copper pot stills – so we have an agricole. The distillate is then matured for at least 7 years in a mixture of both ex-bourbon casks and French oak casks. This bottle was from the 2014 release and I have been told that the distillery no longer produce this expression. Now, French oak. We’ve been here before with the Barbancourt 15 year old and I said that French oak is tighter grained and produces a spicier flavour profile, of course French oak is also used to mature French wine and I have a very strong suspicion that some of the casks used to mature this were ex-red wine cask, wet ones at that.

Casks are often steamed out prior to filling with spirit to remove excess liquid that remains from the previous fill, such as sherry or wine, so when I refer to “wet” casks what I mean is that the casks have not been fully emptied of previous contents or have not been fully steamed out. I did contact the distillery to ask about the cask makup but I haven’t had an answer, as such (and due to the flavour) I’ll be trusting my senses and assume that this was matured partly in wet in ex-wine cask.

Coloured (but there is a slight red tinge to this), lightly filtered (some sediment thrown) and bottled at 40% abv.

Sugar? No online data, so we’ll give the benefit of doubt and say no.

Nose: Strawberries, raspberries, plums, blackberries and black cherry – very, very fruity. Just alcoholic fruit juice at first. This has to be part matured in wet red wine casks! Now some liquorice, warm grass, hay barns and walking past a flower stall. Ah, some cane juice at last, black pepper and a tiny weeny bit of oak. The longer it’s in the glass the less fruit and more herbs appear with a little parsley and some marjoram – this really needs time in the glass.

Palate: Thick mouthfeel, semi-sweet delivery, but fruit sweetness and not sugar sweetness. Runny honey, vanilla, a little bit of nutmeg, a pinch of cinnamon and then a big wave of juicy berry fruit. Salted butter, very faint and distant tar and the prickle of ginger in syrup. Not getting much agricole from this really….

Finish: Medium. Still some sweetness and continues with honey, some butterscotch, almost a salted cherry (?) and then a blast of spice and liquorice finally as it fades away leaving a dry and herbal taste. Hurrah! Some agricole notes finally at the very end as all the fruit goes away.

Thoughts? Not really sure what to make of this. It’s lacking balance and there is way too much fruit, I can see the underlying spirit and it’s interesting, but there just isn’t enough of it to really explore and it’s very shrouded. Where Foursquare used Zinfandel casks to add and compliment their rum, these wine casks have totally overpowered and covered what rum was there. Enjoyable, different, but not a rum I’ll be buying again; just not enough “rum” in this rum for me.

Note: If someone wants to tell me there are no ex-wine casks in this product then that’s great, but can they then explain what is put in here to make it taste like Pinot Noir 🙂

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