Feb 152016

rhum-st-gilles-1960s-rumRumaniacs Review 018 | 0418

This is a tough rhum to track down, so there’s not much I can tell you aside from noting that the brand no longer exists…I don’t even know when they went belly up.  If my searches are any good, an ex-Carmelite priest called Reverend St. Gilles opened the small plantation in the 17th century (the company itself published a book about him in 1948). In their time prior to the 1980s, La Compagnie du Rhum Saint Gilles exported several varieties of rhum from Martinique to France and Italy, for distributors like Stock and Raphael.  My sample was neither the 45% Reserve Speciale 10 year old, or any of the 44% reserves…this one was much milder.

Colour – Hay yellow

Strength – 40%

Nose – Crisp and light, with light  olives in vinegar, brown sugar and some citrus being leavened by softer scents of fried bananas.  As it opened it up it exhibited the snap and zest and clarity of a really good Riesling.  Really too light, though.

Palate – Light bodied, even thin. Too sharp, really, needs some more ageing. Very precise notes of white flowers, vanillas, some oakiness, leather.  It took a while to settle down after which some sugar and light fruits emerged, to be overtaken in their turn by crisp and clear vegetals.  I could swear there were some basil leaves in there somewhere.  Maybe not.

Finish – Short, dry, indifferent and fast, like an aged shady lady of the night who just wants to be gone after doing what she came for. Last notes of citrus zest (lemon, I’d say), some grass, sweet sugar water and a bit of vanilla.

Thoughts – Not really my speed, this one, it’s too unaggressive and far too thin and meek.  It takes too much effort to detect even a good standard agricole profile.  We talk a lot about how rhums were made in the good old days of yore (as if they were always better, “back then”) but occasionally we realize that rums in general and agricoles in particular, are also pretty damned good today. This one fails in comparison with its descendants.


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