This month I’ve been tasting for you…
Père Labat – Rhum Bio, Recolte 2021, 52% ABV
Back a few days ago from Marie Galante, where I was able to attend the start up of the legendary Rhum Rhum at Père Labat, I took the opportunity to bring you some news from this distillery, small among the small ones in the Caribbean, and certainly, among those of the Grande Galette, the oldest, to make you breathe the tropical brise again, in the long days of this Indian summer, in which work and commitments are resumed for everyone.
The domaine that houses the distillery was acquired in the eighteenth century by Catherine Poisson, who in 1863 inaugurated the production of sugar, which flourished until the end of the nineteenth century: then, the historical and industrial conjunctures led to the concentration of sugar production , for the island, in the usine of Grande Anse. Monsieur Rameaux bought the domaine at the beginning of the 1900s, to make it a rhumerie, acquiring a discontinuous alembic, still preserved although not working, and, later, a first créole copper column (today there are two): the name of the new distillery became Père Labat, in honor of the reverend who, despite never having set foot on Marie Galante, spread the distillation techniques of fresh sugar cane juice in the French Antilles.
Since 2007, the distillery is in a new phase of its life, following the acquisition by Monsieur Jean-Cédric Brot, and, from this year, it has been imposed a much faster march and in clear line with the market to the small one of Marie Galante, churning out the rum I will talk about here, and a new, prestigious, parcellaire, which I will not fail to review for you soon.
This Rhum Bio, second to be launched on the market among the Rhumeries of Gwada (the yellow jersey belongs to Bologne, which I recently told you about), begins to be “designed” three years ago, with the selection of some virgin plots of the territory, well exposed to the winds and the sun of Marie Galante, on which quality sugar cane selected for its high sugar yield begins to be planted.
Once the cane has reached maturity, it is harvested by hand and immediately pressed, to obtain the maximum quality of fresh juice and the optimal brix degree to start a long fermentation of about 5 days, in open cuve, operated with oenological yeasts, to ensure finesse in the extraction of aromas, and great respect for the terroir.
The distillation takes place in small copper crèoles: the rum runs at 71.2% ABV and is slowly reduced with spring water to the degree of bottling, 52% ABV.
In the glass rum is clear, with a crystalline color that fringes against the sun in a thousand specks of light: the weight on the wrist is considerable, and whirling in the glass, it clings well to the walls, first in drops, then in thick tears that descend towards the center with the due slowness.
From the glass hem, from a not very close distance, it comes out a beautiful floral (jasmin) and vegetal attack, which gradually evolves from the coolness of sugar cane and peppermint, to the dark, absolute signature of Père Labat’s whites: star anise, pepper and a hint of licorice.
In the mouth it is pleasantly round: the dark balsamic part is enriched with flavor and becomes its deep vein, while the counterpart, on the medium palate, is all local fruit, ripe mango and goyave, first of all.
The length is wisely played on these beautiful tones, children of a terroir that, as you know by now, I particularly love.
The guessed dilution at 52% ABV enhances this fascinating and unprecedented sphericity, less present in a 60% ABV version that I was lucky enough to taste thanks to Michele Lunardon and Monsieur Brot.
Verre vide is wonderful, all Marie-Galantese: still tropical fruit, and the hint of anise and sea salt to close with the distillery signature.
As soon as it landed in France, on the counters of Rhum Live Nantes, this gem in limited edition will soon arrive in Italy: for now, I can only tell you that the price at the distillery is 40€, really well deserved.
Santé tout moun!