THE RHUMS of the French Caribbean department of Guadeloupe remain something of a mystery to the wider world, unfortunately so — as they are among the best in the world.
While those of nearby Martinique receive their due praise, Guadeloupe’s rhums tend to remain under the radar, a treasured privilege reserved largely for those who make the trip to the archipelago south of Antigua.
And when it comes to the rhums of Guadeloupe, it’s Damoiseau that is perhaps the most famous.
The company, based at its distillery in the town of Le Moule on the eastern island of Grande-Terre (one of two it operates in Guadeloupe), is the market leader in the Guadeloupe Islands. More than one of every two rhums sold there has the Damoiseau label.
And Rum Journal has been lucky enough to taste a host of Damoiseau’s rhums, including the spectacular Rhum Vieux Millesime 1989, at the time the oldest rhum on sale at the distillery.
On a recent trip to the West Indies, RJ was able to procure a bottle of a particularly special rum: Rhum Damoiseau XO.
This rhum is aged for six years in oak casks, with a dark amber, almost cherry colour and an aroma of dried fruits and oak.
The taste includes hints of oak, spice and something else…
It’s the latter that makes Damoiseau unique among the rhums of the West Indies — a signature note, something you’ll rarely find in any other rum in the Caribbean — a strong suggestion of marzipan.
It’s an intoxicating flavour, something that exemplifies all of the romance and character you can only find in rhums agricoles.
And undoubtedly worth the trip to Guadeloupe.*
See you in Le Moule!
*Of course, if you’re in the United States, you can now find several Damoiseau varieties, including both a white rhum and our best new rhum agricole of 2013, Damoiseau VSOP).