FOR THOSE unfamiliar with the beauty of the rhums agricoles of the French Caribbean, the initiated typically describe them as “reminiscent of a fine cognac.”
From a quality standpoint, that’s undoubtedly true; but as for the taste, well, it’s usually a different story — and it’s a description that often sells these wonderful spirits a bit short.
Texturally, yes, they remind of cognac; but they have all of the romance, diversity and character one can only find in sugarcane spirits.
That brings us to a fine rhum we recently tried from Guadeloupe called Karukera.
The rhum is named after the original Arawak name for Guadeloupe, which is said to have meant “island of beautiful waters.”
We tried Karukera Rhum Vieux, which isn’t your typical rhum agricole.
What’s unusual about this rhum is that it does quite resemble a fine cognac — and not just because of the way it feels. That’s because the rhum is aged for three years in barrels that had previously contained cognac.
It makes for a fascinating experience.
The colour is a copper-amber hue, with an aroma of cognac and caramel.
The flavour profile is dominated by cognac, nougat, banana and cacao, with a slightly grassy but sweet finish, with a velvety texture.
The verdict? A very solid cognac. But an even better rhum.