It’s no secret we’re big fans of Martinique’s Habitation Saint-Etienne, or Rhum HSE.
It’s a distillery we’ve often praised for its creativity, particularly for its pioneering work in finishing traditional rhums agricoles in barrels like sherry and malt whisky.
The sherry-finish editions, particularly, were particularly good.
So we were delighted to discover that the company had added a new finish to its portfolio: Porto Finish — that is, rhum agricole finished in Port wine barrels.
HSE Porto Finish takes rhums that have been aged for five years in American oak casks, and finishes them with an additional 12 months of maturation in port wine casks.
So what is it like?
The Porto Finish has a rich, dark amber color and an aroma of caramel, candied fruit and black cherry.
The flavor profile has notes of oak, white wine, spice, pepper, cacao and a slight hint of Port, naturally.
It’s a very good rhum that avoids the trap of using a different cask to make a rum too sweet.
This is just right, light but rich, bold but controlled.
The only question is what HSE will use next.