MARTINIQUE — It’s a rainy afternoon on the outskirts of Fort de France. We drive up a road through the waving green of cane fields and enter a dimly-lit distillery, vibrant with the clang of steam-powered machinery, raw and primal.
This is La Favorite, the venerable rum house just outside Martinique’s capital where some of the island’s most beloved rhum agricole is made.
There is no flash about the place, just good, honest rummaking,
But if you make your way to the far back corner of the warehouse you will find a tiny boutique filled with gold. Black gold.
Here at La Favorite’s tasting room and shop is one of the few places on earth where you can find a very special rum: Privilege de La Favorite.
While we’ve extolled the wonders of the single-vintage La Flibuste, an annual-release rum boasting 30 years of aging in oak barrels, the Privilege is the next level up.
Inside this dark green bottle designed to look even older than it is, sealed with wax, is a blend of rums of between 30 and 35 years of age, making for one of the world’s greatest rum blends.
There are just 2,500 bottles of this produced every year, and it is, in a word, out of this world.
More than three decades of waiting in oak barrels in the humid tropical heat of Martinique have given the rum a dark brown color to the point of nearly being black.
The aroma is sweet and robust, with notes of caramel, milk chocolate, molasses and licorice.
The flavor profile is marked by caramel, cocoa powder, sugarcane juice, coffee, vanilla and even a hint of chocolate syrup, at once earthy and sweet.
There is a perfection about this rum, the sense that you truly can taste what time has done to a decades-old rum.
Even better still, you can still taste the simple, pure La Favorite rum at its core, calling to you from the past, reminding what this rum was like at its origins.
It’s an effect that takes you simultaneously to two points in time, now and three decades before, fusing into one unforgettable experience.
This is a legendary rum, the kind of rum that one must make the trip to this place to obtain.
But those who journey here will be rewarded.
— Alexander Britell