By Alexander Britell
On an island like Martinique, one with an immense tradition of rummaking and the world’s only AOC designation for rum, a new distillery isn’t very common.
That’s what made it so wonderful to see last year’s debut of the ultra-boutique Rhum A1710 distillery in the Le Francois section of Martinique, the brainchild of Yves Assier de Pompignan, a rum lover who spent years trying to build a boutique distillery on the island.
While the brand began with a trifecta of agricole blends from other producers, late last year the company debuted its first single-estate rum, an expression distilled from sugarcane grown at the property: A1710 La Perle.
This is a high-end, premium white rhum agricole, aimed at transcending what is an already-robust collection of white rhums from across both Martinique and Guadeloupe.
I first tasted it before it was officially launched, but recently obtained a bottle at a store in St. Barth.
So what is it like?
Well, it’s bottled at 54.5 percent ABV, a bit high for a white rhum though by no means unusual when you consider expressions like those from Guadeloupe’s Pere Labat and Martinique’s Neisson, for example.
The robust aroma has floral notes of mostly fresh sugar cane.
The flavor profile is marked by hints of tropical fruit, citrus, coconut husk and even a hint of banana and cane juice.
The finish is unsurprisingly strong, but smooth, pure controlled power.
This is simply a superb white rum. While it’s of course perfectly at home in a ti’ punch, like the best white rhum agricole varieties, it can even be enjoyed neat on a cool summer evening.
Rum Journal Rating: 93 Points
— Alexander Britell, who founded Rum Journal in 2012, is one of the world’s top experts on Caribbean rum.