By Alexander Britell
In recent years, the once-mysterious world of rhum agricole has opened itself to rum lovers, with its terroir and endless sophistication charming palates around the world.
Much of that, however, has been the sublime rhum agricole from the French Caribbean island of Martinique, led by a global push from one of its leading producers, Rhum Clement.
But while we’ve written of their wonders in these pages, the rhums of the French Caribbean department of Guadeloupe, largely retain their mystique, hidden-away expressions from a place that is somehow still largely an unknown both for travelers and lovers of the Noble Spirit.
When you taste them, however, it quickly becomes clear that they will not remain secret for long.
And while they are produced in the same way, the rhums of Guadeloupe are very different, with a decidedly unique character from their sister rhums in Martinique, whether you’re tasting expressions from the “mainland” or that rummaking paradise called Marie Galante.
One of the rum houses that is looking to put the rums of Guadeloupe on the map is Rhum Longueteau, a distillery on the eastern shore of Guadeloupe’s island of Basse-Terre that dates back to 1895 and puts out some of its most wonderful, artisanal expressions.
One of Longueteau’s latest endeavors is a series of expressions called “Harmonie,” a trio of rums that crescendo from the younger, amber “Prelude” to a very old Concerto, the latter resulting in a production of just 1,400 bottles and aged in cognac casks.
So what’s it like?
The Concerto has a classic amber color, with an aroma of marzipan, almond and vanilla.
The flavor profile is marked by candied fruit, confectioners’ sugar and a hint of black pepper.
There’s a long-lasting finish, robust with an edge of spice (it’s bottled at 47.2 degrees) and a delicate marzipan note that happily reminds you that you’re tasting a rum from Guadeloupe.
Indeed, the marzipan note is the quintessence of the archipelago’s rhums.
This is an elegant, luxurious expression; it’s the same music of rhum agricole with which you may be familiar— with a very different, very wonderful sound.
Rum Journal Review: 93 Points