Reimonenq Vieux 5 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 2006)
Review: Reimonenq Vieux 5 Year Old Rhum (2006) 88.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on June 2, 2013
Distillerie Reimonenq was founded in 1916 by the Reimonenq family. The distillery, like most others on Guadeloupe, produces Rhum Agricole from distilled sugar cane juice. The fresh-cut cane is crushed by electric mills and the resulting ‘honey’ undergoes a 24 to 48 hour fermentation in open air vessels. The fermented ‘wine’ is distilled in a stainless steel column in the traditional french manner.
Incidentally, the word “rhum” is the French spelling for our English word “rum”. However, the differences between Rhum and Rum are much deeper than just a twist in spelling. This is because the French traditions of making rhum in the French West Indies differs from the Spanish and English traditions of rum production in the rest of the Caribbean. A major difference in the production of agricole rhum is that it is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice rather than fermented molasses. As well rhum agricole is usually single distilled to 70 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV), and then brought to bottling proof (50 % ABV) after it is aged.
I received two samples of Rhum Reimonenq (a 5yo and a 9yo) from Fabio Rossi (of Rum Nation). Mr Rossi personally choose the barrels for the “assemblage” at the distillery, and the bottling is done by the Reimonenq Distillery exclusively for his company. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this particular bottling is only available in Italy, however my examinations hopefully will provide some insight into the taste profile of the Guadeloupe Rhum produced at the Reimonenq Distillery.
This is my review for the Reimonenq Vieux 5 Year Old Rhum.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
My sample from Fabio Rossi was sent to me in a 200 ml flask style container; but the regular bottle presentation would have been very similar to the Reimonenq five-year old bottle shown to the left. The label shows the country of production, the date of distillation, and the date of bottling. As well each label features the printed signature of Master Distiller, Leopold Reimonenq. The coup de grâce so to speak is the corked topper which seals the bottle and gives us that nice satisfying ‘pop’ when we open it.
In the Glass 9/10
When I poured a bit of my sample into a glencairn glass I noticed the Rhum had a slightly sluggish appearance. It was a medium dark mahogany colour, and when I tilted and twirled my glass the liquid deposited slow-moving moderately thick legs down the side of my glass. The initial scents from the glass were quite nice. Things were both sweet and herbal carrying impressions of willow trees and heather, candied caramel and wisp of licorice, as well as a firm underlying earthy must.
I let the glass breathe, and the expressive aroma kept pouring out of the glass. Bits of orange peel and lemon are obvious, as is a certain floral element similar to the fruit blossoms on my backyard apple and plum trees. There is also a nice spiciness, which seems to be a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, anise, mint, and black pepper corn.
I took my time enjoying the breezes above the glass.
In the Mouth 53/60
There are so many flavour impressions that it is hard to know where to begin. I taste caramel candies accented by cinnamon, mint and licorice. There is a firm woodiness that reminds me of willow trees, and a somewhat earthy mixture of tall grass, clumps of heather, and spring-like fruit blossoms. Orange peel and sweet marmalade wind in and out, and I probably have listed less than half of the impressions which impacted me on my first sip.
A firm must runs through the heart of the Rhum, and it carries an unusual brininess underneath as well. I taste menthol, juniper, lemon drops, and honey tea. The rhum is sweet; but that sweetness seems just right, as it helps to carry the plethora of flavours through the palate.
Of course a listing of taste impressions does not do this spirit justice, suffice it to say this is one of the most unusual and complex spirits I have tasted. In fact, I haven’t tasted a rhum (or a Rum) quite like this before. If I was to choose a comparable spirit, I would say that rather than rhum or rum, the Reimonenq 5 Year Old is instead very reminiscent of the Scottish whisky liqueur, Glayva.
In the Throat 13/15
The exit features a honey like sweetness followed by cinnamon, mint and anise. The mouth and throat are heated by spice, yet at the same time they feel a coolness which gives me a strong impression of menthol. Just as it was on the nose and in the mouth, the impressions left over as the rum is swallowed are too numerous and complex to list.
The Afterburn 9/10
The Reimonenq Vieux 5 Year Old Rhum is (for me anyways) a sipper. With such complexity of flavour, I have no idea where to begin the process of mixing a cocktail. There is so much here that is unique and new. My experiences with Agricole Rhum are quite limited, and this explosion of new flavours was very unexpected. My biggest regret is that my sample was only 200 ml is size.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rhum Reviews.
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)