Damoiseau 8 Ans Cuvée du Millénaire

Damoiseau 8 Ans Blk-RG2-USE

Product of:  Guadeloupe, FWI 
Aged: 8 years
Price: €135 in Guadeloupe Alcohol: 42% ABV 
Sugar: 0-5 g/L (estimate)
Context: Rhum Vieux Agricole
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes
A sweet bouquet of fresh oak announces Damoiseau 8’s presence as soon as the cork is pulled from the shapely decanter.   There’s no mistaking the prolonged aging with this rhum.  Pouring reveals a light walnut brown colored liquor, enhanced by a subtle prism effect of red, gold and green highlights depending on how you peer into your tasting glass.

Swirling produces a deep smear inside the glass, with thick legs forming instantly, followed by a crown of heavy droplet at the top edge of the swirl trace - an entertaining treat that forestalls sniffing and tasting – for a moment.  

Ahh, the aromas.  They are the quintessential expression of Guadeloupe rhum: deep woody notes, sweet oaken vanilla, caramel and wax; you can feel the age as you breathe in this rhum.  Now calibrated, your nose picks up scents of a flaky buttery croissant, apple peel, overripe banana, and mild spice notes of nutmeg, fennel, and perhaps some soft leather

Sip, and the aromas beget similar flavors; initially sweet at your tongue’s tip, then excitingly warmer on the palate, yielding to a smooth woody finish and ending with a mild white pepper-enhanced au revoir, inviting a return for another go ‘round.

Damoiseau 8 Ans Wht-RG1-USE

Anecdotes 
Packaging is artful and gets the rhum noticed on the shelf.  The perfume-like dark green bottle with its long neck and slender profile is understatedly elegant, much like the distiller who produces it.  Wood cap T-tops a real cork stopper.

Damoiseau 8 Ans is distilled at the Bellevue Distillery on Grand Terre, which is the eastern wing of the butterfly-shaped pair of islands called Guadeloupe.  Their sugarcane is grown Grande Terre on the surrounding land rich in limestone. The domain is partly owned by Damoiseau, the rest being owned by independent growers with whom Damoiseau has exclusive purchasing rights.  The cane is harvested from late January to July.  After cutting, the sugarcane is pressed within 24 hours to yield a vesou of about 14% sugar content.  The vesou is fermented with EDV 493 yeast for 36 hours in open-top stainless steel tanks.

Damoiseau 8 Ans foil cap-RG-USE2Closeup of still and inspection hatches

The resulting vinasse is distilled to 88%% or higher ABV in the Column still shown in the photo at left (click for more photos).  Each column of the still holds 23 trays.  After distillation, the raw spirit is rested for 3 to 6 months, and bottled as auricle blanc or laid down for aging in recharged barrels previously used for aging Bourbon. Damoiseau maintains over 3,000 barrels for aging their rhum, and produces 2,350,000 liters @ 55% abv. 

Opinion
You don’t buy a rhum like this, at this price, for the package.  It better be great from cork pull to finish.  Is Damoiseau 8 Ans a “Vintage of the Millenium” as its name declares?  Well, almost.  Damoiseau 8 Ans looks great in a proper tasting glass, exhibits fine complexity and enough noteworthy flavors to justify my visit to Guadeloupe where I purchased it.

Reviewed: October 2015 while sailing around Guadeloupe, and at The Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017