Damoiseau Virgin Cane Rum

Damoiseau Virgin Cane Rum-Bleu-RG2-USE

Product of:  Guadeloupe, FWI 
Aged: Conditioned 3-6 months in large oak vats
Price: $32 (SRP)
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
Sugar: 0 g/L
Context: Rhum Blanc Agricole
RG Rating: 9 

Tasting Notes
Damoiseau Virgin Cane Rum is clear, just like it exits the still.  Swirling brings million-dollar legs and lots of ‘em, the sides of your tasting glass will be crowded with sultry drips.

A mild bouquet of fresh crushed sugarcane requires very little coaxing to brighten the atmosphere around your tasting place.  The rhum smells exactly as it should; a sweet sugarcane rhum that’s been rested for a few short months, enough time to recover from the traumatic catharsis of distillation.  Aromas are as wonderfully inviting as fine perfume; floral, sweet, grassy, buttery, elegant and mildly nutty like cashew or coconut. 

An initial sip is dangerous.  Those aromas sequé perfectly into similar flavors on your palate then introduce a mild white pepper spiciness that livens up the tasting.  There’s just enough French tease in this Virgin Cane Rum to enjoy it naked, er, neat instead of in the ‘Ti Punch cocktail it was intended for.  Fitting for such a young rhum, the body is medium-lightweight, while the finish is clean, of moderate length, ending mildly sweet with grassy flavors.

Damoiseau rhums are crafted at the Bellevue distillery in Le Moule, Grande Terre, Guadeloupe, French West Indies.  It is the only rhum distillery on the island.  It is distilled in one pass through a column still from the juice of pure sugar cane grown on the island, rested in large oak vats for three to six months in oak barrels for the standard conditioning before diluting and bottling.  Roger Damoiseau began producing rhum on Guadeloupe in 1942.  Today, Hervé Damoiseau, grandson of the distillery’s founder, heads up operations.  Click on the photo below to take a virtual tour of the distillery.

Damoiseau Distillery-RG1

We might consider Guadeloupe rich with rhum production. Two of its islands boast a total of  nine distilleries – yet the archipeligo has seen a consolidation and closing of much of it’s historic rhum production capacity.  In the previous century, Guadeloupe boasted 55 distilleries in 1939, 37 in 1954, and only nine today. Yet Guadeloupe produces some exqisite rhum’s agricole blanc and vieux. Guadeloupe rhum is notshackeled by the rigid Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC ) regulations that control production on Martinique.  Rhums Agricole (fermentedf and distilled from fresh sugarcane juice) as well as industrial rums (molasses-based) are produced on the islands .  Guadeloupe rums are often sweeter, more brut and unrefined than those from Martinique.  

The back label on the attractively shaped and speed-rack friendly translucent frosted bottle claims: “aromatic complexity will give an exotic perfume to your cocktails.”  There’s only one way to test that boast:  the ubiquitous drink of the FWI known as a ‘Ti Punch, of which I am a fan.  I can assure you, Damoiseau Virgin Cane Rum makes an altogether pleasant addition to your rhum repetoire fro such simple, elegant drinks.  Using Damoiseau Virgin Cane Rum in a ‘Ti Punch rewards all three ingredients – the rhum is enhanced with the acidic citrus of the lime zest and both are tempered by the sugar.  It tastes like more.

Damoiseau Virgin Cane Rum is destined and designed solely for the USA market, at least on the date of this review. From its eased flavor profice to its relatively low ABV compared with the 50% and 55% typical of Martinique’s agricole blanc rhums, this offering from Guadeloupe could succeed in replacing Puerto Rico’s more neutral tasting white rums, and even vodka amongst adventurous mixologists.    American residents and visitors, consider yourselves lucky.  This rum is destined only for the US market, at least at the date of this review.

Reviewed: June 2014 at The Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017