Damoiseau VSOP

Damoiseau VSOP-RG2-USE

Product of:  Guadeloupe, FWI 
Aged: 4 years minimum
Price: $42 (SRP)
Alcohol: 42% ABV 
Sugar: 0 g/L
Context: Rhum Vieux Agricole
RG Rating: 8.5

Tasting Notes 
Damoiseau VSOP shows a deep burnt orange-mahogany color radiates from within the stout bottle.  Once poured into my tasting glass, the rhum appears even brighter, while an ethereal floral bouquet of sweet caramel enlivens the atmosphere considerably. 

The aromas are slightly more earthy, with grilled tropical fruits (banana and mango), mild orange citrus and chutney spices, vanilla ice cream and phenol present themselves in encore as if they were a decadent dessert.  Upon initial taste, the flavors are slightly less sweet with some mild licorice on a medium weight body, repeating the chargrilled sensation, orange peel and mild cinnamon.  The finish lasts a delightful time, finally delivering mildly grassy sugarcane and tobacco sweetness balanced perfectly with the citrus and bright spices. 

Anecdotes 
Damoiseau VSOP is distilled at the Bellevue Distillery on Grand Terre, the eastern wing of the butterfly-shaped island of Guadeloupe.  After cutting, the sugarcane is pressed within 24 hours to yield a juice of 14% sucrose, which is fermented with baker’s yeast in open-top stainless steel tanks for 24-36 hours.  Distilled to 80-88% ABV  in a two-column still, the rhum is aged a minimum of four years (per VSOP definition) in re-charred 180 liter oak casks previously used to age Bourbon.

Delivered in a heavy cylindrical slug of a bottle with a base up to 3/4 thick, Damoiseau makes a substantial presence in the glass before pouring even begins.

Opinion
I prefer to sip Damoiseau VSOP neat to immerse my senses in the floral, fruity and spicy flavors this interesting rhum vieux uniquely offers. However, after a single sip I could fully appreciate why Damoiseau recommends using their VSOP in classic cocktails that have an orange angle – be it bitters or garnish twist  – such as an Old Fashioned, a custom El Presidente, etc.  The rhum has a foundation of flavors that will eminently enhance such cocktails and reward your concoction skills. 

Reviewed: May 2014 while sailing around Guadeloupe, and again in August 2014 at The Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017