Karukera Rhum Vieux Millesime 2008

Karukera Millesime 2008 Edition Limitée-RG1-USE

Product of:  Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, FWI
Aged:  8 years
Price:  €73 purchased at the boutique shared with Longueteau on Guadeloupe
Alcohol: 48.1% ABV
Sugar: 0-5 g/L 
Context: Agricole Rhum Vieux  
RG Rating: 9.5

Tasting Notes 
Inspect this rhum carefully in a proper tasting glass to reveals its colors of dark walnut brown, turning to dark ruby if held to a light.

Karukera’s 2008 masterpiece is appears very rich after swirling; a few broad legs form and run quickly, replaced slowly by small beads that eventually develop into tiny thin legs dripping forever long; some never make the full return to the rhum below.

Beautiful aromas of oak, dried fruits (prune, mango) are foremost , followed by lighter cognac notes, then pecan, waxy paraffin and phenols.  Marvelously, the high alcohol content doesn’t waft harshly on the nose.  After your nose acclimates to the more pronounced smells, subtle floral notes suggesting jasmine and wisteria are detectable just before the blue sugarcane grassiness. 

Sugarcane juice runs freely from the second crusher at Esperance (Longueteau) DistilleryA portion of Longueteau's Column Still

An initial taste delivers yummy rich flavors of finely aged sugarcane juice rhum while the cognac notes add a nice complexity.  The oak wood and phenols form a substantial foundation for the medium weight body.  The finish is always dry, exiting slowly as the layers of flavors fade one-by-one until the mid-palate and throat are left with puckery reminders to have another sip.

Anecdotes 
Prior to 2006, some of Karukera’s older aged expressions were sourced from various distilleries on Guadeloupe and Martinique, and some are blends of sugarcane and molasses rhums. Since 2006, Karukera rhums have been distilled at the Esperance (Longueteau) distillery, operated by François Longueteau.  Longueteau owns a minority stake (7%) in Karukera. Karukera’s aging, blending and bottling facility is located at Domaine du Marquisat de Sainte-Marie, near the Longueteau distillery in Capesterre-Belle-Eau, southeastern Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe.  Only the fresh juice of blue sugarcane, fermented with bakers yeast, was used in the 2008 distillate.  The rhum was bottled, unfiltered from a single cask during September 2016

The pleasure of sharing his oldest aged Kaukera rhums with President Gregoire Hayot cannot be overstated.  Majestic

Rhum Vieux Millésime 2008 was distilled solely from the fermented juice of blue sugarcane grown, on Domaine du Marquisat de Sainte-Marie’s 70 hectares.  Only 18 hectares are dedicated to growing blue sugarcane.

The passionate craftsman responsible Karukera rhums, Mr. Gregoire Hayot explains: “For these millesime bottlings, our labels mention the origin "Rhum agricole des Antilles Françaises”.  Millesime (over 6 years in oak barrels), represent only a small part of our sales. The Millesime under our brand has always been aged more than 8 years. Thus, with our aged rums set aging from 2006, we will maintain this choice, because after 8 years of aging, a "rhum agricole" reached its full expression.”  

Barrels are by SEGUIN MOREAU from a distillery in Cognac, and some once contained brandy.

Karukera produces just under 100,00 bottles annually, of which about 63,000 are rhum vieux.

Karukera 2008 on the Beach at Gosier-NF:RG1

Opinion
That Karukera Millésime 2008 manifests the complimentary balance of many complex aromas is testimony to the skilled craftsmanship of Francoise Longueteau’s distilling paired with Gregoire Hayot’s obsessive barrel management.   Gentlemen, you have achieved something special.  I suspect this is only the beginning, and that your teamwork will continue to reward us with many more superb rhums.

This is the kind of rhum that could convert aficionados of molasses-derived rums to aged agricoles, and perhaps those who prefer other types of aged spirits.

Reviewed: Bottle No. 1638 of 3500 during March 2017 while touring all of the commercial rhum distilleries of Guadeloupe, and again in April 2017 at The Rum Gallery, USA. 

Rhum on the Beach photo was shot by Nick Feris of The Rum Collective, while touring Guadeloupe’s distilleries with yours truly.

© Dave Russell 2017