Karukera Rhum Vieux Millesime 2000

Karukera Millesime 2000-RG2-USE

Product of:  Guadeloupe, FWI
Aged:  10 years
Price:  €83 ($103) on Guadeloupe
Alcohol: 50.8% ABV
Sugar: 0g/L 
Context: Agricole Rhum Vieux  
RG Rating: 9.5

Tasting Notes 
The color is just gorgeous, a shade of mahogany red/brown that captivates your eyes as a subtle bouquet of aged caramel and sugarcane grass adds to the attraction.  Swirl before sipping to produce long thin legs, releasing dense aromas, most notably old scents of woody star anise, then macadamia nuts and dark coffee beans, eventually turning toward younger, brighter notes of tropical fruits (firm mango and tart passionfruit).   Despite the rather high bottled-at-barrel-proof of 50.8% ABV Karukera Rhum Vieux Millésime 2000 is incredibly pleasant to sniff.

Initial taste is a powerful Wow! of flavor that opens up immediately during the first sip.  The barrel aging and fresh sugarcane grassiness play like a loud duet between Viola and French Horn.  This is a big rhum, full, yet it is tempered perfectly on the palate by a high alcohol body that maintains brightness in the flavors through to a very smooth, dry finish of tropical fruit, anise, tobacco and dark cocoa.   The flavors intensify with every sip. 

Karukera,  the name: The Carib natives called the islands of Guadeloupe  Karukera.

Karukera,  the rhum: the 2000 vintage was aged for 10 years in barrels that previously aged Bourbon, and only 7000 bottles were filled at cask strength, with no coloring and no cold filtration.  Drinking Millésime 2000 from the bottle is the same as drinking from a barrel thief.

Karukera Millesime 2000 Cap-RG1Med

Karukera rhums are distilled in Capesterre-Belle-Eau in southeastern Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, at the same facility where the excellent Longueau rhums are produced.
Date laid down to mature in ex-Bourbon oak barrels. 
Date bottled: September 1, 2010

In the fewest words possible:  Karukera Millésime 2000 is altogether wonderful. 

Mention rhum agricole to a rhum aficionado, and Martinique usually comes to mind.  Agricoles garner only 5% of the World’s rum market share, yet there is so much rhum agricole produced elsewhere, and all contribute their regional nuances.  Karukera Rhum Vieux Millésime 2000 makes me consider another voyage to the idyllic islands of Guadeloupe.  I need a second bottle of the seven thousand that were produced.  

Besides, the islands are  under-touristed unhurried and friendly.  Guadeloupe rhums are universally sublime; I doubt the inhabitants would tolerate anything less.  Do the math on nine distilleries spread over three islands of just over 400,000 people, limited rhum exports, and you realize these rhums have to be excellent to survive.  Vive Karukera.

Reviewed: Bottle No. 2590 of 7000 in November 2014 at The Rum Gallery, USA.  

© Dave Russell 2017