La Mauny 1998 Millésime

La Mauny 1998-B&B-Wht-RG1-USE

Product of:  Martinique
Aged: Distilled from sugarcane harvested in 1998
 €30.95 / $40.65 (purchased on Martinique)
Alcohol: 42% ABV 
Sugar: 0 g/L 
Context:  Rhum Agricole Vieux
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes 
Extremely Smooth.  La Mauny 1998 shows the color of dark aged copper, with a slight green tint at the thin edge where the rhum meets your tasting glass.  Swirling produces legs that are many, quick forming and thin, although they’re short-lived.

A bouquet of honeyed caramel and oaken vanilla explode gently from the uncorked bottle.  The sweet scent quickly dominates the atmosphere.  Delicate yet powerful – like overhearing a whisper from across the dancehall – an eavesdrop that changes your entire evening.  Sniffing immediately reveals a complexity just shy of conflict; heavier aromas with woody and spicy scents of star anise, char, and cognac’s raw must over more subtle buttery vanilla notes, hazelnuts and tropical fruit (perhaps mango and banana).  This is hugely pleasant to sniff, with no alcohol bite to offend your nose.  Initial tasting delivers on the promises hinted into your nose; complex toasted wood, spice, nuts, vanilla rhum and cognac artfully held in balance by the cellar master’s talent.  A medium body warms your palate, delivering exciting flavors through the long-lasting woody finish.

The La Mauny estate was established in 1749 by Count Joseph Ferdinand de Mauny, native of Normandy, France.  The island of Martinique is often referred to as the “Pearl of the West Indies”, and one visit will convince you.  Distillerie La Mauny is located at Riviére Pilote, in the South part of the island, renowned for the beauty of its terroir and a climate that offers ideal conditions for aging rums.  According to La Mauny, their rhums “are famed for their generosity, smoothness and exuberant style, their sweet honeyed tones and vanilla notes.”  I’d have to agree with these assertions.

La Mauny 1998 B&B-Blk-RG1

Regarding the 1998 vintage, La Mauny says: “Only exceptional years can offer good vintages.  Fully aromatic, powerful and well-balanced, the explosive bouquet of this fine old rum vintage 1998 is the exceptional result of a double aging process. Initially, the rum has spent six years in Bourbon oak casks to acquire strength and tonicity.  Them the “finish” in Cognac oak barrels added delicacy and subtlety to this delightful rum.  Filled into barrels in 1998 and carefully crafted by our cellar master.”

La Mauny’s 1998’s bedecks this fine vintage rhum with nice packaging too.  A stately black and gold cylinder provides a commanding and informative container.  A bottle in clear glass displays the rhums rich color well, it’s broad-based shape is used by very few other rums and makes tipping difficult.  Topping the bottle is a natural cork stopper with a stout wooden cap, sealed under heavy foil.  The bottle is minimally adorned with labels, but is embossed with the words: “Depuis 1749”; “La Mauny” [underscored]; and “Martinique”.

La Mauny 1998 is mildly collectible.  It’s delicate, yet strangely powerful bouquet is unique among rums, and one of the most pervasive I’ve ever had the pleasure of breathing.  Secondary aging in Cognac barrels adds considerable complexity to an already special vintage.  La Mauny 1998’s flavors and aromas are more hearty than most aged rhums from Martinique, making it a rhum you would seek out for special sipping occasions.

Reviewed:  July 2013 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017