La Mauny Shrubb Mandarine

La Mauny Shrubb Mandarine Wht-RG1

Product of:  Martinique, FWI
Aged: undeclared
Price: 
€9  (at La Mauny distillery's boutique on Martinique)
Alcohol: 30% ABV 
Sugar: 31-35 g/L 
(estimate) 
Context:  Rhum Agricole-based Shrubb liqueur
RG Rating: 8

Tasting Notes 
Pull the natural cork sealed stopper from La Mauny’s signature bottle shape, and reveal a bouquet of pure sugarcane sweetness and  mandarine orange.

The back label of this rhum liqueur lists colorant as an ingredient, hence, as is tolerated in shrubbs, and no doubt accounts for much of its striking transparent orange hue.  A viscous smear coats the inside of a tasting glass after swirling, clinging thick to the glass and forming plenty of thick  legs - yes the sugar is on display here.

La Mauny got the aromas right; sweet orange scents are immediately enticing, inviting a sip and suggesting an ice cube.

Considering the added cane sugar, it’s no wonder the rhum tastes sweet.  Again, that’s the blender’s intent, as the spirit is meant as a light refreshing mid-day drink, often served before or after a meal and with ice optional.  The flavors are completely as expected after sniffing - orange and considerable sweetness, offset slightly by the added citric acid that nicely mimics orange peel, and makes for a heavyweight body and a smooth finish.

Cajou rhum arrange on Iles Des Saintes

Anecdotes
Shrubb rhums and the similar rhum arrange are very common in the French West Indies.  It seems as if every other bar or restaurant makes their own, and most are quite good, as the photos at right show.  Being hand made and infused with real fruit, spices, etc, the concoctions aren’t likely to become commercial offerings – the regulation hassles alone would stop most in their tracks.  Shrubs and rhum arranges also tend to use seasonal ingredients, which would preclude a regular supply.  Howeevr, a few brands, such as La Mauny and Clément, produce shrubs on a commercial scale, and they are a decent approximation of the individualized, hand made versions.

Tasting a flight of Rum Arranges at Rum Bar, La Creole Hotel, Gosier, Guadeloupe-RG1

Opinion
It’s natural and fitting to compare La Mauny Shrubb Mandarine with
Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb.  Both are produced on Martinique using rhum blanc agricole as a base spirit, then adding color, cane sugar and flavor.  Both are also exceptional representatives of their style.  Clément’s Creole  Shrubb, at 40% ABV, delivers more alcohol but slightly less potent orange flavor, some flinty taste, and is much lighter in color, similar to an oaky Chardonnay.  La Mauny Shrubb Mandarine is very flavorful, creamier in texture and lighter in alcohol at 30% ABV, and brightly colored.  Both are lip-smacking sugar bombs that reward sipping in moderation, timing, maybe some ice, and pairing.  Chocolate anyone?

Both also command a solid place in Rum Gallery’s bar, namely as a far better tasting replacement for Grand Marnier and Orange Curacao, useful to make a better margarita or classic Mai Tai.  Sante!

Reviewed:  December 2014 at La Mauny’s tasting room and boutique on Martinique, and again in September 2015 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017