Mana'o

Mana'o-RG1

Product of:  Tahiti, French Polynesia
Aged:  rested ~3 months 
Price: $39 on Tahiti
Alcohol: 50% ABV  
Sugar: 0-5 g/L (estimate)
Context: Rhum Blanc Agricole 
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes
Mana’o rhum blanc agricole is perfectly clear (though the rhum inside one of the bottles I purchased had a slightly pale yellow hue).  It’s a very pure looking rhum in the glass, producing only a few loing, thin legs and several beads of rhum that cling to the top of the swirl trace.

Aromas of verdant island, simultaneously grassy and bright, just like freshly harvested heaps of sugarcane ready for the crusher.  Slightly floral and mild on the nose, despite the 50%ABV.  More akin to Chalong Bay rhum of Thailand than the French West Indies. The anise scent so representative of le rhums agricole de Martinque is absent.

Initial impression is of a fresh grassy flavor, vibrant on the palate.  Sipping introduces slightly sweeter and and floral flavor than sniffing indicated - a nice surprise. In the mouth, Mana’o's medium weight body delivers a sweet butter sensation, with a mild almond flavor and texture of fluffy light croissant. 

The alcohol astringency is more apparent on the nose than on the palate, and the rhum finishes softly, lingering in mild reminder of it’s delicacy.

Anecdotes
You never quite know what to expect when sampling a new rhum from a far-off country, especially one with an underdeveloped reputation for rhum.  One could make the mistake of setting their expectation against other great Agricole producing locations, but that's a folly likely headed for disappointment. Approached with an open mind, and a clear palate, Mana'o rhum from Tahiti satisfies, even over delivers.

Mana ' O team crushing sugarcane in the fields for the end of the 2015 Harvest! The weather is beautiful and the canes are of excellent quality

Rum Mana'o is certified organic for the entirety of its manufacturing process. The distillery was inspected in January 2016, likewise for their fields of sugarcane on th island of Tahiti and their plantations on the island of Taha’a’s in Valle Vanille.

I’m happy to report that Tahiti is finally producing its own fine rhums – agricoles no less – that do justice to the terroir and natural beauty of the islands.  Mana’o was launched in Spring, 2015.  The rhum has progressively made its way into many upscale bars and restaurants on a few of the Society Islands, and well it should.  Mana’o is very good rhum, uniquely Tahitian, and a worthy addition to the expanding world of French-influenced rhums agricole.  Mana’o is a cousin to that lineage, but its unique South Pacific personality differs from the Caribbean rhums of Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guyana, and those  produced on La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.  Mana’o has a gentle Tahitian personality, arguably equal to its French cousins at representing the spirit of its home.  

Mana'o Wooden cap-RG1-OK

Packaging is simple, direct, and Polynesian.  The wood cap with Mana’o logo printed on top over a real cork stopper makes a nice statement.

Opinion  
Mana’o is pleasant enough to sip simply neat, but makes a perfectly balanced and mildly flavored ‘Ti Punch, with as much -- or little -- sugar and lime as you like.  This white pearl expresses a delicate flavor of Tahitian. 

Reviewed: May 2015 at Saint James restaurant/bar [LINK] (serving the best food and drinks on Bora Bora in a genteel, comfortable setting overlooking the lagoon), and again in August 2016 at Les 3 Brasseurs brewpub and the Bora Bora Lounge; two noteworthy bar-restaurants on that tourist strip in Papeete, the Paris of French Polynesia.

© Dave Russell 2017