Pére Labat Millésime 1995

Pere Labat Millesime 1995-RG5-USE

Product of:  Marie-Galante, Guadeloupe, FWI
Aged:
  Vintage 1995, aged 15 years (approximate)
Price: €140 (US$155) in Guadloupe 
Alcohol: 42%  ABV 
Sugar: 0 g/L 

Context:
 Rhum Vieux Agricole
RG Rating: 9.5

Tasting Notes 
A beautiful tawny bronze color in the bottle, and the hue turns a brighter hue of gold in a tasting glass. Appearance:  profuse legs form quick and dense, run pretty quickly to leave behind a crown of beads at the upper reach of the swill trace.

Bouquet is actually heavy with wood vanilla and light caramel.  Then come a complex well integrated mix of dense aromas that segue from one delight to the next without any hard stops and starts.  I sense the delicate traditional trademark scents of fine rhum agricole; star anise, musty old oak (the smell of a rhum aging warehouse), hints of tropical fruit, spices of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon, mild tobacco, then some sugarcane that was cut just long enough before chopping and fermenting to turn ever so slightly sour, offering a nice contrasting balance to the sweet caramel.  Yes, it’s premature to judge a rum by it’s appearance and nose alone, but this Pare Labat sets me up to expect a full bodied rhum I can almost chew on.

And how does it taste?  Simply; Wow!.  It’s full bodied and tongue coating in spades – the same affect as a warm buttery croissant on my palate.  That body provides a delicate underlying structure for all the other flavors to come.  From the initial taste to the extremeley smooth finish, every element is tremendous yet balanced, consistent with what I smelled a few moments earlier.  

Anecdotes 
As marvelous as Pére Labat Millesime 1995 is, the rhum is the youngest of several vintage expression produced by this artful distiller.  Indeed, there are vintages 1982, 1985 and 1989 yet to discover.  The distiller let’s the rhum do the talking, since each expression is packaged in an unassuming stout bottle that in no way declares the treasure of its contents.  In fact, even the label was fixed slightly askew on the bottle purchased by The Rum Gallery in Grand Bourg, Les Saintes, in the Guadeloupe islands.  No matter,  Beauty is beyond skin deep, it’s what’s inside that counts.  So count you pennies, ante up, Pére Labat’s vintage rhums are worthy.

Opinion
Pére Labat Millesime 1995 is as true an expression of rhum as you’ll find – every aromatic scent you presnted to your nose is also tasted in equal measure.  And it is full of flavor,  Yet they are so well balanced that at no time during the experience are your senses overwhelmed, rather they’re nearly in awe.  La Guildive en effet, ce rhum est envoyé du ciel.  Merci beaucoup Pére.

Reviewed: September 2014 at The Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017