Trois Rivieres Millésime 2000 Single Cask

Trois Rivieres Millesime 2000-RG1

Product of:  Martinique
Aged:  13 1/2 Years
Price: €54 ($59) per 50cl, purchased at Trois Rivieres boutique on Martinique
Alcohol: 43% ABV
Sugar: 0 g/L
Context: Rhum Vieux Agricole
RG Rating:  9

Tasting Notes
Pop! goes the cork cap and out wafts a bouquet of sweet oaken vanilla. In a tatsing glass, Trois Rivieres Millesime 2000 shows the color of polished dark bronze..  Legs are many, slow to form and slow to run; many just stop mid-path and cease to move, volatilizing more delightful aromas.  They are densely packed, challenging olfactory dissection.  Work a little harder and discern wonderful scents; phenols and pipe tobacco are most prevalent, just ahead of dairy smells (buttery flour pastry and Havarti cheese) and the woody/licorice spice smell of of star anise so characteristic of fine rhums agricole. Finally I sense soft, overripe mango, raisin, almond pecan before he 43% ABV enters with a twinge inside my nose.  This exercise would have gone on for awhile longer, but I’m intrigued and want a sip.

That initial taste reveals forward wood flavors, both old oak (approaching rancio) and star anise, tepid with a sweet white pepper on the tongue tip on a medium-weight body. The finish is extremely smooth, ontinuing to deliver woody spice notes long after you swallow.

Anecdotes
Trois Rivieres introduced an exciting overhaul of their extensive portfolio of aged rhums in late 2014.  The Millesime 2000 at XX% ABV is one of those newly released old rhums in the re-invigorated Trois Rivieres. 

About 2/3 of the sugarcane used to produce Trois Rivieres rhum is harvested by hand, not tractor, and none of sugarcane fields on Trois Rivieres’ estate are burned prior to harvesting.  Distillation occurs a couple of days after harvest - the time required for fermentation.  Baker’s yeast is added to the vesou in the smaller stainless steel “starter tanks”  of approximately 15,000 liters. That active brew is quickly transferred to the fourteen larger stainless steel “mother tanks” of 33,000 liter capacity.  Fermentation usually continues for 24-48 hours, producing a vinasse of about 5% alcohol by volume.  The vinasse is distilled in Trois Rivieres’ copper column still to an ABV of between 65%-70% per AOC regulations. 

Regarding the age of this rhum; 2000 indicates the year of harvest, and distillation (according to AOC regulations).  After resting for a few months to allow the raw distilled spirit to regain equilibrium and balance, it was placed in new oak barrels for aging on the third of March, 2001.  After maturing for 13 1/2 years, the finished rum was removed from barrel number K182 and bottled at 43.0% ABV on the fifth of September, 2014.

Tour guide explains the operation of the steam-engine powered cane crushing equipment

The Trois Rivieres plantation and rhum producing facility has travailed a serpentine path over the past 350 years.  The plantation was founded in 1660 by Nicolas Fouquet, Superintendent of Finances under Louis XIV. who awarded the 2,000 hectare plot to himself.  By the 18th Century, the property changed ownership several times and three sugar refineries were established on the plantation.  An impressive windmill and other restored buildings from the sugar production years are part of the visitor’s tour today.  Rhum production began late in the 18th Century.  Following the collapse of the Caribbean sugar economy in the 19th Century, rhum became the only product at Trois Rivieres by the early 20th Century.  The rhums were bottled under the Duquesne marque until 1972.  By 1994 the owners of La Mauny acquired the Trois Rivieres marque and estate.  AOC certification was granted in 1996.  Trois Rivieres’ column still was moved further inland to the La Mauny distillery in Riviere Pilote during 2004, where production continues today.  Take a photo tour of the restored Trois Rivieres windmill, distillery and new visitor center/boutique by clicking here

Opinion
Bravo to Trois Rivieres.  Their Millesime 2000 is powerfully aromatic, full of flavor and affordably priced.  It delivers on the strong oak notes promised by a rhum aged for 13 1/2 years.  If quality is any judge, Trois Rivieres should find success with their latest fine single cask rhums and blends.

Some rhum aficionados might call this expression over-oaked.  I can imagine Trois Rivieres Millesime 2000 would be a real treat for those who prefer deep wood flavors, or those who enjoy pairing a cigar with their rhum, but.  Me?  I’ll just take it neat, thanks.

Reviewed:  December 2014 at Trois Rivieres visitor center on Martinique, and again in April 2015 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017