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Savanna Rhum Grand Arôme Vieux de la Reunion, Port Cask Blend, Cask No. 931, 2004 (15 years)


Background: an LMDW exclusive from Savanna. Grand arôme is a high-ester style of rum made through a special fermentation process ('special' being somewhat ill-defined and subject to debate). This article provides some ideas on what a standard grand arôme could be. Some may argue that culturally, a grand arôme has to come from ex-French colonies. I do not have much of an opinion either way, so let's just talk about the rum. According to the official release, this is "a blend of two grand arôme rums -- one aged in an ex-cognac cask, and the other in an ex-Port cask -- finished together for a year and a half in an ex-cognac barrel".

Nose: salted liquorice; dark (aged, even) soy sauce; dried shiitake mushroom; balsamic vinaigrette; ammonia; lime juice; bad milk; something vegetal, like pressed celery and tomatoes; sweet and creamy sandalwood; baklava and other sugary desserts; mixed berries tart; more umami notes of soy sauce and vinegar; grape bubble-gum; malted barley.

Palate: pickled vegetables in huge quantities; dill; raw meat in white vinegar; gastric juice; each of the aforementioned notes is accompanied by a dollop of strawberry jam; some freshness trails the ester-y attack on the palate -- we get a combination of vegetables and fruits which bears some resemblance to those lightly salted mixed vegetable juices with common fruits added to impart sweetness; then come the more exotic fruits: pink guava, banana on the verge of ripeness; the wood comes forth to add heft and tannins, though it still feels rather light; malted barley towards the end.

Finish: red fruits with a touch of salt; apple vinegar; more vegetable juice. This combination of apple vinegar and vegetable juice lingers on the back of my tongue for a long time. The length is incredible for something of < 50% abv.

Conclusion: The vinegar-ey backbone of this rum is not something I can enjoy everyday, but I do dig all the bells and whistles it comes with. A bit more sweetness from the wood in the mid-palate would make it perfect. As it is, we have an impressive example of the French grand arôme, and it is indeed quite different from the Jamaican high-esters.

Score (assuming a normal distribution with mean 50): 86/100


Image Courtesy of u/zoorado



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