We’ve selected 10 vintages of single-varietal rums (some made from individual plots of land, some not) to help you understand this fascinating category a little better. Sometimes agri- coles, sometimes pure cane juice, sometimes matured white, sometimes aged, they are always excellent!
Clément, Canne Bleue 2022
First things first. We couldn’t begin our tour of 10 single-varietal rums with a vintage other than Clément’s Canne Bleue. It was both the first to be marketed as such, and the best known. Every year, Clément releases a new vintage of this premium white rum.
This makes it THE ideal rum for discovering the varietal effect AND the vintage effect. The distillery has even produced aged versions of its Canne Bleue, including Single Cask and Single Batch. This 2022 edition is all about brown sugar, citrus fruit and the freshness of cane. Although it is single-varietal, it is not plot-based.
70 cl – 50% – around €40
La Favorite, La Digue 2022
The La Favorite distillery in Martinique produces two single-varietal, vintage, plot-based rums: Cuvée Bel Air and La Digue. Both are delicious, but we opted for La Digue for its ability to deliver a turnkey ti punch, i.e. without the need to add sugar and lime, since these aromas are found naturally alongside that of fresh cane (cane roseau).A real treat!
70 cl – 52% – €54
Baie des trésors, Plein Soleil
Domaine du Galion has two plots in the dry zone: Fond Basile planted with the R 583 variety and Micholo (R 570/straw cane variety). And two plots in a wet zone: Brin d’amour (variety R 570) and Morne Carrière (variety R 585). The four plots are harvested, distilled and reduced separately. To make the aged rums, including the vieux which comes out in September, the juices are then filled into barrels of the same type, and blended at the end of the process.
This is not the case with Baie des Trésors’ white rum, Plein Soleil, as it comes from the Fond Basil parcel (dry zone), made from a single variety of cane. This makes it a plot-based, single-varietal, vintage rum in a limited edition (30,000 bottles). With its floral and menthol notes and hints of brown sugar, it’s a delight of finesse.
70 cl – 54% – €44
A1710, Perle Rare B69-566
This distillery, founded by Yves Assier de Pompignan in Martinique, has relied on organic, plot-based, single-varietal production right from the start. The four vintages of La Perle Rare reflect this approach. They come from separate plots planted with four varieties: Canne R579 (Red Cane), Canne B69-566 (Blue Cane), Cane B59-92 (Reed Cane)and Canne Cristalline. All distilled in stills (so they don’t have AOC status).
Once again, it’s hard to choose, but we gave it a try and opted for Perle Rare Bleue. Rich in esters, this cuvée has aromas of lime and herbs (fresh cane, hay, etc.), with a lovely spicy finish. Compare it with Clément’s column wines, for example.
70 cl – 52.9% – around €60
Bielle, Canne Grise
From Marie-Galante by Bielle, this little gem is made from 100% cane grise, a variety developed in Barbados to withstand dry spells. This is a fine white rum for tasting, with its aromas of exotic fruit and fresh, herbaceous cane. Beautifully complex. We also like the high alcohol content, 59%, and the 50cl bottle, which we think is perfect for this type of premium white rum with a high alcoholic strength.
50 cl – 59% – around €30
HSE, Rhum Parcellaire N° 1 élevé sous bois 2016
Cyrille Lawson has pulled out all the stops here, as this cuvée is a single-varietal (cane d’or) vintage rum (2016), a plot-based rum and an ESB (aged for 12 months in oak barrels). It has the hallmarks of a white rum (liveliness, notes of fresh cane, exotic fruit, etc.) and those of an aged rum (roundness, vanilla, candied fruit, light tobacco, etc.).
70 cl – 45% – around €38
Bologne, Old Black Cane
Guadeloupe’s Bologna distillery delighted us with its first single-varietal rum, Black Cane, then followed up with Grande Savane (organic yellow cane).Now it’s going one step further with this version of the Black Cane, aged for 3 to 6 years in ex-French oak barrels that had previously been used for bourbon. Spices, candied fruit and a lovely salinity are on the menu for this fine old rum.
70 cl – 45% – around €59
Longueteau, Genesis XO
This is a rarity! As far as we know, this is the first single-varietal rum (red cane) to be produced on a parcel-by-parcel basis (n°9), brut de colonne, brut de fût (70.9%), aged for at least 6 years (XO). The ageing process has reduced its alcohol content (a little) and made it more restrained, but it still has a rare aromatic power. Notes of exotic fruit, roasted coffee and praline. A delight to be sipped in very small quantities.
70 cl – 70.9% – €230
Copalli, Black Cane
Here’s a single-varietal rum (black cane), organic and plot-based… that comes from neither Martinique nor Guadeloupe. And it’s pure cane juice to boot. The Copalli brand was created in Belize by Will Maheia and Todd Robinson. The various plots of sugar cane and the distillery are located in the heart of 9,000 hectares of virgin forest. Herbaceous notes, dried apricots and, more rarely, melon, with a bitter finish.
70 cl – 45% – €49
Renegade, Pre Cask Dunfermline column et pot still
After Scotland (Bruichladdich whisky) and Ireland (Waterford whiskey), Mark Reynier decided to continue his quest for terroir on the island of Grenada. With his Renegade project, he has set about releasing single-varietal vintages year after year (yellow lady, purple tallboy, lacalome red) from his various plots (Dunfermline, Pearl, Lake Antoine, etc.).
We have chosen to highlight the lacalome red from the Dunfermline terroir because it is available in a pot still distilled version, another column distilled version (Pre Cask: both 50%) and yet another pot still distilled but aged for 18 months (Etudes, 55%). There are slightly smoky, estery notes in the pot still and fruitier notes in the column. Very interesting.
70 cl – 50% – €55
How to enjoy them ?
Single-varietal rums are top-of-the-range spirits that have received special attention from the producers. They should be enjoyed as they are, in a tulip-shaped glass. But they can also be used to enhance a ti punch. It’s a bit of a shame to drown them in a cocktail, or to drink them over ice, but you can try ‘forgetting’ them for an hour in the freezer to enjoy them frosted.