The most certain mark of wisdom is cheerfulness.¹
¹ Montaigne, Essays
These are 5 new HSE expressions, which wisdom dictates will bring you certain enjoyment.
HSE Cuvée 2016, White Rum – 50°
Rich on the palate (naphtha and citrus caviar) becoming enchanting (mango, white pepper). Hints of grass in the background highlight the combination of peppermint and aquatic notes. The body goes on to reveal tones of banana and green anise, slightly drying but very pleasant: a walk through the estate’s gardens crossed by the stone canal and the holding ponds. Here, we can really taste the benefits of circulation and slow dilution, over two years in stainless steel tanks, which give expression to the full depth of the spirit.
HSE Cuvée Parcellaire n°1 (Verger & Coulon), 2016/2018 Rhum Blanc Canne d’or (R570) – 55°
The great features of the distillery’s white rum are rounded out here with notes of fine fruit and spice – lime, papaya and cardamom. Fruit is present on the palate and the aromatic profile of the estate’s very first plot-specific and monovarietal cuvée continues to develop with notes of blood orange, candied citrus fruits, passion fruit, cane flower and white pepper, giving the impression of returning inland: towards Gros-Morne and the entrance to the Saint-Etienne Plantation where the discovery of the Verger & Coulon plot and its rustic but oh so aromatic golden canes awaits. Here the terroir, vintage and variety make a perfect combination, which is further revealed by slow circulation and dilution over 18 months in stainless steel tanks.
HSE 2007/2018 Brut de Fût Chêne Américain Extra Vieux CS 51.2°
An absolutely incredible introduction, with sesame and strawberry notes. But be warned, this is a patient rum that does not offer itself up straight away. It needs a long opening time and several weeks of rest; but once this waiting period has been observed, the rum doesn’t cease to amaze with its qualities.
In the mouth the symphony continues with varnish, Norway spruce buds, the dynamic elevage really comes into play and notes of hazelnut, rye and shea butter break out, blurring the lines… always moving before returning to fruit and cereal, strawberry, pomegranate, and an intense, almost historic rye-sesame aromatic coupling.
HSE 2007/2018 Brut de Fût Chêne Français Extra Vieux CS 50.8°
Be careful, we’re coming to the second aromatic bomb and it will shatter your tasting session into moments of pure pleasure. Very quickly all is revealed: even though the aromatic intensity is explosive, the partition is complex, it plays out over multiple lines, with a precision that seems impossible, mocha and bergamot combine with blackcurrant and blackberries, giving the impression of being in the estate’s cellars, its façade, punctuated by 28 perpendicular arches that provide ventilation: the warmth of the day and the freshness of the land breeze at night.
In the background, we also discover the subtle fruit of red grapes and quince jelly that counteracts the bold and luxuriant fruit notes. Then sandalwood, blackcurrant, and acai regain the upper hand: a trip to the land of pleasure with a blackberry finish that complements, with the same seduction, this profile which is exceptional in its intensity, complexity, and length.
HSE 2006/2018 Château Marquis de Terme, Extra Vieux 47°
The complexity on the nose is so obvious that it is surprising. It reaches its peak three weeks after opening. The layers of aromas can be distinguished from each other as the glass is moved from bottom to top and then from top to bottom: kirsch, redcurrants, prunes in brandy, blackcurrants, old violets, citrus marmalade, delicate wood notes veering on rosewood.
Everything here is confined to delicacy and the opening of a grand opera. One imagines the copper, Creole column still of the Simon distillery, its stripping runs enlarged to slow the trajectory of the boiling wine and prolong its exposure time between the steam and fermented sugar cane juice, reduced in number to allow the least volatile esters to pass through and produce complex and full-bodied spirits.
Then comes the first attack on the palate: Amarena cherry in syrup, the redcurrant that confirms the nose, the weft of a full-bodied wood: very integrated mahogany with no astringency. It is the second movement that is a little unsettling: ivy is now present, exotic but less noble woods, such as iroko – between yellow and red wood – more drying and a burst of spices: from Ceylon cinnamon to spicier, woody notes, perhaps too present, one moves away from the exceptional delicacy of the nose. It is obvious that batch 2 is superior to the nose of batch 1, and it is absolutely necessary to fully savour even just a second of the infinite universe that it covers.
The second mouth and the finish, however, are inferior to Batch 1, whose balance and patina of vegetal glaze continue to surprise, tasting after tasting, and which so far appears to be unsurpassed if not unsurpassable, so exceptional are the quality of the HSE sugar cane juice and the barrels of this classified fourth growth Bordeaux vintage