Compagnie des Indes: St Lucia 13yo
Pure Single Rum (100% Pot Still)
ABV Hydrometer Test: 43% ABV @ 20°
Compagnie des Indes is a French company paying homage to the historic East India [trading] Company, importing pure rums. Their intention is to showcase fine rums without additives.
The St. Lucia 13yo uses molasses coming from Guyana and Dominican Republic. It was distilled in 2002 and bottled in 2015. 304 bottles were produced using two pot stills and this bottle comes from the barrel labelled SLD41. The 13 years of ageing in ex-Bourbon barrels took place partly in St. Lucia and partly in Europe. This all sounds good to me!
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Pure Single Rum” – 100% Pot Still rum.
The Compagnie des Indes branding and packaging is distinctive. There is a standard outer [flimsy, cardboard] box housing an ordinary looking bottle. On the bottle is a useful label displaying info about number of bottles, distillation and bottling dates and the barrel used (See above). It would be nice to reference the use of pot stills as well as the origin of the molasses. There is a basic, but welcome, cork enclosure.
This has a pale golden-amber appearance. It appears quite thin although the legs on the side of the glass are quite thick and slow to drop down the sides. The aroma is almost whisky-like, possibly even an eau-de-vie. Nosing, it takes your breath away, but not in a nice way – I feel like I am being given something to cure an ailment I do not have.
It has an initial medicinal aroma, with some subtle fruitiness appearing eventually.
After leaving the rum in the glass to breath, as you would a fine wine, it calms down somewhat. The medicinal notes, whilst still prominent, are calmer and the plum-style eau-de-vie is more pronounced.
Taste, Initial-middle 12/40
Initially quite smooth with some instant grassy, vegetal notes present. Also has some oak and bitter fruit. It is the bitter fruit that dominates – it might be a pure rum with nothing added, but this bitterness is quite unpleasant. Dare I say…? It might actually benefit from having something added to it!!!
Taste, Middle/Throat 23/40
The oak persists through the rest of the mouth giving the rum a continuously dry feel, becoming leathery. There is a nice level of fire at this point, which helps to lift the rum from its initial unpleasant start. Tasting a second and third time and the bitterness returns – it is not as unpleasant as the initial front-of-mouth tasting and a little bit of molasses and some more fruit appears, but again, I feel as if I am tasting a plum-flavoured eau-de-vie rather than rum.
The burn is nice, with oak and more bitterness vying for your attention. But again, it is the bitterness that dominates too much.
Morning After Aroma
Very powerful medicinal aromas but also some vegetal, grassy ones. A little hint of oak remains, too.
This tastes more like eau-de-vie than rum. If I blind tasted this, I would not instantly say “this is rum.”
We know from Compagnie des Indes that there are no additives, just pure rum. But the only discernible quality coming from the ageing appears to be the oak flavour. Does this mean the barrels were not top quality or maybe that it needs more/less ageing to achieve a more rum-like flavour? Was the original wine just not very good? Even some kind of additives might benefit this eau-de-vie.
As I know this is a pure rum and at this point I have to stress that I am not criticising the rum itself, just expressing an opinion. I really want to like it and say good things about it and I have re-tried it on a couple of occasions to try to make myself like this more. But, I have to be honest and say…..Sorry, for me, this is not a great rum.
Let’s hope for more from my other two CdI offerings:
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn Out of 7