Rhum Depaz XO
Agricultural Rhum: Rhum from a traditional column still made with fresh cane juice.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 45% ABV @ 20°
* C A
From the foot of Mount Pelée in Martinique comes Rhum Depaz, distilled from fermented fresh cane juice. Originally founded in 1651, the distillery was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1902, before being rebuilt in 1909 by Victor Depaz and in 1917, 15 years to the date since the distillery was destroyed by the volcano, rhum production resumed.
As is often the case with agricultural rhum, the terroir of the region gives the end product much of its character and flavour. In the case of Depaz, it is the fertile land and purity of their water that give Depaz its terroir.
At UK Rumfest 2018, I was fortunate to try the Depaz range, including their Plantation aged (Vieux), VSOP (Tres Vieux), Port Cask Finish, XO and some fascinating single cask offerings at higher ABVs. For me, the best of the products is the XO, which is the rhum I am reviewing today.
Rhum Depaz XO is a blend of rhums aged between eight and ten years using French oak barrels.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Agricultural Rhum” – Rhum from a traditional column still made with fresh cane juice.
The bottle is slightly squat/dumpy in shape (think El Dorado). They look quite good, although there is only limited information on the labels about the age of the rhum and some brief tasting notes.
Medium amber, almost mahogany in the glass with slight orange tints. There are small dotted legs with medium pace tears on the sides of the glass.
The aromas are powerful. Time in the glass benefits this rhum and leads to very woody oakiness with a hint of vanilla. Some dark chocolate, licorice and spiced fruits too.
Taste, Initial-middle 33/40
The entry is sweet and soft with salted caramel and banana notes accompanied by a touch of dry woody oak.
Taste, Middle/Throat 36/40
The body develops somewhat towards the middle of the mouth as does a slight floral, grassy flavour. There is an ever increasingly dry and bitter oakiness and some burnt caramel.
Towards the rear I taste dark chocolate, licorice and vanilla as well as very powerful red cherries. Multiple tasting reveal a build up of black pepper and the wood becomes a bit more smokey.
The red cherry and dry oak linger long after swallowing. There is an astringency that builds as well as freshly milled black pepper.
This is tasty stuff! Another fine quality rhum from Martinique showing off the terroir of the region at its finest. All of the Depaz Rhums are good quality but with the extra ageing comes additional layers of flavour and complexity and hence why the XO stands out from the crowd.
There are lots of flavours to keep an agricole rhum drinker very happy here but it is not too grassy or vegetal to put off an agricole-novice. This is one of those agricoles that helps to convince the rum world about how diverse the category is.
I would like to thank Rhum Depaz Brand Ambassador Benoit Bail (Below) for his time and assistance at UK RumFest 2018. Merci!
Here is a link to Depaz’s web site.
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