Pure Single Rum: 100% Pot Still from a single distillery
I have something unusual in my glass to write about today. A rum distilled in the year I was born, 1972, and aged for an incredible 38 years.
Yes, I did say 38 years.
Recently, this has popped up on a few rum auction websites so I thought it was a good time for me to crack open one of my bottles and write about it.
The Courcelles distillery was founded in the 1930s and closed in 1964. Amédée Huygues Despointes, the owner, transferred operation to the Distillery Ste-Marthe where storing of quality rums continued and the Courcelles alembic still operated.
Production ceased in 1972. This particular edition was put into 220 litre french oak barrels in January 1973 and 38 years later in July 2011, it was removed from them. It was bottled in 2014 although it is not clear why there was a gap of three years between removing it from the casks and bottling.
There are various different editions of this rum floating around, bottlings at 42%, 47%, 54% and 58%. There are various independent bottlers releasing this juice including Velier and the one I am reviewing today, Rhumhouse from Switzerland.
Domaine de Courcelles (1972) is a Pure Single Rum:
100% Pot Still from a single distillery.
The bottle is small, square, squat and 50cl. It has a natural cork enclosure, encased in wax, which rather irritatingly, is like a wine cork and does not have a top/stopper on it, so each time you remove it, you have to put it back, or use your own enclosure.
The labels have some useful and historical info about the bottling.
The initial aroma reminds me of an old oak dusty cabinet. Behind that lies a herbal, almost menthol nose that initially is quite powerful. Red cherries in dark chocolate, almonds, cinnamon and baked pears. A touch of water reveals something reminiscent of a pina colada aroma, like sun tan lotion.
Taste, Initial-middle 35/40
Initially sweet, almost sticky caramel sweet, but with powerful oak notes leading to baked fruits – apples, pears and bananas as well as dried fruits. Dark chocolate, cherries and spicy notes that build through the mid-palate are joined by vanilla and licorice.
Taste, Middle/Throat 38/40
Marzipan, cherries and coconut give a sweet impression but the old oak takes over and creates dried tannins and an astringency that builds with multiple tastings. Licorice and caramel are present, too.
At this point, I thought given that it is from Guadeloupe, it was one of the best agricole rhums I had ever tasted, but soon realised that was because it is actually a rum distilled from molasses. Oops!
The finish is medium long but is rather pleasant. Some of the dried oak and spice linger but are offset by some sweeter fruity notes, making it very appealing indeed.
It is not every day that you drink rum distilled in the year of your birth – especially when you are heading towards 50. So, this is a special experience!
But more than just an experience, the rum is really tasty – It did not blow me away with my first taste, but as I have now nearly finished my first bottle, I have got know it and appreciate it so much more and it will sit “up there” in terms of one of the more unusual and special rums I have tried.
Truly a remarkable historical spirit giving an insight into distillates from almost 50 years ago combined with an incredibly long ageing.
If you get the chance to buy a bottle, do so.
Amazing rum, something unique from history and with 38 years of tropical ageing too. That said circa £300 for 50cl is a lot of money but as I have said before, if your budget stretches to this, your tastebuds will thank you forever.
Review No. 144
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