On the hottest day of the year so far, what’s needed is a splash of Rum, and that’s what we got at theFlor de Cana Masterclass at Amathus, Wardour Street, on the 17th July! Hosted by Marc Catalan from Flor de Cana, we were refreshed with a complimentary cocktail called a Macua which was a concoction of Flor de Cana 4yr white, fresh lime, orange, and the addition of Goji juice which hit the spot!
Marc talked about the background and origins of Flor de Cana and how it has grown to be the biggest Rum in Central America! It is still run by the family and independently owned, and what was really interesting was that it is the only Slow-Aged Rum in the world. Slow Ageing means that it has to be naturally aged, no additions and does not blend different ages together.
We sampled the 4yr White and the 4yr Gold with some Mango ice-cream, both rums would be great in Cocktails with their range of flavours. We then tried the flagship 7yr with some dark chocolate, which really worked well as the cacao and vanilla notes really came through.
The final Rums we tried were the Centenario 12yr, a wonderfully aromatic Rum with a delightful taste with hints of prunes, chocolate and a gentle hint of spice. And lastly, the Centenario Gold 18yr, a delicate and sumptuous Rum reserved for a special occasion because as much as 80% of the original rum in the barrel was lost to the Angel’s Share! Lucky Angels.
A great evening sampling some fine rums and looking forward to mixing some Cocktails.
Friday 14th June saw our Whyte and Mackay whisky tasting working in conjunction with the build-up to father’s day on the following Sunday and it went down a treat. On tasting were Isle of Jura 10 year old and the peated Superstition along with Dalmores 12, 15, 18 years old and the King Alexander premium bottling.
The charming Kai hosted the event outside our city shop in the charismatic surroundings of Leadenhall Market where there were no shortage of willing tasters. Curiosity turned immediately to the Dalmores, all blessed with a rich fruity character due mainly to the various cask finishes. The King Alexander being finished with no less than 6 but judging by sales it was the 15 year old that stole the show. This bottling spends its last 3 years in three different Sherry casks and it is thanks to this that the palate broadens and finishes with a lush and smooth length.
Isle of Jura 10 year old is a perennial favourite for many but it was the lightly peated non age specific Superstition that won our hearts here at Amathus. Though opinion divided over the richness and suppleness of the Dalmores versus the quirky assemblage of the Superstition, this whisky finishes in a curious harmony that suddenly gives an impression of good value.
All said and done the votes fell in favour of the Dalmores in general. The tasting wound up ending a very successful day and whisky sales reflected the trend. We hope those of you who managed to drop by and sample discovered something new and interesting.
Thanks to all who came and tried, and if you missed out we have the next tasting with Flor de Cana rum on 17th July, 12pm-2pm! Don’t miss out!
We were delighted this week to be joined by Audrey Bruisson from Rhum Clement and Rhum J.M. to talk to us about this
fantastic Agricole Rhum from Martinique. Though Agricole is only around 2% of all Rhum consumed, Clement is now present in 60 countries across the world and is a world leader in production.
Clement has been producing Rhum for 125 years now, and as such they have mastered the techniques of production. This includes having their own estate grown sugar cane so they can maintain high standards from field to bottle.
In order to maintain the Rhum Agricole AOC there are specific rules to make sure that the Rhum is of sufficient quality. This includes only allowing 24 hours to pass between harvesting and beginning fermentation; and having to spend the first year of production in barrels from Limousine before transferring to Bourbon barrels. Due to the climate of Martinique there will be losses of 8-12% from each barrel every year. This in turn makes aged Rhum Agricole a very precious liquid – which the tasting definitely proved.
We were given the chance to try 7 different Rhums from their range, starting with the incredibly smooth and delicious Clement Premier Canne. After this we were lucky enough to be able to taste the first bottle of Select Barrel in the UK. This was followed by the VSOP, which had a smooth and mellow taste with a delicate roasted cocoa aroma. We moved on to the J.M. after these, and the difference was apparent immediately. The JM Rhums had a more powerful aroma and were rich with spicy, vegetal notes. We progressed from the White, to the Gold and finished with the VSOP, which was a truly intense Rhum.
We were treated after the Rhums to some incredible Ti Punch Sorbet made by Marc Woods from Rumbling, followed by a Ti Punch – a great way to spend a Wednesday evening!
By Nick Bell
Wardour Street, London, W1F 0UN
For our first master class we were delighted to welcome our fantastic Armagnac producer Chateau de Laubade. Cognac and Armagnac have a history that is uniquely intertwined with each other, but like the Gallagher brothers, it is Cognac that grabs all the limelight while Armagnac provides the soul. Our presenter for the evening was Denis Lesgourgues who represents the third generation of the Lesgourgues family who now own and run the Chateau. Also for the tasting were our good friends at Paul A Young Chocolates who were on hand to match the Armagnacs with their sumptuous chocolates. Their expertise had suggested the 64% Papua New Guinea dark chocolate from the Michel Cluizel Maralumi Plantation to match with the Armagnac.
First of all though, a little background on the producer. Chateau Labuade is the most awarded Armagnac brand in the world! That’s quite a reputation to live up to! The chateau is a single estate who now own over 260 acres of vineyards and is the largest planter of the exclusive Baco 22A grape that provides Armagnac with that distinct and supple taste. Their Armagnac is single distilled in a unique Alembic still that is native to this region and aged in their own coopered barrels. The chateau has won multiple awards and most recently has retained the title of Distiller of the Year at the World Spirits Award for the third year running!
The evening commenced with Denis talking us through the history, the styles produced at the Chateau and philosophy of the house. Denis’s drive for quality is infectious, it soon became apparent that this was no ordinary Armagnac and a buzz was emerging among the fellow tasters at the sight of the first bottle produced to be sampled.
Combining the very finest Ugni-Blanc and Folle Blanche grapes, then matured in oak casks from Gascony. On the nose, bold with ripe notes of orange peel, slight hint of spice and a touch of oak. On the palate, an upfront flavour of pears and vanilla, this continues into a smooth and rich honeyed finish.
Produced using Ugni-Blanc, Folle Blanche and topped off with Colombard and Baco. Matured for six to twelve years (that’s two years over the legal minimum to give extra smoothness). An elegant nose which opens up into rich plum vanilla notes. On the mouth; supple and delicate flavours of greengage, honey, spice and orange peel. Great to mix in a cocktail or for an after lunch tipple. The matching with the chocolate was sensational, highlighting the honey flavour in the Armagnac superbly!
Made exclusively with Ugni Blanc and Colombard, it is aged for 18-25 years and one of the flagships of the Chateau. Elegant aromas of cinnamon, subtle smoke and ripe citric fruit. A voluptuous palette that opens up with flavours of honey, plum and toasted nuts. Simply stunning!
Unlike the previous Armangacs, this is not a blend of vintages and made solely from the grapes harvested in 1994. Much like the esteemed XO in taste and appearance, the ’94 opens up into a richer and smoother tipple with riper fruits and mellower oak.
Possibly one of the greatest vintages in Armangac, it was the highlight of the tasting! An expressive nose with hints of nuttiness, hot-buttered rum and smoke supported by aromas of plum, vanilla and leather. On the palette, silky smooth flavours of toasted nuts, sweet orange peel and light oak but with a length that just keeps on going!
A blend that is aged for a minimum of 32-40 years, this was also is another highlight of the evening! A soft nose with aromas of rich spice and vanilla. On the palette, elegantly weighted flavours of pipe-tobacco, soft green plums and apples with a backing of oak and smooth vanilla. A fantastic finish to a meal!
Chateau Laubade is like an exhilarating weekend break to an exotic overseas city, it leaves you with an unforgettable experience that makes you want more!