Mauritian agricole rums meet thirst for new styles

chamarel white rumA new range of premium agricole rums from Mauritius have been launched into the UK to meet a growing thirst for different styles of rum.

First showcased to the public at Rumfest in London this month, Chamarel is a single-estate rhum agricole – a style made from sugar cane juice rather than molasses.

It is already available through Coe Vintners and Master of Malt and is starting to gain on-trade listings in London.

Seven rums from La Rhumerie de Chamarel in Mauritius are being brought to the UK by distributor RDS Premium Spirits. They are an unaged but rested Premium White Rum, the Premium Gold Rum, a four-year-old VSOP rum and the refined Double Distilled rum as well as vanilla, coffee and coconut rum liqueurs.

Rowan Sham of RDS Premium Spirits said the influx of different styles of rum had made people increasingly curious about the spirit. “This has led to an exodus of people shying away from the more commercial brands of rum, leaning more towards the niche or boutique style products.

“We have entered the rum market at a time where people are really starting to get to grips with their rum and the different types there are on offer.”

Rowan said he believed that rhum agricole was becoming increasingly popular as people are seeking new tastes. “For instance in cocktails, using white agricole rum instead or molasses-based rum, people will notice a fragrant smell from the rum as well as a bite that follows through the side of your tongue when it is drunk.”

The Premium White Rum, with an ABV of 42%, is characterised by its exceptional aromas and long finish while the gold rum, also at 42%, has notes of caramel, berries and ripe apple after ageing for 18 months in new French oak barrels.

The Double Distilled Rum, at 44% ABV, uses the same double-distillation process used for cognac, resulting in a full-bodied rum with flavours such as notes of sweet spices. “It is only the second rum in the world to be made using the double-distillation process,” Rowan said. “The distillation allows the master distiller to isolate the ‘heart’ of the distillation, resulting in a well balanced and full-bodied rum.” Only 20,000 litres are produced annually.

The VSOP Rum is matured for at least four years in oak barrels in the distillery’s cellar, creating a rich aroma of vanilla, caramel, orchard fruits and ripe sugar cane. The flavour has notes of honey, cedar wood, subtle smokiness and sweet spice, with brandy-like overtones. Suitable for serving neat or with ice, it has an ABV of 44%.

Chamarel Coffee Liqueur is a blend of premium rum with pure sugar cane juice and roasted coffee grains grown on the estate. The slow maceration develops flavour notes of mocha with length and depth. With ABV at 35%, it can be served chilled or poured over ice cream or as a cocktail ingredient.

The Coconut Liqueur, also at 35% ABV, blends the premium rum and pure sugar cane juice with roasted desiccated coconut, sourced from Mauritius and slowly macerated. It can be served extra-chilled or in a cocktail such as a Piña Colada.

Chamarel Vanilla Liqueur blends natural vanilla pods with the premium rum and pure sugar cane juice and natural vanilla pods. At 35% ABV, it is again suitable for drinking extra-chilled, poured over ice cream or mixed in a cocktail.

La Rhumerie de Chamarel, based in the south-west of Mauritius, opened in 2008 and now has an annual production of just over 300,000 litres.

“The distillery uses age-old techniques to create charming agricole rum with lots of character, which does not reflect on the age of the boutique distillery,” Rowan said.

The rums are single-estate because all the sugar cane has been exclusively selected and grown on the estate rather than being sourced from around the country.

As a result, the sugar cane benefits from the region’s unique microclimate. The sugar canes are hand-picked at the peak of their maturity without being burnt. They are transferred immediately to mills where the first pressing is used to make the rhum agricole, ensuring only the purest of cane juice is extracted.

“They produce artisanal products using painstaking methods to produce their rum with low yield in return,” Rowan added. “Chamarel is a luxury product because it is a niche brand and it is intended for connoisseurs and people who want to explore the finer things in life through a drink.”

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