A1710 rums from Martinique
Updated: Feb 22
Over the last hundred or so years we have seen a vast, and saddening closure of rum distilleries. Low sugar prices and a reduction in rum demand saw the Caribbean alone go from hundreds to dozens. Recently rum interest has returned, and excitingly we've seen a couple of brand new distilleries. A1710 in Martinique is one of these. A very special one at that. A1710 have taken rum making to another level, producing single cane, single estate rums of individual vintages - they are allowing the consumer to really appreciate the impact of different terroir, and the individual merits of different vintages.
I would put them, along a handful of other producers, right at the forefront of global rum making, A very exciting time for rum lovers.
A1710, from Martinique, make a fully organic French style rum, using the fresh crushed cane juice, rather than molasses (a by-product of turning cane into sugar). These rums are, as far as I can tell, not Martinique AOC compliant so can't be referred to as Martinique Agricole although, as French style rums, they are spelled rhum - which I shall endeavour to do from here on.
A lack on interest in the UK for French style / agricole rhums make these very hard to find locally, so we are forced to walk the minefield of a potential brex-shit tax and buy from Europe.
About the tasting - I'm really excited about this one. What an incredible way to spend a Sunday. Five rhums is a bit of a stretch, but I've decided to really push myself ;-) and compare the rhums both neat and in a 'ti punch. I've poured 10ml of each rhum neat, and made a 'ti punch from: 15ml of rhum, half a bar spoon of cane syrup and a small cheek of lime lightly squeezed and then dropped in.
So, without further rambling on, let's get stuck in...
Diamond Rock, 50.% (£50)
Neat - on the nose, enjoyably oily and salty, some citrus. Touch of floral. A bunch of olives and fresh cut grass. A little brine. Earthy. Plenty of nail polish remover. A load of green apples. Pretty big but not overwhelming. Very approachable.
- to taste, it's lovely. Maybe a tiny touch thin at the start if I was to be really critical. Loads of fruit. Long long taste. Something from an old sweet shop, pear drops I think and some cola cubes. Quite sweet. Sweet and salty. Very very smooth. Not hot at all. Finish tastes a bit like old fashioned lemonade, with booze but not firey at all. These are great rhums. Giving this 87+pts. It's a classy and really exciting rhum. The candied finish just keeps on going. Awesome.
'Ti Punch - What can I say. That's bloody delicious. The lime and slight sweetness works so well enhancing the already smooth candy shop profile. Try this!
Renaissance 2017, 52% (£70)
Neat - on the nose, smoother, 'smaller' than the Diamond Rock. Still a little olives, salt and brine but overall its a much less punchy nose. Don't shoot me but I can smell candyfloss? A citrus 'zip' and some earthy notes. Nicely balanced but maybe a bit less exciting.
- to taste, less bonbons, more grassy. Salty. A little brine. Drier than the Diamond Rock. Lingering. Papaya. Liquorice. Smooth. Crisp. Very impressive. Love the long finish. Very complete. Much drier. Diamond rock edges it. 87pts
'Ti Punch - Very very drinkable. The grassiness and slight brine are still shining through with the lime and syrup. Tasty.
Le Perle Rare Canne Bleue 69-566 - 2020. 52.9% (£60)
Neat - on the nose, big, oily. Quite punchy. Much more brine - gherkin juice even. Acetone. Grass, earth. Really exciting. Warm, sparkly. Some fruit. Making me salivate.
- to taste, it's really briney, yummy, so inviting. Crisp, grassy and earthy. Mouth coating. Lime leaves. Really incredible. Such a clean well made rhum. Lasts for ages and right at the end you get a bit of pear drop sweetness. I really love the brine and grass in this, it's right up these with the Diamond Rock. Again with a taste that goes on forever. 89pts.
'Ti Punch - It's so different from the Diamond Rock but so perfect in it's own way. Big funky, briney rhum punching right through the lime and syrup. This is not a rhum to sit quietly. I absolutely love it it.
La Perle Brute 66 - 2018, 64.1% (£50 - 500ml)
Made from cane grown on a single plot cultivated by Mt Paul Octave.
Neat - on the nose, it's a brute that for sure. The higher abv is clear. It's big but quite different. Turpentine and floor wax. Earthy. Some green apples. Kind of wood smell. Less brine than the others. Lots of nail polish remover. A very dry nose- an edge of bitter tonic.
- to taste, a little sharper than the others. Lots of zip. A bit spicy. Loads of fresh cut grass (not that I've eaten grass for a few years!). Watermelon and kind of warm sugar water. A little salty. How the hell am I going to pick a winner, these are such great rhums. But different, amazingly so different. A lingering kind of beeswax taste. Initially a little sharp. A lot of under ripe green apples. Again the long long finish. Complex and tasty. A stunning rhum, 88pts.
'Ti Punch - Possibly the best of the lot in a 'ti punch. It has everything. It's super complex with the sweet shop edge of pear drops and cola cubes, plus the brine and gherkins. Wow.
La Perle Fine 2020, 67.5% (£55)
Neat - on the nose, weirdly light! Lots of wax. Cane. Fruit. A bit floral - i didn't expect this. Closer to the Diamond Rock. Very well balanced nose but is slightly stunted compared to the others.
- to taste, ah, there's the 67.5%. A big punchy initial taste. Loads and loads going on. Has some zing that's for sure. A bit sharp. Loads of sweetness. Loads of fruit. Loads of salt. A bit of brine. Nice texture. The alcohol is definitely less well integrated. And then, nothing. A gap in the back of the tongue where you expect the finish to go on longer. The initial mouth feel is glorious. Big and oily. Salty. Liquorice. I really like it but I'm giving it 85pts as it feels less complete than the others.
'Ti Punch - Initially this screams out that it's going to be the best 'ti punch. It's big and oily and exciting. Loads of fruit and candy. A lovely backdrop of salt and brine. Deeeeeliscious. And then it stops. That short finish is a shame because otherwise this is a really stunning rhum.
These rhums are really special. If you get a chance to try any, don't hesitate.
Overall, Perle Rare Canne Bleue is my winner although there are a several gems. This selection of unaged cane juice rhums from the same distillery are surprisingly different -with Diamond Rock having a much sweeter profile, the Canne Bleue offering that mouth coating brine and salt and Brute with it's boldness and complexity. All absolutely beautiful in their own way. A1710 are producing some stunning rhums - well done to them!