Aged Papa Rouyo Review + a little bonus
Updated: Jul 9, 2023
As promised, following my recent travel & rum blog articles of Guadeloupe - Marie Galante and Guadeloupe - Basse Terre & Grand Terre, I am going to do a few distillery specific side by side tasting reviews.
So, following on from my side-by-side review of their unaged rhums, today we will take a dive into the aged rhums of Papa Rouyo. What better way to spend world rum day!
Papa Rouyo have a an excellent and informative website, offering rich background on the new distillery and their philosophy to making rum, plus fact sheets for each release - with every detail a rum nerd could ask for (I have linked these against each bottle tasted)
I've already covered a lot about this fantastic new distillery in previous articles but it's worth once more applauding their openness. And their intent to produce new, innovative pot still rhums while maintaining an immediate and direct connection to both the terroir and the rich distilling history of the island.
Papa Rouyo rhums are produced, as you would expect, without added sugar, flavouring or colouring.
Bonus content at the bottom the article, a first review of Papa Rouyo's new, unaged (rested in steel) offering - L’Œilleton.
Left to right, as per the lead photo, 3yr, Sanblaj, Eritaj.
20ml of each, left to open up for 30 mins, nosed first, then tasted, in increasing abv order. Assisted today by the smooth, cool sounds of Marlena Shaw.
As this was produced back in 2019, prior to Papa Rouyo starting distilling, it's no surprise that this fresh cane juice rhum was column distilled at separate 'secret' distillery in Basse Terre.
The rhum was barrelled by Papa Rouyo and aged in their cellars for 3 years. Their oldest release to date; seven barrels were selected for this blend, 5 ex-cognac and 2 new French oak.
An impressive amber gold colour.
Nose: Fresh and yet well balanced, starts with rich honeyed pastry, then comes a wave of zesty mandarin orange peel and things are rounded off with Christmas spices - cinnamon and clove. Impressive depth for 46% abv. A clean elegant nose. Enticing.
Mouth: Disappointingly thin start, under-delivering on the promises of the nose. Things pick up in the mid palate, with some jammy fruit and buttery pastry. A decent, clean, long cane juice & caramel fruit finish. A tasty touch of anise. Overall it's sadly a bit washed out. Clearly well made but the thin start to the taste kills it. [82+pts]
Sanblaj - meaning “blend” in Creole, is made from different barrels of double-distilled Papa Rouyo rum, aged in their cellar for about a year.
Type of barrels: New French barrels with intense toasting, new American barrels with intermediate toasting, and ex-Cognac red barrels.
This bottling was produced from Papa Rouyo's vines, grown in their Le Moule cane field on eastern Grand Terre. And distilled on their beautiful copper pot still.
[ESB - élevé sous bois]
Nose: More fiery but less rich compared to the 3yr. Less aging in barrel is predictably offering less depth.
You immediately get a tasty wave of old sweet shop caramel berry bon bons from the cognac, then some light satsuma citrus and finally some dry tannins. Maybe a touch of coffee. 'Bigger' but poorer alcohol integration, less depth, less complexity and less elegant than the 3yr.
Mouth: Again disappointingly thin at the start. A little sweetness. Light and fruity, pleasant spice and caramel. Some bitterness pops in and out. Touch of menthol. A relatively short finish. A good, light aged rhum, moorish and very drinkable, but not as mouth-filling or complex I'd hope for. [82-pts]
Another rhum produced from Papa Rouyo's cane grown in Le Moule on eastern Grand Terre. And distilled on their fantastic copper pot still. This was the first aged rhum released that was produced on their pot stills. A single cask, double distilled in April 2021, aged for 320 days in a heavily charred new French oak barrel followed by 20 days in an ex-Cognac barrel. Exciting stuff.
Nose: Upfront, big rich decent cane fruit followed by some pleasant dry almost earthy tannins. Nice heady stuff. Again we are treated with a visit to an old fashioned sweet shop thanks to the cognac casks. Fairly big, very inviting, perhaps not overly complex.
Mouth: A step up from the first two. Yet again, slightly too thin on the start, but this one quickly builds into a bigger more exciting rhum. Chewy caramel, dark fruit. Nice bit of balancing acid. A very good young aged Agricole. Impressively clean.
The spritely, sweet cane fruit is offset beautifully by tannic bitterness and a hint of acidity. [85+pts]
Conclusion - Easy win for the fun and crowd pleasing 1 year Eritaj. Sadly the hefty EUR115 price tag for a 1 year old rhum feels too punchy.
A bonus today, and a real treat for me. During my visit to Papa Rouyo I was privileged to open and taste the very first bottle of L’Œilleton. This is the follow up to their inaugural unaged bottling (Le Rejeton) that I reviewed with a few other unaged Papa Rouyo here.
Indigenous, red cane (R579) grown in Papa Rouyo's eastern Grand-Terre clay-limestone fields. Hand cut before being transported back to the distillery for pressing.
Long fermented, pot stilled and then rested in steel vats for 8 months before reduction to 51% and bottling - conveniently just in time for my visit :-)
Nose: Fresh sugarcane, and citrus burst, without being sharp. Earthy... screams fresh cane juice of the first order. Beautiful!
Mouth: Silky and indulgent. Thick and gloopy. Bags of fresh cane fruit offset by bright citrus and a 'rock like' minerality. Nom nom :-)
An outstanding sipping rum and one of the best 'ti punch I've had. Superior to the excellent Le Rejeton. Can't wait to get my hands on a whole bottle. [86+pts]