Montebello - Unaged Rhums Review
Another installment in my Guadeloupe mini-series. After initial articles providing an overview and travel tips on Marie Galante, and the main islands of Grand Terre & Basse Terre, I did tastings of the excellent unaged and aged rhums from new distillery Papa Rouyo. Today we'll visit the historic distillery of Montebello.
Sadly no Montebello Cuvée The Bolokos in the tasting today, this legendary bottling is rare as hen's teeth. Still firmly on the 'one day' tasting list!
I provided an overview of my visit, and of the distillery, in my article on the island, so I'll leave that there and get straight on with the tasting.
As you'll likely have seen, the secret rum bar is temporarily 'barless' (and homeless), so the usual classy bar backdrop is replaced today with a bit of nature.
20ml of four crystal clear /unaged rhums, left to open up for 15 mins. Nosed first, then tasted, in increasing abv order. Assisted today by the magical melodies of Taj Mahal
Montebello Rhum Blanc Agricole, 50%
The first of a trio of estate released unaged Montebello at 50% abv.
Nose: A solid agricole - fresh, zesty, grassy. Quite vegetal and earthy without quite hitting the manure notes you sometimes get. Lovely lime cream. Boozy without being too aggressive. Very pleasant.
Mouth: Excellent balance of natural cane sweetness. Creamy, buttery texture. And zesty lime fruit. A classy agricole rhum that I can tell you from experience makes an excellent ti punch and daiquiri [83+pts]
Montebello White Rhum, 50%Vol
Nose: Similar as you would expect but this bottling is dryer and more earthy. Another decent agricole although lacking the citrus notes from the first.
Mouth: A little less balanced than the first. Very little in it. I like the drier profile but this one is a touch less creamy/buttery. And a bit sharper. Very fine margins. Another decent agricole. [82pts]
Montebello Rhum Blanc Ovation, 50%Vol
Nose: Different again. Also less citrus, but also less cane. More spinach & peppers, more butter. A little stunted. Not working as well as the first two on the nose.
Mouth: Quite a different taste to the first two. This is much more vegetal. Less complex and less complete. With a touch of cologne (not ideal). Lacking the fruit and creaminess. [79pts]
Montebello Zenga White 60%
The biggest of the lineup - both in abv and cost. Part of their Zenga line which features some of their bigger and bolder expressions.
Nose: The extra abv is very noticeable without being overly aggressive. Initially quite closed up, this needed a little time to start revealing its flavours, Good citrus. Big boozy pears. And quite candied, the longer I nose this the more I'm finding it naturally sweeter and more complex than the first three. Rich, high-quality cane juice rhum.
Mouth: A significant step up. This has great texture and layers of flavour. Piles of beautiful sweet orchard and cane fruit. Gorgeously fat and candied. A very high quality agricole that will lift your ti punch to the next level [86+pts]
Classy agricole. Fresh and delicious with outstanding clean flavours, Love these rhums that beautifully reflect the island. Makes perfect sense to me why locals tend toward the fresh flavours of unaged rhums. Next, I'll be reviewing 4 aged Montebello - will time in oak add or take away from these delicious rhums....?