French can also produce good quality Rum, find them in Rhum Fest Paris!
13 min read
Occurring every year in a row, the Rhum Fest of Paris, the essential Rum event, is usually taking over the Parc Floral of Vincennes in Spring, with an even larger exhibition area to celebrate the arrival of Rum within its phase of maturity. A premium event by sponsored by the Rum Porter magazine.
At this Rhum Fest, where are welcomed 50 exhibitors, 40 animation sessions, 2500 individual visitors and 2800 professionals, it’s always the occasion to discover the legendary brands but also the last trends. This fair remains for professionals, in order to favor the comfort and the fluidity of the visitors, plus to make them live an optimal Rum tasting experience, in the best conditions, through limiting the number of entries. Plus, each year the Rum brands are competing within the biggest Rum contest of the World, so-called the Rhum Fest Awards, where 350 samples are tested by a jury composed of 60 professionals.
Then, we will have a further look below about some of the French actors of this wide Rum galaxy, whether their cane juice arises from different sides of the Planet. Just to prove that Rum has no borders and is renewing all the time! By Alex Plato
First you have to know, the Rhum Charrette is the emblematic Rum, an institution straight from the french Reunion Island… (photo credits: Rhum Charrette).
Becoming a strong symbol of this volcanic territory and its way of life, the Rhum Charrette has been offering authentic, real and accessible Rums, since decades. Founded in 1972, the Rhum Charrette company has ever tried to source the best of the sugar cane, at the same time as the creation of the Rhums Réunion Group, which allowed producers to package and market their bottled Rums, instead of delivering them to the customs’ stores.
For your information, this Charrette (chariot) name comes directly from the predominantly green label, on which is drawn a cart full of sugar cane, guided by an ox and its farmer. The brand is partly owned by Terroirs Distillers, the spirits entity of the Picard Vins et Spiritueux family business, which ensures as well the marketing inside the French metropolis.
Above all, the story of Rhum Charrette firstly emanates of a tradition to grow sugar cane for years, on the slopes of a tropical volcano in the heart of the Indian Ocean. A story intimately linked to the one of the Reunion Island, previously named: Mascarene and Bourbon Island.
This island has always enjoyed a generous nature and a unique cultural crossbreeding. In the heart of the Indian Ocean, this Reunion Island extends over 2,500 km2, mostly composed of volcanic lands, green craters and steep landscapes. In this mosaic of landscapes, wild and protected spaces, a true jewel of nature constitutes the core of the local Rum myth, like the classic Rhum Blanc pictured nearby.
About the main content, the sugar cane… Already imported on the Reunion soil in the 18th century, sugar cane occupies today about 24,500 cultivated hectares, more than half of the island‘s agricultural surface. The cane fields are implanted on the coastal part of the Reunion Island, like a green necklace plant able to reach altitudes of 800 meters (Photo credits: Réunion Da).
As far as we know, the spectacular volcanic relief of this Reunion Island favored the development of small farms where, more than ever, the cane is cut, with the help of sabers, by harvest experts, really engaged to respect of the cycle seasons. Indeed, for several centuries, most of the island lives, from June to December, at the rhythm of the cane cutting, like any harvest in vineyards. We can affirm that the hot and humid climate of the Reunion is conducive to sugar culture. These ideal conditions boost the molasses juice, from the cane particularly rich in aromas. Thus, the Rhum Charrette is developed for the sake of keeping natural flavors from this ancestral cane tradition.
Thus, the late actuality for Rhum Charrette, is the launching of a new specific selection dedicated to mixology, with two new ranges, the Rhum Blanc and the Rhum Ambré. Both 40° labeled and under the Mix & Cocktails qualification. For these new references, the recipe has been completely redesigned to meet a use dedicated to cocktails, a trend in full growth.
Their blend includes notably a Grand Arôme Rum, pleasantly enriching the White Rum‘s recipe, while revealing all its aromatic charm, as the main characteristics of this Rum. The brand went even further by offering some compatible recipes, to realize on your own, stamped on counter-labels and at the level of the bottle collars. The goal is to accompany the customers, along the year, in their tastings, adapted to different seasons. These recipes are easy to make, available on the official website.
Also a wide range of Arranged Rums are available through the range.
Launched in 2016 with “Le Vanillé” (including a real vanilla clove inside, infusing aromas), the Charrette Héritage range is enriched by two new references:
– the Rhum Très Vieux, an harmonious Rum characterized by its delicately fruity and spicy notes. On the palate, it releases an explosion of flavors, brought by years of aging in barrels.
– the Rhum Extra Vieux stands out with its light plum notes and its woody balance, offering a roundness, that may easily caress your palate. In fact, it presents a concentrated version of the flavors from this Reunion Island.
These three exceptional recipes reflect the authenticity of local Rums, elaborated for more than three centuries! Both complex and elegant, the Charrette Héritage edition reflects all the mastery of a tasting Rum and the know-how of Reunion made Rums, imagined by independent producers. In their refined bottles, these 40° Rums are ready to serve, nature, fresh or on ice, in order seduce the finest enthusiasts.
More information on the official website, explore their full offer in the online gallery.
Pursuing our exotic journey, we are pleased to announce the release of the latest creation from Plantation Rum! This Maison Ferrand‘s property is glad to hose your favorite nearest department store, with this exotic wave of flavors, arising straight from the Pacific Ocean! Kindly baptized Isle of Fiji, this singular amber Rum has been imagined in tribute to the heavenly landscapes of these illustrious and so distant Fiji Islands, deeply anchored in the Polynesian Archipelago🇫🇯
Indeed, you surely keep a sunny picture in your mind within their pristine lagoons and their lush jungles, this Isle of Fiji tenderly created by Plantation Rum tends to reflect the beauty of this postcard from faraway, as an ode to the beauty of the local endemic fauna and flora. For instance, a particular attention has been paid to the Fiji native iguana Fiji is highlighted in the azure blue packaging of the bottle, surrounded by natural barrel strings, reminiscent of the local lagoons (photo credits: Jokes Brew).
With this original creation, the Maison Ferrand, led since 1989 by the Master Blender named Alexandre Gabriel, wished to offer a premiumRum with a powerful personality, to the mainstream market. This is not the first time that this French independent distillery, famous for its various inspired spirits, initiated such an avant-garde synergy. Already strong with its own brands, declined in many specialities, as proves the essences developed by Plantation Rum, but alsoFerrand Cognac and Gin Citadelle (have a look on our other article). It’s true that this laboratory of gustatory ideas has not stopped to surprise us!
Especially here, where their distinctive know-how is identifiable in the distillation process of this Rum, since their original double aging signature, paired with a certain Fijian tradition, generated a Rum enriched with warm notes of exotic fruits and raisin. Indeed, this double tropical and continental aging method is not innovative for a Rum, but here it’s the fruit of ancestral techniques and a local sugar cane. Moreover, this juice is enhanced by one of the purest waters of the world, doubled by a real volcanic rooted terroir, resulting in a very high quality sugar cane. For you information, all the processing stages are operated by craftsmen, since canes are cut by hand, before being crushed in old sugar mills (photo credits: Just Rum With It).
Furthermore, the Isle of Fiji Rum is first aged, between 2 and 3 years, in Bourbon barrels, basically in a hot and humid tropical climate. These parameters accelerate the aging process and offer to this elixir a notable complexity, completed with its inner exotic accents. Then, the ensemble follows its journey to reach Cognac (in France), in order to accomplish its ultimate aging stage, this time under more continental conditions, in the proper Maison Ferrand oak barrels. This last period, common to all the other PlantationRums, provides here the homemade and unique character.
Regarding its smell, you could easily feel its intense notes of molasses and pear at first sight, followed by more fruity notes, several evocations of apple, banana, gooseberry, and even a wedding between the spicy nutmeg and vanilla, underlined into a smoky undertone, at the end. Once in your palate, a coherent round and gourmet taste, starts with notes of vanilla, plus honey before leaving room for a cocktail of exotic fruits, composed of ginger, plum and coconut. Soft like the Fijian sun, this suave amberRum displays then intense fruity aromas, along hints of spices and on top of that, a touch of smokey caramel. You would be amazed by its lush finish, ending on a smooth dried banana and some allspice suggestions (photo credits: Maison Ferrand).
By the way, Plantation Rum advises you to enjoy it wether pure or in a cocktail of coconut water and a dash of lemon juice, the all on ice. This 40% Rum is exclusively distributed in supermarkets, in a 70 cl bottle, for a recommended price of 29,90€. Bula! as we say in the Fiji Islands…
More information on the official website, and about their wider offer of Rums.
The Whisper Rum straight from Antigua, since 2015… Another example of rum particularly niche and young since launched in 2015 by two young French entrepreneurs, including Anne-François Houzel having lived in the Caribbean archipelago, especially in Antigua, eventually before returning to France for his studies. At this occasion, he got the opportunity to meet his fellow and future associate, Humbert Achard de la Vente (photo credits: Whisper Rum).
Very close to their island, they used to come back there regularly. Then, as soon as they were initiated to the alcohol savors, they really looked at the case of Rum, because it was happening in Antigua. So a real passion for this spirit was born and from there they decided to create their own Rum brand. The adventure begins in 2013, when they created our legal structure at 19 and 20 years old. They had studied the Rum market a great deal and, after analysis, wanted to go back to the essence of Rum, at its origin, by offering the purest, authentic and traditional Rum possible with a light taste of just 2,5g of sugar per liter (comparing to some other Rums between 15g and 30g) for 40°.
The classic Whisper Rum coffret and the new Honey Punch, composed of two year rum mixed with honey.
From there, they got closer to the only distillery of Antigua which is a distillery of 1932 whose distillation columns are vintage! In addition, Antigua being a former English colony, the distillery thus made traditional rum, that is to say from molasses. American oak barrels, formerly used for the aging of KentuckyBourbon, were included in the process to maturate the cane juice imported from Antigua to Cognac, the final production step. And after nearly 3 years of work, the brand was launched in October 2015 at a trade show organized by their French distributor, the Dugas company.
In just a few months, Whisper Rum has been able to count on several hundred points of sale, in a CHR network, that is to say, cellars, bars, hotels and restaurants. Indeed, not wishing to be present in the supermarket since the direct network would correspond more to their image which is that of a dynamic Rum but all the same “starting of premium range”.
Today, the brand is distributed in 16 countries, and won several awards, like their first prize won at the Showrum happening in Italy, the gold medal at the International Rum Conference in Madrid, a silver medal at Rhum Fest 2017, among other trophies. Recently, thanks to three years of maturation, Whisper Rum was even ready to launch their old Rums selection.
More information on the official website, their offer to find in the closest stores.
Born in Caribbean and also grown up in France… Following the trend to import the sugar cane juice from the production spot and maturing it in France, the Hedonist Spirits, a spirits production company, based in Bordeaux, moreover mixes their rums from various origins and turns them into an unique product, through his new selection (photo credits: Hedonist Spirits).
The distillery and the cellars, for assembling and aging, are located in Chevanceaux, 70 kms away from Bordeaux, deep inside the Cognac region. They are specialized in the development of spirits such as Cognac, Rum and Liquor. Creativity and innovation are at the heart of their project to shape new products.
Their vision is simple and ambitious, they focus on the reinvention of spirits, through the recipe, the method of assemblying or aging of their products. Their actual Hedonist, selection is composed of a modern liqueur of cognac and ginger, Hee Joy, a range of Rums, following a British tradition within an assemblage of traditional Rums from Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana, and finally the last born, the rebel and wild Gun’s Bell, an exceptional spicy Caribbean Rum. In a more accessible version, the latest Gun’s Bell edition is a mix of Caribbean Rum, smoked and including more fruity taste, also assembled with Cognac.
Available in premium version with Origins and a more festive version with Spiced Rum, the Hee Joy brand is made from a specific blend of Rums, straight from Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana. After having aged under the sweetness of a tropical climate, the bulk was brought back to Cognac to be assembled, the Hee Joy Origins in old XO barrels and the Hee Joy Spiced Rum in Cognac oak barrels.
More information on the official website, explore their offer in the online store.
Still elaborated in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, we already had a review about their fabulous Gin. The Moon Harbour factory also proposes two precious Rums. Both are distilled from cane sugar, directly coming from the enchanting Mauritius Island, formerly called Isle De France. All the juice is matured in their Bordeaux‘ distillery, aged in some barrels (for the Amber Rum), previously used for their Moon HarbourWhiskey.(photo credits: Moon Harbour).
The Moon Rhum Gold is a Premium Amber Rum composed of muscovado, mixture of unrefined cane sugar and molasses. Mostly found in Mauritius, this blend brings roundness and vanilla touch to the product. After distillation, an aging of 7 months is carried out in their barrels, having contained their Pier One Whiskey (finishing in Sauternes barrels).
This aging brings notes of caramel and a woody side, offering a long soft and creamy final in mouth, where you would also feel a pair liquorice flavors.
This Moon Rhum Gold can either be tasted nature, to enhance your aperitif time, or even in the shape of a cocktail, for example a Mojito.
The second item is a Moon Rhum Blanc is also a Premium Rum, composed of muscovado, this Mauritius mixture made of unrefined cane sugar and molasses. After distillation, the Rum remains for a couple of weeks in a stainless steel tank, in order to aerate the product and thus develop its aromas.
This alternative Rum, still distilled in Bordeaux, already offers aromas of vanilla, from the first sight A frank attack on the first sip would express you, in addition to vanilla, its disseminated herbaceous notes.
Once again, Moon Harbour recommends you to enjoy it on ice (as an aperitif or digestive) or in a cocktail (such as the classics Ti-Punch, Caïpirinha), in order to further enhance this French product exclusivity.
In fact, both of those original Rums benefit from a singular, slow and technical distillation, which enhances the natural scents of each elixir, which contains 45.8% vol. A good ratio for a universal use, at home or in a random cocktail bar.
More informations to collect on their official website, where you’re as well allowed to explore their complete offer in the online store.
Last but not least, if you’re not into the strong forces conveyed by a good Rum.. why wouldn’t you try the Rum without any alcohol? The FrenchLyon-based company Fin Pallet produces this concept, poetically untitled Quintessence, made from a real West Indies Rum, but fully de-alcoholized and then guaranteed without alcohol (photo credits: Fin Pallet).
Then the creators Calixte Payan and Édouard Pellet made a collaboration with a Grasse perfumery, expert in the extraction of perfumes, in order to strictly de-alcoholize this Rum, they imported from the West Indies. Their product, born in their La Croix-Rousse offices (close to Lyon) in 2016, was then launched after many efforts, notably during Spring 2017. This revolutionary Rum would eventually satisfy the mixology and the alcohol-free enthusiasts plus of course the bartenders. You should try it in the classic cocktails recipes, such as the mojito or the punch, you would be muchly impressed by the taste similitude with an authentic Rum!
The product is now available at La Maison Du Rhum, for a price of 16 euros. The Fin Pallet company also organizes your cocktail party with their team of inspired mixologists. Moreover their imagination is not outdone since they propose edible straws to animate your good times, they are also available to be customized. Several flavors are offered (apple, cinnamon, strawberry, lemon, green lemon and even ginger).