Thursday, 10 September 2015

Review 56 - Compagnie des Indes Caraïbes

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
New kid on the block, presenting the new black in entry level sipping. 
Indie bottlers seems to be popping up almost everywhere these days.

One of the latest widely available ones, is Compagnie des Indes (CdI) from France, spearheaded by Mr. Florent Beuchet. Being a son of a wine merchant, the acorn hasn’t fallen very far from the tree.

So far the line up consist of several single cask rums from all around the globe, and a couple of blended products, which are meant to be a permanent part of the series.

One of these permanent blends is the 40% ABV Caraïbes.
A blend of Bajan, Trinidadian and Guyanese rums in a ratio of 25%, 50% and 25%.
I haven’t been able to dig out information about which distilleries has been used or the exact age of the components. But the age is stated as 3 to 5 years.

Florent has been very open about the fact that a few of his products has sugar added as well as caramel colouring. The Caraïbes for instance, has 15 g/L of sugar added and some caramel colouring.

As CdI doesn't have a website, I haven't been able to dig up much more. So onward to the rum.

The thing that caught my eye in the shop, was the turquoise box made of cardboard. It is quite flimsy, but being far from top shelf, that is quite fine. What I didn’t like about the box was the huge window.

It seems pretty obvious that the box has been made without any suggestion to which bottle is inside.
This is a money saver in production and allows for the same box to be used for many products.

However it also diminishes the box’s protective capabilities. And that is the only purpose for a box.
So, this box is just one short, one way trip to the bin away from being terminated.
Apart from the lack of protection, the box does stand out on the shelf. It doesn’t have a whole lot of information on it, but the company crest is there on the front, and on the back you find a short scribbling about the vision behind CdI.

And a sailboat. Don’t forget about the sailboat!

Inside the box is the real treasure. A dark green, short bottle with some very nice artwork.
An old style label with two sections. One has a naval theme, the company crest and the name of the rum. The other is black with golden text written on it.

The text is french, and as it is not my preferred language, I might have missed some of the details. But it says something about the thoughts behind the rum and gives us a few facts, like origin of the blended rums, 3-5 years of age and bourbon cask ageing.

Super elegant and simple. Just the way I like it.

At the top of the bottle, the black shrinkwrap also displays a logo of sorts, and when opened you find a natural cork with a black plastic stopper.

The rum has a nice dark straw colour. Only a thin film is left on the glass when twirled and just a few very slow droplets seems to form.

Super light and soft on the nose. Definitely not a scent explosion and every element is so light that it seems almost impossible to pick them apart.

But after a lot of time with the glass in my face, I was able to detect some caramel and banana peel.

There was also a little oak and some roasted nuts, along with the smell of ripe, sun warmed lemons.

Nothing too harsh, but it feels a bit too boring to earn my full attention.

Light over all profile with a slightly buttery texture.

It has a rather dominating peppery flavour with only a mild barrel influence. After a split second the sweetness sets in and starts to grow. Thankfully it stops itself just short of getting sticky.

There is a small amount of vanilla and lemon zest, and on the backend there is a touch of banana peel.

All in all a very gentle and soft rum. It doesn’t contain a million different notes, but at the same time it doesn’t hurt anybody.

I believe that CdI are trying to create a people pleaser with this one. A somewhat pure rum with a little sugar added to take the worst edge off the lack of ageing.

Rather short lived. It is over very quickly and apart from a mild sweetness, a peppery sting and a little oak spice, there isn’t much more to discover.

Rating and final thoughts
Super casual and very nice drink – probably because of the sugar. Otherwise it would probably have been too pungent. It doesn’t bring anything too complex or explosive to claim your attention. It is just mellow and easy going with a twist.

But at the same time it doesn’t really bring anything noteworthy to the table either.

It is a nice buy at around €40, but in this price range you also find a lot of other great stuff like the Appleton 12, RL Seale’s 10, MountGay XO, El Dorado 15 and Rum Nation Peruano 8.
If I hadn’t already picked up these, I don’t think I would have chosen to give the CdI Caraïbes a go.
I acknowledge the effort from CdI to create this rum and make it part of their lineup. It fits quite perfectly among the other CdI products. So to that effect it all makes sense.

It just exists among some very worthy opponents and it doesn’t quite stack up against them. The composition of the Caraïbes is a bit different and that just might be what saves it.

I would strongly encourage everybody to try this one. It does bring something slightly different to the table compared to other entry level rums. And I mean that in a good way.

Being a lot more than just drinkable, it does deserve some recognition. And it is put together quite nicely. So reaching the end, it deserves a…
Rating: 74/100

Massive kudos to CdI for the transparency and disclosure about the contents of the bottle. Many, many rumproducers could learn something from this.


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