La Maison du Rhum – Venezuela – Batch 3

Rum has been growing in popularity for a couple of years now, yet despite the occasional tasting or festival, never grabbed me in the same way whisky did. It seemed all it took was one enthusiastic ambassador and a couple of rums in varying styles to open my eyes to the diversity in the world of rum/rhum/ron.

Because of my prior experience with spirits, I decided to not start with the basics (Appleton 12, Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, Bacardi, …) but, perhaps overzealously, jumped straight to the independent bottlers.

Distillery: Destilería Unidas S.A

ABV: 42%

Distilled: 2011

Bottled: 2020

Casktype: American Oak & ex-Pedro Ximénez casks

RumX ID: RX6620

I decided to start off with a Spanish style ron and was advised this Venezuelan bottling by La Maison du Rhum. La Maison du Rhum is a label created in 2017 by French distributor Dumas. In Belgium, it’s dispersed by the distributor La Maison du Rhum. Perhaps a fitting, as rum often seems like the Wild West from a whiskydrinker’s point of view.

This specific bottling is said to be distilled by Destilería Unidas S.A, the company behind Diplomático. It was distilled in 2011 and bottled at about 9 years old in 2020. It comes from a pot still rum doubler lamb glass & boil ball pot still and matured in American white oak and ex-Pedro Ximénez casks. It produced 8569 bottles at 42% ABV. Interestingly, this ron has also been dosed with 15.10g/l.

Venezuela also has a Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or DOC for short. It dictates what rules producers must follow in order to call it a Venezuelan Ron. The DOC states that no supplements can be added that impact the color, aroma or flavor, with the exception of pre-approved substances. These include sucrose, fructose, glucose, caramel and even macerated oak chips. For me, this adds to the jungle that rum can be and shows the importance of a good, precise and above all well controlled Geographical Indications instead of these bureaucratic instances.

The bottle is packaged in a colorful metal tube denoting it’s country of origin and colonial style (Spanish, French, British). Inside is a good looking bottle with a wide top to pour. It’s adorned with quite a large artwork depicting the country and a separate label with the details concerning the date of distillation & bottling, as well as the stills and casks used. On the back is a label with a short blurb about the contents and the sugar contents.

Bottle of Rhum du Venezuela

Colorwise, it’s a dark amber with reddish tinges. The nose is quite shy in a traditional Glencairn glass and benefits from a more bulbous glass. The nose is quite sweet with notes of strawberry candy, dried dates and plums. Supporting that, there’s slight notes of vanilla, leather, fresh bayleaf and coffee. Occasionally, there’s an ever so slight sulphury note coming through. I would imagine this comes from (one of the) PX casks used. It’s a nice nose, but it makes you dig quite deep in order to show any complexity.

For good and bad, the palate is a continuation from the nose. It offers a potpourri of raisins, black cherry and sandalwood. The PX influence is really showing here (or is that the sugar talking?). Adding water just makes the mouthfeel thinner, but doesn’t reveal more flavors. It offers a medium finish with the sweetness that lingers, hints of strawberry and some bitterness in the form of tannins and coffee.

As an entry to rum, this is a decent start. It doesn’t offer the most amazing complexity, nor does it even try to surprise you. But it’s an easy drinking, sweet drink that offers just enough punch for a more experienced drinker.


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