About HSE Rhum Agricole Extra Vieux Highland Cask Finish 2005
"HSE" stands for Habitation Saint Etienne. Built in the 19th century on the island of Martinique, a French island in the Caribbean Sea, it served as a sugar plantation and refinery before being transformed into a distillery in 1882 by the industrious Amédée Aubéry. In the following decades, it became thoroughly modernized, expanded, and connected to the railway. The building collapsed after being in operation for nearly a century and was bought and rebuilt in 1994 by Yves and José Hayot. They began restoring the historical site and relaunched the Saint Etienne brand.
Today the Martinique rhum agricole (a term for rum, produced from sugar cane juice) is the only one in the rhum category with the AOC designation. AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) is the French variant of certification for geographically protected wine, spirit, and food, which ensures the quality, authenticity, and character of the rhum. After the sugar cane is harvested, it's taken to the mills in order to extract the juice. After filtration, the juice is fermented and distilled. Both unaged "Blanc" and aged "Old" expressions are produced, the latter employing barrels that used to hold bourbon, cognac, sherry, and whiskey.
HSE Rhum Agricole Highland Finish Extra Vieux 2005 is initially aged in oak barrels for 9 years to achieve the signature character of aged HSE rhum. After this period of maturation, it was transferred into Highland single malt whisky barrels for an additional 12 months, bringing the total to a decade. Bottled at 88 proof, it's a deliciously fruity and minty expression.
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Rum history allegedly started in the Carribiens in the 17th century when they started to ferment and distill molasses, a byproduct of sugar production. Most of the Rum is aged in oak or ex-wine casks, giving its color and flavor.
We distinguish between 4 different Rum categories, where white or unaged rum is mainly used in cocktails, while dark, spiced, and añejo (aged) rum are mostly enjoyed neat.
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