HSE Rhum Agricole Extra Vieux Sauternes Cask Finish 2005

After spending 9 years in oak, this rhum agricole or sugarcane-juice rum is finished in Sauternes wine casks for an additional 8 months, making for a deliciously fruity and balanced sipper.
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"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.

One such expression is the Rhum Agricole Extra Vieux Sauternes Cask Finish. The sugarcane juice rum or rhum agricole is first aged in oak barrels for 9 years according to the tried-and-true practices and tradition of HSE. Then it goes for a round of finishing in Sauternes wine casks from Château La Tour Blanche. After 8 months it is bottled at 82 proof, displaying a complex harmony of sweet honey, gingerbread, and (dried) fruit notes.

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More Information
Proof 82 (41% ABV)
Distiller/Bottler Name Simon Distillery
Size 750mL
The aromatic nose opens with acacia honey, passion fruit, a touch of gingerbread, as well as dried figs and apricots. There's a pleasant sweetness on the palate with dried fruit, vanilla, and dessert wine notes, as well as a hint of orange zest. The finish has lingering spice.
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Note:  Not Eligible for Return