Founded in 1651, the Chateau Depaz estate is located in the coastline city of St. Pierre on the island of Martinique. It is the home to Depaz Blue Cane Rhum Agricole. When one thinks of the Depaz estate it is easy to imagine the ocean on one side and the sweeping fields of blue sugar cane on the other.
This blue sugar cane is unique to the region and the fresh sugar cane juice is essential to producing their rhums. They produce their products at such a high standard they have earned the coveted Appelation d’Or igine Controlee (AOC) designation for excellence.
For a distillery to receive this designation everything from the sugar cane fields, the quality of the juice, the state of the distillery, and facilities must meet the high standards required. The rhum is aged in specially designed oak casks and no additives are allowed for products with the AOC designation.
The Blue Cane product is available in limited quantities to the United States market at 90 proof while their blanc and 100 proof Blue Cane agricole rhum are available everywhere else.
The short 750 ml bottle is sealed with a wooden cap and real cork. The security strip wraps the top and descends almost to the neck wrap. Front and back label provide the standard information along with the legal requirements for the U.S. market.
In the glass and bottle the liquid has a golden straw color that reminds me of some of the first flowers of spring. Swirling the glass creates a tight band that forms thin legs that slide quickly down the side.
When I pour the rhum in the glass the air is filled with the strong floral and grass aroma that mellows quickly. I let it settle for a few minutes and pick up the baseline of soil and grass with hints of oak, cinnamon, banana and honey playing in the glass.
The first sip brings the raw cane and alcohol notes front and center followed by an earthy base note. They fade into a nice light honey nectar finish. This paves the road for the second sip which smoothly brings sugared banana, cinnamon, and oak into play. The honey and cane notes return, transitioning into an enjoyable slow finish.
It is no surprise to me that the blue sugar cane for Depaz rhum is harvested in the spring. Every time I have made a cocktail with it or sipped it neat, it reminds me of spring mornings when the fragrance of new flowers fills the air. I enjoy the multilayered complexity of the rhum and would recommend it as a good introduction/gateway product for those used to molasses based rum.
A fun cocktail using this rhum is the Depaz Mai Tai created by Mixologist Mark Hooper.
Here is his recipe:
1 oz. Depaz Martinique Blue Cane Rhum Agricole
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Orange Curaçao
1/4 oz. Orgeat
1/2 oz. Depaz Cane Syrup
Dash of Elemakule Tiki Bitters
Fill shaker with ingredients and crushed ice. Pour unstrained into glass. Garnish with spent lime shell and swizzle stick.
This review first appeared in Got Rum? magazine.