encounters

The words of Rum experts

Four absolute experts in their fields, four points of view…

We questioned Gregory Vernant, Neisson master distiller, Alexandre Gabriel, Plantation master blender, Luca Gargano, owner of Velier, and Marc Sassier, president of the Martinique AOC. Four of the leading international rum specialists share their experience and their vision at the highest level.

INTERVIEWS WITH

Grégory Vernant

Master Distiller, Neisson

“We want to promote our savoir faire and the specificities of our soils.”

Neisson Profil 107

Martinique, Rhum Agricole – 52.8%, 70cl
Limited Edition of 600 bottles
LMDW Exclusive

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What is your best memory connected to rum?

So many come to mind! For example, a bottle of white rum that belonged to my grandfather… I found it in 1997 – that’s a great memory and the perfect rum, in my opinion!

In a different style, there are also Sunday Ti’ Punches with friends – they’re sacred! We make them with lots of ice and good limes… They go really well with a Neisson «special» fish blaff, or before and during a barbecue, even with dessert!

INTERVIEWS WITH

Marc Sassier

President of the Martinique AOC

“Our differences are our identity. They are what enable us to produce a product like no other.”

Bally 17 YO 2000
Brut de fût

Martinique, Rhum Agricole – 58.1%, 70cl
Limited Edition of 1500 bottles
LMDW Exclusive

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What is your best memory connected to rum?

Rum has always been important in my family. Both of my grandfathers were home-distillers that made their own spirits, but they always had a soft spot for the rhum agricole of Martinique. When we were kids, our grandmother would put rum in a bottle labelled “cordial for adults”. She would use it to make us “canards” (literally “ducks”, a sugar lump soaked in liquid), with a sugar cube seeped in the rum! We loved them!

Later on, memories of my grandparents caught the attention of rum-makers and probably helped me get my first job in Martinique. Since then, I’ve earnt my stripes and learnt a huge amount from my peers, who now call me «Doc»!

INTERVIEWS WITH

Alexandre Gabriel

Master Blender, Plantation

“We were experiencing a special moment in history.”

Plantation rum
Cuba 15 YO 2003

Cuba,  Traditional Rum – 59.8%, 70cl
Limited Edition of 410 bottles
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What is your best memory connected to rum?

Rum is such an adventure… For a tasting, maybe Long Pond in Jamaica… I have a very fond memory of tasting a perfect and very old Long Pond Jamaica 100% Pot Still. For me it was a formative moment, perhaps even the moment the seed was sown for a certain Plantation Jamaica, even if I didn’t know it at the time.  That was over 25 years ago! There are rums anchored in my memory that create a garden of flavours and aromas that inspire me.

This year my best memory is definitely reawakening our chamber still, the famous «Vulcan», which dates back to the 19th century. It had been sleeping for decades on a beach in Barbados at the old West Indies Rum distillery, which bought it in the wake of American Prohibition.

INTERVIEWS WITH

Luca Gargano

Owner of  Velier

“I want to fight for authentic production, as has been done for many other products.”

FOURSQUARE
Destino

Barbados,  Traditional Rum – 61%, 70cl
Limited Edition of 2610 bottles
LMDW Exclusive

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What is your best memory connected to rum?

I have so many good rum memories! But the first that comes to mind is from 5 years ago. I was in Haiti, in a village that produced Clairin. I went to see a small farmer who used a wooden mill powered by two bulls to crush his cane. When the liquid came out, hundreds of bees and butterflies arrived. It was the first time in 40 years of working in the rum industry that I had seen such a thing. It was a real lesson in humility. There I was thinking I was this great expert but I’d never asked myself why you don’t see bees flying around all the sugar mills in the Caribbean. That’s when I realized just how special Clairin is. It is the fruit of human-scale agriculture and unrivalled raw ingredients. There is no better gauge of quality than a butterfly liking your cane juice!

Hampden LROK White
Habitation Velier

Jamaica,  Traditional Rum – 62.5%, 70cl
Limited Edition of 2140 bottles
LMDW Exclusive

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Long Pond STCE White
Habitation Velier

Jamaica,  Traditional Rum – 62.5% – 70cl
Limited Edition of 8654 bottles
LMDW Exclusive

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Savanna herr
HABITATION VELIER

Reunion Island,  Traditional Rum – 62.5%, 70cl
Limited Edition of 2782 bottles
LMDW Exclusive

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