10 single terroir Pre-Cask rums. Three fresh-from-the cask brand new Études. And 18,000 curious drinkers, all seemingly making a bee-line for our stand. It could only have been Whisky Live Paris.
The name doesn’t give you nearly the full picture. Whisky might be the main attraction, but there were Calvados and Cognac stalls, Sake makers, street food traders and, upstairs, on La Grande Halle de la Villette’s beautiful gantry overlooking the main atrium, a buzzing hive of rum stands, all pulsing with activity throughout.
It isn’t often — if ever — that we have our full raft of Pre-Cask rums in one place, and they proved a huge draw for drinkers eager to compare and contrast; to dig into the minutiae of differences found from one terroir to the next. Whisky Live Paris is the holy grail of the curious spirits drinker, so perhaps it was no surprise that many wanted to try every single one — revelling in the different flavours from the Upper to the Lower slopes of Lake Antoine, the amphitheatre of New Bacolet beside low, flat, marshy Old Bacolet immediately next door, or the different takes on Dunfermline found through pot and column distillation.
Most exciting though was following a terroir from its pre-cask iteration to its oak-aged iteration as an Étude. Be it Dunfirmline, New Bacolet or Pearls, drinkers were keen to chat, sometimes for over an hour, about the intensity of terroir flavour that still dominates each rum despite ageing in premium oak.
Opinion was divided on the favourite, with Pearls and New Bacolet jostling to take the laurels on the stand and Dunfermline, a La Maison du Whisky exclusive bottling, drawing excited murmurs at its VIP tasting. But preferences aside, this was a true celebration of pure cane juice rum, of the natural flavours of terroir in spirit, and of the new age of the truly curious rum drinker. After three days of pouring, talking and tasting we left Paris exhausted but elated after our favourite show of the year.
Renegade Rum Distillery
Meadows Lane, Conference,
St. Andrews, Grenada, West Indies
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