Review: Gouverneur 1648 XO

A short while ago I attended a tasting of the Gouverneur rum held by Andrew Scutts, the man responsible for the Cocktails In The City event. It’s enough to say that the tasting got me interested in this bottle of rum I have never seen before on the market.

Gouverneur comes from a new company called Spirit-Brothers which looks like they make and deal with more spirits than just rum. The idea for the company comes from the former Global Managing Director of Moet Hennessy and CEO of the Stoli Group, Hugues Pietrini who together with Alexandre Congost Founded Spirit-Brothers.

The rum is labeled as “Rhum Saint-Martin”, but the rum is not from Saint-Martin as the island does not distill any, it’s only blended blended there. The blend is composed of molasses rum sourced from the Dominican Republic and cane juice (agricole) rhum from Marie-Galante & Guadeloupe. The name Gouverneur 1648 is a reference to the Treaty Of Concordia which was signed by the 2 governors of the island in 1648 and it divided the island of Saint-Martin between France and the Netherlands.

The rum itself is at least 10 years old and I’ve been told at the tasting that at least part of it has been aged in a wine barrel – although I can’t remember the type. Now here’s where it gets a little frustrating – the website states that the rum has no sugar and colouring. Me and some other rum enthusiasts that tried this at the tasting agreed that it looks like it’s definitely coloured and the taste is a little bit confected, like maybe up to 10 grams of sugar per litre – these assumptions are simply based on senses rather than any readings, but I trust my and my fellow rum head’s palate and intuition.

Gouverneur 1648 XO is molasses and cane juice based, column still (creole and multi-column) distilled and aged for at least 10 years in ex-Bourbon and potentially former wine casks. Bottled at 42% ABV and very likely slightly adulterated.

On the nose it feels somehow Christmassy. Raisins, cinnamon, PX sherry, canned plums and ginger. Burnt matches, cigars, old dusty books and muscovado sugar. It smells quite rich and full bodied. Overripe bananas, red apples, cacao nibs, rich porter and blackberries.

On the palate the richness continues along with a touch of sweetness. Ripe plums, raisins, red apples and a combination of Oloroso and PX sherries. Burnt orange oils, blueberries, caramel and pomegranate molasses. It definitely has a small amount of sweetener. Burnt wood, maple syrup and Luxardo cherries. The finish is medium with dark chocolate and PX sherry.

This is good, even with the additives, it doesn’t seem to be a lot to mask the complexity. The molasses and cane juice rums work well together with plenty of warm spices and fruity notes. I am disappointed by the website’s misleading statement though because the rum is not bad – hence is why I will score accordingly.

This is priced at £57 (The Whisky Exchange) which I do find pricey, even for a 10 year old rum – if I add a few pounds I can get some really fantastic bottles.

Gouverneur 1648 XO score:
Flavour/taste: 53/70
Value for money: 12/15
Transparency/purity: 11/15
Overall: 76/100


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