The first time I got off a plane in the tropics I took a huge breath, excited to fill my lungs with the taste of relaxation and decadence. And was flooded with the smell the of burning trash and rotting vegetation. Welcome to “paradise”. That particular bouquet was pretty much how you knew you had arrived anywhere equatorial in the early 90s. Which is probably why some brilliant marketer in Hawaii started commercializing Lei’s. This rum smells like the topics of my dreams.
The nose has an intense and rich heady perfume, full of high notes. Like when you left the stargazer lilies in the vase for one day longer than was wise after someones graduation. Then the sugars come rushing in. In honor to Ryan, it does actually smell like flameed bananas or a banana creme brûlée. Of kettle corn as the carnie stirs it at the state fair. There is a hint of tart and green vegetal notes. Leeks and lemon grass. Notes from thai curries. I usually like the nose to be a bit funkier and earthier. More trombone than trumpet. But I’ve got to give this pour credit. It really stands out and is truly unique.
The palate is deep beachy KAPOW. That isn’t even a real word but it evoked that oomph. Salty olive brine, barbecued oyster mushrooms, white peppercorn. I lived in Costa Rica for a while and fell in love with Patacones, fried green plantain patties. They make them with sweet plantains too, but I always preferred the double fried green ones, with chili powder and lime juice. There is a tart fruitiness, green mango and zap of grapefruit zest. It is such a long ass finish. Sweet and tart. My mouth tingles for a while. With the spirit of limes long past. There is definitely sweetness in this dram, but the second I start to pick it apart, all I can point to is creme brûlée.
This ain’t your college kid rum. It forces you to pause and think… WTF… maybe I love you. But you challenge me every time I pour you. I could easily call it a 7 or 9 depending on the day.
Habitation Helier has a hell of a reputation to uphold. And they deliver in spades. It is not a cheap rum, although I manage to score a few of these on LMDW’s Black Friday sale with VAT refunded. So at my price of 66 euros, the yum to euro factor is through the roof. But most people paid about 100-120 GBP for these, and it’s still worth it my friends.