Letters: Let's talk about 10 Cane

Dear Mr. Dowd

I recently purchase a bottle of 10 Cane rum from the distinguished Moet Hennessey distillers. Its pedigree is impressive, its distillation method and ingredients are as well.

Why would they put such a well-made product out on the market with such a short age time? I read somewhere it was only aged for about six months. Judging from its color I'd say that was close to accurate. Do you suppose the gentlemen at Hennessey are preparing us for an exorbitantly priced rum after it has a few years in some wood?

I like the rum. It has a bright, clean taste that doesn't cloy that would certainly benefit from from some aging. At around $40 a bottle now (here) I'm wondering what it would go for after aging and if the market would support such a price point.

Personally I like 8-year-old Rhum Barbancourt. The gentlemen here say it holds up better with their cigars (yes, they do sometimes drink something other than bourbon with their smokes!).

Any thoughts?

-- Carla Griffin, Louisville, KY

Dear Carla:

I love it when consumers don't take everything at face value. (Speaking of which, 10 Cane retails for about $35 in most markets, so put the whammy on your local guys to get in line with the market.)

As to the aging aspect, since 10 Cane is made from first-press Trinidad sugar cane rather than from molasses, which is a processed byprodut. Thus, it wouldn't benefit as much from a bit of aging: i.e., you often have to age rum longer if it's made from sugar, so a few months or even a year more wouldn't make a huge difference.

Plus, the current market demand is for light-colord, light-bodied rums, and 10 Cane was created for that growing niche. It is made in small-batch French pot stills and aged a bit in French oak.

To each his/her own, of course -- thus, your preference for the Haitian sugar cane rum Babancourt. While Moet Hennessey very well might extend its 10 Cane line with a more aged product in the future, its current offering is so popular I don't see it disappearing.

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