Review: Dzama Vieux Aged 3 Years Vanilla Ambre de Madagascar Rhum

Origin

Dzama is a rum brand from Madagascar (an island at the south-eastern shore of Africa), founded in 1980 by Lucien Fohine. The rums are produced by Vidzar (Vieux Rhum de Dzamandzar). It is based near the Nosy Be sugar-cane fields close to the village of Dzamandzar. Several years later, when they grew bigger, they moved the production to Antananarivo (the capital in the centre of the island) and now covers approximately 60 % of all the rum sales on the local market. Lucien Fohine was originally importing Scotch whisky and now predominantly uses the ex-bourbon and sherry barrels, used for ageing Chivas whiskies. The rum is aged for 3 years in the barrel and it is enriched with a Madagascar ingredient – a vanilla pod. 

Smell

The smell is pleasantly sweet and gentle from the start. Afterwards, slightly spiky alcohol content shows. The smell is not very complex, you may smell the younger rum in the back together with dominant vanilla, caramel, a little spiciness and only a very slight touch of wood. 

Taste

The taste is surprisingly not as sweet as I worried. I have to say this is quite to my liking. No need to look for evidence of age, woodiness or complexity. It is a young, lively, spiky rum, nicely balanced with vanilla. The taste is not so intensive, it has a slight bite to it but satisfies the taste buds 🙂 Apart from vanilla, you may find caramel and cream-like smoothness. Look no further though. It has 43 % of alcohol. The rum should not be artificially sweetened or coloured. 

Bottle

The bottle feels a little like from the old times. Narrow, tall, cork top with the wooden upper part, the label on the front with vanilla image and the vanilla pod inside the bottle. Vanilla is probably the bait here, drawing the eye, being quite unusual. 

Price

Quite friendly. You may get this rum under CZK 900.

Verdict

I have been getting to this bottle for quite some time. To be honest, I got interested thanks to the vanilla pod inside the bottle and the fact this rum comes from Madagascar. I was afraid it would be a liquor or elixir-style rum, so I disregarded it. Later on, I found the bottle again and read a bit about it. This bottle is not pricey and when the producer mentions no additives, I was happy to taste it. This brand is not generally known or popular.  I like the fact this is a really young rum, flavoured with vanilla. It does not pretend to be something else, the taste is not killed with sugar or any other ingredient. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised. Have you tried it? Or the 10YO version? 

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