Friday Happy Hour: Introducing Rhum HSE’s New Black Sheriff

There’s always something new to discover in Martinique.

During each of my 10+ trips here in the past seven years I’ve always found new charms to stimulate my wanderlust, each forever filling me with the desire to return here again and again.

New or simply new to me bars, restaurants, boutique hotels, art, attractions, festivals – there just always seems to be more and sweeter, icing on this cake.

In the area of rum (err, rhum, to be more precise), no brand better exemplifies the inherent dynamism of Martinique to me than HSE.

As noted here, here, here and here, I’m a huge fan of all things Habitation Saint Etienne, particularly the way in which they’ve pushed the envelope on aging and finishing techniques in recent years.

Sure, HSE owns a long and storied rhum-making tradition, but that doesn’t stop them from innovating, crafting, and perfecting some of the most exciting new blends available today. Their latest: a smoky, macho character with a bit of American gusto in him named Black Sheriff.

I crossed paths with Martinique’s new sheriff this past Monday amid the explosion of art, color, style, and fun that is La Suite Villa in Trois-Ilets.

(Not the first time I’ve enjoyed making a few rhum discoveries at this most eclectic boutique property…)

The bottle: jet-black, tall, and accented with orange and white lettering sparingly deployed around the trademark stylized circular HSE logo, itself virtually blended into the black. The look made a statement all its own; a sexy, modern statement befitting the surroundings more so than any other bottle in the place.

Black Sheriff’s sexy style doesn’t stop at the label, though. This stuff bears a smoky sophistication I found surprising for its relative youth.

HSE employs a mix of rhums aged between three and four years to produce Black Sheriff. Most of these rhums are aged in casks formerly used to age bourbon in Missouri and Kentucky, thus the “American Barrel” wording emblazoned in orange across the top of the label.

The effect is marvelous on the nose and even better on the tongue, especially if you like a dry, rich, and woodsy flavor with hints of honey and vanilla. The burn is definitely there, but not overwhelming in any way. It’s more of a gentle burn – the kind that makes you smile – than a slap across the face.

Black Sheriff just tastes elegant in a very stylishly modern way I find irresistible.

I think it will also find me coming back to Martinique soon, as I don’t think Black Sheriff is available anywhere else. Even if it is, I’m sure HSE and Martinique will have something else new for me to discover.

This island and its amazing rhums simply never disappoint.


Last updated by Steve Bennett on .

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