Rum Connoisseur interview of the week:
Passionate rum lover, Blogger, Educator!
1) Who is Nicolas Guého?
I am a French rum lover in my mid-thirties, with an everyday increasing passion for rum.I’m writing a blog called Coeur de Chauffe, which is exclusively dedicated to rum, and i’ve been doing it for almost two years.
I also write rum reviews and i host some tasting nights with an online shop called Rhum Attitude.
2) What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?
If rum wanted me to fall in love, it couldn’t have put out a better setup : i was in Martinique with a good friend, driving around the North of the island, looking for Fonds-Preville, the home of Rhum J.M.. As we were coming down the luxuriant mountainside of La Montagne Pelée, we saw this smoking distillery nested in the heart of the valley. To this day, i perfectly recall this drive which lead us to freely visit the running distillery, with no one bothering us walking through the fermentation rooms, between the distillation columns and in the aging facility. When someone finally noticed we where here, he put down his towel and his cap, and put 3 glasses, lime, sugar and rhum on a barrel. And there we were, having a ti’punch with a worker of the distillery, who then treated us with a wonderful ten year old rhum, the first really good rhum i ever had. That was in the early 2000’s and i keep trying to repeat these sensations ever since.
3) The biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplished for the rum industry.
Although i have been loving rum for a long time, i am kind of new to the industry and my everyday job is far from the rum world, so i don’t feel like i have accomplished anything.
One thing i can say, is that i enjoy sharing knowledge with anyone who shows interest in rum. So maybe a great achievement would be to make people want to know more about it. For example, a lot of people think it is not for them because it is too strong. When they learn how to nose it, sip it, and understand how it is made, they change their mind or at least they think it is interesting.
4) What is that thing that makes you want to continue in the rum industry?
I have so much left to learn ! The rum industry is just getting started (well, not exactly but you know what i mean) and so am i.
I am still discovering new things every week, still tasting surprising rums and changing my mind about a certain style or a certain brand here and there. Rum really made me realise even more that you can’t have certainties and that you always have to keep being open minded.
5) Favorite Drink + Recipe
I am not much of a cocktail guy, but i would like to discover this culture more.
However i can make pretty decent ti’punchs :
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 cheek of lime
4-5 volumes of white agricole rhum (50% abv minimum)
6) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?
I would like to use the same word that Alexandre Vingtier used in an editorial for Rumporter to describe rum today : adolescence.
It has left his childhood of cheap booze for party cocktails (but not completely yet) and it has grown into a more mature spirit, with principles and seriousness (but not completely yet).
We need to be benevolent with it, show the right way and accompany it with pride and patience, because just like an adolescent’s voice who’s gaining profound vibrations and assurance, it can also make terrible monstruosities ! 🙂
On the other hand, like and adult, rum souldn’t forget its childhood and must keep the essence of what makes it fun and attractive. So it should continue to have fun but not anyhow, i guess that’s what you learn when you grow up, no ?
So yes, let it experiment in fermentation, distillation and aging methods, explore terroir, revive old traditions.. But keep it from doctoring, cheating, lying, going too far off the road because it has to learn that nothing good can come out of this at long term.
So in the next five years, i hope that rum brands will be more enclined to tell the whole truth about their products and be proud about what they are, as long as they belong to a genuine tradition. There’s a rum for every rum lover, who just deserves to know what he is drinking.
That may be challenging because other things than passion are at stake, but it is necessary if rum doesn’t want to be only a temporary fashion.
7) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have helped you.
The first who introduced me to the vast variety of rum was Freddy Lucina, the owner of A’rhum rum shop in Paris. I will never forget the first time i stepped into his shop, when he presented and let me sample different styles of rum, and the way he communicates his passion. He is such a nice and simple guy.
Later, when i wanted to know more about rum, i came across a website called DuRhum.com, where Cyril reviews a lot of rums and writes about history or hot topics. He is the one that inspired me into starting my own blog.
I think that he is wonderfully dedicated to his passion of rum, defending it by tackeling issues that too few people in the industry want to discuss.
His sense of independent information with his love for real rums raised a lot of very interesting debates and i think these are great achievements for the industry.
Not to mention that he is a great writer and taster so you can always expect precise notes about rums, plus some humor or even poetry.
8) What 3-5 things do you have on your bucket list for the next 12 month?
I would like to shorten my “rums i must taste” list, but i don’t think i can do that because new entries just keep adding up !
I also have a special bottling project with Rhum Attitude, which might be one of the most exciting thing i will be working on these upcoming months.
9) Any last words?
Maybe an advice for rum lovers : just keep tasting, nose everything you can, try other spirits, cook, be curious… this is the best way to appreciate and enjoy what is good in authentic rums.
Don’t be fooled by fancy labels and showy marketing, try to learn what makes a rum authentic, because you might like what’s inside your flashy bottle but you often pay way too much for it.
10) How can people learn more about you? Website? Social Media Page?
My blog Coeur de chauffe: http://coeur-de-chauffe.blogspot.fr
Coeur de chauffe on FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/coeurdechauffe
Rhum Attitude: http://www.rhumattitude.com