Compagnie des Indes (French West India Company) is a French Independent Bottler and the brain child of Florent Beuchet. The French West India Company started out as an exporter that wanted to sell some of their products such as gin and weapons to the French colonies but they quickly realised that basically no-one was interested in buying these goods. Instead, people at home were asking about spices, fabrics, gold and so on and thus the Compagnie des Indes became an importing company instead. Similarily to how the French West India Company then sold good from all over the world, Florent’s idea was to source and bottle rum from many different countries.
Even though the majority of Compagnie des Indes’ bottlings are single cask rums, Florent is very open to experimenting with different casks and finishes. For instance, he has finished rums with used Islay-, Lapsang Souchong- (a very smoky tea) or beer barrels. So far, the quality of his selections has been rather mixed. Compagnie des Indes’ bottlings are quite hit and miss and I always recommend getting a sample before buying a whole bottle. One of the reasons is probably that not all rums have a high tolerance to dilution with water. While they also offer rums closer to or at cask strength, these are exceptions and not sold in all the countries (many are exclusive to Denmark for example). Exploring their range is definitely worth it as you can find a few gems among them. They also have a few rums with special finishes or from countries that you cannot find with other bottlers. Anyways, Florent is probably one of the most sympathetic figures in the business and I wish him all the success in the world!
Florent also gave me the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions. You can find his answers here.
A couple of Compagnie des Indes rums I got to try:
- Compagnie des Indes Foursquare 16YO (1998-2015), 60%
- Compagnie des Indes Sancti Spiritus 16YO (1998-2014), 45%
- Compagnie des Indes Bellevue Distillery 16YO (1998-2014), 43%
- Compagnie des Indes Port Mourant Still 13YO (2002-2015), 58%
- Compagnie des Indes Uitvlugt Distillery 18YO (1997-2016), 45%
- Compagnie des Indes Barbancourt 11YO (2004-2015), 59,4%
- Compagnie des Indes Jamaica Navy Strength Rum 5YO, 57%
- Compagnie des Indes Long Pond 12YO (2003-2015), 44%
- Compagnie des Indes Worthy Park 7YO (2007-2015), 53%
- Compagnie des Indes St. Lucia Distillers 13YO (2002-2015), 43%
- Compagnie des Indes Caroni 22YO (1993-2016), 48%
- Compagnie des Indes Caroni 26YO (1991-2016), 56,2%
- Boulet de Canon 1 (Talisker Whisky Finish), 46%
- Boulet de Canon 2 (Islay Whisky Finish), 46%