I simply can’t deny a certain, personal pleasant anticipation with some types of spirits. Of course, I know what I like. Nevertheless, I always try to pursue a review approach striving for objectivity, which I will also not give up today. That said, I really do like Rhum Agricole downright, I’ve tried a few products from the manufacturer that today’s Rhum Agricole comes from so far – and I’ve liked them. It would be really surprising now if it would be a flop. But well, you never know. (provided test product*)
It is about a rhum from the house J.M from the island of Martinique. What Martinique has to do with R(h)um or what a Rhum Agricole is, what the house of J.M is and in general, what I have already tried from the same manufacturer (this one also), I want to link here accordingly, because much further information on the subject I have already expressed in the corresponding articles. Despite the previous experiences, nevertheless real curiosity fills me when starting such articles.
The Rhum J.M VSOP is distilled – it’s obvious, but it should be mentioned anyway – from fermented sugar cane juice and not molasses. The age of the rhum is 4 years, which puts it in the VSOP category (actually: very superior old pale). Despite its relatively young age, the rhum has won numerous spirits awards in the past. I do not want to go into more detail on the subject for good reasons (I have simply become very skeptical of many competitions of this kind), but it is sometimes striking when a product is awarded very often. The barrel aging took place three years in former bourbon barrels and another year in fresh, previously toasted American white oak barrels. Mind you, the maturation process was a tropical one, which results in greater interaction between wood and distillate compared to continental European maturations. It is bottled at an abv of 43% vol, which is entirely appropriate in this category and price range.
Aroma: Ah well, I just love those beautiful Agricole notes – and I’m not disappointed with the Rhum J.M VSOP here either. Lush, greenish-woody sugar cane shows up here right away wonderfully framed in an already more mature character with oak barrel tones, vanilla and caramel hints, and that inimitable association of spice. Cinnamon, cloves, but also dark chocolate and a hint of roasted almonds are in the mix. Very nice.
Taste: A really convincing picture on the palate as well: I find the spicy-fresh note of sugar cane here as well, with aromas of greenish wood and a hint of citrus, which is then lifted to a level all of its own in the interplay with vanilla and oak spice. And then it comes, the chocolate (almost nougat chocolate), cinnamon and a touch of old leather with a surprisingly dry note that, however, gives way to an inviting association of sweetness that really knows how to charm me.
Finish: medium long, surprisingly soft and with a lingering spice character.
Why aged Rhum Agricole is so rarely used in cocktails is a complete mystery to me personally. For example, if you search the popular “cocktail search engine” at diffordsguide for drinks with aged Rhum Agricole as the base spirit, you will get – unbelievably, but true – not a single hit. One can only speculate about the reasons for this, but it can’t be due to the taste profile. Rather, the lower degree of awareness and the not so pronounced distribution will probably be the cause here, but all this is pure speculation. So what do I do with the Rhum J.M VSOP? A Manhattan variant! To that end, I’ve added to the J.M VSOP (in addition to the obligatory vermouth) some Chinato vermouth, banana eau-dev-ie, a little nuance of cherry liqueur and Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters.
Well, of course, such a drink can no longer just be called “Manhattan”. And the capital of Martinique, Fort-de-France, does not have a neighborhood full of skyscrapers. But it does have a working-class neighborhood with many houses on a steep slope called Trénelle. So we’ll just call the drink the Trénelle cocktail.
Recipe “Trénelle Cocktail”:
5 cl Rhum J.M VSOP
2.5 cl Dolin Rouge
1.5 cl banana eau-de-vie
1 bar spoon Mancino Chinato
2 bar spoons Cherry Heering
1 Dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
Preparation: Stir all ingredients on ice until cold and strain into pre-chilled glass.
Glass: Manhattan / Martini
Garnish: Griottines cherry
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online
*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.