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Tasty, but not quite great
If one ages rhum agricole for too long in charred bourbon barrels, it will wind up tasting like bourbon (or Clement 10 year). This one was aged for "at least one year", which is just enough to get it out of the league of white rhum agricoles and yet still retain it's rhum agricole characteristics. It was only $50 for a liter. I did not read the fine print until I took my first sip neat in the snifter. Whoah!!!! It is 100 proof! Adding a few ice cubes lessened the burn and brought out some flavors, but I see myself mainly using this one to make stellar Mai Tai's along with a fine Jamaican rum.
This stuff just goes all over the place. On the nose you get maple glazed nuts, and something... green. In the mouth you get caramel and raw white corn. That's definitely a first. The sweet notes from earlier evaporate on the finish leaving a flavor of polenta (just think cornbread, but wet.) I'm really not sure what to think of this. So, I'm just going to deem it "servicable," and not think about it anymore!
50% ABV. Somewhat sweet nose, with caramel and some brine. Rather dry on the palate; the brine is more prominent. Some mild harshness at the beginning gradually yields to smoothness with time.
I really like this; quite a bit more than Duquesne ESB (though it's been a while since I've tried that one). The agricole character is rich and not destroyed by the wood. The strength is excellent. No complaints, really :)
Nose: Brown Sugar, Cloves, Vanilla
Palate: Heavy French Oak, Sandalwood, Cognac, Black Pepper, Damp leaves on a forest floor, lemon, very light honey dew melon
Aftertaste: very short, Brown Sugar, Black peppercorns, light vanilla and sandalwood, lingering balanced french oak.
This is an interesting, if subdued, rested Agricole from one of the smaller yet most renown Agricole distilleries on Martinique. From the nose, I expected this to carry a lot more flavor than it does, but the flavors I do get are quite well balanced. Eleve Sous Bois translates roughly to "rested in wood" or as google translates it "student in the woods", the latter of which I think is humorously apt. The profile in many respects is similar to Richland Georgia Single Estate but the oak is different and in my opinion better balanced. The hardest thing about this rum is actually deciphering the individual notes even if the presentation is quite present. The notes all seem very familiar, but I can't quite place some of them which is an odd feeling.
The nose is difficult to describe because the aromas drift and change, present for a moment then fleeting. At the time of this review from the Glencairn glass I get Brown Sugar, Cloves, Vanilla, and another sweet fruit-like note that seems very familiar to me but that I can't quite place.
On the palate you get a heavy dose of french limousine oak right up front. If you take too large of a sip this french oak is overly intense and slightly unpleasant. But, if sipped carefully its quite a pleasant and balanced experience with some nice subtleties. Playing alongside the oak you get that classic sandalwood that seems present in rums rested in French oak, cognac, and cracked black peppercorns which fade into a very interesting flavor that is more an experience than it is a flavor per se. The best way I can describe this note is how a forest floor with damp leaves smells early in the morning, now imagine that as a taste. I understand that may be hard to imagine but that's the only way I can think to describe it. Beyond that is a light lemony flavor. Further along other flavors like honey dew melon and homemade butter fade in and out very, very lightly almost like phantoms, to the extent that you wonder if you are imagining things. Nuance is a good way to describe these latter notes.
The aftertaste is very short but comprises of Brown Sugar, Black Peppercorns, Sandalwood, just a hint of vanilla, and that lingering omnipresent peppery sandalwood French oak. The French Oak playing through out is pleasant, refined, and very well balanced.
The overall experience is pleasant, balanced, and decently nuanced but also subdued. I believe more aging would/will produce a much more pronounced and memorable experience, though this is by no means inadequate. Its quite good, but yet not truly great. I think this rested Agricole was primarily designed for mixing as it makes a decent Ti Punch and works very well in a Mai Tai. Most stores sell this for around $50-$60 fro 1 Liter which is in my opinion a little overpriced for an 18 month aged Agricole; but I got it on sale for almost literally half that price at $32, and at that price it is quite worth it for 1 Liter as this is a high quality rested Agricole.
Neisson produces an excellent spirit at the 50º and 70º (Espirit) cuts; however, I find it hard to explain the desire for ambres with agricoles in general. The resting imparts color and an abbreviated interaction with the charred barrel wood, no doubt, but not in the extreme sense of the vieux ageing process, which clearly appeals to the whiskey/cognac drinkers and those who love aged or dark rums. Perhaps, as I'm not really in either of the latter categories, it's fair I qualitatively describe this pun of a drink.
A toned rhum agricole blanc is what I would start with describing this as. At the nose and sip - fragrant in citrus fruits (think orange and grapefruit) and a bitter wash upfront, quickly dissipating into the hints of caramelized burned wood barrel features, but not overpoweringly as in a vieux-style, as I had mentioned. The after palate is a warm burning ember tossed to the back of the chimney of your throat, and the taste liners with a hint of pungent citrus mustiness. I feel this one, and Pere Labat's gold, are definitely worth checking out for this middling rhum agricole category.
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