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Tasty, but not quite great
A problem I often face with aged agricoles is that they lose a lot of that grassiness and delicious vegetal profile after barreling, and they tend to mellow out just too much for me. This VSOP from Rhum J.M does that just so, and as much as I like their blanc, this just doesn't excite me the same way.
The nose reveals just barely notes of grass, cane juice and caramelised fruit amongst a quite strong presence of oak that is diversified with some clove and ginger.
The palate leaves you wondering for just the split of a second wether it is a Calvados or a cognac brut, but then the unmistakable grassy, sweet cane juice aroma comes through. Quite long aftertaste of spice and oak with hints of caramelised apple.
It is absolutely a decent and “correct” VSOP, but aged agricoles are expensive and this is not for entry level candidates. A friend of mine with a quite well trained palate but little experience with rhum agricole was bewildered as to what he was drinking. If you want to sip an agricole I would try some XO or rare vintages. Or try to make an old fashioned with this one a couple of times, perhaps also a knickerbocker or something, before revisiting it straight.
As others have noted, there is a distinct peppery note in this agricole, and the oak is very upfront. Behind that lies the grassiness of a traditional agricole. Not as balanced as I was expecting, but I certainly wouldn't turn down a 'ti punch vieux made with this juice.
Time for Birka’s rumcruise 2019 at the Baltic Sea. This one was included at Ian Burrell’s “Blindtaste” Master class. It was quite easy to get it right, cause it was the only Agricole included. I think it’s quite alike the XO but with a little less of everything. So it’s maybe an even better Agricole to start with if you want to start a tour in the Agricole world.
Picture: The rums included at the blindtest.
First time I drink a rhum agricole without this distinct flavour of grass. Quite good, touches of caramel, nuts, woody, really, not bad at all
Here we go again with yet another Martiniquan rhum agricole that the cane juice too easily picks up on the wooden flavors. Since this one is a fairly young VSOP, it has less of the wood than the 10 Year Clement that I just rated. This one is also way over priced at $58 and I found it at the next liquor store for a whopping $15 cheaper. Even if I had got the cheaper priced one, this rhum is still not a good buy. It almost reminds me of Ezra Brooks 101, which is a dirt cheap Kentucky bourbon. Stick with the cheaper J M Rhums for your first try. In the end, this rhum is nothing more than an expensive mixer.
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