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Tasty, but not quite great
Most of the agricole rums I've tried have been from Clement and I have liked them all to varying degrees. I even managed to snag a bottle of Rhum JM Gold which I liked rather well (rated it an "8").
So I had rather high expectations for the Rhum JM VSOP.
First thing is that apparently at some point they redesigned the label on the bottle. The bottle above used by RumRatings has an older label which has an old world charm to it with the artwork and hand lettering. Looking at it reminds me of the era of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and his poster art of the late 19th century. The current label all but eliminates that impression. The art on the earlier label had a more ornate and interesting portrayal of what I assume to be a distillery of some historic point. The lettering was made to look as if it were done by hand (and it very well could have been so). The colors had an artistic feel in of themselves.
The newer label lost all that charm in my opinion. The lettering is all mechanical (even the cursive). The artwork is much plainer. And the colors have no depth at all. It is less appealing.
Now off my art critic soapbox. Let's look at the rum itself. It is a deep amber color with a hint of bronze. It has nice legs and beads of the rum cling to the sides after settling from a swirl in my snifter. It has a recognizable agricole aroma but nothing harsh.
The flavor does have that grassiness and funk normally associated with agricole rums but this rums seems spicier. A definite pepperiness. And strong. Really strong. There is just a hint...and I mean minute hint of cane juice sweetness but this is a dry rum. Also it has a rather strong and lengthy burn. It is a slightly higher proof than most rums (43% ABV - 86 proof) but the burn is one I would expect from 95 proof or higher. The finish is dry as I would expect. However there is a flavor in the mix that I cannot quite identify. It is a flavor that I find odd and out-of-place. Sort of a kerosene type of flavor. I don't like it whatever it is. It's very pronounced on my palate drinking it straight however on the plus side it does seem to be lessened when used in Coke Zero. Just be careful not to overdo it on the rum. About an ounce-and-a-half for a 500ml (16.9 fl oz) bottle of Coke Zero seems to work best for me. I also think it would work well in citrus-based drinks. I haven't had the opportunity to try some. The downside is the price. At $50 USD a bottle (I've seen it as high as $60 USD online) it is a pricy rum. Frankly I don't think it's worth it. It's far too harsh to be a sipping rum and the strong flavoring limits it as a mixer.
I had higher expectations for this rum and was disappointed. I feel the Rhum JM Gold is much better as agricole rums go. There are comparable agricole rums that are less expensive and better than the Rhum JM VSOP.
This is a very unique and interesting rum that is unlike any I've tried before.
Smells and tastes of charred oak and spice (pepper, clove, and cinnamon). Maybe a hint of black cherry. Has a nice bite at 43%abv and would pair well with a cigar.
It seems like a pretty good spirit, but I prefer a little more sweetness. This is dry, almost bourbon like.
A decent tasting rum for sure for people who prefer a bit less sweetness in their rum.
My initial response to this rum was that I hate it. It was harsh and chemical tasting with an aftertaste that made me want a drink of water.
After trying several brands of rums, I decided to give it another shot. It isn’t as bad as I thought. As my palate evolves, I get a fruity sweetness and some peppery spice that I find enjoyable.
Second edit: 16 July 2020
The initial nose of this rum is still harsh, but if you let it rest a while, you can smell the sugar cane and the spice.
It’s very dry on first sip, with a long burn but the flavors of the rum are now apparent as my palate evolves. It has a brilliant honey finish that lasts a long time, but it’s still not on my list of sippers, despite my changing tastes.
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.
I have had better Agricole rhum but I have also had worse. The VSOP has a burn factor to it from the strong pepper notes as well as form the intense alcohol taste. You definitely get the earthy, grassy taste with some oakiness and some smoke notes as well.
This is an ok rhum to drink straight. The price, however, is too high for a rhum like this.
Een lekker pittige rhum agricole van Martinique's mooiste distilleerderij Rhum J.M. gelegen aan de voet van de vulkaan Pelée en vlak bij de Atlantische oceaan.
Het gekapte suikerriet wordt binnen een uur geperst en het sap in de fermentatie tank gepompt. Na een korte vergistingaperiode wordt er gedistilleerd in dubbele column stills. Een drietal jaar op ex-bourbon vaten later levert een rhum op met die typische 'grassige' agricole smaak maar ook rokerig eikenhout en specerijen als peper, kaneel, noten en fruitige tonen als banaan en grapefruit.
Een lichte en droge rum gebotteld op 43% abv (die merk je op) waar niet mee 'geknoeid' is want dat is tegen de wet op Martinique.
My first crack at RHUM JM. Very strong smoke taste that grows on you quite quickly. A lot of rooms are close in flavor but this one is distinctly different. Like it or not, you will definitely remember it.
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