I first started out with Clement 6 Year old about a year ago and was not all that pleased with it. Being that it was not cheap, I stayed away from rhum agricoles because most of them have steep prices. In the last few months, I resumed my quest to find some good ones, which are shown ranked in order below with my rating to the left. These are all aged agricoles from Martinique except where noted.
Unaged white agricoles are very similar to Brazilian cachacas and are in a totally different class. What differentiates artisan cachacas from industrial cachacas is that the artisan ones need to be processed within only two hours of extracting the cane juice!!! Martinique most certainly does not allow the juice to rot out in the sun in the manner that industrial cachacas are made. And as we all know, if one starts off with a bad white distilled spirit, there is absolutely no hope when it comes to aging. As for aging of agricoles, I have found that 3-4 years is optimum because aging any longer allows the delicate cane juice to pick up too many wooden flavors from the barrels to render it like Kentucky bourbon.
I spent a lot of time and money to come up with my results and I hope this helps. These rhums are NOT for beginners!
8 Depaz Blue Cane Amber Rhum
7 Rhum J M VO
7 St. Augustine Pot Still (Florida)
7 Sweet Crude Black Gold Single Harvest (Louisiana)
7 Bayou Select (Louisiana)
7 Rhum J M Gold
7 Barbancourt 8 Year (Haiti)
7 Clement VSOP 4 Year
7 Clement 6 Year
6 Rhum J M VSOP
6 Barbancourt 4 Year (Haiti)
5 Barbancourt Estate Reserve 15 Year (Haiti)
4 Clement 10 Year
4 Saint James Royal Ambre
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Trois Rivieres and Chamarel should be on the list too, my friend!
I cannot get those rhums over here where I live. I am lucky enough to have been able to find the few that I have tried.
If available, also a recommendation for saint james and longeauteau. Bouth produce exceptionaly flavourfull rhum, and not as tannic as clement fx.
Neisson make also wonderful aged agricoles.
I had a bottle of Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc a few months ago and it was absolutely the best rhum agricole blanc that I had ever tried. However, their aged versions are next to impossible to find where I live.
That is really a pity then. They have a wonderful rhum called "Profil 107" that is aged only 18 months in barrels. This is a rhum that combines qualities of aged and white agricoles for a very decent price. Too bad you can't find it !!
Sadly, good Agricoles are always hard to find and really expensive. :-(
Is it possible for you to find something from HSE (Habitation Saint Etienne), Bologne or Bielle? Not really a bargain but worth every drop.
I prefer the older ones like the XO's or older for ex. J.M. XO, Riviere du Mat Opus 5
This is really easy for me to find good agricoles and a at a fair price since I go to Martinique each year since 4 years :-)) !! It is much cheaper there.
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