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First off, let me just point out that my interest in agricole rums has diminished a bit in the past several months. I don't hate it but other than a few agricole rums from Clement, I really do not seek them out. This rum is a California version of the Martinique agricole rum.
Let's start off with the aroma. It is...well...unique. I cannot honestly say I like it but it's not objectionable either. Let's say it too is...unique. I have read others claim it smells like bar olives. With that in mind, it reminds me of olives as well but black olive from a jar. It has decent legs with some of the clear thin liquid clinging somewhat to the sides of my snifter.
Now to the flavor...as I stated in the title, this is not for everyone and definitely not for newbies. I wouldn't recommend it for novices either. Since the rum is made from fresh crushed cane juice (a harder process since the juice begins to lose its flavor and sugar content shortly after harvest) it has a more grassy/funky flavor to it with hints of straight sugar cane flavor (try chewing on some sugar cane that has been freshly cut and you'll understand). There is a hint of sweetness hiding among the grassy/funky flavor with a clear peppery bite. Paradoxically, it does also have a smoothness as well as a bit of a harsh kick (I really cannot adequately explain...it's just how it hits my palate initially and then winds its way to my throat...starts off smooth with that subtle sugar-cane sweetness and then kicks a bit with some harshness).
Frankly I could not recommend this as a sipping rum and I really don't know what sort of mixed drink this rum would work. If you like agricole rums then this is one you just might like as well however if you are more used to traditional molasses-based rums I would not suggest this rum to you.
(2/2017) So, it's hard for new to rate this rum accurately. It smelled overwhelmingly of bar olives. I don't necessarily want my rums smelling like bar olives, but I certainly don't want my bar glasses smelling like bar olives, unless I've ordered something dry and dirty. It was an airport bar, so who knows. (If the glass was clean, then the rum gets a 4.)
Getting past the salty nose, the liquid was actually ok. Light, vegetal, peppery, and just a hint of sweetness. But very young. (And if you've ever seen it in stores, you know how insanely overpriced it is.)
Having procured a lime wedge and some raw sugar, I made an ad hoc Ti Punch. Here the olive aroma provided an added later of complexity, and I enjoyed it well enough for an airport cocktail.
I call it a Dirty Ti Punch. You saw it here first, folks.
Update (12/2018) - I got to try this again. Yup, green olives! This is wild, wild rum. But if you can get past the nose, the flavor is certainly briny but also rather herbal. It's got an almost minty finish. I wouldn't ever care to own this bottle, but it would be fun to experiment with in cocktails. I only hope if they make this again, they can get a more balanced nose out of it.
This is one of the funkiest Agricole rums that I've enjoyed over the years. Makes a tremendous daiquiri and mai tai. I definitely agree that this is a little rough around the edges for sipping. I've described it to friends as tasting like a liquified compost bin full of cut grass.
I was excited to try this rum. It's made only 30 minutes away from me (in Alameda California), and at $49.99 (2015 price) a bottle, I had high hopes. First, a few quotes from their website:
"...our unaged California agricole rum is not for the faint of heart"
"...never lets you forget that sugarcane is a grass."
"...small-diameter California cane lends vivid, earthy, even vegetal aromatics that evoke wet grass, truffles, and black olives."
"...ours stands out for its allegiance to the ripe, vegetal properties of just-harvested cane.
We're proud of that, and we love how this rum smells and tastes. We know not everyone's going to feel the same way, though, and we're cool with that. For those of you out there who try our rum and can't fathom why anyone would want to drink it, we'd be happy to point you in the direction of some 'normal' rums."
Those are accurate descriptions...
With that said, here are my tasting notes: this smells like wet cut grass, though unlike the St George Reserve, I can also smell sugarcane. However, it's not sweet. Taste includes grass, sugarcane and lots of peppery spice.
I'm not a fan, but I prefer this over the St George Reserve. I can certainly see this making a good mixer for the right cocktails, but I rate rums on their taste straight.
I suspect this is a love it or hate it rum... if you like this one, you'll probably like the Reserve even more, as the Reserve amplifies the grassy taste, and also includes interesting notes of olives and truffles.
I'm... undecided. I'll not say it's bad, but it might take some time to appreciate. I would recommend mixing it.
There's a sweetness lying in wait behind all the funk, so it's definitely a rum... but... not my style for a clean sipping rum.
This is a very polarizing rum. Some people enjoy the absolute suckerpunch it brings to your tongue, in the same way that some people like extremely hoppy IPA's. Other's think it's barrel water. in honor of it being middle of the road, I give it a 5.5.
10 stars because it’s completely unique and original. 86 proof cane juice white rum. I have never experienced another rum like this.
The tasting notes are spot on and unmistakable. Black olives, definitely kalamata, huge truffle and fresh cut grass. That oily pungent truffle note is amazing.
As a sipper you’ll want to pair it with a heavy savory dish. Something like a Five Cheese Mac n Cheese. Where it really shines is when you start mixing it. Adjust to flavor as it’ll find its way through!! You can use this rum like you use bitters. It’s so unique that if used well it can and will add another dimension to your palate.
It’s different and that’s what makes it great!!
I like where they are coming from but I wish the experts at St George would have given this rum several more drafts before realizing what they were capable of. Doesn't get a 2 because their other spirits are wonderful.
J'étais un peu sceptique à l'idée de tester un agricole des USA, étant un adepte des rhums agricoles des antilles. Et bien quelle surprise!!! Totalement différent d'un agricole Martiniquais. Au nez se ressentent des effluves de gasoil, une odeur légèrement iodée et de l' huile d'olive extra vierge. En bouche maintenant. Mon Dieu oui!!! Prenez la meilleur huile d'olive extra vierge que vous ayez gouté et multipliez son intensité par 5!!! Finale sans amertume, plutôt grasse et assez courte.
Un rhum comme aucun autre car nous sommes vraiment à mi chemin entre un clairin d'Haïti et un excellent agricole de Marie Galante. Excellent mais ne peut se boire que pur car sa singularité ne donne rien avec aucun mixer.
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