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I found this rum literally collecting dust on the back shelf of a small liquor store on sale for $20. I did a quick search which revealed it to be a special produced light aged AOC Agricole. It comes from one of the “less known” Agricole producers. So at $20 for 750ml I snapped it up. Reviews of this rum are scarce but led me to believe it might not be a top-of-the-list rum to my tastes, so it sat in my cabinet for over a year. Recently I finished one of my Agricole mixing rums so I decided to bring this out of storage and give it a try.
This rum is a light aged AOC Agricole from Martinique. It contains no additives of any sort. Specific details are hard-ish to track down on this rhum, but from what I can tell this is an Agricole distilled from fresh blue sugar cane juice and aged 2 years in what I am almost certain is French oak. Apparently, this rum was specially created for the burgeoning American market that knew nothing about Rhum Agricole at the time. Being a light aged Agricole how does it compare to other Agricoles?
A whiff on the nose initially reveals very strong vanilla, like, in your face vanilla. Behind that is a fresh creamy note like berries, specifically raspberries, in whipped cream. The scent then transitions to hard cider and white grape juice followed by French brandy. The overall presentation is quite pleasing and perfectly synchronized. So far this is better than I anticipated.
Taking a sip initially I get Apple brandy followed by raw unrefined sugar. After that is a flood of fresh baked vanilla custard, followed by notes of butterscotch. Behind that is just a slight black peppery French oak note which transitions into a sour malt whiskey note (not bourbon; more like Irish whiskey almost distinctly Jameson)
The palate fades into what I can only describe as a multitiered, recurring finish. It’s actually unique among rums I have had thus far. First, as the palate fades I get black pepper with faint apple brandy, almost like a note between Neisson and Hampden. That note then transitions into vanilla followed by a hard to describe savory umami note. As my mouth dries I am reminded of dry haybarn and old musty leather funk. At first I thought that was the end of it…but then a raw sugar cane note slowly built up accompanied by malt (like a malt milkshake). Then vanilla and black pepper came rushing back…on the finish. I don’t think I have experienced anything like that on a rum before.
Overall, this easily defies expectations. I can’t find any information but I will get bottom dollar this is aged in French oak. It is much, much better than I anticipated. It doesn’t carry quite the flavor punch of a longer aged French oak rum like Neisson Reserve Speciale does, but what it does bring is a very well synchronized, high harmonious, and delightful flavor combination that well defies expectations. Even if it doesn’t measure up to the much longer aged Neisson Reserve Speciale (to my tastes) it is significantly better than any other light aged Agricole I have had to date. One review says that it doesn’t hold up to Neisson Eleve Sous Bois, but I very much beg to differ. To my tastes this is significantly better than it’s Neisson comparable. This is really quite a surprise. I did not anticipate this bargain-buy, dust collecting, smaller Agricole distillery rum to be this complex and synchronized. This really makes me curious about Depaz’s other distillates.
Unfortunately, it seems this particular bottling is no longer in production which is a real shame because, if I had to pick among the light aged Agricoles (JM, Clement, Neisson etc) this would be my pick. What a great bargain find in the dust collecting sale section!
Short Description: if Jameson produced a Rhum Agricole and nailed it on the first attempt. Alternately: Live from Martinique! Neisson featuring an appearance by Hampden, a Jameson production.
Nose: Very strong vanilla, berries in whipped cream, hard cider, white grape juice, brandy
Palate: Apple brandy, raw cane sugar, vanilla custard, butterscotch, light French oak, short lasting sour malt note
Finish: multitiered - black pepper with faint apple brandy, vanilla, savory umami note, dried hay, old musty leather, after a while raw cane sugar, malt, vanilla and black pepper again
Country of Origin: Martinique
Region: Saint Pierre / Mount Pelee
There are much better Depaz rums than this one, but this is the only one I can find locally. Definite sugar cane smell and taste.
Elements of grass, oak, and honey. Perfectly balanced with a natural underlying sweetness, so while it’s definitely more dry proving it’s an agricole, it is also an undisputed rum. Floral notes too. What makes this one so great is the combination of these complexities with all being present, with none dominating any other, and a super-smooth drinkability which almost makes you forget it’s a spirit. Must be the blue cane; I’ve never had an agricole quite like this one.
Sadly, this ambitious U.S. release is no longer produced, and was available at a time when practically nobody in North America was drinking agricole rum - hence the slightly subdued profile. However, having said that, this rum works wonders in the mix and proved to be a fantastic all-rounder with an above-average taste and mixability factor. On the nose, there's subtle, light grassiness with twangs of oak wood and a certain undercurrent of earthiness to it. On the plate, it may seem soft for 90 proof, but the mid opens up with some subtle peppery spice and woody earthiness which is quite pleasant. Finish is dry and lingering with a touch of black pepper. In the mix, it totally shines - makes a fabulous Daiquiri or Ti Punch and slowly evolves into a very characterful and complex number with a great body and balance of flavors - particularly on the finish where the earthy, grassy, barrel-like notes push through and integrate well. I really miss this rum and thought the blend was (and still is) a perfect introduction to the agricole style for Americans. If you happen to see an old bottle on the shelf (list price was $40) snap it up!
Hash and unbalanced. Surprisingly from a maker with many different options. Undrinkable neat, unfriendly on the rocks, unfortunately harsh even with coke.
My favorite rhum to drink! Makes the best Mohito!
Has the best flavor of them all!
light in body, little burn, dry overall. Interesting to try. The French styles are not for everyone.
For an agricol it hard labor and it's smooth, taste far from rubbing alcohol that many agricol are.
When I had this my notes were sharp and ricey. At the time I assumed better as a mixer. Had it alongside flor de Caña 7 year. My palate has evolved some so I’ll try it again and maybe my rating will change.
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#340 6 out of 10
Tasted at Hot Joy on 2/21/23. Crayons gold in color. Unusual aroma that is floral but also spruce. A bit doughy aroma. A salty palate with a mild boring flavor profile of herbal pine and juniper.