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Bill Poster

Rhum Agricole: The Topic

192 posts in this topic

I also assume that there is no difference between "ruhm agricole" and cachaca.  Right?

This gets a little complicated. Yes, there is a huge difference between rhum agricole and cachaça. They are both distilled from fermented sugarcane juice, but there are large stylistic differences. There are, of course, variations within the two categories but if I could widely generalize I'd say that cachaça is distilled to lower proof than rhum agricole and that cachaça therefore tends to be a rougher, less refined spirit. I should hasten to point out that this isn't a judgment of relative quality, but rather a generalization about stylistic approach.

I'm certainly no expert when it comes to spirits but strictly from a flavor perspective, I find them to be very similar.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Interesting. I don't find them alike at all.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Interesting.  I don't find them alike at all.

Sam, I'm sure your palate is far more seasoned than mine when it comes to spirits. But after trying rhum agricole for the first time, I was instantly reminded of cachaca.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Just an update. If you're looking for case-quantities of agricole (though you may be able to manage smaller orders), this Ontario beverage agent may be of interest:

http://www.carriagetradewines.com/PRODUCTS.HTML

"Cane Rum from Dominican Republic, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Venezuela, Grenada "

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For the third time,

What is plantation rum?

Tim

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For the third time,

What is plantation rum?

Tim

Other than the brand Sam referenced, it doesn't mean a damn thing.

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From everything I've seen in more than a decade of visiting distilleries, the name plantation doesn't say anything about a rum other than the marketing people are looking for something to say about it. There is a brand of rums called plantation claiming to be from small artisanal distilleries. The Trinidad artisan distiller is actually a large commercial distiller as are the Barbados and Guyana distilleries.

The main distinction between rhum agricole and cachaca is the distillation proof. Cachaca is generally distilled to between 35 and 45% alcohol. Rhum agricole from the French islands is distilled to about 72% alcohol. There are other differences as well such as the quality control with respect to the type of cane and the growing season.

At first taste rhum agricole is closer to cachaca than other rums, especially in the unaged products. But taste them side by side, and you discover a lot, even if you consider yourself a complete amateur.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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In French, a "plantation" is a large farm on which crops are raised, often by resident workers, if not slaves.

A "Rhum de plantation", only means the rum was distilled on the estate where the sugar cane was grown. So, one can expect to be genuine "rhum agricole". But, since there is not regulation for this "appellation" (designation), it can be anything, of any quality.

It's the French equivalent of "Estate Rum" labels.

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In reality, rhum de plantation doesn't mean anything. The rum could have been distilled from anything anywhere. There is a misconception that if a rum is made in the French islands that it is rhum agricole, but the French Caribbean islands make about as much rum from molasses as is made from fresh sugar cane juice.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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In reality, rhum de plantation doesn't mean anything. The rum could have been distilled from anything anywhere.

We are saying the same thing. Although this label as a strong connotation of "rhum agricole" in French, it doesn't garantee you it's genuine artisanal rum. Could be industrial, molasses rum, packaged on the estate or only baring the estate's name as a marketing wile.


Edited by Simon Walter (log)

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There is also a brand of rum called Plantation rum which claims to be made by artisanal methods on small estates in the Caribbean, but none of the rums in that portfolio are true to the stated claims on the bottles.

Some of these Plantation rums are good, but they aren't what the brand owner claims.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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I'm curious, first off - Is the bottle of Zacapa Centenario considered Rum Agricole?

Second, possibly a bit off topic, what is the best way to enjoy this rum? I have tried it straight and liked it, but cant drink too much like this, what else would one do with a nice rum like this?


"He who does not mind his belly, will hardly mind anything else."

- Samuel Johnson

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The Zacapa, Botran, Montecristo and Zaya rums are made from sugar cane syrup in Guatemala at the same distillery. They aren't rum agricole which is really a French name for the style of rums produced in the French islands which are made from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice and distilled to about 72% alcohol.

Rum agricole from Martinique will have an AOC mark on the bottle or label. If the label claims that this is rhum agricole from Martinique and it doesn't have the AOC mark, it isn't rhum agricole.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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Wayne Curtis wrote an article for Saveur magazine that appears in the December 06 issue. This is one of the best articles I've seen on Martinique rhum agricole including a description of the AOC mark and what it means. Unfortunately, the pictures don't live up to their potential, there are no pictures of distillery machinery, stills, sugar cane or old barrels aging rum, but the pictures are very nice.

They did get the recipe and preparation for a ti punch spot on.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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I kind of regret not getting the La Favorite Rhum Agricole Blanc while I had the opportunity. There are just too many rums available in the US that aren't in BC, Canada... :biggrin:

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Don't despair. I'm working to get that and some other Martinique rums approved for sale in Canada. The first samples arrived today in St Johns, but that's only one of the first steps in the long process.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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Wow that's good news to hear, something to look forward to in the distant future. I wonder how it would do here, since I'm not too familiar with the popularity of different liquor products in Canada.

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Hallo everybody, i tried some nice rums made out of molasse and found it always a good orientation to choose awarded premium rums. Now i`m getting more interested into rums made out of fresh cane juice, but there`re no award winning rhum agricole. How comes that? Which rums would you recommend to get a good idea about the different rhum agricoles. I already have the 5 star barbancourt and riviere du mat grande reserve, which i like a lot.

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Now I'm getting more interested into rums made out of fresh cane juice, but there`re no award winning rhum agricole. How is that? Which rums would you recommend to get a good idea about the different rhum agricoles. I already have the 5 star barbancourt ...

Steffen, you may not be aware but the Barbancourt Five Star is one of the highest rated agricultural cane juice rums in the world, so you've made a great start. There is a great deal of misinformation about cane juice rums.

First is that Martinique, and the AOC of France, define just what is and is not "rhum agricole". That is exactly backwards. The term was first used in the mid 1800's to describe rums made from cane juice (as opposed to molasses). Very simple. No mention of "fresh", no mention of process, no voluminous specifications. Molasses rums were referred to as "rhum industriell" and was not meant as a compliment.

These cane juice rums were made mostly in the French Indies (which then included Haiti), but also a number of other countries. What they all had in common was the raw material - cane juice.

It was not until about 1996 that the French created a HUGE list of miniscule regulations which applied only and solely to cane juice rums made in their Martinique, which were then permitted to carry the label "Rhum Agricole AOC Martinique". This designation is a subset of rhum agricole and in no way applies to agricultural cane juice "rhum agricoles" made elsewhere (most notably in Haiti).

Unfortunately some commentators with commercial interests in Martinique would have you believe that only the relatively expensive AOC rhums from Martinique are the only authentic agricoles. Now as far as taste is concerned there is no doubt that the cane juice rums taste profile is very different than those from molasses.

It is fair to say that the taste has not been particularly appreciated by the world at large. Despite the fact that rhum agricoles have been around for over 150 years their market share is a puny 3% or so. Outside France (and the French Indies) people much prefer molasses rums, many of which are real works of art. One exception is Barbancourt, who has managed to produce consistently award winning rhum agricoles...

For those who are interested (Link to French Style Rhum Agricoles & Reviews)...


Edited by Capn Jimbo (log)

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Jimbo, thanks for the link to your reviews. Very informative. Your treatise on what rhum agricole is excellent as well.

Is St. James a good rhum to try? I'm thinking about the amber for mixing.

The extra old and hors d'age for sipping, but is Zacapa a better value?

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Jimbo, thanks for the link to your reviews. Very informative. Your treatise on what rhum agricole is excellent as well.

Is St. James a good rhum to try? I'm thinking about the amber for mixing.

The extra old and hors d'age for sipping, but is Zacapa a better value?

St. James Ambre is fabulous, as is the rest of their line, but for reasons untold the price of Hors d'Age has nearly doubled in Texas lately (sitting at about $46/750 now). It's not that it's not worth that, but man it was so much more fun to drink at $27/750.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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La Favorite and Barbancourt White are the two agricoles I see all the time at bars, but we can't get those here. Is the St. James Amber similar, or is it, um, more amber?

What would be the closest approximation: 10 Cane, Charbay, Oronoco?

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