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Bill Poster

Rhum Agricole: The Topic

200 posts in this topic

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?

St. James Ambre is an aged rum with the color you would expect from the name. I've heard that even though it is made from raw cane pressings, Barbancourt is not a true rhum agricole due to differences in the production method. It's sort of it's own beast in a way.

10 Cane is decent and funky to a point, but Orinoco shares nothing in common with rhum agricole; it is certainly molasses-based and very, very smooth (as well as absurdly overpriced). Unless you need a white rum for sipping only or are compelled to spend $40 on what is still 'just' white rum, I don't recommend the Orinoco at all.

Don't know enough to comment on the Charbay. If you find a liquor store willing to special order things for you, Depaz should be available to you (Anvil in Houston carries it but they get a lot of things otehrwise unavailable in the state by ordering it by the case).


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?

St. James Ambre is an aged rum with the color you would expect from the name. I've heard that even though it is made from raw cane pressings, Barbancourt is not a true rhum agricole due to differences in the production method. It's sort of it's own beast in a way.

10 Cane is decent and funky to a point, but Orinoco shares nothing in common with rhum agricole; it is certainly molasses-based and very, very smooth (as well as absurdly overpriced). Unless you need a white rum for sipping only or are compelled to spend $40 on what is still 'just' white rum, I don't recommend the Orinoco at all.

Don't know enough to comment on the Charbay. If you find a liquor store willing to special order things for you, Depaz should be available to you (Anvil in Houston carries it but they get a lot of things otehrwise unavailable in the state by ordering it by the case).

I've found Depaz on the shelf at some liquor stores in Texas (Goody Goody in Addison for sure).

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St. James Ambre is an aged rum with the color you would expect from the name.

That's what I expected. However, Flor de Cana white is an aged rum (4 years) and Ed Hamilton above writes that it's filtered to remove the color. Does the filtering remove flavor aspects as well? So if an aged and filtered rum is a white rum, is a lightly aged, unfiltered "amber" going to taste similar? I suspect not, but just curious about how this works.

I've heard that even though it is made from raw cane pressings, Barbancourt is not a true rhum agricole due to differences in the production method. It's sort of it's own beast in a way.

Reading Jimbo's treatise on what is an agricole, I find his arguments quite compelling. He and Ed Hamilton appear to be completely at odds about this, Mr. Hamilton being on the side of only Rhum Agricole DOC Martinique being rhum agricole.

I'm not an expert on this at all, but I'm inclined to agree with Jimbo's definition. And he categorizes Barbancourt, 10 Cane, Oronoco and Charbay as agricole.

10 Cane is decent and funky to a point, but Orinoco shares nothing in common with rhum agricole; it is certainly molasses-based and very, very smooth (as well as absurdly overpriced). Unless you need a white rum for sipping only or are compelled to spend $40 on what is still 'just' white rum, I don't recommend the Orinoco at all.

I have 10 Cane and like it quite a bit, but it's quite expensive.

Jimbo says Oronoco is not molasses.

I'll see if I can get a special order through Austin Wine Merchant. Have you had any luck with special orders through Spec's?

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St. James Ambre is an aged rum with the color you would expect from the name.

That's what I expected. However, Flor de Cana white is an aged rum (4 years) and Ed Hamilton above writes that it's filtered to remove the color. Does the filtering remove flavor aspects as well? So if an aged and filtered rum is a white rum, is a lightly aged, unfiltered "amber" going to taste similar? I suspect not, but just curious about how this works.

Flor de Cana white and gold are ostensibly the same product apart from the filtering, but the white is to my palate far more floral and dry. They are clearly related but they are not the same rum. I have no idea if this would have the same result with agricole rhums but I've always understood this process to be traditional only to the 'Cuban-style' molasses-based rums.

I've heard that even though it is made from raw cane pressings, Barbancourt is not a true rhum agricole due to differences in the production method. It's sort of it's own beast in a way.

Reading Jimbo's treatise on what is an agricole, I find his arguments quite compelling. He and Ed Hamilton appear to be completely at odds about this, Mr. Hamilton being on the side of only Rhum Agricole DOC Martinique being rhum agricole.

I'm not an expert on this at all, but I'm inclined to agree with Jimbo's definition. And he categorizes Barbancourt, 10 Cane, Oronoco and Charbay as agricole.

I guess it depends on wether you are categorizing based on production methods or flavor profiles. I've not had Barbancourt white or Charbay so I'll reserve comment but Oronoco tastes about as unlike 10 Cane as it possibly could and still be a white rum.

10 Cane is decent and funky to a point, but Orinoco shares nothing in common with rhum agricole; it is certainly molasses-based and very, very smooth (as well as absurdly overpriced). Unless you need a white rum for sipping only or are compelled to spend $40 on what is still 'just' white rum, I don't recommend the Orinoco at all.

I have 10 Cane and like it quite a bit, but it's quite expensive.

Jimbo says Oronoco is not molasses.

I'll see if I can get a special order through Austin Wine Merchant. Have you had any luck with special orders through Spec's?

I'm shocked to learn that about Oronoco. It certainly has none of the qualities I would expect from agricole-type rum, apart from the price.

I like 10 Cane as well but I use it very rarely...it doesn't really lend itself to cocktails in the way that Cuban-style rums do, and the price is a killer. It my first choice for a swizzle though...mmmmmmm.

I would imagine Austin Wine Merchant would give better results with special orders with Specs, which is a supremely frustrating company to work with if you want to order a product that isn't in their system already (and potentially even if it is). Wine is one thing, but trying to get them to special order a single bottle of some excotic spirit is a battle I'm not really willing to fight anymore. Good luck.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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We just finally got the Clement Rhum Agricole (DOC) here in Oklahoma, so of course I was forced to buy a bottle. Now what can I make with the stuff? The suggestion upthread of a rum and coke is... out of the question considering the price of the stuff. Cocktail suggestions? Or should I be drinking this straight?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Go simple. Make a daiquiri or a Ti Punch. If you have any Creme de Violette around you can make a:

Say Goodnight Gracie

2 oz. white rum

.75 oz. simple syrup (I prefer demerara for this application)

.50 oz. fresh lime

generous .25 oz. Creme de Violette

dash Fee Brothers Rhubarb bitters

Garnish: Lime twist

Shake, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Is there any substitute for the rhubarb bitters or does this give me the excuse I need to buy another bottle of bitters?

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I'm currently enjoying a "Say Goodnight Gracie" made with Fee Bros. Lemon Bitters (alas, no rhubarb in the arsenal at the moment), and the resulting drink is quite good. The flavor of the Clement comes through loud and clear, I think the drink was an excellent suggestion for highlighting this rum. Thanks, Katie!


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Cool! Glad it works with the Lemon bitters too. I wouldn't call the Lemon bitters a "substitute" for the Rhubarb ones (and go buy them if you needed an excuse), but a different iteration of the drink perhaps. The Rhubarb bitters seem to go particularly well in rum drinks, and add a note of "red popsicle" wherever they are applied. In a good way, of course.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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A while back I had a killer Hemingway with an aged JM rhum at Nopa. Give that a shot.


 

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Is there any substitute for the rhubarb bitters or does this give me the excuse I need to buy another bottle of bitters?

You'll likely see more Rhubarb options later this year.

If exploring Rhum Agricole, one not to miss is the Neisson Eleve Sous Bois. It's one of my favorite spirits across categories.

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It's kind of hard to recommend Clement in the US. Don't get me wrong; it's a good bottle of rhum agricole...when you buy it outside of the US, where it's sold at 100 proof. Inexplicably, Preiss Imports has chosen to import an 80 proof version, which is just not much to write home about...


Marty McCabe

Boston, MA

Acme Cocktail Company

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It's kind of hard to recommend Clement in the US. Don't get me wrong; it's a good bottle of rhum agricole...when you buy it outside of the US, where it's sold at 100 proof. Inexplicably, Preiss Imports has chosen to import an 80 proof version, which is just not much to write home about...

Was it ever imported at 100 proof? I feel like I have seen the VSOP at this strength before in a store with some old inventory, if this is plausible I will definitely go check again. Didn't get it when there last since it is still not exactly cheap :-\


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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It's kind of hard to recommend Clement in the US. Don't get me wrong; it's a good bottle of rhum agricole...when you buy it outside of the US, where it's sold at 100 proof. Inexplicably, Preiss Imports has chosen to import an 80 proof version, which is just not much to write home about...

Was it ever imported at 100 proof? I feel like I have seen the VSOP at this strength before in a store with some old inventory, if this is plausible I will definitely go check again. Didn't get it when there last since it is still not exactly cheap :-\

I hate to say that it was "never" imported, as I'm generally wrong when I make pronouncements like that...:)

That said, To the best of my knowledge, as long as Preiss has been importing it, they've only imported an 80 proof version. Having tried them side by side, the difference is noticeable, to say the least.


Marty McCabe

Boston, MA

Acme Cocktail Company

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I finally picked up a bottle of Fee's Rhubarb Bitters and had to try Katie's Say Goodnight, Gracie. When I originally read the ingredients for this drink I was intrigued by the combination of creme de violette and rhubarb bitters but after opening the bottle of bitters I can see why they work together. Anyway, love the drink. Nice for this hot, muggy weather we are having today. Thanks, Katie!

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Oddly enough, there is a quite a wide selection of rhum agricole in China, even though the selection of all other spirits is limited. Even the larger supermarkets carry them.

Of the whites, we have Damoiseau, St. James, and JM. I've really enjoyed Damoiseau, more so than 10 Cane, and the two occasions that I've had Barbancourt white. The other two I haven't tried.

Those three companies also have their aged rums here. Opinions?

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You lucky dog. In my experience (and opinion), the aged bottlings from both St. James and JM are great across the board. I've never seen the white St. James in the US; is it imported here? For whites, my favorite by far is Neisson.


 

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Chris, I've only come across Neisson out here in California (either Bevmo or K&L for those in the greater Los Angeles area). I've been meaning to spring for a bottle of the Reserve - I really need to keep a note in my pocket to remind myself that the 1L bottles actually make it a great value.


 

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My favorite white rhum agricole is La Favorite, beating out Neisson by just a little.

For an aged one, I like Neisson Élevé Sous Bois better than the rhums agricoles with more age.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Neisson and La Favorite are imported by the same company (aka Ed Hamilton). Anywhere that has one brand, should be able to get the other range.

There was a bit of a snafu with the La Favorite when they recently got the new bottles, but I believe that has all been ironed out.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the St. James products are currently imported into the US. I believe the distributor dropped them some time last year.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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There was a bit of a snafu with the La Favorite when they recently got the new bottles, but I believe that has all been ironed out.

Meaning that folks just didn't dig the new look or that there was something different in the bottle?

To the best of my knowledge, none of the St. James products are currently imported into the US. I believe the distributor dropped them some time last year.

Yeah, I've found that most of the Ambre has been snapped up but the Hors d'age is still lingering around. Sad.


 

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To the best of my knowledge, none of the St. James products are currently imported into the US. I believe the distributor dropped them some time last year.

Yeah, I've found that most of the Ambre has been snapped up but the Hors d'age is still lingering around. Sad.

Just found about a dozen bottles of St. James "Extra Old" sitting in a close-out bin in a Chicago store...if you're interested, I'm happy to share details.

Also in the close-out bin were liters of Neisson Élevé Sous Bois and Réserve Spéciale. I believe these were all marked $30.

I grabbed a St. James Extra Old & Neisson Élevé Sous Bois, as well as a La Favorite Blanc from the regular shelves...oh yes, and the surprise of the evening, a single bottle of Inner Circle Blue plucked from the bottom of the bin. I'd never seen Inner Circle in Illinois previously.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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I grabbed a bottle of La Favorite blanc at Hi-Time while in California, and the little sip I took when unpacking it promises a really remarkable rhum, more powerfully vegetal and aromatic than the Neissens I've had. More soon.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I grabbed a bottle of La Favorite blanc at Hi-Time while in California, and the little sip I took when unpacking it promises a really remarkable rhum, more powerfully vegetal and aromatic than the Neissens I've had. More soon.

Curious to see what you come up with. I like it just fine, but I've actually found it tough to mix with. Do try a Last Word variation, though. (Which I think Sam has called a Favorite Word.)


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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