November 6, 2015

Threats, Blackmail, and Rhum Agricole

"We're going to throw out all your candy."

It was our hail Mary pass, our last ditch effort, our final desperate attempt to get our four year old to take off her Halloween costume, put on pajamas, brush her teeth and go to bed.  It's so easy to hate those parents that are always hurling around threats and punishments.  But sometimes you've tried ebullient and happy, you've tried quiet and sincere, you've tried seeking loyalty, empathy, concern, pity, but nothing's worked. Short of screaming at them or breaking your vow never to administer an old fashioned spanking, blackmail is your only option.

It's the inhumanity of it that gets you. She waited weeks to put on that ridiculously cute Minion costume, practicing her best impression of Pixar's unintelligible, slightly psychopathic, but oh-so-adorable yellow creatures. She walked from door to door trick-or-treating for hours, collecting the greatest treasure she'd ever seen: a huge plastic bucket full of mini candy bars, lollipops, and Pixie Sticks. And there we are, standing on the foot switch that opens the kitchen garbage can, poised with her treasured candy bucket ready to do the unthinkable. Her eyebrows go up, top lip goes down, and a single tear trickles from the corner of her eye.  Stay strong...  There's a silent standoff that lasts a full minute.  And then the clouds part, the angels blow their trumpets, heaven opens its gates, and she puts on the fucking pajamas and goes to sleep.  Hallelujah.

"To the BeastCave!"

B-line to the liquor cabinet. We want something special, something different. We're not in the mood for our typical smoky Islay scotch. Not really feeling like a bourbon or a rye either.  Then, browsing the collection, we remember that our friend Jim at Xavier recommended we try some Rhum Agricole.  "The Cognac of rum" he'd said.  Perfect, let's give it a go.

Rhum Clément 10-Year and 125th Anniversary
Rhum Agricole

Rhum Agricole is a very special animal.  It comes from the french Caribbean colonies, Clement is from Martinique. We've had some great rums before. We've come to expect sweet slightly syrupy and very rich treats.  Some of our favorites have been Costa Rica's Centenario, Cuba's Havana Club, and Venezuela's Pompero Anniersario.  They all very affordable, and delicious dessert or summer sipping drinks.

Pampero Aniversario Venezuelan Rum

Ron Centenario - Costa Rica

But all of these rums that we've had previously are made from molasses. The interesting thing about rhum agricole is that it's made from fresh sugar cane juice. This is a production technique that more closely mirrors brandy and results in a purer, less sweet, and more refined end product. It's aged in oak barrels, and the selections we're tasting are 7 and 10 years old.

Tasting Notes

Nose:  Striking nose with lots of dry wood, sweet but not syrupy, like a dry stalk of sugarcane. Then there are waves of complexity starting with some serious spiciness - cardamon, paprika, pink peppercorns, you could almost be fooled into thinking this was an American rye. Then we get into some vegetal stuff like okra or eggplant. It closes off again with more wood.  Like freshly cut sawdust, very dry cracking wood and heat.  It's a really deep nose that's full of surprises.

Palate: This is quite unlike any other rum in recent memory. Most sipping rums are sweet and lush, perfect for dessert, sipping alongside chocolate and berries.  This is much more like a cognac with subtle dry barrel aged tastes going on. The sugar is there but much more refined and it's all wrapped up in the oak, spice, and grassy / vegetal goodness.

Finish:  Well, it has one!  Which is sort of unusual for a rum. Usually it's a bit of sweetness left on the tongue, but this has a full-bodied woody and crisp finish. Granted it's not nearly as long as a peaty scotch, but it definitely gives you a lasting memorable finish.

7-Year: We're not doing separate tasting notes on the 7-year since it's really more of the same, if perhaps a bit less smooth. Maybe we're just not sufficient rhum agricole buffs in order to pick out the intricacies of the two. What is really cool about this bottle is that they released a limited edition bottle to honor the 125th anniversary of the distillery.  Check it out!

We're not usually suckers for wacky bottle design, but you have to give them this one, it's super cool.


This is really interesting stuff.  At around $70-$80, the ten year is not cheap, but it's definitely worth checking out.  If you're only going to stock a small home bar, this is certainly not a staple, but if you are reaching out a little further, this is a very interesting sipper to keep around and will certainly surprise (and maybe delight) your guests.  We'd recommend stopping in at Xavier if you're in NYC (full disclosure Jim's daughter and ours are best friends!) or seeing if you can find it online. It's somewhere between cognac, rye whiskey, and rum, you can really tell the quality that's gone into it, and when you want a change of pace from scotch or bourbon, it can be just the ticket!


AAAAAAAND now....   Hotline Bling Cat.  'Cause you know you need some HBC!

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