Rhum Agricole: La Favorite

Darcy O'Neil :: August 28, 2006 11:37 AM

Rhum AgricoleThe world of spirits is constantly evolving and there are trends that develop. Right now vodka is the spirit in the spotlight, but with the thousands of brands of vodka inundating the market, the bright light of vodka will burn out soon. So what’s going to take its place? Well most people believe that rum will come around for another turn in the spotlight and I tend to agree. One reason for this is that new types of rum, or rhum, are making appearances on the world stage such as rhum agricole. For those who don’t know, rhum agricole is a relative of rum but is distilled from a “wine” made from fresh pressed sugar cane, instead of the sugar processing waste product molasses. The starting ingredient is the same, but the finished product is much different, and good.

After search high and low for a bottle of rhum agricole I was able to make a trade of sorts to acquire a bottle of La Favorite Rhum Agricole. (Thanks Erik) The reason I wanted to get a bottle was because sometimes you want things you can’t have and in Ontario the LCBO doesn’t stock it, so it’s unavailable unless you order a case. But with rum (hopefully) being the new trend I wanted to get in early and see what all the hub bub was about. The La Favorite Rhum Agricole has already answered some of the questions and opened up a new creative opportunity for cocktails, aside from the classic Petite Punch (Ti’ Punch) which is the traditional drink of the French West Indies.

The first impression of this spirit is that it is water white and bright. One thing I found very interesting, and pleasing, was that when you pour the La Favorite, you can smell the aroma right away. It kind of fills the air and you don’t need to nose the glass to get the aromas. There are grassy and floral components to the nose and for some reason I’m smelling subtle beer wort notes when I hold the glass about 6 inches from my nose and swirl. It has the wort type sweetness if you ever visit a brewery or do homebrew. Other than that there is also the aroma of sugar cane. Very impressive aromas!

The first sip of this rhum was potent. At 50% alcohol it does pack a bit of a kick and it gives you that wasabi kick in the nose. Aside from the strength, the rhum agricole is relatively smooth. It is very dry, unlike some white rums, and has a grassy flavour with pepper and spice. The finish becomes slightly sweeter, but over all this rhum is dry. Adding a small amount of mineral water brings out some sweetness by cutting back the ethanol potency. The water also brings out some more flavours that I can’t put my finger, or tongue on.

For comparison I poured a sample Matusalem Platino white rum. This isn’t one of my favourite white rums, but I need to use it for something. The Matusalem Platino is smooth with a subtle rum aroma and is fairly light on the palate. Not near as dry as the La Favorite but definitely has a molasses rum sweetness to it. The rhum agricole lacks in that characteristic rum molasses flavour.

My first impression of rhum agricole are positive. It is a little rough around the edges, but has a great deal of potential. The aroma is very good the flavour is workable with some flavours. Next I’m going to try a Petite Punch (Ti’ Punch) which is simply adding a small amount of cane sugar and a decent slice of lime peel (zest).

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