The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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Page 117 of 132

Rhum J.M Rhum Vieux Agricole V.S.O.P. Since 1845, the Habitation Fonds-Préville Plantation in Macouba, Martinuqe has produced high-grade sugarcane for the sole purpose of producing the island's finest rum. Jean-Marie Martin built a small distillery on the estate and branded his initials "J.M." on the first oak barrels used to mature his rums. As is the case throughout the French West Indies, J.M rhums are distilled from fresh sugar cane juice rather than molasses. The brand well deserves its world-class reputation. The spirits produced Homère Clément, founder of Rhum Clément, is considered "the father of rhum agricole." 'Ti-Punch What the Margarita is to tequila, the 'Ti-Punch is to rhum agricole. 'Ti is the creole term for small (petit), and the 'Ti-Punch is designed to be a small, light drink (under two ounces). 'Ti-Punch is traditionally served at the table deconstructed, enabling the imbiber to decide how sweet or strong it should be. The ritual is referred to in Martinique as "Chacun prépare sa propre mort"—Each one prepares his own death. ◗ 1¼ oz. rhum agricole ◗ 1 lime disc ◗ ¼ oz. cane sugar syrup or turbinado sugar (more or less to taste) ◗ Add lime and sugar into a small glass and allow them to intermingle, add rhum and swizzle. Ice is optional but recommended. by Rhum J.M are made in strict accordance with Martinique's Appelation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC). The designation acknowledges the firm's preservation of traditional methodology and ingredient use. The distillery cultivates its own sugar cane on the estate and uses two copper, single- column stills for production. Rhum J.M Rhum Vieux Agricole V.S.O.P. is an ideal example of the house style. The small batch spirit is distilled using 100% single-domaine sugarcane, matured for a minimum of four years in re-charred Bourbon oak barrels and bottled at a lip-tingling 45% alcohol. During its stay in wood, the rhum develops a deep amber hue, an oily, medium-weight body and a captivating bouquet dripping with the aromas of peaches, raisins, cin- namon and caramel. Its aromatics are worth the price of admission alone. The dry, spicy, fruity palate gradually yields to a glowing, flavorful finish. The incomparable range of agricole rhums also includes the unaged Rhum J.M Rhum Agricole Blanc (50% alcohol) and Rhum J.M Rhum Agricole Elevé Sous Bois, a gold rhum aged is 12 months in re-charred Bourbon barrels and bottled at 50% alcohol. —Robert Plotkin DOMAINE SELECT july 2012 / the tasting panel / 117

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