Included in this tasting are several rums from around the Caribbean including spiced rums, flavored rums and rhum agricoles.
Rums made from sugar cane molasses make up the majority of the category but rhum agricoles have had a heightened popularity lately, so I will take a focused look at these. Rhum agricole is from the French West Indies Islands, mostly from Martinique. Martinique is the most well known for rhum agricole because French law allows for an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée of Rhum Agricole AOC Martinique for rums produced on the island that meet certain standards. Martinique is the only geographic region in the world to have an AOC mark for rum.
Edward Hamilton, rum aficionado, has spent years in Martinique. All of the rhum agricoles imported by his company, Caribbean Spirits Inc., are made from only freshly-squeezed sugar cane juice at small family estates, where quality is the most important product. Every aspect of production, from growing and harvesting the cane and fermenting the fresh juice to the distilling, aging, and bottling, is done at the estates by families who have been making fine spirits for generations. Additionally, Ed also imports some molasses-based rums, specifically Lemon Hart 151 Demerara Rum, and expects to have more molasses-based rums in the U.S. later this year. He started with the last two family-owned distilleries but now also imports Duquesne rhum agricole from the second largest distillery on the island, to satisfy the demand for a less expensive product from Martinique.