La Favorite hailing from Martinique will be a familiar name to those of you who enjoy French Rhum or Agricole Rhum as it is more commonly known.
Agricole Rhum (agricultural rum) differs from Molasses based rum in that it is produced from Sugar Cane Juice rather than molasses. You may also have heard of a spirits called Cachaca which is made from Sugar Cane Juice. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is but other than in Brasil Agricole Rhum is much more popular. Molasses based rum in contract to “agricole” rum can be called “industrial” rum. I’m sure you can understand why most rum producers don’t opt to categorise their rum in such a way!
In early 2014 Benoit Bail and Jerry Gitany began working with the distillers at “La Favorite” on a Special Bottling for the Facebook Group “La Confrerie du Rhum”.
La Confrerie du Rhum (the rum brotherhood) has over 12,000 members and is without doubt the largest French speaking rum group I am aware of and probably one of the largest rum groups in any language! I contribute to the group and the group was part of the reason I sought out a translation tool for this site.
I’m always going to cover more Agricole Rhum on the site. Up to now I have tried little Agricole. What I have tried has not really caught my interest and it is generally speaking more expensive than molasses based rums. I have been told to try more though as my palate is certainly changing and evolving as I taste more and more different rums.
Back to the rum in question. The Cuvee Especiale is a 20 year old rhum bottled, waxed and labelled by hand. The rhum comes complete with two branded tasting glasses and retails at 205 Euros.
It is a single cask rhum from 4 different casks – each bottle shows the cask from which the rhum was drawn. There are 1000 bottles in total. The rhum being reviewed today is taken from Cask 25 distilled in July 1995 and bottled in September 2015 the ABV is a very exact 45.2%
In the glass I’m taken at how dark the rhum is its very dark almost mahogany colour. It certainly looks 20 years old that’s for sure! The nose is much less grassy than I have experienced in the past with Agricole rhum. It’s delicate, not at all overpowering. It has a nice richness to the nose – its slightly floral, some nice tropical fruit notes as well. It has that familiar vegetal note but it is more balanced than the younger Agricoles I have tired. It’s inviting and nicely balanced.
Tasting the rhum gives you a warming sweetness to begin with – this soon gives way to a dry crisp slightly bitter almost tannic like mouthfeel. I’m left thinking of dry white wine. The finish is nice and relatively long lasting.
The rhum is elegant and slips down all too easily. It’s very easy to drink. It has a lovely balance to it and you get the feeling that they haven’t over complicated what they do.
If I am going to try and do some tasting notes I would describe it as a slightly vegetal/grassy rhum – “herbaceous” is a word that probably best describes it. Its crispy, dry and well balanced – you get the feeling La Favorite know exactly what there rums can be and more importantly what they can’t be. So they have stuck to doing what they do best.
Which may be doing this rhum a slight injustice but it isn’t meant as a criticism. Too many rum producers allow additives and marketing nonsense to cloud their rums – very few have the confidence to issue their rums with purity – just allowing good distillation and cask management to shine through.
This is a huge step up from other Agricoles I have tried and I think in time I will probably look back on this rhum and appreciate it even more. I won’t go OTT at this stage as I’m really not that experienced with Agricole rhum. This does strike me as being very good though.