Saint James Royal Ambre is a Rhum Agricole from the French speaking island of Martinique.
For those unfamiliar with Rhum Agricole it is rum made from fresh cane juice as opposed to Rhum Industriel which is produced from molasses or other sugar by products.
The term Rhum Industriel is not widely used as it has negative connotations and those that do produce rhum in this way have no desire or motivation to market their products as such. As most production occurs outside of the French speaking islands it has no real meaning. The term when used in derogative way does Rhum Agricole’s snobbish overpriced reputation little favours.
Saint James Royal Ambre is a fairly reasonably priced just over £20 for a 70cl bottle which is bottled at an ABV of 45%. Many Agricoles are much more expensive. There is no age statement on the rum or any notations suggesting it is well aged. The rum has the AOC marque from the French Government which signifies the rhum is produced as a true Agricole Rhum.
Like it’s Cane Juice counterpart Cachaca, Rhum Agricole has a very vegetal, grassy profile which can take some getting used to.
In all honesty I find Rhum Agricole to be very strange and I don’t really think of it as rum. Admittedly it is better than my experiences of Cachaca but not by a big margin.
This Rhum Agricole is quite well regarded and the retailer I bought it from had a limit of one bottle per customer.
The Rhum is presented in quite a nice rectangular bottle with Saint James 1769 etched on the shoulders of the bottle. The presentation is quite pleasant is consistent throughout the range of rum’s. The bottle is written solely in French so I have little idea what the rhum thinks about itself!
On the nose the rhum exhibits fresh grassy notes and a slight vegetal/fruit note fresh and clean a little like cucumber. It is a pleasant medium gold/brown colour. When sipped it is pretty spicy it isn’t particularly harsh but it isn’t what you would term as smooth.
In the mouth the vegetal notes come to the forefront. The rhum reminds me a little of chewing grass as a child or munching on celery and cucumber. It’s very fresh and clean tasting but at the end of the day is this what I want rum to taste like? Clearly the French do.
As with my previous review of La Mauny VXO I’m just a little bit lost as to what this is supposed to be. I just don’t understand why you would want rum that tastes like this? It goes kind of okay with Lemonade but its just really odd tasting. My wife sometimes adds cucumber to vodka and lemonade this has a similar effect. Its kind of like all the ingredients of Pimms but without the actual Pimms.
Odd, odd, odd