Saint James XO Rhum Vieux Agricole

Saint James XO Rum Rhum Review by the fat rum pirateSaint James XO Rhum Vieux Agricole. In all honesty I’m not totally sure if this is a bottling which replaces a previous XO or another rhum in the Saint James line up. Or is just a completely new release?

Saint James have a number of rums in their line up and the website isn’t always as up to date, as I would perhaps like. Couple this, with the fact that so many older bottlings lurk in various guises on numerous online stores. So I haven’t really researched, too much into the history of this particular rhum. I just end up giving myself a sore head and getting no further forward.

I saw it on Whisky Exchange where it was £43.25 and off the back of the 7 year old, which I really enjoyed, I thought I would give it a try.

Saint James XO is a blend of rums aged between 6 and 10 years. It is bottled at 43% ABV. Saint James Distillery is situated on the island of Martinique. Their rums are made under the Martinique AOC. Only Agricole Rhum from Martinique can achieve this “AOC” accreditation (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée/Controlled Designation of Origin).

This accreditation was created in 1996. The App.lation reflects the authenticity of Martinique’s Agricole Rum. In order to be marked with “Rhum Agricole AOC Martinique”, the rum must be produced from sugar cane grown in an area authorised by the AOC. The harvest dates are also regulated.  The juice used for agricole rum must be obtained exclusively by grinding and pressing the sugar cane. Rum quality is controlled with minimum sugar content, pH levels are analysed, and content of volatile components are also tested. No addition of syrup or molasses is allowed at any stage of the distillation and ageing..

Presentation wise, as you can see you get a 3/4 squared decanter style bottle with a short neck. The colour scheme is simple and classic. A cut out black “slip on” case house the very sturdy bottle. A chunky plastic topped cork stopper completes the package. It looks “Premium” especially next to some of the more rustic cheaper Agricole.

In the glass Saint James XO is a dark/golden brown colour with orange flashes. It is vivid and inviting.

Nosing Saint James XO is not a disappointment either. Initial grassy notes are Saint James XO Rhum Vieux Agricole Rum Rhum Review by the fat rum piratetempered by a more sophisticate Cognac like sweetness. Hazlenuts, prailine and a really nice mix of sweet zesty spices – cinnamon, a touch of ginger and some really bright notes of orange and an overall nuttiness which is really pleasant and adds both complexity and balance to the rhum.

Sipped, this is a very elegant, easy going style of Agricole. It is refined, so although it is unmistakably Agricole Rhum it is not as grassy or as vegetal as you might expect. The ageing in the barrels has really worked its magic with this particular blend of rums.

It is zesty with big notes of lemon, lime and orange zest. Really strong ex-bourbon cask notes, give a wonderful spiciness on the palate as you sip. It’s not hugely oaky despite this and its quite youthful and vibrant. Very fresh tasting. It doesn’t have a great deal of burn going down the hatch. Saint James XO has a really good balance of sweet notes like white grape, a touch of passion fruit, mango and even some lychee.

The finish is of reasonable length – again it is zesty and quite fruity. Enjoyable with a really nice balance of fresh oak notes. It’s not a hugely challenging intense Agricole Rhum. For my current palate it is perfect as it delivers enough familiar notes I would get with a molasses based rum.

I really enjoy the enveloping nuttiness – hazelnut and milk chocolate notes that pass on the initial sip and remain in the mid palate. Cashew nuts and a touch of buttery sweetness is also very pleasant – sweet shortcust pastry.

This is a Saint James XO Rhum Vieux Agricole Rum review by the fat rum piratebit of a steal by Agricole standards at just over £40 a bottle. It is definitely up there in my experience of Agricole Rhum.  I have not mixed this – mainly as I mix mostly with cola and cola and Agricole rhum isn’t my favourite mix. But in reality this rhum is just far too good to be mixed. It wasn’t even a consideration to mix it. It’s very much a sipper.

Really good stuff. This is a producer I am increasingly becoming interested in. Aside from my immature (palate wise) comments regarding the Royal Ambre Rhum – a review which I urgently need to re-visit. As soon as I can get another bottle. Sadly supplies of that rhum are hard to come by.

I’m really quite beginning to enjoy dipping into Agricole. Any further recommendations are invited.

 

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