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Rhum Agricole

Fresh sugar cane juice rhum from the French islands.


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Old 12-30-2008, 12:24 PM   #1
lperry
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Default Berling S.A. Vieux Labbй from Haiti

I originally joined the forums to find out about this rhum because it had been in the liquor cabinet for a couple of years after being acquired in the Port au Prince duty free shop. We finally opened it last night, and I'm going to try to describe my impressions of it. I've found a couple of other posts on this rhum since I first asked about it, so I'm hoping that others will help out with their reviews.

The nose and main flavor profile are like smoky caramel/butterscotch. I live with a single malt scotch and bourbon aficionado, and there are shades of both in this rhum. It has a depth and richness to it that I have not had before in a rum, but I am not familiar with agricoles, so I don't know if these characters are commonplace or not. If I hadn't poured it myself, I can't say that I would immediately recognize it as a cane spirit.

My previous forays into aged rums have been with Appleton, so this experience was completely different. In the spirit of full disclosure, after I took a few sips, the remainder of the glass made its way into a spiced cider toddy that was quite delicious.
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:29 PM   #2
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Linda...Happy to hear that you finally cracked the bottle.

I would not assume that the bottle you have is a sugar cane juice rum...Unless you have some evidence of such. As you may know, the Berling Company is an off shoot of the Barbancourt family..But is not related in business to the Barbancourt Rum widely available in the USA.

Can you shed some light as to why you think the Berling is produced from juice as opposed to syrup or molasses?
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:05 PM   #3
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To be honest, I assumed "rhum" from Haiti meant agricole, although I've read recently that even Barbancourt doesn't always use cane juice. I did know that Haiti has no AOC agricoles. So it was a potentially ill-informed and possibly incorrect guess.

It's my understanding that they have more in their line up than the original gold label now, so next trip through Haiti we'll pick up a few more bottles. It really is lovely stuff.
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lperry View Post
... I did know that Haiti has no AOC agricoles. ...
The AOC designations are particular to the nation of France, including overseas departments such as Martinique and Guadaloupe, aren't they? Haiti has been a separate republic since 1804 when independence was declared, or 1825 when France agreed to recognize Haiti in exchange for reparations.
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Old 01-07-2009, 04:10 PM   #5
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The AOC designations are particular to the nation of France, including overseas departments such as Martinique and Guadaloupe, aren't they?
Could be. I assumed (again, perhaps incorrectly), that if a French/Creole speaking country decided to standardize processing and product, they would use the term "AOC" as the designation. Particularly because the Caribbean doesn't have anything like the EU's PDO. Or perhaps they do. Anyone?
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:15 PM   #6
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"Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), which translates as "controlled term of origin" is the French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products, all under the auspices of the government bureau Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO)."

from Wikipedia AOC Listing.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:17 PM   #7
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Well then, there you have it. I regularly buy USDA organic certified produce from other countries, and despite the fact that I look for DOC or DOCG on Italian wines and AOC on French, I never really thought about it as country specific, just as adhering to certain guidelines. In retrospect and with the consideration that one of the main points is to establish exclusivity, it makes perfect sense. I remember in Guadeloupe remarking on the wonderful wine selection in the grocery store and having a woman tell me, "Of course. You are in France." Were I to go back today, I'd be rum shopping instead.

So now I know all about AOC, but no more about the Vieux Labbй! I did find a page on Facebook that indicated that, like Barbancourt, some of the rum is from cane juice and other from molasses. So it may or may not be agricole. Or it may be semi-agricole. I don't know how I would be able to tell.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lperry View Post
So now I know all about AOC, but no more about the Vieux Labbé! I did find a page on Facebook that indicated that, like Barbancourt, some of the rum is from cane juice and other from molasses. So it may or may not be agricole. Or it may be semi-agricole. I don't know how I would be able to tell.
A wise Uncle of mine once told me at a tender age that "The more you learn the less you know".

As you understand in your profession Linda, nothing duplicates being at the source. Perhaps you will have the chance to revisit the rum/rhum in question and enlighten us, which would be a welcome addition. You may be positioned to gain some insights that are not so easy to come by.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:45 PM   #9
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The AOC designations are particular to the nation of France, including overseas departments such as Martinique and Guadaloupe, aren't they?
You are correct Michael. AOC is particular to France. AOC RHUM AGRICOLE is only approved for Martinique at this time. Guadeloupe is in the process of applying for AOC status...We can expect a "length of time" to pass as the Guadeloupe producers who wish to participate come to terms on the standards for their product.
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:10 AM   #10
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I am really interested in this rhum. I hope I get the opportunity to try it, or some how it comes to the US.
A part of me hopes that maybe Guadaloupe does not standardize, as I like the products that are distilled there now.
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