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Rhum Agricole

Fresh sugar cane juice rhum from the French islands.


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Old 05-19-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
romse33
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Cool Rhum Agricole or bust?

I have been investigating rums, and could use a little help. My colleagues and I have debates on whether Rhum agricole and Rhum Industreil are style differences or quality differences. Does making rum out of molasses make an inferior product compared to sugar cane juice?
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Old 05-19-2008, 05:49 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums where you'll find a lot of information about the different rums of the world. As for rhum agricole and rhum industriel, these are really style differences. Just as there are good, and poor, rums made from molasses there are also good, and poor, rums made from sugar cane juice.

On Martinique, rhum agricole is considered better than rhum industriel or rhum traditionnel by the distillers that make both products. On the other hand, on other islands there are distillers who have traditionally made molasses based rums working on new products which will be made from sugar cane juice.

Rhum agricole is more expensive to make than rhum made from molasses since it can only be made a few months a year and the cane must be crushed at the distillery, which requires a sugar cane mill and associated steam boiler or other power plant. Molasses based rum, on the other hand, can be made anywhere in the world, requires much less power to make and can be made all year round making it a less expensive product to make.
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Does making rum out of molasses make an inferior product compared to sugar cane juice?
May I suggest that you and your colleagues try the rums from Jamaica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Austrailia, Venezuela, Guyana, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Trinidad, USA, Antigua and Starr African Rum from Mauritius. Most of these rums are molasses based and in my opinion make incredible cocktails, punchs and sippin' rums. I think you'll find that they are the equal of the finest Rhums from Martinique.

You might discover something called 'terroir'. Rums from Spanish places and rums from English places and rhums from French places all have a certain similarity to each other in overall taste. Kind of like Scotch Whisky from the Highlands have a certain quality in common as opposed to Scotch from Islay which have another affinity in common. Both are Scotch Whiskies, however.

There are "orphans" which are unto themselves, for example Haitian rhums which are distinctly different then the other French Islands.
Hey, you might like them all! The readers of this forum certainly do.
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:29 PM   #4
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Thanks Mark, I wouldn't say that rhum agricole is intrinsically better than other rums, but it is different.
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:54 PM   #5
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There are excellent products made form cane juice, syrup, and molasses, and certainly some that are not as good. You will find some that you will like to mix, sip, or just pour over ice. There are many unique rums and rhums in different catergories, and you will find what you like. I love rhum agricole, some others do not care for it. Find what you like, and enjoy it! Cheers!
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:50 AM   #6
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An interesting question. There are quality distillers of both types who make wonderful products. I understand your question, and the best I can come up with is that is that cane juice rum, which the French named agricultural, in general tastes very different than molasses rum, which they called industrial in a kind of put down.

I found the real difference to be in taste, not quality. I love many molasses rums, for example El Dorado, Doorleys, Mount Gay, Angostura. Have maybe 40. Each different of course but all from molasses. My first experience was with St James Ambre, a cane juice rum. And I really didn't like it. Really pungent and tasted way too caney or grassey if you will, nothing at all like the molasses rums. And I would have never tried it again, but ran across a really low price on St James Extra Old (another cane-juice rum), and decided to give cane juice rum another try.

Still caney, but not nearly so pungent and overwhelming. More sweet tones. And this time I liked the experience more. Now I still prefer molasses, but the St James Extra Old will remain in my collection for a once-in-awhile change. Actually I think the Extra Old would be a nice economical experiment for you that you might like.
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Old 05-20-2008, 08:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates View Post
An interesting question. There are quality distillers of both types who make wonderful products. I understand your question, and the best I can come up with is that is that cane juice rum, which the French named agricultural, in general tastes very different than molasses rum, which they called industrial in a kind of put down.
From what I know about the French the decision to make the distinction between rhum agricole and rhum industriel, as they call it. Though French rhum agricole is much better known, in the late 90s, there were about equal amounts of rhum agricole and rhum industriel distilled on Martinique.

Quite honestly, if there is any arrogance among French distillers it is directed at other French distillers, most don't care about the rest of the world's rum.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:47 PM   #8
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Quite honestly, if there is any arrogance among French distillers it is directed at other French distillers, most don't care about the rest of the world's rum.
Years ago when I was travelling through the wine and spirit producing countries of western Europe I found much the same thing in every country.

If one mentioned a product from a neighbouring region it was usually met with a tirade of four letter words. If one mentioned a product from outside the country is was met with laughter as one was being shown the door.
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:37 PM   #9
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Both styles of Rums produce Great Bottles and duds. I have to say I drink far more RUM than RHUM. I have to say I respect the artistry of Rhum Agricole. It has really caught on of late and should be respected for its labor intensive production. BUT….. I can not stand the title of Rum Industrial. It conjures up an image that some how that kind of Rum is inferior to Agricole. Please explore both worlds your palate will thank you-

Some of my favorites
RUM: Appleton Estates, Zaya & Mount Gay
RHUM: Barbancourt, Depaz & 10 Cane
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by KINGSTON View Post
Both styles of Rums produce Great Bottles and duds. I have to say I drink far more RUM than RHUM. I have to say I respect the artistry of Rhum Agricole. It has really caught on of late and should be respected for its labor intensive production. BUT….. I can not stand the title of Rum Industrial. It conjures up an image that some how that kind of Rum is inferior to Agricole. Please explore both worlds your palate will thank you-

Some of my favourites
RUM: Appleton Estates, Zaya & Mount Gay
RHUM: Barbancourt, Depaz & 10 Cane
Can you suggest to me a French Rhum Industriel you have enjoyed?

Only the French use the word Industriel to describe their own product. They do not suggest rum, or rhum made elsewhere needs to feel obligated to take the same term, and in fact no other country has.

The notion that all other rum made in the world is "Industrial"( outside of Agricole) just because the French choose to name their own such seems a bit hollow to me.

I have explored both, and continue to enjoy both.
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Last edited by Rum Runner; 05-22-2008 at 12:15 AM.
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