Since falling down the rum rabbit hole, one of the most striking things I’ve found about the category is the wealth of different styles and varieties that can be found all over the world. Among the most unique is rhum agricole, which is made from fresh sugarcane juice, rather than molasses.
There’s a rich history in the rhum agricole category that’s fascinating to explore and a great place to learn about it is over on the Rumcast podcast. Co-hosts John Gulla and Will Hoekenga recently invited rhum princess Kiowa Bryan onto the show to talk about what makes agricole so unique and why you should be trying it.
Introducing rhum agricole to a wider audience
Working with rhum specialists Spiribam, who have JM Rhum and Rhum Clement in their portfolio, Kiowa is extremely knowledgeable about agricole and it was interesting to hear how she came into the industry. One faithful night of drinking a ti punch led Kiowa to uncover rhum agricole and it inspired her to travel to Martinique to learn more about it. From there, she went on to join Spirabam and bring the JM and Clement range to a wider audience.
In the episode, Kiowa reveals some great insight into the nuances of both JM and Clement rhum agricole. For example, in the production of JM rhum, five different sugarcane varieties are used, whereas four sugarcane types are used for Clement. Terroir is another important factor in Martinique spirits. The island has different microclimates that effect the overall production and the taste of the rhum.
Kiowa also goes into detail about the Martinique AOC and the regulations that inform how Martinique rhum agricole is made. This is a far cry from the US market, where there are no rum regulations. Yet the EU has a more clearly defined set of rules and that contrast is intriguing.
A rhum for every type of drinker
Later in the episode, Kiowa explains how she recommends rhum agricole to people who’ve never tried it and to seasoned drinkers as well. As an example, when picking for a bourbon drinker, she’d go for an agricole that has been aged in heavily charred barrels so the drinker would be able to pick up similar characteristics that are reminiscent of bourbon.
But she’s always happy to come across people who know what they like too. One story she told involved stocking a California bar with rhum agricole knowing that it was unlikely any of the patrons would have tried it. When a consumer ordered a ti punch, she decided to make it with ice, only for it to be sent back. This encounter ended in a hug!
There’s some awesome insight into the world of rhum agricole in this episode and I’d definitely recommend you listen to it. The Rumcast regulary releases informative rum content that’s great for beginners and pros.