Following a talk with my friend Lance, I admitted that I wasn’t as experienced in agricoles as I would like to be. His answer: Then try some.
So here we go. An agricole.
But not just any agricole. This is the Chantal Comte L’Arbre du Voyageur 2001.
Chantal Comte is a very hard working woman from France. As many others, she finds special casks of rum, which she bottles for us geeks to enjoy.
She has quite a few very respected release behind her, and a couple of them are truly special. Therefore I have no trouble deciding to try another.
And this time I’ll even write about it.
The L’Arbre 2001 is an AOC agricole from the La Favorite distillery on Martinique.
L’Arbre du Voyageur means ”The Travellers Tree”, which apparently is a symbol of Martiniquan hospitality.
On the website it is marked as AOC. But there is no reference to this on either tube or bottle. It does say ”Appellation Martinique Controlée”, but I can’t figure out why they qould write that and not AOC, if it was actually and AOC rhum.
Assuming that it is an AOC rhum, that would mean it would have to be a Traditional Agricole Rhum made on a coloumn still from fermented sugar cane juice.
A little research reveals that it has been aged for 7 years making it a Rhum Vieux, and if we still cling to the AOC markings, it would have to have been done in new French oak barrels.
The yield was 3100 bottles at 45,5% ABV.
It comes in a thick card board tube with metal lids. The tube is decorated with a large drawing of what I believe is a sugar cane.
Furthermore there is quite a lot of information, which is repeated on the actual label, but also a long text in french, which I didn’t bother to translate. But from what my insufficient french skills suggests, it’s all about the heritage and the concept behind the rhum.
Inside the tube we find a long and sleek bottle, which reminds of cognac bottles.
Up top is a natural cork with a black, plastic stopper.
Outside the bottle we find a rather large label with the typical information of heritage, name and vintage.
The rum shows off a very nice golden colour and sticks beautifully to the inside of the glass.
Taking a few whiffs it comes off very rich and full of fruity scents,
First up is massive lichees and a basket of green apple.
But also grapefruit, unripe pineapple and cola.
Beneath that is a layer of fresh cane and floral lavishness.
Then very light wooden notes and a dash of vanilla.
I must say that I’m very impressed with this beautifuland very elegant nose,
Entering the mouth it comes of as a little edgy and sharp.
But it makes up for it with a big bucket of flavours.
Up front there is some heavy earthy notes, which reminded me of beetroots, and grassy forrest floor.
But there is also quite some oak, a spicy sub level and just a dash of vanilla and citrus.
Like most other agricoles it is quite dry.
All in all a good sip. But it feels a little narrow and unbalanced.
I could have wished for more depth and more complexity. Especially when I now what can be done with an agricole like this despite the younger age.
It does stay around for a while. And when the beetroots disappear, you are left with a nice, dry and fruity farewell.
Due to the dryness it cleans up well and after a while, there is not much left.
It doesn’t have a lot of heat during the finish, and it doesn’t introduce anything new.
So, it is what you would expect, and nothing more.
A bit disappointing.
Rating and final thoughts
Not at all a bad sipper.
It very clearly does best on the nose, which was absolutely beautiful.
Unfortunately, it didn’t carry over to the palate that well, and the beetroot took over way too much.
Priced around €95 I believe it pushed the envelope as much as it possibly can.
There is a lot of other great rums around for a price like that. Also in the agricole department.
This is definitely a rhum worth drinking if you are into earthy notes, so don’t dismiss it all together. Give it a shot if you feel like it and like your agricoles.
If you are new to agricoles, I would advice to start with something else and more accessible.
With out further ado, we come to the conclusion. A…