At the top of Rhum J.M.’s Martinique-based lineup stands this infrequent bottling, a vintage-dated rum that spends 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels before bottling. This expression (still column-distilled rhum agricole from estate-grown sugarcane, with no sugar added) hails from the 2008 vintage; you’ll find various other vintages on the market (including 2001, 2003, and 2006).
The fresh cane notes immediately pop on this, giving the nose not just a caramel note, but also a grassy, lightly earthy element, clearly driven by the cane. Don’t expect a woody vanilla bomb on the tongue: Again, the cane is prominent on the palate, its light body kicking off with notes of baked apples then moving quickly into more of a maritime focus, with notes of sea salt and some seaweedy underbrush. There’s a clear and surprising licorice note on the finish, with a spray of additional spices present, but it finishes exceptionally dry, not at all sweet.
A thinking man’s rum, for sure.
A- / $130 / rhumjmusa.com