Rum Review: J.M VSOP
J.M VSOP / Rhum JM Rhum Vieux Agricole
If you read my review of Clement’s VSOP, you may already know that agricoles aren’t my favoriote cane spirit. Maybe I’m too unsophisticated to appreciate them–it’s a distinct possibility. One thing is for sure: there’s no accounting for taste (de gustatibus non disputandum for you dead language lovers out there).
In any event, I thought I’d give another rhum vieux agricole a shot, so today we get familiar with a VSOP from J.M.
I found this rhum at BevMo of all places. To my knowledge, it’s the only agricole they sell. At $60, I figured this rum was really going to blow me away, but prices, as it turns out, can be deceiving.
The J.M bottle itself looks fantastic. It’s green, which is somewhat unusual in the rum world, and the label has tons of charm. The sketch on the label appears to be of a Martinique distillery in days gone by, and the hand lettering furthers this antique feel. Holding the bottle in my hands, I feel like I’m about to enjoy something really special. It also doesn’t hurt that the name is essentially my initials.
I removed the foil, uncorked the bottle and poured a generous serving into my tasting snifter. The color is a rich golden hue with touches of bronze and copper. On swirling, relatively few slender legs form and return to the bowl. More droplets seem to descend only partly from the pronounced ring at the top of the snifter.
The aroma is very woody, owing to the American and French oak casks in which it spent its formative four to five years. The nose is similar to a whiskey of some sort, but sweeter and with spices not found in Kentucky or similar environs. The agricole earthiness here is overshadowed by a slightly astringent aroma that holds hints of tobacco.
Now for a taste. The word “strong” comes to mind. The mouth feel is oily and there is a lot of spice and heat. As the rum hits the back of my throat, my eyes open wide telling me this rum is not for the faint of heart. The flavors are busy, and it’s initially difficult to pick them out individually, but I press on. The prominent flavors begin to emerge individually now, and oak still dominates just above the strong tobacco flavors mixed with some cinnamon and the typical earthiness of an agricole. When I begin to taste something akin to paraffin, I realize that I’m no longer having any fun. I prefer my kerosene in lamps, merci beaucoup.
After I finished scribbling down my notes, I went online and read a few other reviews of this rum. I was surprised to find that these folks could pick out so many different flavor components that I did not. Granted, I’m not the most advanced taster on the planet, but I like to think my palate is pretty good. Did I get a bad bottle? Perhaps. More likely though is the fact that there really is no accounting for taste. Try as we may, everyone is going to taste something different in every rum, and for me, this one is just not my cup of tea.
On to the scores:
- Appearance: .5/1
- Nose: 1/2
- Mouth feel: 1/1
- Taste: 1.5/4
- Aftertaste: 1/2
- Total Score: 5/10