Creole copper columns
four years in American oak, partly in re-charred Bourbon barrels
Alcohol by volume:
The regional or national cuisine shapes group identity. Culinary patriotism means that consumers prefer domestic products of the same price or quality as foreign products and by doing so they support domestic economic growth. However, even an aware consumer finds it difficult to read product's origin properly, mainly due to the advanced internationalisation of trade.
The European Union designed a universal product certification system (1992), modelled on the French Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC), originally used for wine classification. The fundamental idea is contained in the notion of terroir; ”Terroir is based on a system of interactions between physical and biological environment, and a set of human factors within a space which a human community built during its history with a collective productive knowledge. There are elements of originality and typicality of the product”.
The users can rate dishes from around the world through platform TasteAtlas. That kind of poll may not necessarily be reliable in the culinary aspect but it allows roughly to draw conclusions about the cuisine popularity for individual countries. The ranking is headed by Italy and the dominance is reflected by the most certified products. The French value more own markings (AOC), nevertheless they certify tirelessly all regional products with European quality schemes and occupy therefore a well-deserved second rank. One of them would be rhum agricole straight from Martinique located seven thousand kilometres from metropolitan France.
Because of spelling as well as the sound, we associate rhum agricole with the French language. While rhum means indeed rum, the French style cannot be thoughtlessly equated with agricole. Why? Primo, France produces more molasses-based rum than from sugarcane juice. Secundo, the term ‘agricultural’ may only be used in the case of a geographical indication of a French Overseas Department or the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Tertio, because of wolves in sheep's clothing. 🐺
Rum in Martinique was once produced the same way as in other colonies: from molasses. The economic changes, those wheels of history, gave rise to rhum agricole. To make a long story short, the causes where manifold: the Haitian Revolution and the abolition of slavery, the birth of the European beet sugar production following the Continental Blockade and numerous production process optimizations as a result of the Industrial Revolution. And so the French Antilles distillers began to produce rum from fresh sugarcane juice, thereby omitting the sugar production stage.
As I have already mentioned, terroir stems from the collective know-how, common to all entities operating according to the specification in a given geographical area. There is no room for secret recipes or mysterious ingredients, because the certification is based on full transparency.
Excellent climatic conditions combined with the volcanic soil bring abundant harvests in Martinique. The main industrial crops are bananas and sugarcane, both of which aren't native to this region. J.M mainly uses the following sugarcane varieties: Roseau (B59.92), Bleue (B 69.566) and Rouge (B64.277) The raw material is harvested in the spring and immediately pressed into juice. Time counts, because as soon as the cane is cut, it loses its sugar content.
French baker's yeast initiates fermentation in open vats, which lasts up to 120 hours. The liquid is distilled in traditional Creole copper columns. The specification defines the maturation age of VSOP - Very Superior Old Pale - for at a minimum of four years. Rhum J.M VSOP aged three years in virgin American oak and another year in re-charred Bourbon barrels. Finally, blending and bottling at 43%.