What is it? Rum made from cane juice (Agricole) and distilled in a single column still at the Bellevue distillery on the island of Guadeloupe. Distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2015 by independent bottlers WM Cadenhead, so 17 years old. Marked “GMBV” on the bottle.
Natural colour, not chill-filtered, 54.3% abv
Sugar? Nah. No way.
Nose: Fresh cane juice, slight tar and menthol. Flowers, oak, some herbs (Rosemary). Dry, nose tickling and even some dry soil dust that’s blown up in your nose on a windy day. A Little cut grass and the fainted background of light honey and wood spices like cinnamon…..but way off over there somewhere.
Palate: Medium mouth-feel, dry and almost sour delivery. Quite a lot of liquorice, tar, petrol. Herbal, medicinal, mint, some lavender and parma violet sweets. There’s a fair fruity side too with lemons, sour oranges, a dried banana slice or 2 but it’s not a sweet fruit it’s a tangy and zippy fruit.
Finish: Very, very long, goes on for ages. Still phenolic and liquorice but sweetens more with some thin honey, and a little oaky spice. The sweetness is a funny herbal sweetness that’s hard to put your finger on, there’s some clove and mixed peel but also herbs like cardamom, ginger and even some juniper. Vermouth. That’s it! It’s like a sweet Vermouth on the finish. Oh, and menthol, quite a bit of that too.
Thoughts? My first Agricole, and nearly knocked me over. Certainly an acquired taste; when I first opened the bottle it was a lot to take in, my senses were pulled all over the place. At first I liked the nose but not the palate, then with more I liked the palate but went off the nose. By halfway through the bottle I was getting it and liked both. There is a balance issue between the nose and palate, it doesn’t sound like it so much in these notes but the nose and palate are both very dominant and as a result my palate wasn’t ready after nosing, it was a bit off to one side. I’d say it needed more fruit on the nose, less dusty herbs and it’d mesh together lovely. I wouldn’t buy this particular bottle again as it was a bit full on, but I did enjoy it and found it very “good”. Guess I need to get a bit more practice in on the Agricoles!