This is the elephant in the room.
Most of the other styles of rum (if not all) are made from sugarcane by-products, this stuff is made from the sugarcane juice itself. Big difference. Big. Difference.
This rum, called Rhum Agricole, is produced in the French speaking countries in the Caribbean, such as Guadeloupe, Martinique, Haiti and Marie Galante . Sugarcane is harvested and pressed to get the juice, and unlike molasses or cane “honey” it doesn’t keep well. Once the juice is pressed it has to be turned into rum quite quickly and because of this Agricoles tend to be made seasonally, around the sugarcane harvests – it can be hard to get outside of these times if there is demand because it’s not produced all year round. They are often aged in limousin casks (the type of cask used to mature Cognac or Armagnac). Due to the expensive cask types and the limited production, Agricoles are often quite pricey when compared to molasses based rums.
Agricoles do not allow additives (as far as I’m aware) and are different to molasses based rums as they have a grassy, dry and herbal, almost vegetal taste. If you’re not expecting the taste it can be quite odd.
Examples of Cane Juice rums are;
La Mauny, Barbancourt, Bellevue, Bielle, Clément, Damoiseau and Trois Rivières.