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Cane credentials

Lush and herbaceous sugarcane-juice-based rums

These are rums – but perhaps not as you know them. Much rum is made with molasses as the raw ingredient, with a mere 3% produced from raw sugarcane juice.

The lesser-known, centuries old practice which originated in the French West Indies is an exceptional example of terroir in spirits.

Today, Martinique might be the home of Rhum Agricole but sugarcane-juice-based spirits can, thankfully, come from anywhere in the world – and they do.

This selection of sugarcane-juice-based rums from Thailand, Brazil, Portugal and the Caribbean, is lush, green and herbaceous.

0 TBRC: Engenhos do Norte (Madeira), Batch 1, 7yo (48.8%) Engenhos do Norte Madeira  Portugal Rum

N.V. TBRC: Engenhos do Norte (Madeira), Batch 1, 7yo (48.8%)

Engenhos do Norte

flagMadeira / Portugal
White

Madeira was famous for sugar production in the 15th and 16th centuries. While today few rum distilleries remain on the island, the few that do produce some fantastic spirits. This one comes from Engenhos do Norte (or North Distillery) and is made in an unusual way – with unleavened dough kickstarting the fermentation of the sugarcane juice. It’s distilled in a tall Barbet copper column still and matured in French oak. A veritable tropical fruit bowl, from the very outset the nose is defined by pink grapefruit freshness and vivid mango. Earthy vanilla pod notes add promising depth. The palate continues the vanilla theme, while adding poached pears and peaches, along with an apple crumble-like dimension, all wrapped in a lip-smackingly round texture. A gentle heat lifts the finish as the fruit dries out to become a little Christmassy.

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50cl-0 Immediate | 118 MarketplaceDuty Paid£33.00

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0 TBRC: Issan Rum (Thailand), Batch 1 (40%) Issan Rum   Thailand Rum

N.V. TBRC: Issan Rum (Thailand), Batch 1 (40%)

Issan Rum

flag Thailand
White

Surely a must-try for rum lovers: sugarcane is native to Thailand, so it’s no surprise the country makes some excellent rums. This Issan bottling is made with one variety of red sugarcane, harvested in 2014/15. The sugarcane was hand-peeled, crushed and then fermented for three days. Pot-distilled in 2015, the rum spent 35 months in stainless steel – preserving the purity of flavour – before being bottled in 2018. It is fresh, vibrant, and aromatic, the Issan nose opens with a riot of green notes: herbaceous rocket leaf, cut grass, and olives, complemented by suggestions of hedgerow fruits. The palate builds on this complexity, with vanilla and salted caramel developing the sweeter theme, while sweetcorn and asparagus evolve the vegetal narrative, all within a lively mouthfeel. A return to blackberry and raspberry, the finish showcases a more floral side to this incredibly complex rum.

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50cl-0 Immediate | 120 MarketplaceDuty Paid£32.00

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0 TBRC: Novo Fogo (Brazil), Batch 1, 3yo (41.2%) Novo Fogo   Brazil Rum

N.V. TBRC: Novo Fogo (Brazil), Batch 1, 3yo (41.2%)

Novo Fogo

flag Brazil
White

Cachaça – Brazil’s national spirit – is similar to Rhum Agricole, however the sugarcane juice is fermented first. This example comes from a can’t-be-revealed distillery in the south of Brazil – zero-waste and certified organic. A blend of amburana casks and ex-Bourbon casks, a richly pronounced nose opens with a surprising earthiness; pine needles bringing an immediate aromatic quaility to this rum, before the more expected caramel and liquorice spice notes emerge. Blackcurrant jam on toast sets the tone for the palate along with a zip of fresh mango, while cardamom provides depth and complexity. The bold, almost viscous mouthfeel develops into a generous finish, led by a sticky honey, made less saccharine by an intense, almost oud-like spice.

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50cl-0 Immediate | 118 MarketplaceDuty Paid£34.00

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0 TBRC: O Reizinho (Madeira), Batch 1, 3yo (52.6%) O Reizinho Madeira  Portugal Rum

N.V. TBRC: O Reizinho (Madeira), Batch 1, 3yo (52.6%)

O Reizinho

flagMadeira / Portugal
White

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Madeira was a major player in the sugar trade – and therefore produced rum. Its Agricola da Madeira, or Agricole Rhum, is lesser known today but still has protected status. All the sugarcane is hand-harvested. This bottling comes from a tiny family operation, who season the canes for up to give days before fermenting it for three to four days. The juicy is then distilled in a twin chamber steam injection pot still rarely used elsewhere, then matured in French oak casks that previously held Madeira. The result is an unapologetically funky sugarcane juice rum, which opens on the nose with a stampede of overripe banana, barbequed pineapple, a pungent earthiness and briny olive, tamed slightly by the treacle quality from the cask influence. The riotous palate is strikingly bold in texture and flavour: dried seaweed and green olive the backdrop for dates, figs, sultanas and a chilli-chocolate, all lavished with salted butter. A nuttiness defines the finish, along with salted peanuts and petrichor. Fabulously good fun.

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50cl-0 Immediate | 118 MarketplaceDuty Paid£35.00

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0 Saint James 250th Anniversary Decanter 43% Saint James   Martinique Rum

N.V. Saint James 250th Anniversary Decanter 43%

Saint James

flag Martinique
White

Based on the east coast of Martinique, Saint James has been producing Rhum Agricole since 1765. This special blend was released to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the distillery. It’s a blend of six of the company’s finest vintages – 1885, 1934, 1952, 1976, 1998 and 2000. This is a remarkable aged Rhum Agricole. Only 800 bottles were made.

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70cl-2 Immediate | 0 Marketplace£807.00

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1963 J.Bally Rhum 45% Bally   Martinique Rum

1963 J.Bally Rhum 45%

Bally

flag Martinique
Red

This rare and exquisite Rhum Agricole comes from one of the oldest distilleries in Martinique. J. Bally takes its name from its founder Jacques Bally, who established the distillery in 1917 after buying a sugar plantation on Martinique. Inspired by eaux-de-vie, he set about distilling fresh sugarcane juice (rather than fermented juice or molasses) to produce pure Rhum Agricole. Soon he started ageing the rums in barrel. This cask-aged Rhum Agricole was distilled in 1963, prior to the original distillery’s closure (in 1989). This very aged Rhum is column distilled and light in texture, with the pronounced vegetal earthiness adored by Agricole fans.

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Bts
  1. LA
    Label: Slightly Bin Soiled
1 Immediate | 0 Marketplace£706.00

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1929 J.Bally Rhum 45% Bally   Martinique Rum

1929 J.Bally Rhum 45%

Bally

flag Martinique
Red

This cask-aged Rhum Agricole was distilled in 1929 and is one of the early bottlings from J. Bally – one of Martinique’s most famous distilleries. J. Bally takes its name from its founder Jacques Bally, who established the distillery in 1917 after buying a sugar plantation on Martinique. Inspired by eaux-de-vie, he set about distilling fresh sugarcane juice (rather than fermented juice or molasses) to produce pure Rhum Agricole. Soon he started ageing the rums in barrel. The original distillery was closed in 1989, however rums are still produced under the brand name at Domaine du Simon.

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Bts-1 Immediate | 0 Marketplace£3,328.00

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