J.M Rhum’s new range of rhum agricole is inspired by Martinique’s active volcano

The Atelier Range by J.M Rhum is a trio of rhums created by master blender Karine Lassalle

If you’re a rum drinker, you’re certainly familiar with some of the best expressions from brands like Mount Gay, Appleton Estate, and Foursquare. But have you tried rhum agricole before? There are only a few countries that produce this specific style, including the French island of Martinique—and one of the island’s oldest producers just launched a trio of rhums showcasing differences in terroir.

While rum is mostly made from molasses, rhum agricole is produced using sugarcane juice. This style is found in countries like Haiti, Guadeloupe, Mauritius, and, as mentioned before, the island of Martinique. Rhum J.M. has been around since 1845, and is one of the best known rhum agricole producers there with a range of un-aged and aged expressions available. The Atelier Range is the latest release from the distillery, a trio of rhums aged from one to three years created by master blender Karine Lassalle. The goal was to highlight three key components of the Martinique terroir by using barrels made at the onsite cooperage to showcase different flavours through wood, char levels, and blending.

“Creating the Atelier range was an interesting challenge, one which allowed me to use our agricultural rhums as a canvas and develop new flavors and aromas through experimentation with various toast levels and treatments of oak,” said Lassalle in a statement. “I have been blessed to have the inspiration of the volcano, the rainforest, wild chocolate, and spices from our estate, banana fields, tropical flowers, and sugarcane fields that have helped me create these characteristics from our local terroir.”

The first rhum is Fumée Volcanique (Volcanic Smoke), aged from 12 to 14 months in heavily charred bourbon barrels to reveal smoky notes that complement the rhum’s earthy and citrus-forward character. Second is Épices Créoles (Creole Spice), aged for at least three years in French and American oak barrels of various sizes with different char levels to bring out spicy notes from the wood, along with cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg flavors. Last up is Jardin Fruité (Fruit Garden), aged for two years in French and American oak barrels to reveal fruit notes backed up by vanilla, spice, and honey.

Each expression has an SRP of US$40, and is available to purchase from the Rhum J.M. website.

Rhum J.M

This story was first published on Robb Report USA