Traditional Agricole Rum: From a traditional column still from cane juice.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 51-2% ABV @ 20°
A favourite rum producing region of mine is Madeira – one of the few areas in the world that officially can call its output “Agricole.” The “Autonomous Region of Madeira” has a specific Indicação Geográfica Protegida (IGP – Protected Geographical Indication), the likes of which Martinique and Jamaica have and that Barbados is aspiring towards, which guarantees that the rums from such regions meet specific standards and requirements, thus guaranteeing that what you are paying for is legitimate.
I visited the beautiful island of Madeira last year (2019) and went to two of the distilleries, including the Engenhos do Norte, where various rums are distilled – North, Zarco, 970 and 980 being the main ones.
I previously reviewed Rum Agricola Da Madeira: 970 Single Cask Edition, which was aged in French oak casks.
Rum 970 is distilled in a traditional French Barbet column still. As an aside, the 970 name comes from the rum having first been distilled in 1970, so the brand is 50 years old (2020).
The variant I am writing about today is the rare and highly sought after “Madeira Cask Finish.” This has an overall ageing of “around six years”, three of which are in first fill oak casks followed by a “finish” of “around three years” in ex-Madeira wine casks. There is no official age statement.
Rum 970: Madeira Wine Cask Finish Traditional Agricole Rum:
From a traditional column still from cane juice.
The bottle looks like a Velier offering (it isn’t), with opaque black glass and a tapered shape. It features a natural cork enclosure.
The labels have lots of great information on them.
The front label shows:
- The total amount distilled: 428.4l
- Number of bottles: 612
- Cask Strength: 51.7%
- Distillation Year: 2012
- Bottling Year: 2018
- Batch No: L19118
The Rear Label has my bottle number (127), some info about the rum’s production and ageing plus some tasting notes.
The rum is a medium amber in my glass with small dotted legs and fast tears. The aroma is old, like musty grapes that are a bit past their best – I think this is the Madeira influence as I find some old Madeira wines can have a similar aroma. There is dusty old oak, nutmeg, eucalyptus and honey, followed by bananas and a fruity combination of raisins and figs reminiscent of Christmas pudding or a rich alcohol-infused fruit cake.
Taste, Initial-middle 36/40
The entry has sweet caramel, orange peel, dried apricots and raisins soaked in Madeira wine. Towards the mid-palate, some oak develops and there is an additional build of of tropical and dried caramelised fruits.
Taste, Middle/Throat 36/40
More and more caramelised fruits are joined by tinned peaches around the mid-palate. Followed by nutmeg, white pepper and caramel. Towards the rear of the palate and after multiple tastings, the pepperiness grows but this balances the fruits and a sticky mouthfeel that develops.
There is a medium length finish that tastes like a Madeira wine presented at 40% ABV or so. More pepper in the throat, a touch of grassiness in the background and some dried oak.
Once again, Madeira agricole rum does not disappoint. Most people associate Madeira with fortified wines, which are superb products. But the lesser known and some might say, Madeira’s best kept secret, is their rum. All from cane juice, natural without additives and distilled using traditional methods, in this case, a column still.
I always enjoy the Rum Agricola Da Madeira: 970 Single Cask Edition, of which several unique casks are bottled each year, but this Madeira cask finish edition is a big step up – absolutely superb stuff. I am finding more and more, that “finishes” in different cask types bring something new and interesting to the rum table.
If you see a bottle of this for sale, buy it, you will not regret it! And keep an eye out for the regular single cask editions of Rum 970, too.
Cane juice agricole rum, distilled traditionally, aged in different cask types for six years without any additives and presented at a warming 51.7% ABV. Great stuff and well worth the £100 I paid for a bottle.
Review No. 149
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn/Finish Out of 7