We travel now to the island of Martinique, an overseas region of France, where rhum agricole is all the rage. It is an offshoot of commercial rum and values the freshness of its ingredients above all else. Controlled heavily by the French government, rhum agricole is made from a single ingredient and doesn’t contain molasses or other additives like most mass-produced rum. Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc is a prime example of the liquor, exhibiting complex, floral flavors and a dynamically earthy taste. Extra points if you attempt Martinique’s local cocktail, the Ti’Punch, a mix of rhum, sugarcane syrup and freshly squeezed lime juice.
With a name like that, the rum has to be interesting. Luckily, it is. Released by Maison Ferrand, the French producer of numerous liquors, the rum is named after Reverend Stiggins, a character in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers whose favorite drink was “pineapple rum.” The pineapple fruit is infused in Plantation Original Dark rum, which is then blended with a pineapple-infused Plantation 3 Star rum distillate. The result is a rich pineapple bouquet with a hint of clove adored by bartenders the world over.
Apparently there is more than one kind (and color) of sugarcane – who knew? – and the one used in our final entrant may be harder to farm, but it’s worth it in the end. Bologne Distillery is the last in Guadalupe to cultivate black sugar cane, which, when fermented and distilled, has a much more concentrated palate than your average rum with hints of banana, pineapple, mango, pear and citrus. This yield is a limited edition with only 10,000 bottles produced, so get yours while you can!