Saint James Royal Amber Rum
From the town of Saint Marie (since 1973) in Martinique, Saint James Royal Amber Rum is one of the rare agricoles that have been made available in Ontario. Rum agricole is produced using pure, fresh cane juice which is fermented into a distillers wine before being distilled through a continuous column still.
Saint James Royal Amber Rum has achieved the AOC markings for a Martinique rum. This means that all sugar cane is produced, ground, and pressed on island; no additional syrup or molasses is allowed. The final product must contain a minimal amount of added sugar. This particular product is aged for 18 to 24 months making it a younger rum.
A fairly plain bottle design is improved by the custom markings protruding from the glass. The screw top is still a cheap presentation but appropriate for the price bracket of this product. Once in the glass it is a slightly above pale amber.
This rum solidified in my mind the reasons for multiple tasting sessions before creating these reviews. On first go-around Saint James Royal Amber Rum came off very pungent with a solvent dominating the flavour profile. On subsequent tastings while it was still present, it was no longer the dominant profile.
Sweet orange peel shows its face as the first whiff you get from the glass. As you dig deeper you find sour grapes, and a diverse vegetal flavour that could best be described as decomposing wet leaves. Throughout a hint of nail polish remover stays with you leaving the experience wanting.
The nose may have reduced the solvent scent that was present on subsequent tastings but on the palate it stayed strong and prominent. Unlike Armagnac, this harshness doesn’t seem to be used to expand the flavour profile - rather I personally found it to be nothing but distracting. Attempting to put that behind me I found hints of grass, raw adult spinach, and oak. A strong spice of black pepper and jalapenos closes this one out as the most dominant flavour outside the solvents.
A very long finish. This one will stay with you for some time. It is a very plain, fading spice that slowly morphs into a soft vegetal flavour stuck to your tongue.
As you can probably tell from above, this is not to my taste. I am not a huge fan of the powerful spices or astringent scents/flavours that seem to permeate throughout this spirit.
I can see a lot of potential in this despite its (in my personal opinion) flaws. I am very interested in finding the older members of the line up which are aged 7, 12, and 15 years respectively.
I added two small ice cubes and found that the nose essentially disappeared. It became faint, but the dominant scents remained - only losing out on the already weak scents. The palate on the other hand lost one of its largest defining features; the spice is completely gone. This left the drink with very little to compete with the solvent causing it to be nigh undrinkable.
Product: Saint James Royal Amber Rum
Aroma: Sour grapes, orange peel, oils, nail polish remover, wet leaves, oak, sweetness, caramel.
Flavour Intensity: Light-Medium
Flavour Characteristics: Grassy, raw adult spinach, strong spice (black pepper and jalapeno), oak, light caramel, oily pungent tails.
Complexity: Some Complexity
Quality: Good to Very-Good
Reasoning: Complexity and length
Style: Rum Agricole