Rhum J.M is shows clear in its traditional bottle, and once in a fine crystal tasting glass it appears to shine like polished silver. In my cognac glass, hundreds of thin legs formed about two millimeters apart from one another. Sniffing reveals a vegetal bouquet of fresh cut sugarcane and sweet juice. Close your eyes and J.M blanc transports you to Martinique and their cane crusher. Less subtle fermentation odors characteristic of rhums agricole support the brighter fresh sugarcane scents, and finally a subtle aroma reminiscent of buttery, flaky French pastry baked with mild cheese appears. The aromas give way immediately to a slight ethanol sweetness upon initial taste, tempered by mild white pepper and the right amount of star anise flavor. A creamy texture is a pleasant surprise in medium weight body. You’ll feel some minor burn in the throat during the finish, as expected (and perhaps, desired) from 50% ABV, a sweetness on the tongue and a slightly smoky star anise flavor lingering in the throat. Add several drops of water to your tasting glass and the aromas open up with the flavors and vice versa, integrating the rhum’s different elements. Overall, from sniff to sip to swallow, Rhum J.M Blanc delivers the perfect classic agricole blanc experience.
Rhum J.M is the smallest distiller on Martinique. It carries a certain mystique and is regarded with reverence amongst Martinique residents. The current owners are fifth generation heirs of the Crassous de Medeuil, and maintain the unique ness of their rhum despite the sizable investment made by Rhum Clément in 2004. The Rhum J.M estate sits away from Martinique’s other distilleries on the island’s northeast side. The humid climate of J.M’s location at the foot of Mount Pelée, which is frequently overcast, often allows a later sugarcane harvest than other distilleries, contributing their rhum’s unique character. Per strict AOC specifications, only fresh pressed cane juice is fermented, then distilled in one pass through a copper column still. The rich distillate is stored in stainless steel tanks for a month or more, before maturing in small new American oak casks.
To see an inspiring video of Martinique culture and the Rhum J.M Distillery, click here: Martinique: Distileation - YouTube
Perhaps their rhums are not as well recognized in the USA as they deserve, but like a shy hero, Habitation J.M is making a positive impression on America’s spirits palate. I am continually rewarded by the distinguished way J.M Blanc performs in any experimental cocktail I throw at it it. Frankly, J.M Blanc is a crutch for my poor mixicology skills. Whether the cocktail du jour is a nouveau flavored punch, or a 50/50 rhum/ron Daiquiri or simply sipping on ice, J.M Blanc is one of Rum Gallery’s go-to choices. But it’s in the classic ‘Ti Punch where J.M Blanc truly shines. A tiny amount of sirop de canne, a slender coin of lime peel and ice are all the accompaniment 1.5oz of J.M Blanc requires to perfectly harmonize its creamy texture and mild anise. Voila!
Reviewed: February 2013 at the Rum Gallery, USA.