Rhum J.M Cuvée du Fondateur

Rhum J.M CdF-RG1Alt1

Product of:  Martinique
Aged:  blend of rhums, the youngest aged 10 years
Price: €60 (~$US77) 
 45% ABV 
Sugar: 0g/L
Context:  Rhum Vieux Agricole
RG Rating: 10

Tasting Notes
Rhum J.M Cuvée du Fondateur is a showoff; the gorgeous polished copper colored rhum shines just as bright in the tasting glass as it does in the thin bottle.  After swirling, legs take their sweet time to form, and each one of many takes its individual turn to drip languorously down he sides of a tasting glass.

Rhum J.M CdF Cap-RG1

Open the substantial perfume shaped bottle and scents of distilled caramelized sugarcane with oaken vanilla emerge in a subtle bouquet. Ahh, atop the bouquet is Rhum J,M’s signature mildly sweet start anise aroma, more subtle in this expression than many of the domaine’s, but there all the same.  Then you find caramel, rosemary flower honey, oak, buttery chocolate croissant pastry, every scent so well integrated you imagine eating.  But in the mouth, that first sip tastes even more divine.  A medium-heavy body delivers all that the aromas hinted, but at a heightened sensory level.  The caramel, buttery pastry and chocolate balance the woody anise, before introducing mild white pepper and smoke in the sublime finish.

J.M was founded in 1845 by Jean-Marie Martin, and remains independent today as the last single domaine rhummerie on Martinique.  Fresh sugarcane is grown near to the distillery on the sloping hills on Eastern (Atlantic) side of Mount Pelee, and crushed within mere hours or minutes of harvesting. Open top fermentation of the sweet diluted vesou os performed in stainless steel tanks using beverage grade baker’s yeast.  Allowing about 36 hours for the yeast ot covert sugar to alcohol, before distilling in one pass through a column still.  The estate grown cane is a critical ingredient in J.M’s flavor, but the magic in the cane is nurtured in used bourbon barrels nestled quietly inside their aging warehouse.  Step inside, and in one breath and you’ll begin to get a sense of why rhum J.M is so special.  Click here for a photo tour of the distillery, and see a short video about Rhum J.M, here. 

Rhum J.M CdF-JM1-ALT2

Rhum J.M Cuvée du Fondateur Vintage is excruciatingly elegant, almost too pretty to crack open the elliptical perfume shaped bottle, and I wonder if I’m worthy to sample a rhum dedicated to a truly great distiller.  The photos of the bottle don’t do it justice, the gold lettering, hefty flared cap topping an extra wide natural cork, ballasted by an inch thick glass base.  It’s simple yet reverent.

To earn a rating of 10 at the Rum Gallery, a rum has to take me to a place of tasting nirvana, transcending my evaluative mind and transporting me to a heightened plane of taste that precious few rums ever manage.  Rums that earn a 10 exceed  quantitative measures and achieve qualitative perfection.  Rhum J.M’s Cuvée du Fondateur is such a rhum, and I’d expect nothing less from this incredible distillery in paying homage to their founder.  Merci. Je ne suis pas digne, mais reconnaissant.

It is as impossible to express the magnificence of Rhum J.M Cuvée du Fondateur (the rhum)  as it is to display the beauty of it's gold lettered bottle  Please enjoy multiple views.

Reviewed:  March 2013 on Martinique and again in September 2014 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017