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Rhum J.M. VO

Review: Rhum J.M. V.O    (85/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra
January 8, 2021

Rhum J.M. is located in the village of Macouba, in the northern part of Martinique. The facility sits at the base of iconic volcano Mt. Pelée.  The company produces AOC Rhum Agricole from estate-grown sugarcane, and is said to be the first recorded distillery to produce Rhum Agricole.

The word “rhum” is the French spelling for our English word “rum”. However, the differences between Rhum and Rum are often much deeper than just a twist in spelling. This is because the traditions of making rhum in the French West Indies differs from the traditions of rum production in the rest of the Caribbean. The major difference in the production of Agricole Rum is that it is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice rather than fermented molasses. As well Rhum Agricole is usually single distilled to 70 per cent abv., and then brought to bottling proof after it is aged.

Rhum J.M. V.O has been aged in toasted new American oak for 3 years. It is bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle 4.5/5

Rhum J.M. V.O  is sold in the stubby long necked green bottle shown to the left. I like this style of bottle as it has a low center of gravity for stability, and the long neck makes pouring without spilling easy. The green colour of the bottle is said to protect the spirit from deleterious effects of light, although it also hides the colour of the spirit which is sometimes a determining factor for the person making a purchase decision. (It shouldn’t be a factor, but we all know that it is.)

The label on the bottle could perhaps use a bit of sprucing up as it is beginning to look dated and I would prefer if a more clear age statement were upon the label. Although the website tells us the spirit is 3 years old. That expression V.O lends itself to misinterpretation.

(Note: I can find no legal basis for the V.O designation, in terms of rum it seems to have no legitimate meaning.)

In The Glass  8.5/10

Colour: Vibrant Amber

Legs: Thick(ish) legs which amble down the inside of my glass.

Nose: Richer and more developed than I would expect from a 3 Year Old Spirit with enticing maple and caramel combined with with leathery oak, vanilla and almond. Hints of cinnamon and touches of wood sap complete the nose.

In The Mouth 51/60

A light caramel sweetness with hints of maple combine with leathery oak and a light herbal grassiness that has a very mild mint-like or maybe I should say menthol quality. Vanilla and light baking spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) add a little depth to the dram. A mild impression of praline completes the flavour profile which is very pleasant to sip. This is not off the charts complex, but it is very impressive given the relative youth of the rum.

There is just a little heat, and so I contented myself with a touch of ice in the glass.

In The Throat 12.5/15

The finish is somewhat leathery and somewhat grassy with light butterscotch acting as a foil again each impression. It’s nice, although relatively short and there is a little heat in the finish. This is the first time the young age of the dram has revealed itself.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

In a word, pleasant. The dram displays more balance and complexity that one would expect in a spirit of this age and is suitable for sipping with ice or mixing in cocktails.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rhum Reviews.


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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