I take a sip of the Rhum Saint James and I am instantly in Martinique.
Therein lies the transportive power of rum, a, transcendent gift bequeathed to no other spirit in the world.
There’s just something about rum, about Caribbean rum, about how it can take you away, even if for just a delightful, prolonged moment.
There is of course a romantic quality about the rhum agricole of Martinique, about the dozen-odd distilleries that dot the French Caribbean island, some of just a few rums in the Caribbean that truly have a terroir.
It’s something we’ve long said in these pages: when you try the agricole rums of the island you can truly taste Martinique.
And my one-way ticket to Martinique on this night was in revisiting an old standard: the Rhum Saint James Tres Vieux Millesime 2000, one picked up years ago at Aime Cesaire Airport.
This, Saint James says, is the result of the brand’s first harvest in Martinique in the new millennium, aged in small casks.
The 43-degree rum has a slightly dark amber color, with an aroma of butterscotch and cane stalk.
It’s marked by flavors of caramel, marzipan, with a hint of pepper and spice and an edge of anise.
It’s been years since I tried it, when I remembered it as something far smokier; now, uncorked for half a decade, it’s more mellow, rounder.
But it’s still the essence of Rhum Saint James: fine, elevated, and, most importantly, endlessly elegant.
With each sip Martinique whispers, taps, lightly plays at the senses.
This glass of rum transports you to the waving canes and the volcanoes, the sands, the ti’ punch rituals of the late morning, the bakeries of Fort-de-France, the banana fields on the eastern coast.
In these uneasy times, there is great comfort to be found in a brief sugarcane-fueled vacation to the Caribbean.
Rum Journal Review