Rhum agricole is kind of rum mostly (but not only) produced in the French speaking islands of the West Indies (Martinique, Guadeloupe) or the Indian Ocean (Reunion).
Main differences between rhum agricole and other rum kinds (also called in French: traditionnels or industriels) is in the raw materials fermented to produce alcohol:
- For rhum agricole, fresh sugar cane juice is fermented into an alcohol solution;
- For other rums, the sugared solution to be fermented is mostly made of watered molasses.
This specificity in raw material gives rhum a wider bouquet. This is especially the case for white rum (rhum blanc) as in older rums barrel aging tends to smooth down the differences. Fresh sugarcane juice being so prone to oxidation, a rhum agricole distillery can only produce rhum from locally sourced canes. Rhums agricoles have hence a terroir personality. Molasse based rums, on the contrary, can be produced far away from fields. Most of molasses used to produce rum are sourced from Brazil, no matter where the distillery might be.