The most awarded rum brand in the world in 2016 and 2017 is now rolling out in the United States. Martinique rhum agricole producer Trois Rivières is being launched throughout the U.S. by Houston-based importer and brand builder BCI.
The centuries-old brand was founded in 1660, making it Martinique's oldest producer of sugar and cane-based spirits. Trois Rivières (Three Rivers) is named for the Bois d'Inde, Oman and St. Pierre, the three rivers bordering the land that overlooks the Caribbean Sea.
Trois Rivières VSOP Réserve Spéciale won the 2018 Rum Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition, meaning it was named the best rum in the world. However, being awarded the highly coveted Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée Martinique Rhum Agricole in 1996 is arguably the brand's most incredible achievement given how few boast this designation.
The brand's rhums are produced using freshly pressed juice from its estate-grown sugar cane in a single 22-level copper column still. Every rhum produced by Trois Rivières is aged for at least three years in oak casks. Due to the incredibly warm climate, the final products are close to Cognac or well-aged whiskey. Trois Rivières doesn't use molasses or other flavoring agents.
Five expressions are available now in the United States.
Blanc (50% ABV)
A strong, white column still rum, perfect for the traditional Ti’ Punch (see end of post for recipe). Surprisingly clean and well-balanced, this rum is incredibly aromatic. About as far removed from a dark, heavy rum as you could wish to find, this is clean, elegant and fresh.
Nose: Clean and elegant, with a lovely waft of citrus and stone fruit. Punchy but refreshing.
Palate: The zingy citrus notes continue on to the palate, joined by freshly cut grass, ginger and lemongrass. Very refreshing.
Finish: Long and clean.
Ambré (40% ABV)
A smooth, vibrant and fruity golden rum aged for a short period (12-18 months) in American oak barrels. These few months maturing in oak confers this rum its superb bright golden colour and develops its particularly mellow flavours. The nose is more savoury than expected, with lots of weight, but the palate gives us exactly what we want: a rich and well-rounded rum, with spice, sweetness and fruit. Trois Rivières Ambré is an excellent sipping rum, but can equally be enjoyed on the rocks or mixed.
Nose: Rich with weighty notes right from the start. Savoury dried fruit—shriveled raisins and dried prunes, warm leather and sharp woody spice, clove and mace—is complimented by sharp green apple and nectarine, with some sweeter fruity notes behind, like sultanas and figs.
Palate: Light at first, but with a thick mouthfeel and weighty body. The sharp apple from the nose is joined by sweet and sour apricot, and bitter stones. Waves of brown sugar then roll in to provide a balanced sweetness, with nutmeg spiced baked apple and green leaves following.
Finish: Sweet and sour fruit, fading to green leaves and soft spice.
VSOP Réserve Spéciale (40% ABV)
Among the Trois Rivières rum collection, VSOP Réserve Spéciale is especially appealing. Though faithful to the Trois Rivières style, the perfect smoothness and delicate fullness of this rum make it outstanding. Trois Rivières VSOP is the result of a harmonious blend of rums aged for an average of 5 years. A sweet and fruity nose contrasts with an earthy and spicy palate: complex and worth careful consideration. This can be enjoyed neat or is delicious in an Old Fashioned.
Nose: Sweet and fruity, with a rustic agricole note hiding underneath. Apples, pears, sharp grapes, rhubarb and custard sweets, and Refresher chews sit with spiced sponge cake batter and toffee sauce.
Palate: Sweet fruit and spicy oak lead the palate, with spice developing further and the fruit becoming sour apple and sharp grape. Cinnamon sugar and chocolate notes grow, providing balance and extra earthy spice.
Finish: Woody spice fades to licorice, anise and soft orchard fruit.
Cuvée du Moulin (40% ABV)
A blend of rums carefully matured for over three years in ex-Cognac and ex-Bourbon casks. Delightfully full flavored and spicy, but with a fruity core that keeps everything fresh. This is an excellent introduction to those who wish to discover the qualities of an excellent “rhum vieux agricole.” To be sipped neat or mixed in cocktails, this is a young rum with an impressively complex character for its age.
Nose: Spicy and woody initially, with aromas of black pepper and toasty oak as well as leather books and sweet spice.
Palate: Leather and fruit are the predominant notes on the palate, with spicy oak and stewed apples. Clean and refined.
Finish: Rich and spicy, with the perfumed oak taking hold.
Cuvee de L'Ocean (40% ABV)
Made using sugar cane grown in the south of Martinique next to the Atlantic Ocean. The result is a maritime rum, with hints of sea spray added to the classic agricole notes of grass and sweet fruit. A complex and zesty agricole, with briny seashore notes, minerality, grassiness and classic fruity sweetness. This works especially well in a Daiquiri.
Nose: Coastal grass, sea spray and coal-like bitterness. Sweet notes of fruit develop, with a buttery backbone and liquorice hints. Soft spice and lemon zest provide support.
Palate: Light, sweet and very green—freshly chopped sugar cane, mowed grass and stacked straw. Earthy and woody notes appear, with seaside pebbles sat alongside freshly stripped twigs. Rich, warm and sweet notes of dark sugar slowly develop underneath.
Finish: A wave of sugar syrup is followed by phenolic notes, brine and hints of smoke. Green and grassy notes develop, with stony minerality and a touch of earthy spice. Spice lingers.
Trois Rivières Blanc, Trois Rivières Ambré, Trois Rivières Cuvée du Moulin, Trois Rivières VSOP Réserve Spéciale, and Trois Rivières Cuvèe de L’Ocèan are available for a suggested retail price of $32.99-$64.99. Tasting notes provided by Trois Rivières.
Cocktail and image courtesy of Trois Rivières
- 50ml Trois Rivieres Blanc
- 1 Chopped lime
- 2/3 barspoons Sugar
Build in a high ball glass over cubed ice. Add the rum first, then the lime and sugar, muddle stirring as you go.