The second of Glen Moray’s Elgin Curiosity Collection offers up a rum finished Speyside whisky – but as opposed to the much better-known molasses-based spirit – this expressions utilises rhum agricole which is produced from sugarcane juice. The style originated in the French Caribbean – particularly Martinque where there are presently 14 distilleries producing agricole under the AOC designation.
The Project started its life in American oak ex-bourbon casks before being finished for two years in rhum agricole casks from St. James distillery which was founded in 1765 in Saint-Pierre by Reverend Father Edmund Lefebure. If you’re looking for the rhum used to finish this Glen Moray you’ll be able to pick up a bottle of the St James XO blend of 6-10 year old rums for £43.25 from the Whisky Exchange. The Rhum Aricole Project itself consists of 3060 bottles at 46.3% ABV – yours for the sum of £52.95 from the same retailer.
Nose: Fresh and lightly tropical with notes of pineapple cube and foam bananas alongside estery pear drops and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. A buttery biscuit base is joined by stringy caramel whilst dusty vanilla and compact, dried berries sit with desiccated coconut and toasted golden barley. Dilution expresses greater orchard character and brings a grassy note of freshly cut lawn and honeysuckle.
Taste: The underlying texture of the spirit translates well with an arrival of butterscotch and piquant ginger spiced buns that leads into sweet pineapple tempered by sour cherries and lime zest. The backbone is malt-driven with Alpen and toasted breakfast cereals served alongside vanilla-imbued shortbread and singed toffee. Water relaxes the cask influence and spicing adding chopped almonds and candy necklaces.
Finish: Medium in length with ginger and pepperiness leading off, before a fade into oat crackers and orchard fruit salad.
Glen Moray’s sophomore Curiosity bottling ticks the experimental box as one would expect – I’m not presently aware of any other agricole finished Scotch whisky on the market. Lighter in sweetness than many other rum finished whiskies, but without the emblematic vegetalness that you’ll find in many agricole rums, the collaboration works for me, offering a well-balanced, fresh and interesting whisky. That said, I don’t think this will be opening the doors to a sea of agricole imbued single malts – it does remain a curiosity.
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