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Barbary Coast Rhum Agricole
About Barbary Coast Rhum Agricole
This bottle of Barbary Coast Rhum Agricole is produced by Raff Distillerie, located in San Francisco. Founded in 2011, this Distillery was originally located on Treasure Island off of the coast and relocated to the Bayview district in 2018. Privately owned by a small group of 3 partners, this distillery produces Rhum as well as Whisky, Gin, and Absinthe.
The brand itself is named after the historic Barbary Coast district of SF – home to many a dance hall, saloon, and brothel back in the late 1800’s. Through it’s branding, Barbary Coast Rhum Agricole attempts to capture that lawless spirit.
This particular Rhum is produced from evaporated sugar cane juice that is imported from Columbia, unlike traditional Rhum Agricoles which use freshly pressed sugar cane juice in a time-sensitive process. It is distilled in a 220 gallon hybrid still, and not aged prior to distribution.
❖ ABV: 50%
❖ Distillery: Raff Distillerie
❖ Aging: N/A
❖ Price Point: Lower mid price range
My Tasting notes
When I took my first whiff, I could smell the strong alcohol immediately. There is also a hint of sugar. Making out this sugar note was interesting because it had a nice depth to it. It was almost as if I was smelling the texture of sugar crystals as well as the aroma.
As I took a sip, I noticed the rum was strong but not as biting as I was honestly expecting. That is – until the aftertaste kicked in! Overall, that first sip had a smooth start, but a warm and explosive finish. In my second sip, the earthiness and grass notes came out strong. I must admit – these notes sound like they should be unpleasant, but I found them to be surprisingly palatable. My third sip was very sugar-forward. I could immediately taste the notes of sugar crystal, with the earth and grass notes following shortly after. My next few sips were similar to this third sip, with the alcoholic warmth and tingle slowly building in my mouth.
What I found particularly interesting about tasting this rum was the sense of time embedded in the flavors. Though the flavor notes are strong, they arrive on the taste buds so slowly that it feels like everything is happening in slow-motion. It gave me time to appreciate the complex flavors in real time, rather than simply reflecting on the flavors after each sip. It was a strangely meditative experience.
For my cocktail, I chose the Agricole Rum Punch.
I wanted to make something that really captures the Agricole spirit – but at the same time stay away from the most traditional drinks until I get my hands on a bottle of Martinique-made rhum. I think this punch recipe strikes the perfect balance, and is a great choice for a beautiful, sunny day!
AGRICOLE RUM PUNCH
❖ 2 oz Rhum Agricole
❖ 1 oz lime juice
❖ 3/4 oz simple syrup
❖ 1/4 oz Allspice Liqueur (I used St. Elizabeth)
❖ optional garnish: ground nutmeg
- Add the ingredients to a shaker with ice.
- Shake until chilled.
- Strain into a tall glass that is filled with ice.
- Garnish if desired.
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The first sip of this cocktail really blew me away! The complexities of this rum’s earth and grass notes played nicely against the lime and spices. It felt like a tropical island coming alive in my mouth. Though I had tried this rhum in a few tiki cocktails before, this was the first time I tried it in a simpler cocktail where it gets to be the most prominent flavor. It really exceeded my expectations.
Overall, Barbary Coast Rhum Agricole is a very good rum. Before I tried it, I was honestly expecting to hate the experience of drinking it straight due to the questionable-sounding tasting notes. However, I really enjoyed it both straight and in a simple drink.
In fact – I’m a little salty about just how much I enjoyed it, as I care a lot about authenticity in my consumer choices. The question of whether or not this bottle is a true Rhum Agricole is a bit controversial. As I mentioned above, the producers use evaporated sugar cane juice rather than freshly pressed juice. Many folks would argue that the fresh pressing is a big part of what makes an Agricole an Agricole.
Since Barbary Coast doesn’t use the authentic production process, it is more of an Agricole-inspired spirit. This is fine, of course, but I personally hate when companies engage in misleading marketing.
At the end of the day, though, the quality of this product cannot be denied – whatever you prefer to call it. I may purchase it again, but not before I try out a few more authentic Agricole Rums.
As always, drink responsibly.