THE SUSTAINABILITY IN SPIRITS SERIES
This is our sixth installment in a series that defines sustainability in spirits and shares some selections from our very own spirits portfolio.
Today we’re excited to share the story of. . .
Rhum J.M has been producing world-class agricole rhum since 1845 in the volcanic hills of Martinique, but as recently as 2016 has implemented cutting-edge technology to drastically reduce their impact on their surrounding environment. Rhum J.M’s global director, Gregoire Guieden, has committed the distillery to “return to the earth what we take from the earth” and it shows through a number of intentional upgrades, raising the standard for sustainability within the entire EU territory of Martinique.
If you have seen a recent picture of the iconic distillery with brick red roofs poking out from lush treetops, what you may notice is the lack of smoke plumes that have traditionally been depicted emanating from the picturesque estate. In 2016, a new low-temperature, catalyzing boiler was installed which produces an imperceptible level of particles into the atmosphere, drastically reducing emissions. Where you don’t see smoke, there can still be fire!
Amongst the tall sugarcane grass, you will see the broad, green leaves of banana plants on neighboring plots. Rhum J.M employs the use of rotational agriculture by swapping sugarcane for banana plants roughly every four years to reduce pests and disease. This practice breaks the biological cycle and eliminates the need for harmful pesticides.
Much like agave, sugarcane distillates also produce a great deal of bagasse after juice extraction and vinasse from distillation. Of the single estate’s bagasse, 100% of it is repurposed: 30% is burned for steam for the boiler, 20% is turned into fertilizer, and 50% is sent to the local power plant to convert into biomass electricity.
As for the vinasse, Rhum J.M is implementing a new zero waste technique–neutralizing their 22 million liters of annual waste by sunbathing in a system of basins filled with lilies (which act as a natural filter and pollutant absorbent). The pH neutral solution is then mixed with water to irrigate the banana fields which have flourished under this zero waste technique.
To experience the unspoiled terroir of Rhum J.M from abroad, reach for one of their un-aged expressions like the Blanc 50% and add a splash of cane sirop with a squeeze of lime to make the local favorite, TI Punch.
J.M 80 Proof was designed to be a versatile rhum agricole for mixing. A bouquet of white pepper and lilies is followed by grilled pineapples, green banana, raspberry, and warm biscuits. While floral and fruity, the finish is gentle and dry.
J.M Blanc displays the raw power of what is regarded as the best sugarcane on the island. Extravagant cornucopia of ripening tropical fruit – mango, overripe bananas, and papaya – and a wild, funky earthiness combine for an aromatic explosion; flavors are intensely rich of fresh sugarcane and tropical fruit.
Designed and priced with the cocktail community in mind, Rhum J.M V.O. has been aged for a minimum of 3 years. Unlike the V.S.O.P., this aged rhum sees some new oak, but is still finished in re-charred, ex- bourbon barrels. The result is a rich, full-bodied rhum with notes of tobacco, oak, and caramel, balanced with the complex, expressive character unique to Martinique’s famed sugarcane. 43% ABV
A fundamental ingredient in classic French Caribbean traditions, Shrubb J.M is a brilliant marriage of J.M aged rhum with bitter orange zest, natural sugarcane syrup, and a maceration of locally sourced vanilla bean, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Shrubb J.M is essential to family celebrations and gatherings in northern Martinique, and is a versatile ingredient in contemporary cuisine and cocktails that call for a liqueur d’orange. 35% ABV