Brand: Trois Rivières
Origin: Plantation Trois Rivières, Sainte-Luce, Martinique, France (picked by Binny's)
Age: 14 years
Finish: French Limousin
Somehow it has taken us 28 reviews before we've landed on our first rhum agricole, but here we are! Today, we are sampling Trois Rivières 2005 Single Cask 14 year rhum agricole vieux, selected by the fine folks at Binny's in Chicago.
I first saw this bottle during the 2021 holiday season while visiting some family in the suburbs of Chicago. After my girlfriend and I returned from Barbados, we visited again, and I decided to go ahead and purchase this bottle, still sitting on the Binny's rare spirits room shelf.
Trois Rivières is a brand hailing from the Caribbean island of Martinique, a department of France well-known for their rhum agricole ("agrictultural rum"), a style of rum distilled in a creole column still from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice. Martinique has its own certification– AOC Martinique Rhum Agricole, similar to cognac or scotch.
The Trois Rivières estate itself is named after the 3 rivers that border its sugarcane fields: Oman, Bois d’Inde, and Saint Pierre. In the 1700s, it was a sugar-producing plantation, before eventually solely focusing on rhum agricole production in the 20th century. Today, they offer a wide array of expressions, from everyday rhum agricole blancs, to VO, VSOP, and other longer-aged rhums, to single cask vintages.
Trois Rivières 2005 Single Cask 14 year falls into that latter category; it is a creole collumn-distilled, sugarcane juice-based rhum that was distilled in 2005, and aged for 14 years in French Limousin oak before bottling at 48.4% with no additives. The cask my bottle came from, no. S-42, yielded 500 bottles, and was selected specifically by Binny's, a Chicago-based liquor store.
Orange brown, medium clarity, medium-low viscosity
Spiced apple, warm cider, orange peel, marshmellow, touch of red wine vinegar
Dried apricots, pineapple rind, toasted sugarcane, spiced apples, oak
Long, tannic, fruity; apricots, spiced oak, old leather, mangoes
Trois Rivières 2005 is an excellent expression of a rhum vieux agricole; it's lighter in body but yet not quite gentle, and features some wonderful signature notes that one may expect from an aged agricole, but tempered by the French Limousin (French oak) aging.
The rhum itself is a nice orange brown color, with medium clarity and medium-low viscosity.
On the nose, I get notes of spiced apple, warm cider, orange peel, marshmellow, and just a touch of red wine vinegar. It's remarkably soft, rounded, and inviting, yet not incredibly complex. No doubt the French oak provides some of the spicy notes.
Tasting the rhum, I get dried apricots, pineapple rind, toasted sugarcane, spiced apples, and plenty of oak. The 14 years this single cask was aged for really mellowed out the youthful characteristics we expect from some agricoles, even some aged expressions like Clement VSOP. Instead, we get a nice, mature collection of dried fruits and toasted sugarcane (or perhaps caramelized sugar). Similar to the nose, the palate is not super complex, perhaps due to its proof point and extended aging.
The finish is long, tannic, fruity, and warming. I get notes of apricots, spiced oak, old leather, and mangoes. There's a slight medicinal note near the mid-to-late part of the finish, before heading into fruit and oak territory. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised at the length and quality of this finish given the notes from the nose and palate; definitely a finish perfectly suited to savoring the rhum.
Though I am growing my agricole vieux palate, this 2005 Single Cask is proving to be a favorite among the limited expressions that I've tried. It's soft, approachable, and elegant, even if it lacks a bit of complexity in certain respects. I've been savoring this since I purchased it, and will surely continue to savor it as my collection of rhum vieux agricole grows. This bottle has convinced me that I need to try other Trois Rivières expressions as I come across them.