Brand: Barbosa Amado & Vicente
Origin: Barbosa Amado & Vicente, Monte Negro, Santiago, Cape Verde
Finish: Neutral vessel
If you search for the name of this rum, you could find one of 3 things: a single rum bottling from Cape Verde and released by Velier, a general Cape Verdean aguardente that is used for both medicinal remedies as well as in a national cocktail, and, depending on your spelling, Baby Yoda.
If it wasn't obvious, we're going to want to focus on the first result, and a little of the second. Grogue– in general– is a sugarcane juice-based spirit originating from the African archipelago country of Cape Verde. This is similar to Mexican aguardientes like Paranubes or Haiti's clairin, such as Clairin Sajous.
This grogue is comes from the Barbosa Amado & Vicente family, using black sugarcane that grows on their hacienda. They employ the use of "extremely long" fermentation using wild yeasts, then wood-fired pot stills for the production of the spirit itself. The rum is bottled-on site in Santiago at a strength of 45% ABV.
Grogue made its USA debut– courtesy of La Maison & Velier– in Summer 2021 alongside Rivers Royale Grenadian Rum.
Clear, high clarity, low viscosity
Black olive brine, gherkin pickles, fresh sugarcane, garlic, black pepper
Sugarcanae, black pepper, saltwater, green bell peppers, Nigori sake, green apple skins
Medium length, salty, slightly dry; sugarcane, campfire smoke, pickle brine, black pepper
As far as unaged sugarcane rums go, Grogue is nice, but to me just sits too close to others to be much of a standout. This does have some unique black olive, pepper, and sake notes, while bringing the usual vegetal funk of sugarcane, peppers, and brine.
That said, it's got a remarkable complexity for being below proof. Most unaged sugarcane juice rums I've got are overproof, and may not have as much depth as Grogue here. If you're looking for a rum from an origin off the beaten path, this should definitely be on your shortlist.