A Primer on Rum: What Is “Rhum Agricole”?

Most commercial rums—the ones that conjure up images of peg-legged pirates with snarky parrots on their shoulders—are made from molasses. The ultimate sipping rum, Vizcaya VXOP, however, is crafted from pure sugar cane, and therefore is classified as a rhum agricole.

The literal translation of rhum agricole is “agricultural rum”—which provides a hint to the spirit’s genesis. Rather than using the molasses which is created as a byproduct of the sugar refining industry, rhum agricole begins with the sugar cane itself, which is harvested at the peak of its maturity, during the short dry season of the tropics.

Botanically speaking, sugar cane is a perennial grass of the genus Saccharum, and is characterized by jointed, fibrous stalks that grow to between six and 19 feet tall. Since it requires a tropical or temperate climate, it is primarily grown in Asia, the Carribean and the Mediterranean.

Sugar cane can be harvested mechanically or by hand. Did you know that a skilled harvester, using a cane knife or machete, can cut 1,100 pounds of sugar cane per hour?

After the harvest, the sugar cane stalks are crushed to release their aromatic juice, which is then fermented. Next comes distillation. Most rhum agricole is distilled to about 70 percent alcohol, which helps ensure that the rum retains all of the full-bodied character of the sugar cane and its fresh, vibrant flavor.

Another crucial part of the production process is aging in oaken barrels. Vizcaya VXOP is aged in casks that once held fine armagnac; it is this maturing period that gives the rum its warm, earthy, golden character and notes of spice and vanilla. As with many spirits, aging the rum also allows it to develop a more complex taste, making it ideal for sipping. Purists feel that rhum agricole should be taken neat, or perhaps with a little ice or water. Others like to gild the lily and use a rhum agricole like Vizcaya VXOP to make their favorite cocktail that much more delectable. Nevertheless, everyone can agree that this is a rum to be savored, not swilled.

So leave the cheap stuff to those who fancy themselves pirates. Spirits aficianados know that the real treasure is in a glass of luxurious rhum agricole—like Vizcaya VXOP.

Published in: on June 8, 2010 at 11:32 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Enjoy Vizcaya VXOP, the Ultimate Sipping Rum, at Caña, L.A.’s Ultimate Rum Bar

One of downtown Los Angeles’s newest hot spots, Caña Rum Bar, is proud to serve Vizcaya VXOP—the ultimate sipping rum.

Caña has been reinvented by nightlife impresario Cedd Moses from the space’s previous incarnation, the exclusive members-only club The Doheny. Although it’s still a private club, the membership has dropped from $2200 to just $20, and the venue still offers a lush, intimate atmosphere and high-quality cocktails. Not only that, but the membership fee is actually donated to a different, worthwhile charity each month. In Caña’s opening month, the proceeds went to Haiti earthquake relief.

Caña serves a variety of small-batch rums and intriguing rum-based drinks, including a line of retro-chic tiki drinks. One of the premium rums served in this inviting lounge is Vizcaya VXOP, the warm, sultry notes of which are a perfect complement to the vibe at Caña—which is at once worldly and cozy, sexy and mellow. With live Latin and Carribean music, as well as special rum tastings and other events, Caña is not just a club, but a destination.

Caña’s nooks and atmospheric lighting make it a perfect place to bring a date, or to catch up with an old friend. Or come with the whole crowd, and sample a variety of drinks you won’t get anywhere else, like a deliciously gingery Dark and Stormy, the best daiquiri of your life, or the two-person Zombie. Any of the specialty cocktails which Caña’s experienced bartenders can concoct for you are a perfect way to showcase Vizcaya VXOP’s sophisticated nuances of clove, brown sugar, nutmeg, caramel and vanilla. Perhaps you might prefer to sip your Vizcaya neat or on the rocks, so you can mull over its delectable subtleties, while enjoying your favorite cigar on Caña’s inviting enclosed patio.

Just like Vizcaya VXOP, Caña Rum Bar takes pleasure to a new level. Both are posh yet accessible, offering something for the rum novice and the knowledgeable connoisseur alike. Where better to savor a glass of the ultimate sipping rum—Vizcaya VXOP—than at Los Angeles’s ultimate destination for the enjoyment of rum, Caña Rum Bar?

To get to Caña, which is located at 714 West Olympic Boulevard, enter the first private driveway south of Olympic on Flower. Call them at 213.745.7090.

Published in: on May 19, 2010 at 7:33 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Cocktail of the Week: Knickerbocker

Knickerbocker Cocktail from Esquire.com


  • 2 1/2 ounces Vizcaya VXOP rum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons raspberry syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange curacao
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • lime(s)

Instructions: Shake the rum,* raspberry syrup,** orange curaçao, and lime juice well with cracked ice. Place squeezed-out shell of half a lime in a double Old-Fashioned glass or small highball glass. (This is the earliest drink on record where you do this.) Pour the drink in, ice and all, and garnish with a few berries in season: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries — pretty much anything this side of crunchberries. Serve with a straw and a little spoon for the berries. If you’re making more than one at the same time, it’s easier to strain it into the glasses first and then pour the ice.

(Original recipe modified to include Vizcaya VXOP rum)


Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 9:04 PM  Leave a Comment