But hey, this isn’t France. We make booze wherever we want to make it. Which brings us to Charleston-based High Wire Distilling Co.’s Lowcountry Agricole. These guys aren’t afraid to experiment: You may have seen their Revival Sorghum Whiskey, Watermelon Brandy, or Southern Amaro.
Here, they’ve gone full Martinique on us, with this small-batch spirit distilled not from molasses but from pressed South Carolina sugarcane juice. After a journey through the hybrid still, it rests just 10 months in oak.
The pale gold color is the first indication that this is something else entirely. In fact, the hue foreshadows the grassy, honeyed, almost sherry-like aromas you’ll get from the glass, with just a hint of rum funk hiding out.
Banana pudding comes across in the mouth, along with ginger and cloves. Some notes of green herbs, honeydew, and hay then emerge before a long, long finish redolent of honey and maple syrup. If Smith & Cross is akin to a bold, Islay scotch, think of this more like a delicate, lowland malt.
I found that ice blots out its subtleties, so sip it neat. In cocktails, steer clear of any tiki-related temptations and keep things savory. My favorite move is to substitute it for tequila in a Yellow Jacket cocktail: 2 ounces of Lowcountry Agricole, 1 ounce St. Germain, 3/4 ounce Yellow Chartreuse, and a dash of orange bitters.
High Wire Lowcountry Agricole is certainly the most remarkable American rum I’ve tasted, whether or not you spell it with an “h.”
— 44% ABV