What does AOC mean?

Sylvia Simm | 04. June 2024

The AOC certification for rum from Martinique was introduced in 1996 to protect and promote the uniqueness and quality of rhum agricole from this region. This certification is considered one of the strictest in the world of rum.

AOC stands for "Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée" and is a French certification system that protects and regulates the origin and quality of agricultural products. In the case of rum from the island of Martinique, AOC certification refers to the Rhum Agricole produced on this Caribbean island.

Source: info.agriculture.gouv.fr/gedei/site/bo-agri

Table of content

The most important features of the AOC certification for Martinique Rhum

Raw material - origin - production process - storage

  • The sugar cane used to produce the sugar cane juice for the Rhum Agricole must come from freshly harvested sugar cane from the island of Martinique. There are specially designated and authorised areas where the sugar cane may be grown and processed.
  • The entire production process, from the sugar cane harvest to the bottling of the rum, must take place in Martinique.
  • The production process, from pressing the sugar cane to fermentation with natural yeasts, distillation in copper stills and compliance with a minimum alcohol content of the end product, is subject to fixed regulations.
  • Fermentation takes place in open tanks with a maximum size of 500 hectolitres and may last a maximum of 120 hours.
  • The alcohol content for the consumer must be at least 40% vol.
  • Maximum distillation to 65% to 75% alcohol content. Distillation takes place between 2 January and 5 September.
  • The ageing and storage of Martinique Rhum is also regulated. The rum must be matured in oak barrels for a minimum period in order to receive the AOC seal
  • White rum must rest in the tank for at least 6 weeks after distillation.
  • Rum matured in wooden barrels must be stored for at least one year. The maximum barrel size is 650 litres.

For the consumer, the AOC is a guarantee of consistently high quality. For Martinique, it stands for uniqueness, traditional craftsmanship and terroir.

Maturation and age of the rhums

Although an age is rarely stated on a bottle, there are a number of regulations on this subject:

White Rhum Agricole AOC must be stored in stainless steel barrels for at least 6 months. The purpose of storage is to absorb oxygen and thus homogenise the rhum.

Rhum Paille AOC, Rhum Ambré AOC and Rhum Vieux must be stored in oak barrels for at least 1 year.

VO - Very Old: aged for at least 3 years in oak barrels
VSOP - Very Superior Old Pale, Réserve Spéciale, Cuvée Spéciale and Très Vieux: aged for at least 4 years in oak barrels
Extra Vieux, Grande Réserve, Hors d'Age and XO - Extra Old: aged for at least 6 years in oak barrels

 

Rum from Martinique

Trois Rivières De L'ocean Rhum Vieux Agricole
Trois Rivières De L'ocean Rhum Vieux Agricole
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Neisson Profile 105 Rhum
Neisson Profile 105 Rhum
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Dillon Rhum VSOP 5 Years
Dillon Rhum VSOP 5 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Saint James Rhum 12 Years
Saint James Rhum 12 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Clément Vieux VSOP Rhum
Clément Vieux VSOP Rhum
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
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Sylvia Simm is an experienced employee of Whisky.de. After more than 20 years in online sales and service, she supports the company with her extensive whisky knowledge in marketing. As online editor and content manager, she is responsible for editing and updating the texts on the knowledge pages.

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