The first of six Bally rums (no relation to me), which we’ll also post faster than usual, since they are, again, part of a series. Let’s start with the most recent.
For those who are interested in agricoles (which these assuredly are), J. Bally from Martinique has been around since 1917 or so (land prices after the 1902 eruption of Mount Pelee were low), but the sugar estate of Lajus goes back even further, to the mid-1600s. Alas, Bally has been closed since 1989, but their stills continue. The Simon distillery now owns them, and supposedly the original recipe for Bally’s rums, and sugar from the original plantation, is used to ensure the brand does not die. And of course, the AOC certification is alive and well with these rums.
True age is always a problem with these millésimes (meaning a specific year of production), because the date of distillation is noted….but not always the date of bottling. Since a “rhum vieux” is supposed to have a minimum of three years ageing, I’m going to say 3-5 years old, then.
Colour – Amber
Strength – 45%
Nose – Quite solid, very smooth and, of course, crisp as fresh picked lettuce. Amazingly fruity profile here, prunes and raspberries to start, nicely rich and quite aromatic, adding bananas, honey, hard yellow mangoes (from India or Thailand), and coiling around the background of herbs and grasses…some spearmint chewing gum. And a touch of oak, cinnamon and caramel. Seems almost like a Guadeloupe rum, what with the way the herbal and grassy aromas take a back seat and fruits are this rich.
Palate – Mmm, nice. Fresh and crisp. Sugar cane and saline and gherkins, plus bales of freshly mown grass now taking their place in the front. Caramel, raisins, a flirt of molasses and olives. It’s all quite well assembled, and not overly weak, not obnoxiously strong. Continues with vague honey notes and richer fruits, some more of that spearmint. There’s some anise floating around there someplace, but not enough to make a statement of any kind
Finish – Vanillas, burnt sugar, honey, sugar cane, grass, and a bit of that olives in brine thing I enjoyed. Somewhat hotter and sharper than what had come before, oddly enough.
Thoughts – A young rum, and very enjoyable. Agricoles do have that trick of making stuff in the single digits take on molasses rums twice as old and leaving them in the dust. I still think overall it resembles a Guadeloupe rhum more than a true agricole (even though it is AOC certified), but whatever the case, I’m not complaining.
Others in the group have written about this rhum on the Rumaniacs website…