We’re slowly moving past the more recent vintages of the Bally rums and into something not necessarily older, but bottled from longer ago. Hopefully they’ll throw some light into the development of the profile over the years. The quality of the older expressions is not necessarily or always better just because it was made thirty five years ago…but yeah, perhaps in this case it is. The 1982 is certainly one fine piece of work, made at the original Bally site before the distillery closed in 1989 and production was shifted over to Simon.
Colour – Dark Amber
Strength – 45%
Nose – Oh, so nice. A smorgasbord of fruity notes right away – raisins, blackberry jam, candied oranges, plus coffee, anise, caramel bonbons and some breakfast spices (and cumin, oddly enough). It presents as sweeter than the 1992 and 1993 variations, and also somewhat more musky, salty, with those wet earth aromas being quite distinct, though fortunately not aggressive…more like an underlying bed upon which the other smells were dancing.
Palate – Warm, delicious, sweet and salty, like a Thai vegetable soup with sweet soya. After opening up some, the fruits take over – berries, cherries, jammy notes, nougat, light florals. Loads of complexity here, well balanced against each other. There’s the earth tones again, some black tea, bananas, light citrus. None of the flavours are dominant, all rub against each other in a cool kind of zen harmony. One odd thing here is that the grassy and sugar-cane sap part of the profile is very much in the background and nowhere near as clearly discernible as modern agricoles lead us to expect.
Finish – Long and faintly sweet. There was actually some anise and coffee here (and was that molasses? …naah). Long on spices like cinnamon, cloves and cumin, and the warm wet earth component, which I’ll say is Jamaican even though it isn’t, made one last bow on the stage.
Thoughts – I dearly wish I knew how old the rums truly was. It’s labelled as an AOC, but that classification only came into force in 1996, so is it possible that the 1982 is at least 14 years old? I simply don’t know. Perhaps it’s just as well. Like it or not, we sometimes unconsciously feel a rum aged for longer is somehow better – that’s a good rule of thumb, just not universally applicable, and here, whether it is that old or not, there’s no denying that for its price (still available at around three hundred dollars, same as the 1992) it’s a remarkable rum, made within the living memory of us rum collectors and Rumaniacs, and leading us by the hand into the misty times predating the iron rule of the AOC.
The other boys in the Bally-house have also looked at the 1982, and you can find their comments in the usual spot on the Rumaniacs website.