Rhum Bologne Blanc 50

Rhum Bologne Blanc

ABV 50% Alc/Vol

82/100

 

I decided for my first rum  rhum (this one is French) review for the site to begin with one of my favorite iterations of the spirit and feature an agricole producer from my home turf (Guadeloupe represent).

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Agricole rhum distinguishes itself because it is distilled from sugar cane juice rather than molasses. Handling sugar cane is a labor/mechanically intensive process and like many crops the level of sugar begins to degrade rather quickly post harvest. This is also compounded by the fact that cane juice spontaneously ferments due to a heavy presence of wild yeast, processing must be done rather promptly following harvest. Most distill in various types of column stills, but I believe there are some who use pot stills as well.

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Many distilleries sit on what used to be massive plantations or domaine from which they culled the cane for their rhum production. It is mainly a style preferred by former (or current) French Colonies (Martinique, Guadeloupe, La Réunion, French Guyana, Ile Maurice)

The use of distilled Vessou (the term for fermented sugar cane juice) leads to a very distinctive aromatic profile (usually grassy/herbal/vegetal) and funkyness, not the same funk that is to be found in Jamaican rums (think of New Orleans funk vs. P-Funk). There’s a distinct at least to me Tropicalness (Tropicalia, Tropicality, Tropi…oh nevermind this is terrible) to the style, they perform superbly in drinks with fruits juices or lots of acidity but those unusual flavor punctuation’s can freak out the uninitiated. They don’t have that bottom end heaviness of Jamaica/Guyana but are light years away from the stripped down styles of Spanish speaking Islands and countries.

Many agricole producers go in for AOC or controlled origin schemes which allow for regulations in a spirit category that is often devoid of any rigid governing bodies, so thankfully  you are unlikely to get a shit ton of hidden sugar and useless solera style age statements. I like the flexibility of the rum category I don’t think it needs a hyper regulated SWA-style body to govern but sadly some folks don’t behave unless they are forced to.

Bologne is the name of the Dutch family who first owned the plantation on which the distillery is situated, it eventually became a very sizable operation. Interesting history tid-bit, in 1830 The plantation came into the hands of Jean-Antoine Ame-Noel, a black man born free who by acquiring the domaine became the only person of color to own a plantation of such a large size in Guadeloupe.

Nose: Sucrose,vegetal, angelica or geranium, Thompson raisins, fresh cut rhubarb, a slight note of citrus pith, with water added, you get notes or fresh allspice and mace.

Palate: Green bananas unfurling into grassy sweetness, think sugar infused with celery, geranium or banana leaves, a small amount of petrol and olive brine. Surprisingly little alcohol burn for 50%, the finish has a dark note almost a slight burnt touch, it adds a a welcome bitterness.

 

20170128_203953One of the advantages in rum is that when the distillate is of quality it makes for surprisingly good sipping  when neat, same for cocktails, not something you could do so easily with White-dog/moonshine/new make in whisky

Franck

*  distillery photos from Tourisme Guadeloupe

 

 

Rapid Fire tasting sessions Jan 12th 2017, Glengoyne 15, Dalmore 18, Glendronach 18.

Have I expressed my love of the SAQ’s weekly tasting yet? Despite all the flack and flaming aimed at our state control institution (plenty from yours truly), the walk-in sessions can be fun and are an invaluable tool in developing your palate. They’ve allowed me to familiarize myself with many different styles of spirits at a reasonable price.

I was happy that they resumed these sessions quickly after the holiday hiatus and so on the 12th of January when I saw that the line-up would include  few sherried heavy hitters in the 15r+ category and all that for a tenner I couldn’t resist

 

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These notes aren’t obtained from a slow tasting sessions or from multiple tastes which is what I prefer when reviewing but it’s still fun to get an idea of what to expect so you get my rapid-fire one handed tasting notes.

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We started with a 14 year old independent bottling of Benrinnes from Hart Brothers, this whisky was bad and it was the second time they we’re flogging it at a dégustation, I’ll talk about it another time.

Glengoyne 15

Nose: It’s pretty closed up at first, Werthers originals, dusty cumin, earthy, milk chocolate, baked apple skins.

Palate: Dry and oaky, I feel like this is a blending of bourbon and sherry cask or perhaps they used mainly sherried american oak. It’s not quite cohesive, you can feel the battle between the sweetness and the dryness/astringent of sherry.  Dark fruits, fudgy vanilla and a slight bitterness in the finish.

I would want to try this again with more time in front of me, I enjoyed this profile despite the unevenness.

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Dalmore 18:

Nose: Oranges, damp cellar, cigar tobacco, malty,

Palate: Marmalade, tannic, slight earthiness, sulfur, juicy at first but short cardboard and dry finish.

The nose left the anemic palate in its dust. It’s juicy but has no middle to sustain the flashy opening.

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Glendronach 18:

Nose : Deep, really deep complex,  slight sulfur, hints of bovril or Maggi sauce, Swedish fish, forest floor, sherry soaked fruits.

Palate: plum sauce, Christmas cake, orchard fruits,  deep meaty  muscled sherry, rich and full. I thought my love of the 15 couldn’t be outmatched.. I was wrong.

I just can’t bring myself to take full on photos at these things, I don’t want to be the paparazzo or obvious blogger, photographing everything, so please make do with my shitty ones.

Franck