Bielle Rum Review
An exciting review for a sunny evening here in the south east of England - three stunners from the Bielle distillery. Bielle is located on the little slice of paradise that is Marie Galante (a small island situated off the coast of Guadeloupe)
A very special location in the world of rum. The three distilleries of Marie Galante produce their rum in a very traditional style, hand cutting their cane and transporting it by oxen. The best know and most sought after of these distilleries is Bielle.
Rum from Bielle is produced using fresh pressed cane juice - from their locally grown indigenous cane varietals. Fresh cane juice has a very short shelf life (around just 3 days) and so needs to be fermented and distilled very quickly after the cane is cut. This is an expensive process - one that produces some of the world's finest rums.
Marie Galante rums that have been aged at the distilleries are rarely found and highly sought after. The three rums I'm tasting today were all largely (or entirely) aged at the distillery - in the tropical Caribbean climate. They will have experienced the well documented tropical aging, more significant barrel influence - and associated [expensive] greater angel's share (or devil's cut).
Left to right: Tamosi, Rasta Morris, Brut de fut
20ml of each, left to open up for 30 mins, nosed first and then tasted, in increasing abv order.
Tamosi Sawaku Bielle 2009 - 11 tropical years, 52.5%
Bottled by the very impressive, relatively new Dutch independent bottler Levy Lane Rum Co. Initially aged in smaller oak and the moved to a large oak foudre. Presented in a bold black bottle at an equally bold 52.5%.
Eyes: As you can see, the longer tropical aging has resulted in a gorgeous dark amber colour. Easily the darkest of the lineup.
Nose: Quite punchy, the alcohol is very present. Surprisingly under integrated given the long aging. A little floral, honeyed, some earthiness, pastries. A little too astringent for me. Bitter and sharp. Some clove. Old coffee. Heavily oaked. Musty. Good but not great.
Mouth: The astringency is there but not as overpowering as on the nose. The oak influence is still the biggest element. A very tasty rum. Spices and some caramel fruit. Slightly stunted at the end, you're mostly just left with the sharp astringency. [84pts]
Rasta Morris Bielle 2011 - 8 tropical years, 52.8%
Bottled by the highly regard Belgian independent bottler Rasta Morris (Asta Morris of the whisky world). Presented with impressive simplicity in a clear bottle at 52.8%. A single barrel resulting just 258 bottles.
Eyes: A thick unctuous rum with a golden colour.
Nose: Beautiful. Dark fruit. Earthy. Cherries. Well balanced oak. Spices. A definite creaminess. Sweet & honeyed. Nuts. Pastry & biscuits. Rich, deep and inviting. Lovely.
Mouth: Nutty, creamy, cane fruit, cherries, buttery, beautiful, delicate. Such an elegant rum - near faultless. The long rich buttery summer fruit and honey finish goes on and on. [90pts]
Bielle Brut de fut 2014 - 7 tropical years, 56.9%
Estate bottled 'brut de fut' - meaning cask strength. I believe these three are all bottled at cask strength - this estate bottled offering at the slightly higher 56.9%. Presented in a lovely squat bottle.
Eyes: Marginally the lighter of the three, presumably from the slightly shorter aging. A perfect golden rum. Very inviting.
Nose: Again the alcohol is initially a touch sharp on this one. Light fruit. Generally lighter than the first two. A little soapy. Less buttery than the Rasta Morris. Cleaner, without the astringency of the Levy Lane. Quite floral. Lovely cane. Very good - not quite as rich and deep as the others but more caney if that's a thing.
Mouth: A warm rounded mouth feel. Tasty long cane flavour. Good sweetness. Floral. Light fruit. A touch of marzipan. A little spice. Finish is a tiny bit sharp and the overall taste not quite as rich or complex as the Rasta Morris but these are fine differences. A fantastic example of well aged Bielle. [87 pts]
Clear winner for me today. That Rasta Morris is really stunning. One of my all time favourite aged cane juice rums. Not a wild monster - this is a beautiful, elegant rum that I love.