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  • Writer's pictureStuart Pearce

Le Galion rums reviewed

Updated: May 30, 2023

Summer has finally arrived in the UK so unaged rums are most definitely order of the day.

Today I'm reviewing a pair of white rums from the “Le Galion” distillery in Martinique.

Le Galion is the only remaining sugar factory in Martinique. It produces rum from molasses (a by-product of sugar production). I believe this is the only molasses based rum commercially produced in Martinique.

Grand Arôme refers to this distillery’s unique style of column distilled high ester rum.

Sugar cane molasses and vinasses are naturally fermented in wooden tanks to produce high levels of aromatics. There was no ester count on these bottles, but according to the Martinique AOC: Grand Arôme Rum must have volatile substances (other than ethyl and methyl alcohols) of at least 800 gr/hlAA, and an ester content of at least 500 gr/hlAA. So I'm expecting some pretty funky stuff.

I'll give them a formal review neat, and then a quick taste as a daiquiri. My first taste of Le Galion rum so looking forward to this.

50ml of each (although I'll only taste a little and pour the rest into daiqs). I've left them for 15 mins to open up. Nosed first, then tasted, SBS first as it's a little lower abv. Assisted today by The Stone Roses - well why not, summer's here after all.

SBS Origin French Antilles Grand Arome, 57%

Bottled as part of the brilliant recent SBS 'Origin' series by Danish spirits bottler 1423 - showcasing bold and distinct styles of unaged rum from around the world.

Nose: A really interesting full flavour nose. First impression is that I'm nosing two very distinct rums mixed together. There's a heavy, salty, olive & iodine profile leading the show. But sitting behind it there's Jamaican rotten tropical fruit. It's a powerful nose, quite dry, very unique, definitely fun and really interesting. The iodine is edging towards butyric acid (rancid dairy) but only very slightly and I'm hoping the strong olive notes lead the charge on the palate. [further nosing and a great suggestion from a good friend - I'm definitely getting deli meats! Salami!]

Mouth: A big, and completely unique flavour. Salty olives, rancid tropical fruit, a touch of rancid meat. Thankfully not too much off milk.

Fermenting strawberries - like in Savanna HERR. It's got elements of TECA, HERR and other high ester rums, but overall definitely doing it's own thing. I like it. Not a love affair but an interesting, unique rum. [79pts]

Latitudes Grand Arôme de la Baie du Galion, 60%

Released a couple of years ago by independent bottler 'Latitide', I believe this was the first commercially bottled unaged Galion Grand Arome.

Nose: Similar in places but very few places! The latitude bottling is much more rotten fruit driven. Less olives, less brine and thankfully less rancid dairy products. A far more approachable nose.

Mouth: Also a more fruit forward palate. You can clearly tell these are the same distinctive distillery and 'mark', but the latitudes bottling is better balanced - less dairy, less salami (although it is there), more estery fruit. Still the olives, salt and iodine. In fact, the same orchestra, just different lead singers. More harmonious. [82+pts]

Conclusion/Daiquiris: Bloody hell, the SBS really opens up in a cocktail. That is a dirty daiq! As with any high ester rum, you might not want to go 100% but rather to blend the Grand Arome with another lower ester rum. It's cheesy! Maybe blue cheese, certainly stinky cheese. A splash of glue and loads of fruit. A very big, and very interesting daiquiri!

With the Latitude, making a daiquiri has really lifted the iodine. And added a nice earthy profile. A fruity, estery, well balanced daquiri that drinks really well.

Really enjoyed my first taste of Galion Grand Arome. Certainly won't be my last! Interesting savoury profile. Deli meats is genius suggestion. Today a clear winner both neat and in the daiq - Latitude. Cheers!

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