Saint James & Bally rhum are produced in the same distillery since many years now (Saint James distillery). That’s actually rare to see agricole rhum producers work with independants bottlers, let’s see what we’ve got here!
Saint James 2008-2019 Velier 70th anniversary (60.8%, 1200 bottles)
Colour: Dark copper, it’s the lightest of the four.
Nose: Fresh sugarcane, herbal notes dominates the nose. Vanilla, wet grass, straw, dark chocolate and mocha. It’s powerful and fresh.
Mouth: This is a bit aggressive, the alcohol is too present. Caramel, tannins and cane sugar. The mouth is as herbal as the nose and it lacks complexity.
Finish: Too short and monolithic. Bitter cocoa.
I’m a bit disappointed with this one, the over-presence of the alcohol makes it unpleasant.
Saint James 2003-2018 Confrérie du rhum (59%, 950 bottles)
Colour: Coffee with copper hues.
Nose: Much better! Caramel, vanilla, pepper, cocoa powder, coffee beans, leather, brown sugar, smoked wood and tobacco.
Mouth: Very pleasant thick texture, it’s warm and the alcohol is perfectly integrated. Caramel, dried fruits, nuts, almonds, burnt sugar, ginger, wet wood and “crème brûlée”. It’s slightly herbal but way less noticeable than the previous one. It’s very well balanced.
Finish: Long. Dark chocolate bitterness, wood, marzipan and almonds.
I’m not a huge fan of rhum agricole but this one shocked me, very nice selection! I’m a bit disappointed that I can’t find any bottle anymore. Well done La Confrérie!
Bally 2000-2018 The chronicles LMDW (58.1%)
Nose: Sweet! Brown sugar, honey, caramel, vanilla, nuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, milk coffee, cocoa and herbal notes. It’s quite an interesting nose.
Mouth: The alcohol is too present, it literally burns and makes the mouth unpleasant. It’s very fresh and way more herbal than the nose. Loam, wet wood, and dark chocolate. Frustrating after this wonderful nose.
Finish: Long. Burnt wood and some spices. It’s really dry as well.
The nose looked very promising, unfortunately the rest wasn’t of the same level.
Bally 2000-2019 Corman Collins (56.8%, single cask, 408 bottles, ex-cognac)
Nose: Caramel, strong coffee, butter, candied lemons, grapefruits, brown sugar, liquorice and some burnt wood. It’s dry, complex and slightly fruity.
Mouth: It’s thick and powerful but very well executed. The alcohol is perfectly integrated. Tannins, noble wood, brown sugar, dried fruits, caramelised hazelnuts, nuts and cinnamon.
Finish: Mid-long. Dark chocolate lingers for a long time and finishes the experience with a lot of elegance.
This one is very well balanced. It’s clearly one of the best agricole rhum I had a chance to taste.
This tasting was a bit of a roller coaster! I had good and bad surprises but I have to admit it’s the first time I liked as much agricole rhum, Corman Bally 18 and Saint James 2003 CDR are truly amazing bottlings.