Rhum Bielle 40th Anniversary

Rhum Bielle 40th No Foil-RG1c USE

Product of:  Marie-Galante, Guadeloupe, FWI  
Aged:  7 Years
Price: €60 at Rhum Bielle’s boutique on Marie-Galante
Alcohol: 53.4% ABV 
Sugar: 0-5 g/L
Context: Rhum Vieux Agricole
RG Rating:  9.5

Tasting Notes
An unadorned, slab-sided round bottle allows the rum to shine through like a showcase. The surprises begin as soon as the metal foil wrapper is peeled from the neck of Bielle’s 40th Anniversary rhum’s elegant bottle.  Voila! an unusual, delicately understated round glass cap sits on top, and somehow invites you to “Try me.”

Pulling the little glass topper releases a gorgeous perfume of a rhum  blended and aged to perfection, as far as the bouquet is concerned.
Pour the walnut brown rhum into a proper tasting glass, swirl, and watch as several thin legs dance slowly downward to they join the nectar.
All the better to wait and watch, basking in mesmerizing aromas of caramelized brown sugar, dark unrefined honey, soft thin leather, nutmeg and vanilla scents.  They conjure visions of warm pastry – imagine rhum-soaked raisins and an apple loaf.  Finally, hints of roasted pineapple make this rhum evaluation - conducted two nights before Christmas – an early holiday gift.  Dialing back the critical half of my brain, I take a full breath of it, and rewarded by a rhum in complete harmony; a sum greater than its parts.

Rhum Bielle's Column Still

The exploration is elevated by sipping, an initial taste brings a spicier, waxy rhum to the palate, adding tell tale anise as the medium-heavyweight body delivers deep, aged rhum flavors that are just short of overpowering, balanced as only Rhum Bielle can muster.  Wait, it’s not finished yet.  No, a little longer,  Okay, now the end is near, the rhum leaving with only a perfumed hint of itself in your throat and nose.

Anecdotes 
Rhum Bielle 40th Anniversary expression  was created in 2015 to honor their President, Dominique Thierry, who took the reins of Bielle's operations in 1975.  The rhum was distilled in 2008, and aged in oak casks for seven years, then bottled at the (presumed) cask strength of 53.4% ABV.

The Bielle Distillery is located on the flat island of Marie-Galante, less than 20 kilometers to the South of Guadeloupe’s Southeastern point.   Their sugarcane is harvested by hand, then chopped, crushed and fermented in open-top tanks.  The distillery is small, and seems efficiently laid out, vesou is able to be fermented into vinasse only a few meters away from the crushers.  A few steps away are small column and alembic pot stills, the later supporting short columns of only a few plates.  The column stills are made of stainless steel in the lower stripper sections and copper in the upper, rectifying sections.  Their  alembic pot stills are copper, but the lower part of the pot is contained within a stainless steel sheath.

Rhum Bielle's Alembic Still

Nice videos of the Rhum Bielle distillery can be accessed here:  Une rhumerie à Bielle? | BIELLE en vallée d'Ossau

Opinion
Rhum Bielle 40th Anniversary expression is an exceptional tribute to Dominique Thierry, the man who presides over the distillery’s operations and its seriously dedicated, talented group of growers, harvesters, distillers and blenders.  I have to believe this rhum was created by Bielle’s employees to give thanks to their President.  If that’s the case, he is as greatly appreciated as this rhum, which I treasure. 

Reviewed: October 2015 at the distillery and again in December 2016 at The Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017