THERE ARE more rhum distilleries per capita on the island of Marie Galante than anywhere else on earth. Three, to be exact, and each is among the best distilleries you’ve likely never heard of.
It is the kind of place where you do your rum shopping right at the distillery, not the liquor shop, something that becomes clear when you’re at the tasting desk and you see the queue.
One of these distilleries is the venerable Bielle, which produces some of the French Caribbean’s best white rhum and, naturally, some significant aged varieties.
That brings us to one that we purchased back in 2013, but never opened until now.
It’s Bielle’s Rhum Vieux Agricole Brut de Fut 2003, a rhum from the 2003 vintage that is, well, sensational.
The 2003 has a buttery aroma with notes of brown sugar, citrus peel, a whisper of floral notes and some caramel.
The flavour profile is magnificent: spice, dried apricot, orange peel, oak, pepper, cardamom, butterscotch.
The latter is something signature to Marie Galante — most aged rhums on this island will have a distinct character of semi-sweet butterscotch and a luxurious, velvety texture.
This one is lighter, a bit more refined and a wonderfully mysterious taste — despite the laundry list of tasting notes, some are indescribable. This is an elegant but playful rum that dances on the palate, never revealing too much of itself until it chooses to.
Plainly, this is one of the world’s best rhums agricoles.