J. Bally 7 Ans D’Age

J. Bally 7 Ans D'Age Rhum Rum Review by the fat rum pirateJ. Bally 7 Ans D’Age. Or simply in English J. Bally 7 Year Old. The rums in the J. Bally range are named after the founder of the brand Jacques Bally.

In 1917 an engineering graduate by the name of Jacques Bally bought the Lajus Plantation on the island of Martinique. It is reported that he built his initial column still. This was supplemented by equipment he bought from the nearby Dariste Plantation/Distillery, which went bankrupt in 1923.

In 1930 Jacques Bally played a pivotal role in the design of the iconic square and pyramid style bottles that have become very much J. Bally’s trademark. More so perhaps than their actual rhum, you could argue.

In 1989 the distillery as Lajus was closed. Production of J. Bally has continued however at the Distillerie du Simon, which produced Rhum Clement and Rhum J.M. amongst others. The rhum is still produced using sugarcane from Lajus, however.

I don’t buy (or review) a huge amount of agricole rhum. When I’m out and about, mostly on holiday and I come across liquor stores I often find I get a bit confused. My lack of familiarity with agricole rhum means I often don’t know if the rum is well priced or not. I sometimes see something thinking its a great bargain as I confuse it with a more expensive bottle.

Luckily when I spotted this one in Gibraltar it had an actual age statement that I could relate to. At first I did think it was one of the more expensive vintages in the Pyramid bottle. Now I’ll confess that I may have had a cocktail or two when I picked this up but at less than €30 and with enough Dutch Courage in me – I took the plunge unable to check whether it was indeed a bargain or not.

Fortunately when this is available here in the UK it retails at around the £45-50 mark. Or rather it did the prices in the EU seem to have picked up a little since then. So I picked up a pretty decent bargain. That said Gibraltar prices are insanely cheap due to the low levels of taxation.

So what do I have for review today?

Well it is a 7 Year Old Agricole Rhum which has been distilled on a traditional column still at Distillerie du Simon, using sugarcane from Lajus. It has been aged in ex-Whisky and ex-bourbon barrels. Unlike some of J. Bally’s rum this is AOC certified as well. It is bottled at 45% ABV

J. Bally 7 Ans D'Age Rhum Rum Review by the fat rum pirateI couldn’t find much more information on the actual rhum. There is a review from 2015 from Lance over at the Lone Caner. He has also reviewed a few other J. Bally rhums and has some interesting background notes (which I did find useful) I think even before reading his score his photos tell the story of how much he enjoyed the rhum……..

Presentation. J. Bally 7 Ans D’Age comes in the afforementioned “Pyramid(e)” bottle. I’ve got to say it did get my attention. The rhum is sealed with a wax covered chunky cork stopper and you get a very nice, sturdy presentation box to store the rhum in. All in all its a very striking and very “Premium” looking product.

So lets get on with the fun part. This rhum is also highly regarded by Serge over at Whiskyfun so I’m quite excited to try this…..

In the glass we have a medium to dark brown spirit with an orange/yellow hue around the edges.

Nosing, I was immediately reminded of  Rhum J.M. XO. in terms of the delivery. It is warm and elegant. The 7 years ageing in oak has taken away some of the rawer elements of this agricole rhum. That is not to say it isn’t a little on the “funky” side. It still has a grassy, herbaceous feel to it. It is definitely a sugar cane juice distillate  – no mistake.

Even at 45% ABV it is surprisingly soft in terms of the booziness. Younger agricoles even at a lower ABV are often much sharper, grassier and boozier. Rather than feeling as though this rhum has had its wings clipped a little, it is more just the justification for ageing the rhum for 7 years in oak. It really has refined the rhum.

It’s very much a “nosing” rhum and one that you will sip and savour at the same time.

The nose has a good weight off vanilla and bourbon-esque oaky notes. This are well balanced along the grassier, herbal notes of the rhum. It has a fruity note as well – some peach and a little bit of sweet underripe plum.

It’s a very well balanced, gentle nose. It’s not a fiery grassy agricole – it is refined and very inviting….

J. Bally 7 Ans D'Age Rhum Rum Review by the fat rum pirateSipping J. Bally 7 Ans D’Age is as enjoyable as the nose. The entry is sweet with an icing sugar like note to it. This is quickly surrounded by fresh fruity/grassy notes of sugar cane, white grapes and some chewy caramel. There is a Lemongrass notes as well that runs right through this rum.

On the mid palate you get some more spice and a nice splash of vanilla and some toffee/burnt caramel notes. It’s still a little herby/grassy unmistakably an agricole but again it wouldn’t be totally off kilter to someone new to Agricole Rhum.

The 45% ABV has certainly helped the finish of this rum. It is a good length and has a slow gentle fade. There is some light smoke and tobacco on the finish alongside the warming oak, vanilla and lemon zest.

All in all this rhum is a lot more complex than you might first think. It’s one of those rhums where the balance of all the components works wonderfully as a sipping rhum.

I really enjoyed this. In fact I’m quite pleased when I’ve returned to it for this review that the Pyramid style bottle actually means there is a lot more rhum left in it than I had thought.

 

 

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