Rhum Bologne Les Distillats

Distillerie Rhum Bologne has been producing rum since 1887, making it the oldest operating distillery in Guadeloupe. Located in the southwest corner of Basse-Terre, the estate of nearly 150 hectares sits atop a plateau created by La Grande Soufrière, an active volcano.

Like many distilleries throughout the French Antilles, Bologne has a couple rhums agricoles bruts de colonne: cane juice, column distilled rums bottled at still strength. The first, simply dubbed Le Distillat, was made from red and black cane, rested eighteen months in stainless steel, and bottled at 75.5%. The second was made entirely from black cane, rested “several months,” and bottled at 70.2%. 

Rhum Bologne Le Distillat

On the nose, I get floral perfume, minerality, sea breeze, spray-on sunscreen, orange zest, freshly cut grass, washed linens, and the smell of rain falling while you’re in a swimming pool.

The palate is like a smoothie with strawberry, underripe banana, tomato, orange juice, chamomile tea, honey, cream, basil, and a pinch of sea salt. Just when it seemed like the smoothie would at least be safe to consume, we throw in some sunscreen, a splash of perfume, and a handful of fresh flowers.

Well, this is off to a fantastic start. Le Distillat is precise and intensely flavorful. Compared with rums from Bielle and Père Labat, this is a relatively clean and pretty style of agricole, and it executes that style beautifully. (8/10)

Rhum Bologne Le Distillat 100% Canne Noire

The nose is grassy, but almost a “pulling weeds in the garden” kind of grassy. There’s fresh rainfall, sea breeze, lemon-lime soda, tomato, potpourri, and just a bit of gouda cheese. It’s similar to its sparring partner, but more grungy.

On the palate, I get Italian lemon soda, fennel, tomato, green peppers, cookie dough, macarons with vanilla buttercream, crushed up rocks, seawater, and potpourri. Later in the tasting, coffee shop notes like caffè mocha and Earl Grey tea emerged. Though it certainly benefits from water, I found it astonishingly drinkable without it.

Simply extraordinary. This effortlessly holds together so many qualities I love in agricoles; it’s earthy, floral, vegetal, citrusy, confectionary – I could go on. Although it’s challenging and complex, it’s also the sort of rum I actually want to drink most of the time, which isn’t something I can say for many of my highest ranked rums.

This is easily one of the best agricoles I’ve tasted, and possibly one of my favorite rums to date. Bravo! (9/10)