Bally 1975


Average score

Bottle Profile
Distillery Bally
Origin Martinique
Bottler Velier
Type Agricole Rhum (artisanal column)
Alcohol By Volume 45%
Sugar Measured
Description imported by VELIER (Genova) "bottled in february 1991"
Review 5


Review by "Lance" Score: 86

We're going back down memory lane now, to a point where the AOC designation is a dream on the horizon, and for once we have an age: this rum is sixteen years old (based on the bottom of the bottle where it says "Bottled February 1991" in French). This of course leads us to puzzle our way through all the others we've looked at already, because if here they can call a 16YO a "rhum vieux" then the other Bally rhums are in all likelihood similarly aged - we just have no proof of the matter. In any event, age or no age, rums and rons and rhums are evaluated based on what they are, not what they are stated to be. So let's put aside all the whinging about information provision (which is a never ending grouse of mine) and simply taste a rhum made when I was still living in Africa and had never heard of Martinique (or much about Guyana, for that matter).

Nose: So far nothing has beaten the Bally 1982, but this one is on par...perhaps better. The nose is amazing - deep purple grapes and vanilla, with the traditionals of sugar cane sap, wet green lemon grass, with a mischievous hint of wet cardboard and cereals. Threading through these smells are additional notes of Turkish coffee (no sugar), cocoa and some black chocolate, but curiously there's less fruitiness to sniff in this one than in the later editions, and it's backgrounded by something vaguely licking a small battery, y'know? Some cinnamon, well-polished leather and honey fill in the spaces.

Palate: It's creamy, spicy, sweet and salty all at once (plus lemon). In a way it reminds me of a very well made Thai green curry in coconut milk. The fruits are here at last - green apples, pears, white guavas, but also pastries and cheese, to which are added very light hints of creme brulee and caramel, milk chocolate, some honey and licorice. Would be interesting to know the barrel strategy on this one. Whatever. It's a fine fine rhum to try, that's for sure.

Finish: Medium long, vegetal, grassy and breakfast spices for the most part, some more of the white fruit, and the woody notes are here to stay. Not the best fade, but pretty good anyway.

Thoughts: It had great balance and the tastes were excellent. Something like this is best had in conjunction with something newer from Bally because then you gain a sense of its achievement, and how rhum has developed over the years. People swear by the AOC (and in an era of marketing nonsense dosed with outright lies, quite rightfully so), but sometimes you wonder whether something hasn't been lost as well. The Bally 1975 emphatically demonstrates the quality of what was being done, at a time way before regulations changed the industry.

Review by "Henrik" Score: 87

So, this is the J.Bally 1975. Apparently imported to Italy and bottled in 1991, making it a 26 year old rhum, which is very unusual and quite spectacular, as most agricoles never get to live this long before ending up in a bottle.

Nose: Lovely, fruity cane juice. A faint earthyness along with lots of floral influences. Sweet lemonade comes to mind, but also soft oak and fragrant leather. Very elegant, very sexy, beautifully balanced.

Palate: Starts off with lemonade, but transforms into sugar cane, thick leather, maple syrup and zesty tangerines. Then comes cinnamon and pepper, which gives a nice tingling feeling. Liquorice also emerges along with a bit of old oak.

Finish: Rather long and warm, with oaks, tangerine juice, and a soft medicinal edge. Just enough to add another level without ruining the overall experience.

Thoughts: Feels old and something of days past. Amazing that it spent 26 years in a cask and remained so controlled on the oak. Beautiful rhum and I love it.

Review by "Serge" Score: 89

No AOC, 75cl, and the old French ‘Sécurité Sociale’ logo – another very bureaucratic invention -, that’s clearly very early 1990s, or late 1980s

Nose: this is something else, possibly made at the old location. More ‘unlikely’ in a good way, with metallic whiffs, some chalky notes, old crème de menthe, propolis, chlorophyll… And much less fruits than in the younger vintages. In a way, we’re experiencing almost the same phenomenon as with Scotch malts, with more austere older bottlings, and sexier, more commercial newer ones.

Palate: oh very good! Starts zesty and tart, with peppery lemons, and develops on various herbs, especially thyme, before some classic liquorice and mint are coming into play. The whole remains dry, without all the honeys we found in the more recent distillates.

Finish: long, with grapefruits and tangerines, and a herbal/spicy aftertaste. Lime.

Thoughts: it’s to be wondered whether there wasn’t more French oak – and less US oak – involved at those times. Rather more challenging than the others, but I love it. An Old Clynelish of rhum.

Review by "Cyril" Score: 89

Nose: robe d'un bel acajou, tirant sur le cuivre, qui propose un ballet de très nombreuses et fines larmes qui retombent très lentement au fond du verre. brillante et conquérante. Au nez ça sent le rhum d'antan comme on n'en fait plus, le fauteuil en vieux cuir du grand père, les fruits secs de feu l'apéro, confits et rendus opulents par l'abandon (pruneaux, cerise noires). une odeur de réglisse qui semble une nouvelle fois rappeler une autre époque, stop toux, ou peut-être celle du cachou, douce et chaleureuse, caressée par le fruité (banane), le chocolat au lait, et plutôt fort agréable ; et parmi ces arômes, de la légèreté tout de même, des notes végétales, et comme des notes florales qui, au final, participe à donner plusieurs dimensions à ce rhum, à le rendre très intéressant, et à surtout ne pas laisser ces notes de vieux cuir trop dominer et abîmer le nez. Complexe et très bien équilibré.

Palate: En bouche, le rhum est huileux et très riche, et on retrouve cette réglisse qui domine, le cuir épicé (poivre gris, muscade, cannelle), des notes d'olive et de fruits, et même de menthe. C'est chaud et plutôt concentré, ancien mais avec du répondant, un rhum d'une grande classe, élégance, très bien équilibré.

Finish: La fin de bouche est très longue et délivre des notes de cuir, d'épices (poivre), suivie de fruits dans une belle persistance, et avec toujours ce sentiment de fumé qui flotte en bouche et qui rend ce genre de dégustations de vieux rhums assez unique, et qui reste, qui reste...

Thoughts: Il n'y a pas d'équivalent à ces vieux rhums, à part d'autres vieux Bally, avec l'impression à chaque fois de déguster un grand alcool, dans toute sa noblesse et toujours avec un équilibre assez ahurissant. Il y a beaucoup de maîtrise dans ces rhums et pas d'artifices, et ça se sent.

Review by "Marco" Score: 88

Another rum from the old distillery of Jacques Bally in Carbet on Martinique. I already liked the one from 1960 very much. Let's see how good this rum will be.

Nose: A magnificent combination of oak, sugarcane and caramel is enticing the nose. Spices waft the glass. Cloves and cinnamon. Leather and fruit in the form of ripe bananas and apricots garnish the barrel flavours. Bitter oranges, medicine and honey. Further away from the glass: old wood, faint vanilla and cinnamon.

Palate: Sugarcane, oak, caramel and spices flood the palate. Tastes slightly sweet and sour. Then herbs and fruits. Papaya, mango and banana. Old wood, traces of honey, iodine and tannin's. After 1 minute herbs, sugar cane, oak and spices. The sugarcane is simply the most dominant on the palate. Honey, medicine, pepper and wood at the end.

Finish: Oak, caramel and sugarcane. Then minerals and herbs. Nuances of fruits, topped with honey. Tastes slightly medically.

Thoughts: Very similar to the one of 1960. But he does not quite reach its level of quality. The nose was a bit closed by comparison.

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