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Bologne Vieux 42% ABV 6L - distilled by SOC Agricole de Bologne SA - Guadeloupe

Bologne Reserve Speciale is a relatively new product at this distillery. Aged at least four years in used cognac barrels, and bottled at 42% ABV, this aged rhum agricole delivers a balanced spirit without any rough edges. The first thing to notice is that the used cognac barrels don't dominate the flavor of the rhum but rather enhance the smooth sugar distillate character of the rhum. The vegetal notes of the blanc are muted delivering a smooth sipping rhum with a lingering slightly wood finish. French oak barrels tend to deliver more soft nutmeg and vanilla notes and less smoky oak notes typically found in rums aged in used American whiskey barrels. Depsite the fact that this is aged in used cognac barrels,there is no sugar added to this aged rhum agricole.

Hints of cinnamon and nutmeg spice on the nose lead to an indulgent medley of carmelized custard brulee, baked apple freshly and grated spice followed by a lingering oak finish with slight hints of smoke. Thirty years ago when I first tasted Bologne Blanc, nothing was being aged at this distillery. At the time, I wished I had the facility to age some of that rum. Today, Bologne is aging a few of their rums and I'm happy to say my expectations were exceeded. This is an allocated product so it isn't cheap but well worth adding to any serious rhum agricole collection.
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Item ABV Volume Case UPC
BLGN-V41-6 42% 1000 6 3305100000279
All of the sugar cane that goes into Rhum Bologne is grown surrounding the distillery on the western slopes of the volcanic mountain that makes up the majority of the island of Basse Terre.
Bologne cane Fields

Since most of this terrain is too steep for heavy cane-cutting machinery, most of the sugar cane is cut by hand.
Bologne production

This arduous work is done from Jan through June most years according to the weather.
Bologne cane Fields

After the cane is pressed, the spent cane called 'bagasse' is burned to produce steam for the steam powered mills that crush more sugar cane and provide steam for distillation. This energy cycle is not unique in the French islands where spent sugar cane powers the distillery.
Bologne cane mill

The single-column still at Bologne is one of several Savalle copper stills in service in Eastern Caribbean distilleries. The patina on this still is witness to the age of the still but also the care and maintenance this equipment has received over the years.
Savalle  still

Typically, as these still age sections are replaced as the thickness of the copper material is reduced by the chemical reaction of sulfur in the fermented wash which is accelerated under the heat of distillation.
Savalle  still detail
As the quality of aged rhum agricole has been recognized in Europe and beyond in this century Bologne has begun aging their rhum in French oak barrels previously used to age cognac.
Bologne limousine oak barrels
Other products from SOC Agricole de Bologne SA imported by Caribbean Spirits Inc.
Item No. ABV Volume Btl/Case UPC
BLGN-B50-6 50% 1000 6 3305108970007