If you’ve never heard of Bonne Mère you are not alone. It is a little-known distillery located in Sainte-Rose in the north of Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe. From 1863 to 1973 they operated as a sugar factory but today it is a very modern distillery which is producing almost exclusively ethanol. Apparently they decided to do some rum in 2014 and these two bottlings are actually the only ones I am aware of, but I am sure there has to be more. At the very least we should be able to find it in some blends but I guess more juice is just lying in some warehouse for further ageing. We shall see.
Transcontiental Rum Line Guadeloupe BM (Bonne Mère) 2014 3YO (43%): When I had the rum for the first time I had not real clue what this is and noted that TCRL‘s bottlings are getting younger and younger… That said, these notes date back about a year or so. Nose: Uh, what is this? Not a distillery I am familiar with. Soup, coriander leaves, and pears perhaps. There’s not much more and I believe that this rum might actually have been better unaged. Palate: Pears, red apples, coriander, some notes from the cask and once again, not much more… At the danger of repeating myself: oh my, what is this? Finish: Short with woody notes and calvados. Perhaps even the best part of the rum. No this isn’t good at all if you ask me. (60/100)
Rom de Luxe 6 (Bonne Mère) 2014 4YO (58,3%): This is a Danish bottling, a sister cask of the TCRL at, what should be, cask strength. Apparently only 42 bottles exist, which have been sold for 130€ each (okay…). Nose: Yes, this is essentially the same juice, but a tad better. Pears, Crème de Menthe and calvados, mostly. Especially the minty notes already make this a much much better rum overall. Palate: Here we have the familiar coriander again (leaves and seeds!), strong calvados, Crème de Menthe again, some wood, toothpaste and salted butter. Finish: Medium long with menthol, calvados and some notes from the cask. It sounds crazy but while this is essentially the same rhum as the TCRL, it is just so much better. I don’t know if it is the higher abv or the different cask. After all, how much difference can the cask make in about three years – apparently quite a lot! Nevertheless, these rums still aren’t to my liking, unfortunately. I’d say check this one out though if you are into Calvados! (67/100)
Let’s have a small bonus. It’s not purely Bonne Mère but the majority of this blend comes from there…
Rum Artesanal Rhum des Antilles Francaises (Blend, 40%): To be more precise, 60% of this is unaged Agricole from Bonne Mère, the remainder is aged molasses rum from Le Galion. Yes, Le Galion! Nose: 40% really isn’t a lot. I get soapy notes, cheap bubble gum, coriander, mint and hints of lavender. Deeper in the glass also some spices but you actively have to look for them. Palate: Ahh, plenty of Calvados! Ripe pears and quince, tarragon,some cinnamon and other spices, the soapy notes and some caramelized wood indeed. The Bonne Mère profile cannot be denied but for some reason this blend is much more to my liking. More than the sum of its parts, they say. Well, it is not very complex and the finish is rather short and not too exciting as it is basically only an extension of the palate but this is indeed quite sippable. Unusual but that’s not a bad thing. (71/100)