Le Galion

Le Galion is a sugar factory on Martinique, about 20 minutes from Fort de France. It is actually the last sugar factory in Martinique. Established between 1861 and 1865, its name is derived from the nearby river Galion, which was used as a drinking water supply point by the Spanish galleons. Since 1984, the management of the Galion sugar refinery falls under the umbrella of SAEM PSRM (Société Anonyme d’Economie Mixte de Production Sucrière et Rhumière de la Martinique). While they mainly produce sugar, Le Galion also produces three types of rum, the Grand Fond Galion, the Le Galion and also a Grand Arôme style, two of which we will have today. As you’ve already guessed, our interest lies mostly, but not exclusively, with the Grand Arômes, which is the result of of eight to ten day fermentations. While it is mostly used in the food and perfume industry, it is also an incredibly tasty rum and I hope we will get more of it in the future. The only other Le Galion we’ve had was by the Selected Cask Community, and it was probably also the best Rum of the entire series. Click here for the review. Last but not least, here’s a nice company video (in French).

Le Galion Grand Fond Blanc (55%): While it is not the distillery’s only OB, it is the only one I’ve ever had. Nose: Oh dear, this is lovely. The nose is full of fruits, esters and sugar cane. There’s a mix of sweet mango, lime, apples, white chocolate, sweet cornflakes, hints of raisins, yoghurt and deeper in the glass also papaya. Even though this isn’t labelled as a Grand Arôme, it’s aroma is great indeed! Palate: Sharper than the nose suggested and the alcohol has a certain burn to it, which is slightly putting me off. I get oat, yoghurt, nail polish remover, hay, and besides apples very few of the fruits from the nose. The nose was just great, the palate is rather average, at best. What a pity. Finish: Short and sharp with few to no interesting notes. Quite mineral and earthy, in fact. This is a “sniffer” only, perhaps cocktail material but not much more. (62/100)

Le Galion 2019 New Make (60%): This is “new make”, or unaged Rum, which is not (at least not yet) for sale. Nose: Right off the bat it has so much more to offer than the Grand Fond Blanc. There’s lots of acetone and nail polish remover, orgeat, peach, something between overripe pineapple and mango, a mixed fruit salad, citrus and more solvent. Absolutely lovely stuff! Palate: Despite the higher abv, the alcohol is integrated much, much better than with the OB. The papaya is now more dominant, as are sherries and oranges. This is real fruit-bomb that has all the potential in the world. What I mean by that is that it absolutely doesn’t require cask ageing to excel, yet I feel that it wouldn’t lose anything either. The finish is medium long and comes with more and more fruits. This is totally terrific stuff, with addiction potential. (no score)

S.B.S Le Galion “PX Cask” 2019 (53%): This comes from the same batch as the previous 2019 one, except that this has matured in a PX Cask for some time. Nose: The similarities with the unaged one are apparent (of course), yet this one is a bit more tamed and elegant, relatively speaking. The cask added notes of prunes, chocolate and coffee, but this remains a high ester fruit bomb nevertheless. Palate: Still acetone and nail polish remover, most of the fruits we’ve had with the unaged one, but now a bit too much from the sherry cask if you ask me. On the one hand, it does add a few nice, sweet elements (plums, chocolate), on the other hand it also contains quite a bit of sulphate which I think shouldn’t belong there. This makes it a real weirdo, which, even after three tries, really puzzles me and I am still not sure what to make out of this. Kinda like a car accident, it just leaves you wondering instead of staring, and while you know that it isn’t right, you just cannot put it down either. At the end of the day, I think the unaged one is quite a bit better, for what it is worth. (81/100)