Friday, 1 July 2016

Review 84 - Tres Hombres #14 Bielle Distillery 8 year old

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
A little raw and a little arrogant, but quite nice indeed.

Exploring new territories. Is there anything more exciting?

Recently I looked at the EKTE No.2 Monymusk, which was the first EKTE rum to be torn apart on my review bench.

So today, I’ll trying another new thing: Tres Hombres.

Tres Hombres is yet another indie bottler, but there is something different about these guys.

Behind the brand is three european guys who met each other at see. Long story short, they hooked up and decided to transport commodities across the Atlantic by an emission free clipper called Pierius Magnus.

There is a huge background story to Tres Hombres, that I won’t dive into. But check out their webpage, as it is by far the most interesting company website I’ve seen for a very long time. Link at the bottom.

Along with many other types of goods, TH does rum (obviously). Limited editions only, which seem to change a bit with each year. There is a solid core of latin type rums, but in recent years they have expanded to many other styles.

The rum I’m looking at today is an 8 year old agricole from the Bielle distillery on Marie Galante – there 14th release. 6 barrels bottled at 44%.

The rums from Bielle are quite special, as modern agriculture and technology isn’t very common there. Hence the sugar cane is an old strain with no genetic manipulation what so ever. They transport cane by ox cart (how awesome is that?). They don’t use fertiliser. They use phytoremediation to clean up everything (google it. It’s awesome!).

So basically we are talking 100% pure, 100% organic, 100% environmentally responsible rhum.
I’m gonna start crying soon. That’s how awesome it is.

Even though I previously tried out another rhum from Marie Galante (Rhum Rhum Liberation 2012 Version Integrale), which I found extraordinarily good, I’m still very excited to try this one out as well.
Image courtesy of
Once again, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a handsome sample bottle, so I’ll rely on the internet for description of the packaging.

The bottle is a broad shouldered one with a massive bottom. The glass is super thick, and I suspect that it adds a nice amount of weight to the experience.

From the press photo it seems, that the increasing diameter of the bottle works to create a beautiful gradient in the colour of the rum going from light amber to a dark gold hue. Nice.

At the top, a synthetic cork with a wooden stopper. Seems a bit on the cheap side, but whatever.

The labels from their 2016 lineup are super colourful with individual colouring for all bottles.

The Indie-Bielle comes with a light green colour scheme. There is a drawing of an ox cart on the side, and a piece of text to make sure you get that.

Otherwise the label simply tells you the brand and what is inside. That is it.
Nice, short and clean. The way I like it best.

In the glass it shows off a rich straw colour with yellow and greenish hue.
Upon being twirled a nice, clear ring forms, and quickly turns to runny legs.

Typical agricole on the nose with a super fresh profile and huge floral and grassy scents. Cane juice, wet grass, white flowers, beautiful.

But not just that, also a massive fruityness which sends my thoughts in the direction of Hampden, Jamaica. Unripe green apples,

Actually it bears a lot of the same traits as the Rhum Rhum2012, which I reviewed at an earlier occasion.

Just as I thought I had it figures out, it surprised me with a lot of medicinal undertones.

A tiny shadow of unpleasant cough syrup came through and brought along a carpet of mint and liquorice, which I couldn’t get out of my head again.

After some minutes of air it opened up more, and gained a sweeter side with notes of minty caramel.

Not much wood in there apart from a barely noseable (is that even a word? My spell checker suggests nosebleed or nosebag...) couple of drops of sap from a freshly cut pine tree.

Quite interesting and complex, but at the same time also a little restrained and lacking any real wauw.

Very light on the palate – and quite the trickster.

On the very front it shows off massive wooden flavours and pine wood sap.

Light wooden flavours, which are eventually superseded by a more grassy flavour.

It takes a while for the typical agricole nature to gain a foot hold, but when it does, you are no longer doubting what you are drinking.

After a while it opens up a lot more, and starts showing hints of green apples, green grapes and raspberries.

The palate isn’t quite as interesting as the nose. The complexity from the nose isn’t properly transferred onto the palate, and that saddens me.

It feels a little raw, a little unapproachable and a little arrogant.

I can’t help feeling that it seems underdeveloped and unfinished. It is not bad at all, but it just shows a lot more potential.

It doesn’t hang around for long. The vast majority of the whole experience dies off quite fast, until you are left with a quite, fruity and floral aftertaste, which is perhaps the best property of this rum.

The taste you are left with is so light and so clean, that you’ll want to go through the entire pine wood transforming into underaged agricole again.

Rating and final thoughts
Good rhum. No doubt. I may have trashed it a bit out of frustration.

Frustrations, that it seems to hold a massive potential, which hasn’t been properly taken advantage of.

I find it quite funny that I’m sitting here with an 8 year old Bielle, which feels massively under developed when comparing it to the Rhum Rhum 2012, which was only 5 years old.

I’m aware that the Rhum Rhum isn’t produced in the same way, but the terroir is exactly the same. So the differences are down to distillation technique, perhaps fermentation and cask selection.

And what a difference in this case.

I did enjoy it quite a bit. It was interesting and showed off something slightly different. Bonus points for that indeed.

The finish was the star of the show. So gentle and so tasty. The slight taste of cherries stayed on for a very, very long time.

But what about the money? What does it cost? Is it worth it? And what can I get instead?

In its price range you’ll find some pretty proper competitors. The Rhum Rhum Liberation 2015 at 45% ABV and La Mauny 1995 for instance. For remarkably less you’ll get a lot of other tested and tried agricoles from established companies like JM, Clement, Trois Rivieres and more.

I’ll have to run it buy a more seasoned agricole drinker to get a proper opinion here.

But clocking in at around €90, the value for money may be a bit of a stretch.

All in all, a very enjoyable experience. There is no doubt that Tres Hombres are in this game to make an impact, and I think they do.

With the 8 year old Bielle they went slightly wonky and tried for something different than many others, and they need to be recognised for that.

Furthermore they simply bottled a good rhum. No question.

Running out of words to write, I better get to the scoring. A…

Rating: 76/100

There is also a highly limited Captains Choice version available at 55% ABV. But be prepared for a price of around €300. Yikes.


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