J. Bally rums are considered to be some of the finest vintage rums in the world. Named after the Parisian founder Jacques Bally, these rums are enjoyed by connoisseurs all over the world. Its interesting history and origin story contribute to the legendary status of these rums.
Dating back to 1923, J. Bally, the son of a solicitor, started his journey on the bankrupt Lajus sugar plantation that he purchased as an engineering graduate. The Lajus sugar plantation was established in Carbet in the north of Martinique and was initially founded by Baron de Lajus in 1774. The sugar plantation was situated close to the historic volcano, Montagne Pelée, and the volcanic soil made for the perfect environment to grow sugar cane. This volcano, however, erupted quite frequently, and having spared the Lajus plantation, J. Bally could restore it to start his distillery.
Upon purchasing the plantation, J. Bally decided not to restore it as a working sugar plantation but as a distillery. He installed a brand new distillation column and a steam engine. Thus the first distillery in Martinique was established, and J. Bally immediately started producing old rum. The oldest of the vintage J. Bally rums dates back to 1929.
Along with his engineering qualification, J. Bally also studied in Cognac where he learned the ancestral techniques of creating the perfect cognac. He applied this to his own rum-making techniques, and he started ageing his rum in oak casks. This made his distillery extremely unique, giving his rum a rich, delicious flavour.
Being a true pioneer in his field, J. Bally also invented the pyramid-shaped rum bottle in the 1930s. In collaboration with Saint-Gobain, these bottles became famous throughout the world. Everyone knew the J. Bally brand and enjoyed the J. Bally rums.
In 1987 the distillery went through a few transfers between other distilleries, and today Saint-James is in charge of the ageing and distilling of J. Bally rums. It is said that the original column that J. Bally built also relocated to its new home so that it could continue sharing in the success of the rums.
J. Bally rums are still very popular today, and rum lovers' liquor cabinets are incomplete without a bottle or two in them. The J. Bally XO is a beautiful bottle that is inviting as much as it is enticing to taste. With 43% alcohol, it offers a more unique taste than the other J. Bally rums. It doesn't open up to the nose as easily as the others, but its mystery promises a taste sensation like no other. The finish remains long after the last sip, with bitter undertones and spicy flavours.
Another authentic bottle of J. Bally rum is the 1966 vintage from the Lajus plantations. This rum is said to be the absolute embodiment of the brand and everything that Jacques Bally stood for. It is exactly what a rum-lover would expect from the brand: elegance, roundness, richness, and several fragrant flavours. It is one of the treasures produced by J. Bally and a must for any brandy connoisseur.
Last but not least is the original J. Bally 1929 vintage rum. As already stated, this is the oldest vintage rum to come from the Lajus plantations and one of the first rums to be produced by J. Bally. Its dark wood colour boasts red and gold hints and a large range of aromas. The oak sits gently on the palate and leaves behind notes of spice and dry fruits. The finish takes you back to 80 years ago when J. Bally was established, and this rum was at the start of its prime.
J. Bally has been a brand associated with sophistication and a vintage world long gone. Its brandies, however, still find a home in our modern world.