Rhum Bielle 2023 / Galion / Isautier 2011 (Swell de Spirits)

Rhum Bielle 2023 / Galion / Isautier 2011 (Swell de Spirits)

Still in France – here’s the last day of our little French week. I also wanted to have a rum session, but French rums are quite hard to come by so we diverted to French colonies or overseas territories. We ended up in Guadeloupe, Île de la Réunion and West Indies.

There’s an extra layer of Frenchness since all three are bottled by our friends from Swell de Spirits, who are based in the Bordeaux. A fairly young bottler (started in 2021) but one that impressed us a number of times already.

We start with Bielle 2023, a white agricole from Marie Galante distilled in June and/or July 2023.


Bielle 8 mo 2023 (58%, Swell de Spirits ‘On Tour’ for Limoges Spirits Festival 2024, 250 btl.)

Nose: cane sugar with some herbal notes. Then pears and yellow kiwi with a sweet vegetal earthiness. A certain hint of panna cotta. Drops of Mexican pulque, whiffs of chalk. Some floral touches too. Interesting aromas.

Mouth: very herbal and earthy again, a muscular spirit. Quite sweet, with bitter orange peels, aniseed and mint. Lemons. Hints of anchovies. The herbs give it a medicinal side too. Then light grassy touches and pepper.

Finish: a tad short perhaps, still herbal with a light bitterness.

A bit raw, but you can tell the seeds of complexity are already present. Not something I would buy myself, but an educational rum nonetheless. Available from Inter Caves Limoges.



Grand Arôme du Galion 3 yo (56,3%, Swell de Spirits ‘Easy Peasy’ 2024, bourbon barrel, 600 btl.)

Distillerie de Galion - Grand Arome - Swell de Spirits - Easy Peasy

Nose: very expressive. Truckloads of bananas, mostly fermented, with hints of black olives and brine, some balsamic touches and heady florals. Then nail polish remover, more banana bubblegum; lemon sourness and pineapple candy. Good sweet-and-sour balance, with a beautiful funkiness.

Mouth: quite special again, with big esters. Lots of peaches now (quite uncommon in rum, in my experience), along with mango, pineapple, lychee, lemons and rose petals. More bananas, with golden raisins and lime. Quite a beautiful fruit bowl indeed. Then there’s a briny side, with a drying funky note and some allspice from the oak.

Finish: quite long, still mixing sweet fruits (oranges) with brine and this funky dry nutmeg note.

Quite a unique mix of bubblegummy fruits and esters. I don’t have a lot of experience with Galion, but this urges me to try more. In terms of value for money (below € 70), I find this hard to resist. Recommended. Score: 89/100



Isautier – Rhum Agricole RVA 13 yo 2011 (59,4%, Swell de Spirits ‘Wild Nature’ 2024, single cask, 316 btl.)

isautier rum swell de spirits

Nose: deeply fruity notes at first. Mainly roasted pineapple and orange, which evolve towards estery glue and a good dose of varnished furniture. Round vanilla, coconut shavings and gingerbread. Just a hint of tar and ink in the distance, enough to give it extra character.

Mouth: reminds me of a bourbon whiskey at first, but fruitier. Lots of fresh oak shavings, hints of maple syrup, cinnamon and menthol. Then some lighter citrus, sour berries, vanilla and baked apple. Still a layer of glue-like esters and varnish which clearly bring us back to rum territories. Some bitter herbs in the end.

Finish: long, on cedar, cinnamon, menthol and drying apple seeds.

A nice mix of fruits, firm wood spice and gentle glue. In short: a nice first encounter with Isautier and a good selection from Swell de Spirits. Score: 87/100