I have recently been in holiday in France and I have to say the agricole selection and prices in supermarkets are ridiculously good. On that note I visited the airport duty-free shop on my way back and bought two 1 litre bottles of unaged agricole at a steal – guess a perk of UK not being in the EU anymore is cheaper duty-free booze. One of the bottles I acquired was the Dillon Rhum Blanc 55.
The Dillon brand started in 1779 when one Count Arthur Dillon landed in Martinique where he met an heirress of a planter’s family and started running the Girardin Plantation with her. The Girardin Plantation has been cultivating sugar cane in Fort de France, Martinique since 1690.
The now named Dillon Plantation changed ownership a few times and it started making rhum in the 19th century with column distillation being introduced in 1920.
The column still and the steam engine (dating back to 1922) are still operational today, but were moved at the Depaz Distillery where Dillon makes their rhum now – they are still using their own sugar cane and equipment. As a result the facility at Fort de France doesn’t distill anymore, but is used as an ageing warehouse and bottling plant.
Dillon is using the cane juice from 10 different sugar cane varieties while adhering to the Martinique AOC in order to make agricole rhum. They use copper column still distillation with the distillate coming out at 65% ABV retaining plenty of character from the raw material. The rhum is rested for 5 weeks while being reduced down to bottling strength.
Dillon Rhum Blanc 55 is cane juice based, column still distilled and aged for 5 weeks before being bottled at a punchy 55% ABV – no additions as per the Martinique AOC.
On the nose it has a nice savoury aroma. Boiled corn on the cob, mango juice, pink pepper and lime zest. Cane juice (I know, right?), green tea and green olives. A pretty straight forward agricole. Some juniper leaves and unripe bananas as well.
On the palate the high ABV makes itself known. Green chilli, boiled corn on the cob, unripe plums and plenty of grassy notes. Juniper leaves tea, grapefruit zest and coriander. Agave syrup, green apples and a touch of almond flavours. The finish is long with cane juice and vegetal notes.
This isn’t an overly complex rum, it’s a pretty standard agricole and it definitely does not disappoint in that regard. The best thing about Dillon Blanc 55 is probably it’s strength that makes it perfect for mixing in a good ol’ Ti Punch or simply an agricole Paloma.
Dillon is not widely available in the UK unfortunately, but I purchased it for £13 at the Nice airport in France – very much a bargain!
Dillon Rhum Blanc 55 score:
Value for money: 15/15