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Rum from Martinique

'All roads lead to… rum,' could be the motto of Martinique. Wherever you decide to drop your anchor, you aren't far from a rum distillery ! Rarely is an environment in such harmony with a product : landscapes, people, culture and traditions - everything in Martinique invites you to immerse yourself in the history and culture of rum.

Rum from Martinique

A bit of history
Rum became woven into the fabric of 17th century Caribbean life after Western Europeans began craving sweet confections made from the juice of the sugar cane plant. Within fifty years, Spanish, Portuguese, French and English planters in the New World had transformed the landscape to meet the booming European demand for sugar. Once crystalline sugar was extracted from the boiled sugar cane juice, it was discovered that the skimmings and molasses, left in the sugar pots, could be fermented and then distilled in simple pot stills. This strong alcoholic beverage became much sought after in the islands.

It was in 1694 that Jean-Baptiste Labat, a dominican priest and legendary character in Martinique, landed on the island. At the same time, sugar cane liquor replaced beer and wine on the ships that sailed the islands to protect the planters and carry the precious cargo back to Europe.Well preserved over long periods, it was used as a drink for crews as it was healthier and… far more pleasant than the fresh water carried on board !

But it was the rum drinking pirates and corsairs that elevated the Caribbean spirit to it's place in history.

Over the next two centuries the rum industry grew with the burgeoning demand for sugar and Saint-Pierre became the centre of the rum trade. Then on May 8th, 1902, Mount Pelée erupted and the town was completely destroyed while countless ships, unable to clear the anchorage, caught fire and sank in the harbor. The 16 rum distilleries in Saint-Pierre were ruined. Despite the tragedy, today the sugar cane fields on Mount Pelée are some of the most productive in all the islands.

Finding your bearings
There are two kinds of rum :
- Rhum agricole, also called rhum de vesou, is distilled only from fermented sugar cane juice and is a specialty of the French Antilles, particularly Martinique. Rhum agricole is bottled as three very different spirits : white rum, or grappe blanche - used in the traditional drink of the Antilles, the ti'punch ; rhum paille - rum that's lightly coloured by aging up to 2 years in oak vats ; and lastly rhum vieux - rum that has been aged for at least 3 years in smaller oak barrels.
- Rhum de mélasse, also called rhum industriel or traditionnel - is distilled from fermented molasses and accounts for more than 90% of the world's rum production. In Martinique, Le Galion produces this type of rum.

Rum from Martinique

The route to rum
Today a dozen distilleries in Martinique welcome visitors for a sampling of their product. The rum-making season is January to June, when you'll be able to see the distilleries operating.

IN THE SOUTH

Rum from Martinique
Maison La Mauny Distillery
Domaine La Mauny - D8 - Rivière-Pilote
Tel. 05 96 62 18 79

Guided tours on a small train Mon-Sat, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm (phone reservation recommended).

Enjoy the estate established in 1749 on a guided tour on a small train. In harvest time, the whole process of a genuine distillery will unfold before you. At Cabane à Rhum, the friendly staff offers tastings of Maison La Mauny rums and new liqueurs. You can also enjoy lunch on the premises at Kay Mimi before joining the beautiful beach of Anse Figuier.


Rum from Martinique
Trois Rivières Distillery
Sainte-Luce
Tel. 05 96 62 51 78

Guided tours Mon-Sat at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm. Open on Sunday in season

Trois Rivières distillery, on the beach route in the South, is easily recognizable by its iconic windmill. Visit the craft shops and then, let the friendly guides explain the traditional methods used to make rhum agricole during the tour of the old factory. Taste the world renowned prestigious vintages.

Rum from Martinique
Braud & Quennesson (rum factory)
Le Marin
Tel. 05 96 74 10 01
Tours and sampling from 9am to 5pm Monday through Sunday.

Nestled at the bottom of a green valley, this southernmost rum factory in Martinique opened its doors to the public at the end of 2022 and completes the family of Martinique AOC rums. It’s the rebirth of the old Marin factory, whose history dates back to the 19th century. You can visit its pretty garden and taste rums with a unique aromatic richness.

FORT-DE-FRANCE AND SURROUNDINGS

Rum from Martinique
La Favorite Distillery
D13 - ancienne route du Lamentin
In direction of CHU Zobda Quitman / RSMA. - Le Lamentin
Tel. 05 96 50 47 32

Free tours and rum sampling Mon-Fri 9am-4pm, Sat 9am-12pm.

This is one of the oldest distilleries still working in Martinique. As your visit progresses, you will be shown every stage in the making of this exceptional rum, from the cutting of the cane to the final bottling. Your visit ends with a sampling of all the rums produced at the distillery.


Rum from Martinique
Saint-Etienne Estate
Gros-Morne
Tel. 05 96 57 49 32 - 05 96 57 49 20

Open Mon-Sun, 9am-1pm and 1:30pm-5pm. Guided tours Tue and Thu at 2:30pm by reservation: contact@rhumhse.com

Located at the heart of Martinique, the Saint-Etienne Estate hugs the banks of the river Lézarde and is a unique and preserved architectural ensemble dating back to the 19th century; its landscaped grounds are classified “Remarkable Garden”.


SAINT-PIERRE AND SURROUNDINGS

Rum from Martinique
Depaz Distillery
Plantation de la Montagne Pelée - Saint-Pierre
Tel. 05 96 78 13 14

The Castle is open Sun-Mon depending on activity, Tue-Fri 10am-1pm / 1:30pm-4pm, Sat 9am-1pm / 1:30pm-4pm.
The Shop is open Sun-Mon depending on activity, Tue-Fri 10am-4:30pm, Sat 9am-4pm.

Set at the foot of Mount Pelée and facing the Caribbean Sea, the historic Depaz Plantation features the oldest steam powered engine on the island, a paddle wheel, a steam museum, a gift shop as well as the wonderfully restored Depaz Castle.


Rum from Martinique
Neisson Distillery
Domaine Thieubert - Le Carbet
Tel. 05 96 78 03 70

Tours Mon-Fri 8:30am-4:30pm, Sat 8am-12pm.

A passion for tradition and history characterizes this small distillery where the rum is considered by connoisseurs to be in a class of its own. Neisson is producing the first organic rum in the world, launched in Martinique in December 2016.


ATLANTIC COAST

Rum from Martinique
Clement Estate
Domaine de l’Acajou - Le François
Tel. 05 96 54 62 07

Open all year round. The estate and the exhibitions can be visited from 9am to 6:30pm (2-hour tours, last admission recommended before 5:30pm).
Admission: Adults €13, Young people ages 15-17 €8, Children 14 and under free.

The Clement Estate, named after the eponymous family that lived there for close to a century, is now a huge 160 hectare estate, located in the town of Le François. An exceptional location, due to its architectural diversity and its history, the Clement Estate welcomes visitors all yearvround. The original agricultural and industrial use of the place has been preserved, while developing a heritage and cultural centre that is accessible to all. At the heart of the sugar plantations, this unique attraction is central to the Martinique collective memory and houses a century old rum house as well as a centre for contemporary arts run by the Clément Foundation.

Rum from Martinique
Saint-James Distillery, Rum Museum and House of Distillation
Le Bourg - Sainte-Marie
Tel. 05 96 69 50 37

Open daily 9am-5pm (closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1). Distillery guided tours only in rum-making season (March to June).

Rum Museum
The Saint-James Rum Museum is set in a splendid colonial house and recounts the history of sugar cane on the island. Two traditional events are organized by the museum: the Harvest Festival in June and the Rum Festival in December. Don’t miss these popular events. While sampling Saint-James, take note of the trademark square bottle of this historic distillery.

House of Distillation
Set in what was once a horse stable, the House of Distillation features the history of the art of distillation in a sober yet refined atmosphere. This museum exhibition takes the visitor through the history of distillation equipment from the early cognac alembic to the modern column and then to the Saint James cellar of rare vintage rum.


Rum from Martinique
Fonds Préville- Rhum JM distillery
Fonds Préville - Macouba
Tel. 05 96 78 92 55

Open daily, 9am-5pm.

On the edge of Martinique, in a lush green setting, JM distillery occupies the bottom of the valley of the River Roche. Since the 19th century, rhum agricole has been made here from pure sugar cane juice. The magic of JM rum derives from its alliance with the exceptional water of Mount Pelée, along with the mystery of its long aging process in oak barrels. We invite you to discover this knowledge, passed down by men and women for generations, at Macouba, in the JM distillery’s unique visiting areas.


Planteur and Ti'Punch: the tradition of Martinique

Recipes

Rum from Martinique
Planteur (traditional rum punch)
Mix in a glass:
• 2 measures rhum vieux
• 4 measures tropical fruit juice
• a drop of sugar cane syrup
Sprinkle grated cinnamon,nutmeg and vanilla.
Stir and serve.

Ti’Punch
Mix in a short glass:
• a measure of sugar cane syrup or a little raw sugar
• a small piece of lime
• three or four measures of white rhum agricole.

Alcool abuse is dangerous for your health. Consume and enjoy in moderation.

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