Tour the Rum Distilleries of Martinique

by GO GlobeHopper

Martinique’s distilleries are the only ones in the world to be awarded the designation Appellation d’Origine Controlée, a label typically associated with excellent French wines. Now it’s also associated with excellent Martinican rums. And why not? Like wine, rum is aged in oak barrels and is comparable to fine cognac.

Just as wine lovers visit France to savor the best of French wine while traveling along La Route des Vins, rum connoisseurs head to Martinique to experience some of the world’s finest rums by traveling La Route des Grands Rhums.


La Sucrerie du Galion — Sugar and tourism tours of the Galion factory, the only sugar plant in Martinique, are given during the sugar processing campaign — in other words when the factory is running. The Galion refinery offers a uniquely rich, instructive, and aromatic visit! The visit guided by a hostess offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience, between the history of sugar cane, the sugar plantation, and the steam power plant. The media center is open for you to discover the manufacturing secrets of Martinique’s sugar.


Habitation Saint-Etienne — The plantation Saint-Etienne was one of the principal sugar factories of Martinique in the 19th century. Like others, it was converted into an artisanal rum distillery at the end of the same century and ultimately stopped distilling in 1988. The rum is now distilled by the Simon distillery in the municipality of Francois. Rum is then placed in casks, aged and refined on the property of the Saint-Etienne Plantation. A tour of the site allows visitors to discover the cask stocks, bottling, and the rest of the installations of the old distillery, and the cabins where the field workers lived.


Habitation Clement — The Clement plantation is characterized by its continued industrial activity — the growing of sugar cane and the aging and preparation of rum.  This is at the heart of a cultural heritage site. This dual undertaking, industrial and cultural, makes it more than a business or a museum setting.


Distillerie JM — (shown in the lead photo) An exceptional site located in the north of Martinique, on the face of Mount Pelée, the Bellevue plantation enjoys a humid tropical climate and fertile volcanic soil, ideal for growing exceptional sugar cane.  J.M RUM is considered by connoisseurs to be Martinique’s finest aged rum. It has been produced for several centuries according to age-old techniques handed down by the founder, Jean-Marie Martin. J.M is one of the few distilleries in Martinique to use spring water to produce its rums. Jetting from the interior of Mount Pelée, this pure water rich in minerals contributes to the exceptional quality of J.M Rums.


Distillerie Depaz — For four centuries, at the foot of Mount Pelée and at the edge of the bay of Saint-Pierre (in Martinique), the “Mountain Plantation” produces the island’s finest sugar cane. It’s the perfect setting with an exceptional climate, abundant mountain spring water, volcanic soils, and human dedication.  These are the secrets of Depaz rum. Free rum tasting is available along with retail and gift products.


Distillerie Hardy — Located on the Caravelle peninsula, this small family distillery independently constitutes one of the most delicious examples of the history of rum in Martinique. This welcoming structure has been able to preserve a discrete and authentic charm over the years. A small shop attached to the factory sells the label’s products.


La Favorite — Rum from La Favorite is the sweetest in Martinique. The naturally sweet flavor and its cane and citrus aromas impart a balance that makes it the rum most appreciated by true connoisseurs. During the final step before bottling, it is further matured to respect its sweetness and natural balance. The La Favorite distillery ages its old rums in the purest tradition of the great rums of Martinique — in oak casks from which the most aggressive tannins are extracted by storing whiskey and cognac.


Distillerie Maison La Mauny — At the heart of a lush valley at the southern end of the island, La Mauny distillery invites guests to experience all the steps involved in making its AOC Martinique rums. Discover this phenomenon born nearly three centuries ago. The Rum Shack provides tastings of La Mauny rums and carries a line of souvenirs as well.


Distillerie St James — Present in Saint-Pierre since the 18th century, the Saint-James distillery was transferred to Sainte Marie following the eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902. Still operating today, it produces more than 3 million liters of rum a year and offers the widest array of artisanal rums.


Distillerie Dillon — The Dillon distillery is located in the heart of Fort de France in a neighborhood with the same name. The existence of a sugar plantation in this location dates back to 1690, but the name of the domain stems from Arthur Dillon, who ran the plantation at the end of the 18th century. It would not be until the 19th century that rum production would come under the initiative of a new owner.  The rum is aged in casks and bottled in the factory.  There is also a gift shop on site.



Source:  La Martinique

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