3rdStop: Saint Lucia, and more precisely Saint Lucia Distillers which is the only operating distillery in Saint Lucia and produces all of the Saint Lucia rums we know : Chairman Reserve, 1931, Admiral Rodney but also other rums dedicated to local consumption !
Thanks to contacts obtained back in France, I got introduced to Michael Speakman, Marketing director of Saint Lucia Distillers who kindly accepted my visit and organised it in the best way I could have expected.
Saint Lucia distillery is located in the beautiful Roseau Bay on the Caribbean coast. Molasses are shipped by sea and then directly sent from the ship to the distillery through big underground pipes. This is longer than we could have expected, because of the thickness of molasse, it takes three days for the molasses to go from the ship to the distillery by pipes.
Roger Miller in charge of the quality assurance was my guide for this visit that I shared with a very nice American couple who has a liquor shop in Denver (divinowine.com
Let’s start with the fermentation process: Saint Lucia uses two types of yeasts: an indigenous one for aged rums and a commercial one for cleanest spirits.
The fermentation process brings the raw wash to seven percent after 30 -35 hours.
The distillation is made by four types of stills :
- A Vendome pot still
- Two John Dore pot stills
- A column still with 40 plates leading to a 94° – 95° rums
The blending is an important step in this distillery since they have different kinds of stills and produce different brands.
One the visit of the distillery done, we ended up in the lab where testing is performed and new rums created, we could call it the “rum heaven”…
The tasting finally took place here and started with samples of rums issued from the different stills at different ages…
1931 has been created five years ago, and is a Vintage, each year having its own characteristics. The last one: 2015 (not yet available for sale) is a the first to be a mix of molasses rum and cane juice rum (low proportion)
|Pretty dry – oak barrels
|Oak barrels and anis
|Sweeter and more floral
|Floral and fruity
|Sugar cane field
|Pretty dry and spiced
More oak and porto barrels
|Spices anis sweeter
Blend of column stills, John dore and Vendome pot stills
The tasting continued with Chairman reserve.
Chairman is a combination of column stills and John Dore pot still four to five years old rums:
- The white Chairman lighter than the classic chairman since it has been filtered after ageing. The white has some citrus note which are perfect for cocktails as Daïquiri
- The spiced one is really surprising since it really smells and tastes as a homemade marmelade or a “crêpe flambée au Grand Marnier”
- The forgotten cask is not only a name but a real forgotten cask named after a fire that occurred in 2007. Those casks were found in 2011. This rum has been reintroduced in oak barrels for four – five additional years to marry. This latest one is much more complex than the classic one and really interesting to experience.
We could not go before tasting the Admiral Rodney…
This is a 100% continuous column stills rum, explaining that this rum is definitely dryer than the Chairman!
Did you know that the Chairman reserve that we buy in France or anywhere else except Saint Lucia has been filtered and is then a little bit different from the one you find locally? The filtration consists in freezing the rum and filtering it in order to avoid the appearance of crystals in cold temperatures…
Luckily for me/ unfortunately for you, the tasting did not stop here and continued with local rhum as Kweyol, TØZ (exported), Bounty, Crystal, Denros strong (80°), Lab made punch, liqueur (peanuts, coco, coffee…) rum creams… so many rums that I can’t tell you a lot except that I really enjoyed it. It was a absolutely great experience,
Thank you Saint Lucia distillery, with you, I RUMED (part of) THE WORLD!
Kiss kiss boumboum
PS: Special thank to Simon and Ellen for the english review (tough job!)