Four wild days of touring Martinique’s distilleries and rhum shops leaves us with a whole new respect for agricole.
The unforgettable scent of cane fields and barrel warehouses is still fresh in my mind. Ti Punch has become a staple in my diet and somehow my limited French has improved. Yes, a bit of Martinique has gotten into my soul.
Not even a week has gone by since returning from my whirlwind tour of the island and I’m already trying to figure out when I can go back to experience more. We were busy from dawn until late in the evening all four days and I feel like the local rhum scene still holds many secrets.
By day we toured Le Simon, Rhum JM, Depaz, Neisson, Saint James and La Favorite, six of the island’s most famous working distilleries. They were all extremely different from one another and gave us a glimpse at the precise method of making rhum agricole. The measures that local distilleries follow to meet stringent AOC regulations and to ensure the quality of their products is nothing short of amazing.
In the evening we were hosted at some of Martinique’s most outrageous restaurants and our conversation about everything agricole continued over feasts of steak and lobster. Back at the hotel we sipped Ti Punch and aged rhum late into the night and attempted to process all we’d seen.
I have been lucky enough to visit many rum producing islands over the years but I can’t remember the last time one effected me like Martinique. Rhum culture is thick on the island, almost like a religion. Everyone has a favorite brand, a special drink and a complete respect for local regulations of the distilling process.
Honestly, a journey to Martinique is a must for every rum aficionado. It was truly one of the best trips I’ve been on and has opened my eyes to new distilleries, brands and talented people.
We’ll be rolling out articles and images that highlight each individual distillery over the coming weeks so stay tuned.