Martinique, French West Indies

Martinique flag

Rhum Bars
Chez Tante Arlette 

Le Rhum 
Clément 1970
Clément Créole Shrubb 
Clément V.S.O.P. 
Clément X.O (pre-2015) 
Clément X.O (2016-onward) 
Cuvée Homére Clément 
Clément 10 Year Old Grande Réserve Trés Vieux
Clément 6 Year Old Grande Réserve Trés Vieux 
Clément Single Cask Tres Vieux (Canne Bleue)
Clément Premiére Canne 
Clément Canne Bleue 2012 
Clément Canne Bleue 2009 
Clément Colonne Créole

Denizen Merchant’s Reserve 
Depaz Cuvée Prestige 
Depaz XO 
Depaz VSOP
Dillon Edition Limitée 1998 
Dillon XO 7 Ans
Dillon X.O Hors D’Age

J. Bally Heritage
J. Bally Pyramide 7 ans 
Rhum J.M Cuvée du Fondateur
Rhum J.M Gold 
Rhum J.M Millésime 1998 15 Year Old
Rhum J. M Millésime 1997 10 Year Old 
Rhum J.M Millésime 1995 15 Year Old
Rhum J.M Millésime 1994 15 Year Old 
Rhum J.M X.O 
Rhum J.M V.S.O.P.  
Rhum J.M Blanc

La Favorite Coeur de Rhum Vieux 
La Flibuste 
La Mauny Millésime 1998
La Mauny 1979 millésime 
La Mauny XO 
La Mauny V.S.O.P.
La Mauny 1749
La Mauny 62%
La Mauny Shrubb Mandarine

Neisson XO Cuvee Du 3eme Millenaire 
Neisson 1993 Vintage
Neisson Extra Vieux
Neisson Blanc 
Neisson 52.5

Saint-Etienne (HSE) Rhum Vieux
Saint-Etienne (HSE) VSOP 
Saint-Etienne (HSE) Rhum Agricole Extra Vieux Sherry Finish 
Saint James Hors D’Age 
Saint James 12 Ans 
Saint James Fleur de Canne 
Saint James Couer de Chauffe Blanc 60° 

Trois Rivieres Cuvée du Moulin 
Trois Rivieres Cask Strength 2006 Millésime
Trois Rivieres Millésime 2000 Single Cask 
Trois Rivieres Cuvée de L’Ocean 


Martinique and the Role of Terroir
Nowhere in the rum producing world is the role of terroir as elevated as it is on Martinique.  Indeed, terroir and technique are fundamental rights of the Martinique AOC specification.  Other varaibles in rum production:  pot vs column distillation or a combination of both; two, three or more passes through the stills – none of that applies to AOC Martinique. Neither do sugar content of the molasses nor strains of yeast apply.  So many of rum  production’s tunable factors are defined by the AOC specification that the uninitiated chemist might suspect all Martinique agricole rhums would taste the same.  And yet they don’t, largely bacuase on Martinique, making rhum is more agriculture than science.   

The valley belongs to La Distillerie Rhum J.M, situated on the east side of Mt. Pelee

Sure, technique’s are as finely tuned on Martinique as anywhere, and much is made of the differences between this distiller’s 20 plate column still versus that one over there.  But on the island, distilleries are justifiably proud – familial even – of the affect their micro-terroir has on the flavor of their proprietary sugarcane crops on the beautiful rhums that evolve therefrom. 

Once inside the distillery grounds you see, Whoa - taht's a lot of rhum!

Consider two distilleries with sugarcane estates Rhum J.M and Depaz - with crops grown on opposite sides of dominant Mt. Pelée (pictured above).  The former grows it’s cane on the windy northeastern slope facing the Atlantic Ocean, whereas Depaz is situated on the more cloudy, damp southwestern side facing the comparatively tranquil Caribbean sea.  No doubt Rhum J.M performs magic with every cultivated step of its rhum production.  And Depaz, whose estate features volcanic soil deposited just over a century ago when Mount Pelée’s last eruption, has an equally unique terroir.

© Dave Russell 2017