LES PLANTATIONS AND THE SAINT JAMES CUVEE 1765 RHUM
A MAINSTAY ON THE ISLAND OF MARTINIQUE
HOLLYWOOD(Spiritsman)8/11/15/–This rhum is from the French colony of Martinique and when the bottle arrived on my desk I just had the gut feeling that I was about to try something very good.
The history of Saint James started out in 1765 when the Brothers of Charity took over the management of Fort Saint-Pierre hospital on the Caribbean island, and built a sugar mill. The Cuvee 1765 Anniversary Rhum is a dark rhum that is 42% alcohol, similar in strength to the six other dark and aged rums in the Saint James collection. At press time it is not even on the market yet, but please keep an eye out for this rather exceptional spirit.
Saint James is one of the oldest rums in Martinique and because they have their own estates, They are pretty much self sufficient. They even have a rum museum and a Maison de la Distillation, and for tourists to the island, a visit to the yearly Rum festival is an event not to be missed.
Saint James start with the Extra old, 7 years old, 12 years old, 15 years old, the Vintage 2001 and the Quintessence. Master blender Myriam Bredas is keen to point out that even making rum today is a delicate process, with little or no margin for error, so all of the cane sugar used in Saint James rums comes from a parcel of land in the surrounding hills of the distillery.
No pesticides are used and they make up the difference by buying small quantities from other producers. After the plants have been crushed, the cane juice is placed in stainless steel vats and then simple baker’s yeast is added. After 24 hours max, distillation takes place in very old stills at low temperatures.
After the next selection where the aromas are the big thing, the liquid then goes into wood barrels, either French or American Oak. These are either second use Bourbon barrels or the slightly larger second use Cognac style, and the rum stays in these barrels for a minimum of three years. Currently the distillery houses 13,000 barrels that contain spirits being aged between one and sixteen years.
Getting back to this particular rhum, it has a beautiful aroma to it as well as packing a bit of a punch. This is a great rhum for cocktails, and as long ago as the 18th century, the Rum Sour (old rum, lemon, sugar) was being used by the islanders. Then they started adding pineapple juice with coconut milk, a forerunner of the Pina Colada, a cocktail created in 1950 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Saint James actually created the Imperial Mojito Perfect Serve as well as the Strawberry Mojito and the Mango Mojito. During the swinging sixties and beyond the unpaid ambassador for Saint James was the heartthrob singer/actor Yves Montand who demanded only Saint James at every hotel, restaurant and bar he ever hanged out at. He knew a good drink when he saw it and you can too.
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