Some of the best rums in the world are created on the tiny island of Martinique, giving visitors yet another great reason to visit this French territory in the Caribbean. The runs from the island have been bestowed with the appellation d’origine contrôlée award, which certainly sounds very prestigious. Rum distilleries throughout the island welcome visitors to tour the facilities and sample the product. Yummmm!
St. James Distillery: The St. James Distillery is found at Sainte-Marie in the north. St. James operates the Musée du Rhum (Rum Museum). You are invited to sample the good while you’re there. The museum is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., weekends from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is free.
Rhum Clement Domaine Acajou: The Rhum Clement Domaine Acajou is located in Le François on the east coast. This distillery has historic significance as well, as it was the site of the l99l Summit Meeting between George Bush and President François Mitterrand of France. The site also boasts a recently added contemporary museum. Tours and tastings are available.
Fonds Saint-Jacques: The Fonds Saint-Jacques is a historical 17th-century sugar estate in the north of the island. This spot is home to the Musée du Père Labat, named for the Dominican monk who had a powerful impact on many aspects of history in Martinique, including rum production. This spot is open year round on Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to noon and Sunday by appointment only. Admission is 2.5 € for adults, 1 € for students.
Maison de la Canne: The Maison de la Canne is a modern museum devoted to sugar and rum, found just outside Trois-Ilets. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., closed Mondays. Admission for adults is 3 €, for children 1 €.
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Other distilleries that may offer tours and tastings include the following:
* Distillerie Dillon Fort-de-France tel: (596) 596 75 20 20
* Distillerie Depaz Saint-Pierre tel: (596) 596 78 13 14
* Habitation Clement François tel: (596) 596 54 62 07
* Trois-Rivières Sainte-Luce tel: (596) 596 62 51 78
* La Mauny Rivière-Pilote tel: (596) 596 62 62 08
* Rhum Neisson Le Carbet tel: (596) 596 78 03 70
* St. James Rum Museum Sainte-Marie tel: (596) 596 69 30 02
* Bally (Habitation Lajus) Le Carbet tel: (596) 596 78 08 94
* Distillerie JM Macouba tel: (596) 596 78 92 55
* Distillerie St.Etienne Gros-Morne tel: (596) 596 57 62 68
* Distillerie La Favorite Lamentin tel: (596) 596 50 47 32
During the harvest season from February to June, some of the distilleries close their doors to tour. If you’re traveling during this time, be sure to call ahead.