Damoiseau Blanc Virgin Cane  - La Moule, Grand Terre, Guadeloupe, 40% ABV by Suzanne Long

Mural at Rhumerie Damoiseau, La Moule, Grand Terre, Guadeloupe

Mural at Rhumerie Damoiseau, La Moule, Grand Terre, Guadeloupe

The Damoiseau distillery has been making rum in Guadeloupe since 1942 (much newer than most distilleries on Martinique).  The rum is fermented for a short 30 hours in stainless steel vats that maintain a temp of around 35°C (95°F, or pretty close to ambient temps in Guadeloupe, which is the sweet spot for yeast to multiply). The temp is controlled by either an internal cooling system or by spraying cold water on the outside of the vats. Excess heat needs to be avoided or yeasts behave in an undesirable manner (temps over 120°F can kill them). The shorter fermentation time results in a wine that is slightly lower in alcohol (from 4-6% ABV). The wine is then distilled on a column still which yields a 89% ABV distillate (significantly higher than those we’ve been looking at from Martinique, and even higher than the Batiste). The rhum is then aged in oak for 6 months before being proofed down with spring water purified by reverse osmosis and bottled. The distillery has both American bourbon (Buffalo Trace) barrels and larger Cognac style French oak holding tanks on their premises, but since the idea with Damoiseau Blanc Virgin Cane is simply to “rest” the rhum (as opposed to maximize wood contact and age it), it’s likely that this mark is only put in the French oak tanks.

More about all of the stages of production at Damoiseau:

See Suzanne Long's gallery of photos from Rhumerie Damoiseau, March 2016 below.

Batiste: Rhum Agricole from Marie Galante, Guadeloupe & SF Bay Area by Suzanne Long

This rhum is made from cane grown on Marie-Galante, one of a group of 5 small islands that make up the French Department of Guadeloupe. It is the third largest of those 5 islands (but is pretty small). Batiste prides itself on being 100% clean for the environment. The rum is produced at the Bellevue Distillery, which has a 100% non-polluting production. It is distilled up to 75% alcohol (a tiny bit higher than most of the Martinician agricoles which are usually distilled to about 70%). The rum is then shipped here to the Bay Area where it is re-distilled on a Japanese vacuum still (the kind used to make Shochu). Pressurized stills work by creating a vacuum in the machine, lowering the atmospheric pressure and thus lowering the temperature at which liquids boil (just the same as if you’re in Denver or Reno and water boils but it isn’t actually hot). The resulting distillate is softer, cleaner and milder because it was produced at a lower temp. This tones down the typical agricole vegetality dramatically, resulting in a very light finished spirit. The rhum is then bottled without being aged.