La Mauny

since 1749

Riviere Pilote, Martinique French West Indies

Started in 1749, this is the largest distillery in the French West Indies and the largest distiller of rhum agricole in the Caribbean. But a series of fires have significantly hurt the production of this well known rhum brand.

The distillery is actually a good walk north of Rivière Pilote. Unless you have a car, best wear your walking shoes. It is possible to get to the distillery by public bus, but even if you don't get a ride, it is an interesting walk along the river through some beautiful land. Breadfruit, banana, and avocado trees flourish and flowers of every description bloom around you. When you reach the cock-fighting pit on the east side of the road, you are almost there.

The visitors tasting center is on your right as you approach the bottling operation and business offices — the first buildings you see. But the tours start from the reception area near the distillery itself, a short walk further uphill, past the remains of the old distillery.

Each year, between February and June, La Mauny plantation grows about 10,000 tons of cane on 120 hectares of cultivated land. Another 18,000 tons of cane is bought from local farmers. Most of the cane is still cut by hand because the mountainous terrain is too rugged for the big mechanical equipment. Four crushing machines operate twenty-four hours a day during the rhum season so the cane can be processed as soon as it is cut.

To increase the efficiency of the juice-extraction process, a controlled amount of water is sprayed on the mills while the cane is being crushed. At most distilleries, the juice is transferred to a fermentation vat, the sugar content of the juice is measured, and then more water is added to adjust the sugar content. Here, the sugar content is evaluated as the juice is pumped to the fermentation vats, and the water is automatically controlled to make further adjustments unnecessary.

Two steam boilers produce enough steam to drive the crushing operation, the three distillation columns, and produce 1000kw of electrical power! An operation of this size doesn't have to rely on outside energy when there is so much bagasse to burn.

Thirty-six 30,000-liter tanks stand at one end of the production area to ferment the fresh cane juice. After fermenting for twenty-four hours, the 4º wine is distilled to 70º in one of the three copper distillation columns, then stored in stainless steel tanks. To help the distiller maintain quality control, samples, taken at various stages in the fermentation and distillation process, are analyzed in a gas chromatograph.

La Mauny produces 35,000 liters of rhum per day, more than the annual production of some of the smaller distilleries in the Eastern Caribbean.

Rhum that will be bottled as rhum blanc is allowed to rest three months in 50,000-liter oak casks before it is diluted, filtered, and then bottled at 50º or 55º. Some of this white rhum is also bottled at 62º for the local market. For aging, used 250-liter oak barrels from France or Kentucky are scraped and then burnt again before they are filled with 62º rhum. This is one of the few distilleries that burns the barrels again after they are assembled. As the label states, the rhum vieux is five years old. After aging ten years, the rhum vieux earns the name La Mauny Hor's d'Age.

After the tour, the extensive collection of La Mauny products can be sampled at the rhum boutique and tasting bar.
There are 6 products in our database distilled by La Mauny.
La Mauny 1749 Agricole Rum
La Mauny Rhum 1979
La Mauny Rhum 1987
La Mauny Rhum Blanc
La Mauny Rhum Vieux
La Mauny Rhum Vieux Hors D'Age

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Last updated July 28, 2010