Distillerie Mon Repos
- Although the label on Mon Repos rhum shows an address of Capesterre, the distillery is actually just south of Saint Anne. A sign on the eastern coast road of Basse-Terre points to Neuf Chateau. A few hundred meters west on this road takes you up through the cane fields of the estate, where the distillery smokestack can be seen. Several tall palm trees mark the entrance to the estate.
1995 was the 100th anniversary of this family-owned distillery. The foundation of the original distillery house now supports a three-roller cane mill that had been in service in Martinique until 1968. Behind the cane mill, timbers that supported the old distillation column still stand, blackened by years of exposure to the heat and smoke of the boiler. Some of the old piping also remains, attached to part of the old condenser.
Between December and May each year, year-old cane is harvested from the estate fields. After the cane is crushed, the fresh juice is fermented for two days in one of the six, 1500-liter fermentation tanks. Without pumps to circulate and cool the fermenting wash, occasionally, when the weather is very hot, the fermenting wine gets too hot. If the fermentation is interrupted, the wine must be discarded.
About eleven years ago, the old copper distillation column was replaced with a new stainless steel one capable of producing 6,000 liters of rhum per day. Since it takes about ten liters of fermented juice to yield one liter of rhum, the distillery is limited by the volume of fermented wine available at one time. After experience showed that the stainless steel column did not produce the same flavor rhum as the old copper column that it replaced, the trays inside the column were reworked to include sections of copper. These modifications helped Mon Repos win medals at the Concours General de Paris for their white rhum in 1996.
The raw rhum condensed from the still varies, but is condensed at about 72% alcohol by volume. To improve the taste of the fresh rhum, it is stored for two or three months in large oak casks before before being transferred to stainless steel tanks for storage prior to bottling.
Rhum from the Mon Repos distillery is bottled under two labels. The red Mon Repos label is sold mostly in Guadeloupe. For export to France, the Rhum Longueteau label is used. All of the rhum under both labels is, however, distilled and bottled here at the estate.
In addition to one-liter bottles of rhum blanc, smaller, 25cl bottles with plastic caps are also used. According to M. Longueteau, if you drink one of these small bottles of rhum blanc every day, you will live a long and healthy life.
After seven years, Mon Repos Rhum Vieux is filtered and bottled with the same label as the Mon Repos Rhum Blanc, but is easily distinguished by the color. Unlike the rhum vieux at most of the other distilleries, Mon Repos Rhum Vieux is bottled at 50% alcohol by volume.
Rhum has been made here for one hundred years, but the estate also grows bananas. After World War II, refrigerated ships began to transport bananas from here to the European market. This small, family operation now plants half the estate with bananas and the other half with sugar cane. Banana growers in the French West Indies enjoy slightly more favorable market conditions in France than their counterparts in the English-speaking islands.
In 1996, a small visitors center was opened near the pond that supplied water to the original water wheel, before the first steam engine was employed here to crush the cane. While you are on the second floor of the distillery, near the distillation column, the remains of that wheel can be seen behind the distillery. In fact, at most of the distilleries a lot can be learned about the history of the industry by just looking around.
Francois Longueteau is justly proud of the rhum he and his father produce at this century-old distillery and eager to show you why they consider Mon Repos to be "the best rhum in the world."
During the rhum season the distillery operates until early afternoon so try to plan to be here early in the day so you can see the distillery in action.
- There are 4 products in our database distilled by Distillerie Mon Repos.
- Rhum Blanc Mon Repos
- Rhum Longueteau
- Rhum Vieux Longueteau
- Rhum Vieux Mon Repos