This is the stage that will give the vesou its final alcohol content and develop all the aromas of the resulting rum. Until the 19th century, the distillation was carried out in a “repasse” still. In the 20th century, the column still gradually replaced it because it allows continuous distillation, with less human intervention. Called at home “creole column”, or “distillation column “, it allows a faster continuous distillation, in larger quantities, with a higher alcohol content.
The column is composed of several trays in which the steam from the bottom of the column circulates. The vesou is introduced from the top of the column and moves down from tray to tray. It heats up when it meets the steam, and is loaded with alcohol and aromas. Each part of the column is heated to different temperatures.
The alcohol vapors travel up the column and out the top to be cooled and become liquid again. This cooling occurs via a wine-heating condenser and a cooler. The crystalline rum coming out of the column after these different steps titrates at about 70°. After a minimum maturation period of two months, it is then reduced with spring or distilled water to reach a drinking degree of 40° to 62° for white agricultural rums.
One part is stored in stainless steel tanks for white rum. The other part is put in foudres (large barrels of 1000 liters) for an aging between 1 and 2 years for a rum “raised under wood” (rum “straw” or rum “amber”) or in barrels (250 liters on average) for a minimum of 3 years for the famous old agricultural rums that are the pride of Martinique.