Distillery JM Macouba MartiniqueDistillery JM Macouba Martinique
©Distillery JM Macouba Martinique|MDES
Visit of the Fonds Préville Distillery, . Rum J.M

Immersion at the Fonds Préville Distillery – Rum J.M

The route of the rums of Martinique road leads me today to Macouba, on the north Atlantic coast of the island. This is where one of our prettiest distilleries is located, particularly renowned for its aged rums: the J.M distillery! It is an essential step of the Martinique spiritourism…

A distillery at the foot of Mount Pelee

I’ve always had a soft spot for this distillery and I have to admit that since its renovation in the 2000s it’s just splendid!

First of all, the geographical location… At the bend in the road below, we discover it with its red roofs in the green setting of the tropical vegetation. A real postcard! The access is lined with trees and a cathedral of bamboos typical of northern Martinique. We park and ahead for the visit!

A small stone bridge spans the river that supplies the entire distillery with water – after purification! You can hear the spring water flowing everywhere, it accentuates the zen side of the visit. This one is free but the map, the signposted route and the explanatory panels allow us to enjoy the site to the fullest, at our own pace.

We pass by a sort of patio where samples of the five varieties of sugar cane used to make J.M rums are planted. and validated by the AOC. It should be noted that J.M makes its rum 95% from its own cane grown on its land that stretches from Basse Pointe to Grand’Riviere!

Tour of the production facilities

The route then leads us to the technical part, we enter the heart of the manufacturing process. A few steps lead us to an elevated walkway. We then overlook all the machines in full activity (it’s the full production period!), it’s very impressive!

From the crushing of the canes to the filling of the huge vats with the extracted juice, we follow all the steps in cadence. The fermentation tanks give off a strong smell of alcohol, I love it!

The J.M. Cooperage

On the way back down, we stop in front of the cooperage. This is where Edmond the cooper repairs the barrels and does the toasting for special vintages like the “Volcanic Smoke.” You can see his tools as well as several barrels from different years (from 1975 to today).

Burning is an ancestral practice that caramelizes the tannins in the wood, which accelerates the exchange between the wood in the barrel and the rum. This operation is performed after the harvest and manufacturing campaign.

The distillation column

We arrive at the foot of a large tower, it is the tallest distilling column at J.M: it is 18 meters high! I find it very interesting that the different elements of a Creole column are on display, you can better understand the distillation process by looking at what happens inside.

The cellars

The tour then takes us to the exhibition hall to the public, quite spectacular! The stacked casks are arranged in an arc, as if in a scarlet red amphitheater.It’s beautiful… On the other hand, the cellars where the J.M casks are stored are not open to the public.

After all these discoveries and emotions, the walk through the gardens is welcome. We take the path down to the river water basin, flanked by tropical plants. The richness of the biodiversity is eye-popping. The species planted are reminiscent of the flavors we’ll find in the aromas of J.M rums: pineapple, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla

This is a truly beautiful garden, very quiet and relaxing.

The senses on alert

Now make way for the feast of the senses, heading for the olfactory workshop! In the laboratory, the sign announces the color: “We smell, we taste, we analyze “. This is where the cellar master elaborates the taste of the different vintages.

The olfactory workshop presents 7 aromas created by a nose perfumer to allow the visitor to enter in immersion in the universe of rhums J.M. It’s very well done, you press a button and smell, the “flambéed fruits” for example.

On the wall are displayed globes of rum bottles, like decanters. You lift the cap, close your eyes and discover the notes associated with the different rums: floral, vanilla, woody… A beautiful discovery!

The Rums J.M

Tasting and store

Senses still all awake, we move on to the tasting at the large green tiled counter. Decidedly the red-green association is found everywhere in the distillery, I like it a lot. I discover vintages that I didn’t know, it’s a real special moment. The shop is very beautiful, we want to buy everything!”

For my part, I leave quite loaded (I am stocking up!): a old rum XO, an old rum “Terroir volcanique”, a white rum “Jardin Macouba” (I love the bottle!) and a shrubb of course! Thanks to the J.M distillery for this enchanted interlude…

Rum J.M’s EDDEN project

In April 2022, the Rum J.M team presented its EDDEN project (“Engaged for the Sustainable Development of our Ecosystems and Nature“). This eco-responsible approach has become over time the one of the keys to excellence of the distillery nestled at the foot of the Mountain Pelee.

The approach undertaken by Rhum J.M is based on 3 pillars:

– preserving the distillery’s immediate environment, the nourishing earth

– allowing a circular economy by treating 100% of the waste

– transmitting the knowledge and values carried by J.M to the new generations

The distillery already operates in a circular economy since it recycles 100% of its waste. These are of 3 types: bagasse (leftover crushed cane), vinasse (leftover juice not transformed into rum), and ash and dust from the boiler. The bagasse is used first burned as fuel for the distillation column boiler. Another part is sent to the nearby thermal power plant to produce electricity. The rest is used as compost to feed the soil and prevent weeds from growing. The vinasse is transferred to large aeration tanks containing bacteria. The water that comes out is used to irrigate the cane and banana fields. As for the ashes and dusts, they are recovered and spread in the fields, thus providing the soils with the necessary potash of natural matter.

At J.M we pride ourselves on this circular economy through the formula “I take, I transform, I produce, I give back“!

Go ahead from our side!

* Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health and should be consumed in moderation.

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