Saint James Rum


Saint James Rum

The origin of Saint James can be found in Saint-Pierre de la Martinique in 1765, thanks to the Reverend Father Edmund Lefebure.  This worthy friar crafted a white alcohol of a quality never achieved before, a cane spirit called “Guildive” or ‘Tafia”.

In 1763, in spite of active French protectionism, King Louis XV granted Martinique the right to export its rum.  At this time the only country capable of buying the rum was New England, the first state of today’s USA.

To make the sale of production easier to New England settlers, in 1765 it was decided to call the rum Saint James; a name with a strong Anglo-Saxon consonance and the name of a large, prestigious family in the United Kingdom.

On 8th May 1902 the eruption of the Montagne Pelee volcano obliterated Saint-Pierre town and the site of Saint James.  In 1974 all production was moved to one site at Sainte-Marie.


Saint James distillery is a “smoking” distillery, a typically local turn of phrase meaning that it is still operating.

In 1882 the brand Saint James was registered along with the famous square bottle, the first in the world, designed for rational and safe storage in the holds of sea vessels, educing significantly breakage during heavy storms.


The Saint James Rums comply scrupulously with the standards for the Appellation d’Origine Controlee “Rum Agricole Martinique”.  To do so the production process is strictly controlled:

The sugar cane is planted on the eastern slope of the Montagne Pelee and benefits from a privileged geographical and geological location; volcanic soil providing fertile terrain, a high level of sunshine, and a humid tropical climate swept by the spindrift from the Atlantic Ocean delivered by a trade wind.

The harvesting of the cane begins in February and lasts for five to six months.  The cane is then conveyed to the distillery with all haste:  As an old Martinique saying goes “the cane should have its feet in the soil and its head in the mill”.  Indeed, sugarcane must be processed rapidly in order to preserve the sugar content and aromas.

Once at the distillery the cane is pressed at low temperature.  The resulting product is the juice or “Vesou” , which will be allowed to ferment at an ambient temperature between 25 and 30 degrees celsius.

The fermentation lasts for 24 to 48 hours to produce “sugarcane wine” at around 4 to 5% alcohol.

The “sugarcane wine” is then heated in copper columns, the end result of this distillation shows an alcohol content of between 65 and 74% by volume (abv).

All Saint James rums are the result of the fermentation and distillation of pure sugar cane juice.  This production method, exclusive to the French West Indies, confers very aromatic notes and a fruity taste to the Saint James rums, making them perfectly suitable for ageing in oak casks like the best brandies.


Saint James Extra Old 42%

A dark mahogany colour, noble and precious, heady aromas full of mystery.  A true jewel to taste, you will be surprised by the aromatic complexity, revealing long ageing from 3 to 6 years in small oak casks.

It shows fresh fruit overtones (plums), dried fruits and nuts (prunes, almonds, walnuts and candied fruits) combined with vanilla and wood.

Enjoy it in a balloon glass lovingly warmed between the palms of the hands to encourage the subtle aromas to rise forth.


Buy here W&M:




Older Post Newer Post