Rhum Depaz is one of the smallest rum distilleries in Martinique. The distillery is located in Saint Pierre at the foot of Mount Pelee. Once destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pelee in 1902, Rhum Depaz is a story of rebirth. Depaz produces AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) Rhum Agricole with annual growth in quality.
Rhum Depaz is known widely for its balanced sweetness and its woody, floral and fruity aromatic notes. A smooth finish and refined character are also expected. This is said to be partly down to their use of high-end blue sugar cane.
Blue sugar cane is reputed to be the most expensive and difficult to cultivate. Yet it provides the most enhanced flavours which Depaz benefits from.
Rhum Depaz is produced from the juices of freshly cut blue sugar cane which is grown on the hills of Mount Pelee. The land offers a unique benefit to Depaz. The fresh filtered water from the mountain hill and mineral-rich soil from the volcanic setting enhance the flavours of the sugar cane even further.
At the heart of the Depaz distillery is the old steam engine, which powers the mills which crush the sugar cane, as well as the column still.
Rhum Depaz starts off by fermenting the sugar cane juices with yeast for 48 hours, to become the cane wine. The cane wine is then added to the top of a copper column still. Here it passes the steam added to the bottom to create a distillate of around 70%alc/vol.
The distillate is then aged in carefully selected casks depending on the age account. This is intended to produce the most unique flavours in their vintage rums.
The younger Depaz rhums aged for around 3 months are crisp, fruity and floral. The aged rhums such as Rhum Vieux are aged for 3 years in oak casks and have hints of chocolate, vanilla and coffee. The more vintage rums such as Depaz Cuvee Prestige are aged for a minimum of 9 years showcasing a balance of fruity mineral notes and warm spices.
The Depaz distillery was originally a farm, dating back as far as 1651. It was originally used to produce tobacco and graze livestock. Due to the demand for sugar cane, the land was quickly changed for the cultivation of sugar cane on which the Depaz family worked.
In the years following, the city of Saint Pierre became the first rum port in the world. Prospering so well it earned the nickname ‘The little Paris of the West Indies’
In 1902, Mount Pelee erupted, wiping Saint Pierre off the map and killing 30,000 people including the Depaz family on the island. Victor Depaz was the only living Depaz at this time, due to him studying at University in Bordeaux. 15 years later, Victor returned to Martinique to visit the Perinelle estate where he was born.
In 1917, Victor Depaz opened a new distillery, supplied by the 512 hectares of sugar cane he had inherited. He later rebuilt a replica of his childhood home ‘Habitation Perinelle’ where he lived with his wife and 11 children. This would later be renamed ‘Chateau Depaz’.
Victor was extremely committed to the improvement and development of his rum. This was recognised in 1922 when Depaz received their first medal in Marseille and a gold medal in 1927.