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HSE (Habitation Saint-Etienne)

The Caribbean flavour of great Martinique Rums
Region Martinica (Caraibi)
Foundation Year 1883
Address HSE, Habitation Sain-Etienne, Gros-Morne 97213, Martinica

The Habitation Saint-Etienne distillery was built on a former sugar refinery, which in the early 19th century operated an estate of over 400 hectares near Saint-Joseph, in the heart of the beautiful Caribbean island of Martinique. Its origins date back to 1882, when Amédée Aubéry, a young and enterprising industrialist, decided to turn the sugar factory into a distillery and began to modernise the facilities to suit the new purpose. First of all, he enlarged the space for the new factory, then installed tracks inside the factory, with small wagons pulled by animals to transport the sugar cane faster to the distillery for further processing. He then provided hydro-electric power by diverting the waters of the Lézarde River into a canal.

In 1909 the distillery was taken over by the Simonnet family, who ran it until the 1980s, when it began a period of progressive decline. In 1994, when Yves and José Hayot took over the company, the Habitation Saint-Etienne was relaunched, starting with the restoration of the buildings, which in the meantime had become part of the Historical Monuments heritage, as one of the most beautiful examples of industrial architecture from the end of the 19th century. However, the real wealth of the distillery lies in the secrets of the sugar cane preparation and distillation, which have been handed down from generation to generation, as a treasured legacy. In addition to this age-old expertise, there is also the value of an estate that enjoys an exceptional climate, which enables the cultivation of top-quality sugar cane.

The reputation of the Habitation Saint-Etienne distillery is still based on the oldest traditions of artisanal production and the use of carefully selected raw materials. The customs of the past have made it possible to continue producing a rum that has retained a character of territorial authenticity, and a true expression of Martinique. The sugar cane is washed, cut and pressed to extract the precious juice, known as "vesou", which is filtered and then fermented. This is then followed by distillation to obtain a 'rhum de coulage' of around 73 degrees. At this point, the distillate takes two different paths: a shorter maturation to produce white agricole rum or long ageing in fine woods to produce amber rum.

The Rum of Habitation Saint-Etienne

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