With over 250 years of rum-producing heritage, Saint James has earned its place as the top rhum agricole in the world and is an icon of the Caribbean jewel of Martinique. Every bit as pioneering as it’s ever been, the distillery continues to produce remarkable cane spirits to this day.
Sugar cane is core to Saint James’s history and identity. This evocative raw material is cultivated in the humid eastern part of the island, providing the backbone of this distillery’s terroir-focussed spirits, and giving them their distinctive grassy, fresh and vegetal flavours. The use of fresh sugarcane juice, and not the molasses used by the majority of the world’s rums, sets rhum agricole apart, and gives it this characteristic flavour profile.
When the religious order the Brothers of Charity took over management of Martinique’s Fort Saint-Pierre hospital on King Louis XV’s orders in 1765, Father Lefébure, who also happened to be a skilled alchemist, built a local sugar mill. With rum shipments to France prohibited, the order began selling its production to local British colonies. Saint James was born.
Over a century later, in 1882, a merchant from Marseille, Paulin Lambert, registered the brand and took charge of production, introducing Saint James’ distinctive square bottle – a practical choice for transporting rum in the holds of ships and one of the first of its kind used in the world.
This pioneering approach continues today, with the distillery’s sustainable production methods a shining example of this. Every stage of production has been created to minimise impact on the environment, and Saint James now has a positive carbon footprint, creating more energy through its production process than it uses.