Mauritius – Distillery Visits

There’s only a handful of independent rum distilleries in Mauritius. Despite the many brands available, the majority are produced on an industrial scale by a super group in charge of the island’s spirits, wine and beer. The boutique distilleries are open for visits and tastings, though, and were high on our to-do list when we holidayed on the island back in 2013.

We visited in May, the shoulder month between the wet and dry season. Whilst this almost guarantees good weather, it means it’s the low season for crops, flowers and rum-making. The low season curse hit at St Aubin. Although sugar cane grows throughout the year, it’s only harvested in the ‘summer’ months and if there’s no sugar cane to squeeze and juice, the rum factory goes into hibernation. Still, the estate also grows vanilla and houses the eponymous colonial residence. And there is rum to taste…

The St Aubin distillery
The St Aubin distillery
The entrance to the tasting room
The entrance to the tasting room
The At Aubin range for tasting
The At Aubin range for tasting

And again at Rhumerie de Chamarel…

In contrast to St Aubin which has been producing rum since 1819, the Rhumerie de Chamarel distillery was opened in 2008. It’s a boutique producer where everything’s small scale and open plan so even though there was no sugar cane being processed or rum being distilled in May, we still got to see all the machinery. They also do a generous tasting session, but as stocks of the aged rum are low, retail sales are being prioritised. We still got to try six of their varieties, though.

Rhumerie de Chamarel in the clouds
Rhumerie de Chamarel in the clouds
The still
The still
The hacienda-style distillery
The hacienda-style distillery

 

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