During the last decade, it is an autumnal ritual, getting ready for the sugar cane harvest, when males with sickles chop down the stalks on the slopes of the mountain for grinding within the mill and distilling the juice into rum.
Mauritius is a relative newcomer to international rum markets, the place long-time producers within the Caribbean are higher established and revel in an simple cachet. For hundreds of years, colonial governments in Mauritius frowned on utilizing sugar cane for rum, as a result of refined sugar fetched a lot better earnings.
Till 2006, Mauritius produced solely small quantities of rum from molasses. Then the federal government lifted a ban on distilling from sugar cane juice to provide what’s known as agricole rum.
The lifting of the ban introduced in new gamers, and inspired older operations to diversify. St. Aubin traces its historical past again to 1819, making rum the old style approach, however has now opened an artisanal distillery that works with cane juice.
The mountainous Rhumerie de Chamarel is the latest entry among the many Mauritian distilleries (and the very best altitude) which have begun navigating into worldwide markets by presenting themselves as a novel different to the Caribbean spirits.
The method of creating agricole rum requires distilling the juice as shortly as attainable after it is crushed out of the cane. That is why the heavy tools is situated in the midst of the plantation, with vats proper subsequent to the grinding equipment.
At Chamarel, all the pieces is designed to showcase the method, to encourage guests to observe rum being made after which to pattern the outcomes. The completed drink is smoother than the standard molasses rum, and dearer too.
Twelve sorts of sugar cane develop in Mauritius, however two are used for rum — yellow and crimson. The colour refers back to the stalk, solely seen as soon as the inexperienced leaves are stripped away. The flavors are comparable, however they’re the varieties finest suited to the hilly land at Chamarel.
It is strenuous work. The terrain does not enable mechanized harvests, so males slice via the stalks and carry bundles on their shoulders to assortment factors the place the cane is trucked to the distillery.
Different elements of the nation develop sugar cane in flat lowlands, however few are set as much as welcome friends.
After watching the method of creating rum, friends are invited to pattern the entire manufacturing then snack on a crepe on the terrace or take a full meal within the restaurant.
At Chamarel, the fibrous stays of the sugar cane are burned to create the steam that heats the copper pots for distilling. A part of the juice is single distilled, and a few double distilled.
Chamarel’s Gold selection is saved in French oak for 18 months, which provides it a woody undertone. One other batch goes into American oak for a fruitier style.
“The island rums are often smoother as a result of they’re double distilled, so it offers you a smoother really feel and a finer style,” stated Brighton Maphosa, who owns the tony Brass Bar on 85 in Johannesburg, and retains Mauritian rum for his residence.
The rum bottles most seen round Mauritius are infused varieties, which use the island’s plentiful native crops in spices and occasional.
Whereas the island solely has a handful of distilleries, dozens of small operators age or infuse rums themselves.
Usually they purchase the rum after which put their very own twists on the flavors. These are the bottles, typically branded with the extinct dodo, that fill cabinets in roadside shops. They don’t seem to be as candy because the fruity names suggest and served chilled are a pleasant standalone drink.
Formed by nature
“The infusion that they use, vanilla and cinnamon and all these issues, add to the style of the rum, making it the proper serve whenever you drink. You needn’t combine it with something,” stated Maphosa.
Alain and Mirella Bouton have been infusing rum for 17 years with their firm Royal Curve, below the label Rhum Arrangé traditionnel. “Arrangé” refers back to the infusion, typically from macerated fruits like lychee or coconut, or different native produce like espresso, vanilla and spices.
They create 21 completely different flavors, and for vacationers fearful about flying residence with liquids, in addition they promote packets of dried fruit and Mauritian sugar, with directions on the best way to infuse rum at residence.
“Caribbean rum does not have the identical aroma as rum from Mauritius,” stated Alain Bouton. “Mauritian rum is formed by nature.”
Rhumerie de Chamarel, Royal Street, Chamarel, Mauritius; +230 483 4980