Thursday, June 20, 2013

Road Trip

Volkswagen Up a.k.a. Street Legal Go-cart

While anchored of Fort De France, Martinique, we rented a car at the local Budget office.  Martinique is a good place to explore.  It is a rather large island, the roads are in good shape, there is signage, they drive on the left, and they are not too crazy.

Using an older Lonely Planet guidebook, our first stop (of course) was a butterfly farm on the northwest side of the island.

Unfortunately it was closed on Mondays.  A piece of information that was missing from our guidebook. 

Our next stop was Rhum Depaz distillery.  It was open.

We now have visited so many distilleries, they let me give the tours.  Here is where the sugar cane is grown that is used to make the rum.  Each year at Depaz 250 hectares of cane is harvested over a 5 month period.

The 1902 eruption of Mt. Pelee that wiped out St. Pierre, also took the original Depaz plantation and distillery.  By 1932, the surviving member of the family had rebuilt and was back in production.  The water used in making Depaz rum is filtered through the volcanic rock deposited by the 1902 eruption making it the finest water for rum production.

Sorry but, the Depaz family plantation home is not part of the tour.

The cane is hauled to the crusher in wagons pulled by tractors.  In this case a John Deer, reminding me of my days in Kansas.

Rhum Depaz is an equal opportunity tractor buyer.  A Volvo tractor?  Does the driver have to wear Birkenstocks?

Here is a brand that I am not familiar with.  It is probably made by Peugeot.  But, I digress, back to the tour.

In 1932 the crusher was water powered.

Today, these large boilers power most of the equipment at Rhum Depaz.

Depaz does not have their fermentation tanks on display.  Too bad, that is Pollie’s favorite part.  She likes the smell.

The distillation process is however on display and quite impressive.  25000 liters of rum are produced each day at Rhum Depaz.

Rhum Depaz incorporates a state of the art quality control system on their distillation to ensure a consistent product.

Here one of my colleagues double checks the product to ensure Rhum Depaz’s high quality.

The rum is then placed in charred oak barrels for aging.  With my employee discount, we purchased a bottle that was aged for 12 years.

Thank you for taking the Depaz Distillery tour.  Please stop at the tasting room to sample Rhum Depaz.  Now I have to get back to work.

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