Founded in 1931 by Jean and Adrien Neisson, the smallest distillery on Martinique has enjoyed considerable success due in large part to a unique combination of rich volcanic soil, plentiful sunshine and a family’s dedication to fine rhum. Today, Grégory Vernant, Jean Neisson’s grandson, continues the passionate work of making Neisson Rhum Agricole. Neisson Rhum Agricole has a distinct fresh sugar cane aroma and smooth finish. It is a popular drink in this part of the islands and can be found in every local rum shop. Neisson Rhum Agricole has a distinct fresh sugar cane aroma and smooth finish.
From only 40 hectares of sugar cane fields located on what is known as the Habitation Thieubert, near the coastal town of Carbet, only about 400,000 liters of Rhum Neisson are produced annually.
In 2016, Neisson harvested five of the 12 varieties of sugar cane allowed by the AOC. The breakdown looked like this: R69.566 (blue cane)-75%, B64.277 (red cane)-10%, B59.92-5%, B51-129-5% and R533-5%.
In the last decade the distillery has undergone extensive modernization including a new laboratory where yeast cultures are stored, an aging warehouse built to contain everything in the event of a fire and the acquisition of large, new French oak vats in which the Élevé Sous Bois rhum rests before being bottled. Hundreds of small French and American oak barrels have also been added to the aging inventory in an effort to meet the increasing demand for this much sought-after rhum.
All of the Neisson rhum is distilled, aged and bottled at the distillery.
The La Favorite distillery, built in 1842, originally employed a water wheel to power the cane-crushing mills, the first step in sugar production.
At that time, the estate included two sugar refineries and a small rum distillery with five fermentation vats, a small boiler and copper pot still. Bankruptcy in 1875, followed by the hurricane of 1891 closed the estate until 1909 when Henri Dormoy purchased the property. Dormoy built a railway through the plantation to transport fresh cane from the surrounding countryside to the distillery where he installed a new distillation column and steam engine.
Today La Favorite is one of the last two family-owned distilleries on the island and produces less than 500,000 liters of AOC rhum agricole per year. La Favorite contracts with farmers to buy sugar cane grown in the central region of Martinique near the distillery. All of the La Favorite rhums exported to the US are distilled, aged and bottled at the distillery.
Named for Admiral Duquesne, the captain of the port of Martinique at the time when Martinique was the most important trading port in the Caribbean, Duquesne rhums are produced at the La Mauny distillery not far from the southeast coast of the island.
Production at a larger distillery allows Duquesne rhums to be sold at less cost than the other rhums in the Caribbean Spirits portfolio.