Saint James rums offers not one but two organic and A.O.C Martinique references: a 40% white rum and a 74.2% brut de colonne.
“Going organic at Saint James makes sense”, as Stephen Martin, Saint James brand ambassador, explains: “It is in line with the continuity of the A.O.C, there is a real awareness to produce ‘green’: no insecticides or fungicides are used, bagasse is recovered for burning, vinasse is used to water the fields (after methanisation) etc. The energy balance is positive. Saint James bottles are produced with 30 to 50% recycled glass, and even the paper label has an FSC label” (editor’s note: the Forest Stewardship Council – FSC – is an international non-profit organisation founded in 1993 in Toronto, which is committed to responsible forestry).
Organic production at Saint James is also a story of encounters: the first operation was possible thanks to a “stroke of luck”. A farmer, already certified organic, lost all his lemon production and decided to rent two of his plots, named “Piquets à boeufs” and “Palmiste”, to Saint James to grow sugar cane, with a total surface of 5.1 hectares. This also makes it a true parcel rum in the pure tradition of the Saint-James Grands Crus of the years 1900-1910!
‘Organic’ obviously has a cost, estimated at + 35% compared to conventional production. In addition to non-GMO yeasts, direct seeding, and hand-picking, other factors come into play, as Stephen tells us: “Organic is done according to the rules of art with Marc Sassier, we have to separate the conventional from the organic, so we have to avoid any cross-fertilisation between the organic and the non-organic. The conventional campaign ended on July 2nd and the organic campaign began on July 7th. In the meantime, there were five days of cleaning, from the still to the vats, via the crane.
This cost does not seem to be passed on to the consumer, which can be explained by the fact that La Martiniquaise, the group to which the Saint James distillery belongs, is a privately owned group with an economic strength to provide a wide range of products.
As for the aromatic profiles, Stephen Martin presents them to us: “There are aromatic notes that can be found on the three references (editor’s note: a 56.5% version is dedicated to the Martinique market), the aromatic profile is simple: from notes of sweet cane and honey, which will evolve according to the degree of alcohol, to dry and vegetal (black tea and infusion), it’s basically the same juice and framework” before adding that “for me the important thing is the use and the relationship with the rum, we do not consume a 40% as a 70%. The 40% is for mixology, it is accessible, but with the “brut de colonne” there are watts, the structure will be amplified. It’s a tasting rum, you can break the codes by putting it in the freezer for example but you also have to take into account the aeration time.”
The first salvo will be followed by others, as Saint James’ objective is to make organic rum production accessible and sustainable. We can already confirm that the brand has already “reserved” other plots of land approved as “organic” for further production in the years to come. It’s a safe bet that an “old organic” rum will be in the works, but be patient…
Let’s start gently with the 40% organic white rum. Distilled in a traditional Creole column on 8 July 2020 from pure organic cane juice. This is the first A.O.C Martinique organic white agricultural rum from Saint James.
Tasting notes provided by the producer:
Nose: Notes of sweet cane and honey evolve towards dry and vegetal (black tea and infusions)
Palate: Exotic sweetness, offers a nice vegetal freshness of cane punctuated by pleasant notes of candied citrus fruits.
The second organic rum is none other than a brut de colonne, with an alcoholic strength of 74.2% precisely! Also distilled in July 2020, this time it has been bottled without reduction as you can imagine.
Tasting notes provided by the producer:
Nose: Nice aromatic richness without aggressiveness despite the degree. Notes of sweet cane and honey evolve towards dry vegetal (black tea and infusions)
Palate: Complex and ample with an exotic sweetness, offering all the freshness of the cane punctuated by greedy notes of candied citrus fruits.
Saint James – Organic White Rum
70cl – 40% ABV
RRP : 24€.
See the product on the Saint James website
Saint James – Brut de colonne Bio
70cl – 74,2% ABV
PVC : 50€