On the occasion of the International Women’s Rights Day, Rumporter focuses on some of the women who make rum today. Today, focus on the house of Ferrand and Plantation rums.
Based in Cognac, France, Maison Ferrand produces Ferrand Cognac, Ferrand Dry Curaçao, Citadelle Gin, Plantation Rum, Canerock Spiced Rum and Mathilde Liqueurs. Maison Ferrand also owns the West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) in Bridgetown, Barbados, which has been producing rum continuously since the 19th century, and co-owns the National Rums Of Jamaica (Clarendon, Long Pond) in Jamaica.
Over 33 years ago, Alexandre Gabriel, owner and master blender, started his company with a small team of four women, three of whom, Sandra Dias Oliveira (Export & Logistic Department), Beatrice Noureau (Alcohol Flow Administration) and Annabelle Faure (Logistics Administration & Warehouse), still work for the company today. He is incredibly proud to employ such a team – more than 50% of Maison Ferrand and West Indies Rum Distillery’s senior management are women!
Here are profiles of 7 of the women who make Plantation Rum what it is
Angelique Jullienne, Global Marketing and Communications Director – Maison Ferrand & West Indies Rum Distillery
As the global head of marketing and communications for Maison Ferrand and West Indies Rum Distillery, Angelique has the honor of leading a unique portfolio of rum and French spirits, including Citadelle Gin, Ferrand Cognac, Plantation Rum and Canerock Spiced Rum.
At Ferrand, marketing is a way to share stories, cultures, and history with the world and to reveal old secrets that are waiting to be rediscovered. With marketing initiatives based on creativity, education and experiences, rather than on market trends, the marketing team eagerly shares their knowledge in order to create and design delicious and beautiful products that respect heritage and build a like-minded community.
Says Jullienne, “We are a small team of true passionate people. We have a true passion for knowledge, and that’s what drives us. At Ferrand, every day is like no other and that’s really what drives me. I enjoy working on the consumer experiences for two amazing visitor centers, one in France for Citadelle Gin and another in Barbados at the West Indies Rum Distillery, just as much as I enjoy working on new product releases, such as Canerock Spiced Rum. Creativity has no limit, and Maison Ferrand and Alexandre Gabriel allows us to give life to amazing projects. And as Alexandre always says, “at Ferrand, you will never get bored!””
Teri Alleyne, Quality Controller – West Indies Rum Distillery
As West Indies Rum Distillery’s Quality Controller, Teri is honored to lead Quality Assurance at the distillery, leading a top-notch, all-female team of Quality Assurance Specialists. She is also the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) Coordinator, in charge of the company’s food safety and other certifications, as well as the Lead Auditor of a sensory panel, which 50% of WIRD’s employees sit on.
Rums are controlled every four hours – a very special feat that Teri can be proud of! Alleyne explains, “While no two days are the same, I make sure to set aside time for my favorite activity – BLENDING – where I get to experiment and express my creativity and skills through rum! Blending is my true passion and it results in an end goal of delicious and quality products for consumers to enjoy. When guests visit the distillery and sample a project I am working on, seeing their faces light up at the flavors and aromas is a real joy.”
Melissa Browne, Quality Assurance Specialist – West Indies Rum Distillery
As a Quality Assurance Specialist at West Indie’s Rum Distillery, Melissa is tasked with the daily monitoring and maintenance of the quality standards of WIRD’s process and production from start to finish – from the molasses in their fermentation, to distillation and blending, to the packaged finished product and growing rum brand. With 20 years’ experience in the industry, Melissa is honored to contribute to the development of new blends, to facilitate in the HACCP certification of WIRD, and to train her peers as they develop and improve quality systems over the years.
Says Browne, “I consider myself a gatekeeper of sorts, and am as proud as I am humbled for the role I play in the company. West Indies Rum Distillery has existed for more than 125 years. It’s an honor to continue the rum-making traditions that began in 1893.”
Adrienne Stoner, Rum Community Liaison – Maison Ferrand & West Indies Rum Distillery
Adrienne travels throughout the Americas to advocate & educate on the ever-growing spectrum of rums from Maison Ferrand, West Indies Rum Distillery and National Rums of Jamaica. She devotes special attention to the diversity of sugarcane distillate, from cane-to-bottle, and now takes her passion for the history, culture, and future of rum wherever glasses are raised.
Says Stoner, “The heritage and culture of rum, whether in Barbados, Jamaica, Fiji and beyond, is an inexhaustible journey that I’m privileged to share with the world. I love spending time with the production team in Barbados, as it’s an amazing opportunity to learn from their expertise and bring that education (and rum) home to the vast rum community.”
Fannie Thibaud, Creation and Experimentation Manager – Maison Ferrand
As Creation and Experimentation Manager, Fannie supervises the research and development of all Maison Ferrand spirits. Along with Alexandre Gabriel, her team helps to create the spirits of tomorrow – first through experimentation – and then determines how to transfer them to the production scale.
Thibaud says, “We also research and experiment with plants, fermentations, distillations, aging, etc. – always combining chemical analysis, but above all, organoleptic analysis. Alexandre pushes us to think creatively – the sky is the limit! – and endless creativity is not always easy. Creation takes time and I feel lucky to work for a company who allows such creativity and endless freedom to create. We recently launched Canerock Spiced Rum and that project took us three years! We conducted more than 90 experiments to find the best combination of ingredients to highlight the rum’s unique character. Working with an imaginative mind like Alexandre’s, I am frequently working on 40-50 projects at any given time, from cognac to rum to gin to liqueur. Each day is different, but one thing I know is I’ll always have a delicious spirit in hand.”
Lucie Dubrulle-Pasquet, Research and Development Laboratory Technician – Maison Ferrand
An integral part of Maison Ferrand’s Research and Development team, Lucie is responsible for the various analyses carried out in Ferrand’s internal laboratory, as well as part of the metrology of the equipment used by Production and R&D. She also performs macerations and distillations on a laboratory scale in order to complete tests before production.
While this may sound very technical, Lucie’s role is very similar to those who work in a perfumerie – analyzing and distilling liquids that invite you on a sensory stroll. One such project was Citadelle Gin Jardin d’été, inspired by a French garden cultivated by Debbie Gabriel, wife of Master Blender Alexandre Gabriel. Alexandre felt he simply had to bottle this little patch of paradise and with the help of Lucie and the R&D team, they were able to successfully bottle Debbie’s beautiful summer garden.
Margaux Lespinasse, Project Manager & Private Cask Manager – Barge 166, the first floating cellar by Maison Ferrand
As manager of Barge 166, the world’s first floating cellar created by Maison Ferrand in 2021, Margaux has been involved in the complete fitting out of the boat – from navigating the movement of an always changing floating line and ensuring the boat keeps reasonably level to prevent a nose dive into the river(!), to assisting with the design of custom furniture to fit the unique shape of the boat – as well as in the reflection and construction of the project’s business model since her arrival in 2020.
Margaux is now overseeing the development, sales and promotion of the Barge 166 private casks project, which has recently celebrated its first year of activity. Says Lespinasse, “I never could have imagined that one day I would manage a boat, let alone a barge on the River Seine filled with 1,500 casks of rum and cognac! As the “captain,” each day that I step on board is an adventure. Ensuring the casks are aging well and sharing my passion for spirits with like-minded people is an accomplishment I’m truly proud of.”