Saint James 2008 Cask Strength
The Saint James brand was founded in 1765 in Saint-Pierre by the alchemist priest, Edmund Lefébure, who had built a sugar mill and distillery on the Trouvaillant estate to raise funds for the Hospitaller order, Fathers for Charity. The order lost all of their possessions following the French revolution, and the estate on Martinique passed from the state into private hands. The most successful of these was François-Paulin Lambert, who took over the Saint James plantation in 1890 having worked at its distributor for many years. It was Lambert who patented the now iconic square bottle in 1882. His family ran the Saint-Pierre distillery until 1955, surviving both the devastating eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902, and the rum market collapse following the first world war. The following two decades saw a period of transition for Saint James, which converted for the first time to the production of agricole rather than molasses-based rums, and in 1974, funded by new owners Cointreau, moved to the new distillery at Saint-Marie where this was produced. Today it is run by La Martinquaise (who bought it from Remy Cointreau in 2003) and is one of the largest rum producers on the island, operating six creole column stills to produce over 4 million litres of rum per year.
This is a 2008 vintage rhum vieux agricole, bottled at cask strength in 2017 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Italian distributors, Velier. Their enigmatic CEO, Luca Gargano, had been a brand representative for Saint James prior to purchasing Velier in the 1980s.