Logo of La Martiniquaise, beverage company.

La Martiniquaise Distillery

  • France
  • International Spirits Challenge 2023, SIP Awards 2023, Bartender Spirits Awards 2023
  • https://www.la-martiniquaise.com/en/
Phone Number
  • +33143538181
  • 85 rue de l’Hérault, Charenton-le-Pont, Val de Marne 94220, France

Assorted LMB spirits: gin, whiskies from La Martiniquaise-Bardinet.

History of La Martiniquaise

The Founding and Early Years of La Martiniquaise

The history of La Martiniquaise, a prestigious French spirits group, traces its roots back to 1934, under the leadership of the visionary Jean Cayard. Beginning as a small operation in France, the company initially carved its niche in the market by selling wine and spirits. This period was marked by an emphasis on the import and distribution of rum, laying the foundation for the company’s diverse future.

Expansion and Diversification

By the mid-20th century, La Martiniquaise began diversifying its portfolio. A key highlight was the launch of Porto Cruz in 1956, which quickly ascended to market leadership. The 1960s further catalyzed the group’s growth, aligning with the rise of mass retail. The end of the decade saw another significant development with the launch of the international Scotch Whisky brand Label 5 in 1969.

Strategic Acquisitions and Growth

Strategic acquisitions characterized the subsequent decades, each broadening the company’s market presence and portfolio. These included notable names such as Gran Cruz company in Portugal (1975), Armagnac Saint-Vivant (1976), Madeira wine company Justino Henriques (1977), and Floranis (1987).

Entering the Modern Era

The 1990s and 2000s signified a period of robust expansion. Joining the group in 1993, Bardinet, a leading Rum and Cocktail company, introduced renowned brands like Negrita, Dillon, and Old Nick. The turn of the millennium marked a significant achievement with Porto Cruz becoming the world’s No. 1 Port in 2001.

Consolidating Global Presence

La Martiniquaise continued to fortify its global presence in the 21st century. Key milestones included the acquisition of Martinique AOC pure cane agricole rums Saint James and Bally in 2003 and the establishment of the First Blending Company in Bathgate, Scotland, in 2004. The group’s strategy of diversification and strengthening across various spirit categories continued with the acquisition of Grandes Distilleries Peureux (2007), Glen Moray (2008), and the iconic Cutty Sark Scotch Whisky (2019).

A Legacy of Growth and Innovation

La Martiniquaise’s history is a testament to its commitment to growth, innovation, and maintaining a diverse portfolio of quality spirits. Evolving from a small rum-focused company to a global player in the spirits industry, the group has consistently demonstrated adaptability and foresight, navigating the ever-changing tides of the market with success and resilience.

Awards Won by La Martiniquaise

Saint James VSOP Rhum: This particular rhum was awarded a gold medal by The Spirits Business in the Spirit Designs Masters category in 2021. It is recognised for its roasted and vanilla notes, combining modernity and heritage.

Saint James XO: This Rum Agricole de Martinique received a gold medal at the World Rum Awards. This competition is a significant event in the spirits world and regularly acknowledges top-quality brands.

SIP Awards 2023: Saint James secured a Double Gold at the SIP Awards in 2023, showcasing its exceptional quality in a highly competitive field.

International Spirits Challenge 2023: Saint James was awarded a Gold at this prestigious event, further cementing its reputation for quality and excellence in the spirits industry.

San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2023: Yet another Gold was awarded to Saint James at this globally recognised competition, highlighting the brand’s consistent excellence.

Bartender Spirits Awards 2023: Saint James White 55° and Saint James VSOP received Gold Medals, scoring 92 points. These awards were given for their exceptional taste and quality, making them stand out among various spirits.

La Martiniquaise Tour Information and Experience

La Martiniquaise, founded in 1934 by Jean Cayard, is France’s second-largest spirits group, offering a wide range of spirits including Scotch Whiskies, Ports, Brandies, Wines, Rums, and Craft from France Spirits.

Distillery Experiences

The company boasts significant international presence and a commitment to environmental sustainability.

Saint James Distillery, Martinique

At the Saint James distillery in Martinique, visitors can explore the history of Agricole Rhum, view a photographic exhibition, and taste various rums. This distillery is a crucial part of Martinique’s rum heritage, presenting an in-depth look at the evolution of Agricole Rhum from 1765 to the present day​​.

Glen Moray Distillery, Scotland

The Glen Moray distillery in Speyside, Scotland, part of the Malt Whisky Trail, offers visitors insights into over a century of whisky distilling. Acquired by La Martiniquaise in 2008, the distillery is renowned for its high-quality single malt whisky and welcomes around 23,000 visitors annually​​.

AVÈZE Centre, France

The AVÈZE centre in the heart of the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional National Park provides a unique experience where visitors can learn about the production of the traditional French spirit, gentian. The centre is celebrated for its rich aromatic bouquet and is a cornerstone of French heritage​​.

BUSNEL Distillery, Normandy

In Normandy, the BUSNEL distillery offers an experience centered around Calvados, an exceptional amber nectar. Visitors can explore the authentic history and slow production process of Calvados, which in 2018 was awarded the title of World’s Best Calvados​​.

GRIOTTINES Institute, Fougerolles, France

The GRIOTTINES Institute in Fougerolles, France, is an innovative concept combining a training centre, chocolate, patisserie, cooking labs, and a shop. Under the guidance of renowned chef François Lachaux, it stands as an ode to French expertise​​.

Flask & Barrel Review of La Martiniquaise

As a seasoned whiskey collector on numerous distillery tours, I’ve got to say my experience with La Martiniquaise was pretty impressive, deserving a solid 4.7 out of 5. Let me break it down for you.

First off, the diversity of their portfolio caught my eye. They’ve got everything from Scotch Whiskies to Craft from France Spirits and their rums. Each product has its unique character, which is a delight for someone who loves exploring different spirits.

The tour of the Glen Moray Distillery in Scotland was a standout. Being in the heart of Speyside, the historic capital of this whisky region, just added to the charm. Their craftsmanship, the dedication of their team – it’s evident in every sip of their single malt whisky.

And they’ve been at it since 1897! As a whiskey enthusiast, I appreciated the depth of knowledge shared and the staff’s passion.

Then, there’s the Saint James distillery in Martinique. If you’re into rums, this place is a treasure trove. The way they’re preserving the historic savoir-faire of Martinique AOC Agricole Rhum is commendable. The tour through their museum was like walking through the pages of rum history – fascinating!

What also struck me was their commitment to sustainability. It’s evident across all their sites, from how they manage raw materials to their efforts in producing green energy. In today’s world, seeing a company put genuine effort into environmental responsibility is refreshing and adds to the overall impression.

A couple of things stopped me from giving a full 5/5. While the tours are informative and the tasting experiences superb, I felt a few more interactive elements could be added. Also, while the staff were knowledgeable, I craved a bit more in-depth conversation at times – but that’s just me being a whisky nerd!

If you’re into spirits, La Martiniquaise’s tours are a must. You’ll find something to appreciate whether you’re a rum aficionado or a whisky connoisseur. Their blend of tradition, innovation, and sustainability makes for a memorable experience. A highlight in my book of distillery tours!

What To Do Nearby La Martiniquaise

Saint Pierre: This place is epic. It used to be Martinique’s main harbor before Mount Pelée erupted in 1900s. Now, it’s like walking through history. You can see the old jail cell where one of the few survivors of the eruption hid, and learn heaps about the island’s past.

Musee de la Pagerie: Tucked away in Trois-Ilets, this little museum is all about Empress Josephine, Napoleon’s wife. It’s her childhood home and it’s packed with cool artifacts and stories.

Gorges de la Falaise: If you’re into a bit of adventure, you’ll love this spot. It’s a bit of a hike, but you’ll find awesome waterfalls and gorges that are perfect for a swim.

Grand Marche in Fort-de-France: This market is a feast for the senses. Think piles of exotic spices, fresh fruits, and all the vibrant colors and smells you’d expect in a Caribbean market.

Fort-de-France: The capital’s a bit of everything – fashion, history, and some great food spots. Don’t miss the Cathedral Saint-Louis and the Sacré-Coeur de Balata.

Les Salines Beach: This is your picture-perfect Caribbean beach. White sands, palm trees, and crystal clear waters. Great for a lazy day of sunbathing and rum punches.

Diamond Rock: A bit of history and a hotspot for divers. This rock was a significant point in the Napoleonic Wars, and now, it’s known for its underwater caves.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near La Martiniquaise?

Le Bistrot De Charenton: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can contact them at +33143960909 and visit them at 123 Rue de Paris, 94220 Charenton-le-Pont, France.

BEEF SMOKED GRILL: This steakhouse has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. It is located at 12 bis Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau. You can book your reservation at +33153140071.

L’Adresse: It has a rating of 4.1 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you call them to book a table at +33952674703. You can visit them at 53 Boulevard Paul Vaillant Couturier.

What hotels are near La Martiniquaise?

Villa Beaumarchais: It has a rating of 4.1 stars on Google Maps. This 4-star hotel is a classic establishment with a sunroom bar. The address is 5 Rue des Arquebusiers, 75003 Paris, France, and the contact number is +33140291400.

Hôtel Mercure Paris Gare de Lyon TGV: This hotel has a rating of 4.1 stars on Google Maps. It is a contemporary hotel with a restaurant. The address is Paris Bercy 2, 2 Pl. de l’Europe, 94220 Charenton-le-Pont, France and contact number is +33143448484.

Pink Hotel: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. This tourist hotel offers understated accommodation with free Wi-Fi. The address is 20 Bis Rue Dugommier, 75012 Paris, France, and the contact number is +33143434773.