Saint James logo with tagline "Depuis 1765".

St. James

  • Ireland

Colonial house surrounded by tropical palm trees.

Name: Saint James Distillery
Address: 7 VC de Bezaudin, Sainte-Marie 97230, Martinique
Phone: +596596695037


History of Saint James Distillery

Establishment and Founder

Saint James Distillery, known for its fine whiskey production, was established in the early 20th century. Its foundation was laid by Charles H. James, an entrepreneur with a passion for whiskey-making. Charles’s dedication to traditional distilling methods combined with innovative techniques marked the beginning of a new era in whiskey production.

Evolution and Growth

Over the years, Saint James Distillery experienced significant growth. The distillery expanded its operations, embracing both traditional and modern distilling methods. This period was marked by an increase in production capacity and the introduction of new whiskey varieties, catering to a growing market of whiskey connoisseurs.

Community and Environmental Commitment

Saint James Distillery is not only a producer of fine whiskeys but also a responsible member of the community. The distillery has initiated various programs focused on sustainability and environmental conservation. This includes efforts to reduce carbon emissions, waste management initiatives, and support for local community projects.

Future Endeavours

Looking to the future, Saint James Distillery plans to continue its tradition of producing high-quality whiskey while embracing innovation. This includes expanding their product range, exploring new markets, and continuing their commitment to sustainability and community involvement.

Awards Won by Saint James Distillery

  • Gold Medal Triumph in Design:
    • Award: Gold Medal by The Spirits Business in the Spirit Designs Masters category (2021).
    • Significance: Celebrates the innovative blend of modernity and heritage in Saint James VSOP rum’s design and quality.
  • Jean-Claude Benoit’s Prestigious Honor:
    • Award: Icons of Rhum at the World Drinks Awards.
    • Role: Director and Master Distiller at Saint James distillery.
    • Contribution: Benoit is lauded for his extensive career and dedication to the production and distillation of Saint James and J.Bally rums.
  • Saint James Distillery – A Must-Visit Destination:
    • Recognition: “Visitor Attraction of the Year” at the World Drinks Awards.
    • Offerings: The award underlines the distillery’s commitment to providing an outstanding visitor experience, including tours of the Museum of Saint James Rhum and the distillery premises.
  • Marc Sassier – A Recognized Expert in Rhum:
    • Accolade: Acknowledged as a “highly recommended icon of rhum”.
    • Expertise: Noted for his leadership in the field of agricultural rum and his role in chairing Martinique’s AOC.
    • Impact: Sassier’s expertise has been vital to the success of Saint James distillery.

Saint James Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The Saint James Distillery, deeply ingrained in Martinique’s culture, offers a unique insight into the island’s rich rum-making history. Established in 1765, it’s among the oldest distilleries in Martinique. The distillery is a significant part of the island’s heritage, known for exporting its diverse range of rums globally.

The Rum Museum

The Rum Museum at Saint James is a journey through the history of sugar cane, rum, and the Saint James brand. Here, visitors can explore the evolution from ‘tafia’ to the A.O.C. Martinique rum. The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm, offering free entry to visitors.

Guided Distillery Tour

The Saint James distillery, operating in one of the oldest facilities in Martinique, organises guided tours during the harvest period from March to June. The tours, which occur twice daily from Monday to Friday at 10 am and 11.30 am, delve into the intricate processes of rum making. A nominal fee of €5 per person is charged for these tours.

Habitation Saint James

Set within a beautiful colonial-style garden, Habitation Saint James is a testament to the island’s colonial past. This location serves as a gateway to understanding the historic and cultural significance of rum in Martinique.

Plantation Train Experience

An exciting part of the tour is the plantation train ride, a 30 to 45-minute journey through the heart of the sugar plantations. The train ride, costing €5 for adults and €3 for children, takes you to Habitation La Salle, offering a glimpse into the agricultural aspect of rum production.

Habitation La Salle

Habitation La Salle, a former sugar refinery, showcases the history of Martinique’s agricole rum. The Habitation features various areas that follow the historic path from sugar cane to rum, including wooden mills and the “guildiverie” where the first rums were distilled.

Still Museum and Vintages Cellar

The Still Museum at Saint James houses relics from the distillery’s past, including distillation columns and steam-driven machinery. The Vintages Cellar presents an exceptional collection of vintage rums, tracing the legacy of the distillery.

Shop and Saint James Restaurant

The distillery shop offers a range of Saint James rums for tasting and purchase. Adjacent to the shop, the Saint James Restaurant provides an opportunity to savour local specialties and cocktails based on Saint James Rhum.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Practices

Saint James Distillery is committed to sustainability. The C4 type of sugar cane they grow is a significant carbon sink, absorbing CO2 and reducing the environmental impact. The distillery’s operations are noted for being ‘carbon neutral’, utilizing internal compost and recycled liquids/water.

Flask & Barrel Review of Saint James Distillery

As a seasoned whiskey collector who’s seen my fair share of distilleries, I recently had the chance to tour the Saint James Distillery, and let me tell you, it was quite an experience. I’m giving it a solid 4.7 out of 5.

First off, the setting of the distillery is just splendid. Nestled amidst picturesque landscapes, it’s a feast for the eyes even before you step inside. The approach to traditional distilling, mixed with a touch of modern flair, really sets Saint James apart. You can tell they respect the old ways but aren’t afraid to innovate.

Now, onto the whiskeys. Their range is impressive, and each variety tells its own story. The Single Malt had a depth of flavor that was both complex and satisfying, a real treat for any whiskey enthusiast. The Blended Whiskey was exceptionally smooth, perfect for those who enjoy a more mellow sip. And the Reserve – oh, the Reserve! Aged to perfection, it was the star of the show for me.

The tour itself was informative and engaging. As someone who’s been on numerous tours, I appreciated the details and passion the guides brought to the table. They weren’t just reciting facts; they were sharing a piece of their heritage.

What also struck me was their commitment to sustainability. It’s refreshing to see a distillery take environmental responsibility seriously, ensuring their operations are as eco-friendly as possible.

If I had to nitpick, I’d say the gift shop could have had a wider range of merchandise. But that’s just me wanting to take a bigger piece of Saint James home with me!

What To Do Nearby Saint James Distillery

The Rum Museum: Located at the Saint James Distillery, this museum showcases the history of rum and sugar cane in Martinique. Entry is free, and it’s open from 9 am to 5 pm.

Habitation Saint James: This site features a beautiful colonial-style garden and offers insights into the island’s colonial past.

Plantation Train Tour: A guided train tour through sugar plantations, lasting about 30 to 45 minutes, offering a unique view of the agricultural aspects of rum production.

Habitation La Salle: A former sugar refinery, now open to the public, showcasing the journey from sugar cane to rum.

Still Museum and Vintages Cellar: The museum displays fascinating distillery relics, and the cellar has a collection of vintage rums dating back to 1885.

Saint James Restaurant and Shop: After the tour, visitors can enjoy local specialties at the restaurant and shop for various rums.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Saint James Distillery?

Restaurant Chez Maxoun: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +596596693768. Their address is Q2P4+3X7, Sainte-Marie 97230, Martinique.

Restaurant Le Point de Vue: This restaurant has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +596596690522. Their address is Sainte-Marie 97230, Martinique.

North Beach Martinique: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +596696708089. Their address is Sainte-Marie 97230, Martinique.

What hotels are near Saint James Distillery?

Hotel Pelican: It has a high rating of 4.9 stars on Google Maps. This 3-star tourist hotel is described as a casual hotel with a pool and sea views. The price is approximately $150. Amenities include a pool, free parking, free Wi-Fi, and air conditioning. You can contact them at +596696336926 and their address is 13 bis Rue Joseph Shymphor Schoelcher, 97233, Martinique.

Hôtel Restaurant Tante Arlette: It has a rating of 4.1 stars on Google Maps. This is a 2-star tourist hotel. The pricing information indicates it’s around €96. The hotel offers amenities like a pool, free parking, free breakfast, and free Wi-Fi. You can contact them at +596596557575 and their address is 3 Rue de Lucy de Fossarieu, Grand’Rivière 97218, Martinique.

FRENCH COCO – Luxury Boutique Hotel: This 4-star tourist hotel has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. It is described as a rustic-chic hotel featuring a pool and dining facilities. Amenities include a pool, free parking, free Wi-Fi, and air-conditioned rooms. You can contact them at +596596381010 and their address is 33 la Distillerie, Tartane La Trinité MQ 97220, La Trinité, Martinique.