Is it a mirage?
Are my eyes playing tricks on me after a long journey in Martinique?
There is rum as far as the eye can see, bottles from just about every island in the Caribbean.
I have reached Mecca, completing a rum journey toward a place I never new existed.
Because there is nothing like this anywhere in the Caribbean
You see, there’s a problem in far too many corners of the Caribbean — despite rum’s place as the Caribbean’s most famous export, there just aren’t many great places to buy rum in the region — places that raise rum to the level of fine wine — places that revere rum.
True “rum shops” are few and far between — stores where one can savor the diversity of the regional spirit and peruse bottles from across the Caribbean the way one would in a fine wine shop.
But then there is this: La Compagnie du Rhum, a rum boutique in Martinique that has the largest selection of rums of any store in the Caribbean, set on a small residential estate in the northeast of the island (just across the road from the Cap Est resort).
There are nearly 1,000 rums in this place, from a miraculous variety of local rums from Martinique and Guadeloupe to rare molasses-based rums from across the Antilles.
There are mini bottles, boxes of rum, myriad white rums, and even special cupboards of vintage rums.
There’s also a healthy offering of rums to taste, including some from the nearby A 1710 rum that is the newest rum on the island.
The store is actually the extension of what is a major global online retail operation for rum, but there’s nothing better than a physical storefront.
But if you are a lover of rum, a rum aficionado, or looking for the perfect souvenir for someone who is, this is a new pilgrimage destination. You might call it Santiago de Rumpostela. It’s that good.
And it’s not a mirage.
— Alexander Britell