By Alexander Britell
As you sit inside the bar, you start by watching.
Watching like the way you look at a monument or a sweeping valley – it is stationary but a thing that demands your attention, dynamic without moving.
That’s what happens when there are more than 600 bottles of rum in a single bar, the largest collection of rums you’ll find in any bar in the Caribbean – and, considering the quality and rarity of everything here – perhaps the greatest selection of any bar in the world.
This is the Rhum Room in St Barth.
Yes – because while it sounds like a lot of rums, there is nothing here without quality .
There are even more than 300 rhums Agricoles – a total that is almost certainly the largest of any bar in the hemisphere, with a cornucopia of rare expressions from across the French Caribbean.
As an example, the bar doesn’t just have La Favorite’s La Flibuste- it has multiple vintages.
It has every HSE on the market, even the original Sherry finishes.
It is a full fledged shrine to Rhum JM.
And that extends to the Molasses rums.
It doesn’t just have the rarefied Veliers and their ilk (such as the old Caroni bottligs) it even has a rare bottling of pre-Embargo Cuban rum and baskets of extant British Navy Rum.
Even its Zacapa section includes only pre-Diageo expressions – the ones you can’t even get anymore.
And that’s without mentioning its superb Cuban section (with, yes the best of Santiago).
But the biggest story really is the Agricole offering – it is a simply breathtaking array.
And there is no filler-you can’t find a bad rum anywhere in sight.
But inventory alone does not make this bar, the brainchild of global rum expert Christopher Davis, what it is.
Did I mention it’s a speakeasy?
Unmarked from the street in Gustavia, the Rhum Room is accessed through a kitchen door and then a small hallway, revealing this veritable temple of rum.
Once you get inside, more wonders emerge: a well stocked humidor of Cuban and Dominican cigars; a ti’ punch cart with the best blancs agricoles you can think of (including every variety of Martinique’s Rhum A1710).
The rums are so vast, in fact, that there’s even a ladder, making for a kind of library of rum.
You can sift through the rum menu for hours.
Categorized by country of origin and by blanc or aged, it is an astounding thing in its own right.
Indeed, there’s even a special section for the storied rums of Marie Galante in Guadeloupe.
And then there’s the pricing – while the ultra-rare expressions don’t come cheap – the vast majority of the rums here are priced to taste. Davis wants you to try and explore, not to be scared off.
It is hard to overstate how great of a place this really is – and what it means for the world of Caribbean rum. It is a place that puts Caribbean rum on the pedestal it deserves, reminding the region of the abundant quality of its famous export.
If this sounds like a lot of superlatives, well, it delivers the goods.
This is the new Caribbean rum Mecca, a new bucket list destination for every lover of cane.
This is the Rhum Room in St Barth, and it is the greatest rum bar in the Caribbean.