caribbean rum small batch

Why This Might Be the Ultimate Caribbean Small-Batch Rum

By: Alexander Britell - April 3, 2020

The eastern Atlantic coast of Martinique is full of winding roads and banana trees, a place of imposing villas and plantations and endless fields of sugarcane. 

And here, hidden in an old stone estate up a hillside on the N6 highway, is one of the great secrets of the world of Caribbean rum: the Habitation du Simon. 

You see, in recent years, a number of smaller Caribbean distilleries have been finding renown among rum enthusiasts, as more and more spirits lovers find their way into the romantic world of the noble spirit. 

They are all fine rums – but if you’re looking for the artisanal, the boutique, the hard-to-find, the sought-after rums, your destination still needs to be the French Caribbean — the global capital of rum and the most creative, diverse rum-producing region in the world. 

That includes three rhum agricole destinations: Guadeloupe, Marie-Galante and Martinique. But it’s Martinique that has the largest number of distilleries and brands and remains Mecca for rum lovers the world over. 

And nowhere in Martinique is there a better example right now than what is arguably the Caribbean’s ultimate small-batch distillery right now: the Habitation du Simon. 

The distillery, the brainchild of entrepreneur Yves Assier de Pompignan, is the essence of artisanal rummaking, with a tiny team that harvests the cane by hand and fertilizes the land with help from a band of mules. 

caribbean rum small batch
The Habitation du Simon.

The rum is distilled in a seven-tray copper column still the company calls “La Belle Aline.”

And when we say small-batch, we don’t mean boutique. We mean small

The rums of A1710, which launched in earnest in 2016 with La Perle, a high-end rhum blanc, are instantly collectible. 

Every release is thoughtful and rare: some certified organic or “bio.” Others cultivated using just a single varietal of sugarcane on a single parcel of the plantation. 

caribbean rum small batch

And they don’t make much of it: a given release might be just a few thousand bottles — or less. 

What the company has quietly developed is one of the most extraordinary white rum portfolios in the world, expressions oozing with personality, terroir, boldness and bravado. 

And the company’s latest expression is rather special: it’s the first true aged expression from A1710, something aficionados have been waiting for.

And just 822 bottles have been produced — and we were lucky enough to obtain one. 

It’s called Cheval Bondieu, named after a horse of legend in Martinican culture, and this ultra-small-batch release is a blend of rums aged between 18 and 36 months in French and American oak barrels. 

It’s bottled at 48 degrees in a slick, gold-and-black bottle and case. 

caribbean rum small batch

So what’s it like?

The first thing that jumps out is the sheer force of cane stalk in the aroma, reminding you that this is still a somewhat young rum and that it has not given up the bold, essential soul of A1710’s white rums. The aroma is filled with cane stalk and an edge of spice and anise. 

The flavor profile is a journey; it begins with striking notes of white pepper and sugarcane that turn into whispers of butterscotch and creme brulee. 

The finish is rather unique — it’s almost as if this rum has been blended in a temporal crescendo — you can almost taste the aging process — experiencing the story from the raw cane to the barrel. You can feel the progression as the flavors begin to get richer and broaden. 

It’s a dynamic rum — with the vibrant energy of A1710’s white rums and an elevated elegance and finesse. 

This first aged expression by A1710 is the start of something we think will be rather special. 

And as you sip this rum and close your eyes you can, for a brief moment, hear the rustling of the banana trees and a comforting gallop in the distance. 

And that — more than anything — is what Caribbean rum is all about.  

Rum Journal Review

A1710 Cheval Bondieu

94 Points

For more, visit A1710.

Popular Posts all-inclusive montego bay resort by marriott

Marriott Just Opened Its New All-Inclusive Resort in Montego Bay 

Marriott has continued its rapid expansion into the Caribbean all-inclusive space with the debut of its newest adults-only resort in Montego Bay: the new Hideaway at Royalton Blue Waters, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort.  The 352-room resort is part of […]

Yes, You Can Stay at an All-Inclusive Resort in St Thomas, USVI

the beach at the bolongo bay resort

The Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas may be the most popular all-inclusive resort you’ve never heard of. It’s not that the resort itself isn’t well-known: this family-run and managed, beach resort has been in business since 1974. But […]

The 15 Best Spa Resorts in the Caribbean

como parrot cay

Resort spas have become almost as common as fitness centers on amenity lists, but while it’s simple enough to carve out some space for a few treatment rooms, there are some spas that offer a true “experience” to go along […]

Related Posts people floating on seven mile beach

The Grand Cayman Marriott Is Getting New-Look Rooms (And Some With Bunk Beds)

One of the Cayman Islands’ signature places to stay is getting an upgrade: the Grand Cayman Marriott Resort.  The Seven Mile Beach property has begun what it’s calling an “extensive renovation of rooms and suites,” according to a statement from […]

Tiger Woods Is Making His Golf Return in Nassau 

the albany golf course with bunker

Tiger Woods is set to make his return to professional golf at his HERO World Challenge tournament in Nassau.  Woods has not played since the 2023 Masters, from which he withdrew in the third round and then underwent fusion surgery […]

From Antigua, a New Anthem for the Perfect Caribbean Vacation

caribbean vacation reggae with causion

Romance, adventure, culture, beaches, hotels. They’re all the perfect notes to the ultimate Caribbean vacation. Now, in time for the opening of the Caribbean’s most anticipated new adults-only resort, The Verandah Antigua, a top Caribbean reggae star has turned these […]


Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.

No. Thank You