Today, I propose you a meeting with Arthur de Lucy, who with his father Jean Louis undertakes the rebirth of an old house in the north of Martinique, l’habitation Beauséjour !
L’habitation Beauséjour was a former distillery, as there were dozens in Martinique, almost 80 years ago.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Amédée Alexis Augustin Knight, an engineer from the Ecole Centrale de Paris, who became Senator of Martinique in 1899, acquired this house in a difficult context for the sugar industry.
Making this house flourish, it goes from simple to double level agricultural area and is even equipped with a distillery. This one will also win a medal at the Paris exhibition in 1932.
It was also at this time, between 1900 and 1912 that the house took the name of Beauséjour.
In 1928, Pierre François Honoré Louis de Lucy de Fossarieu (phew!) bought the property from the descendants of Knight. We continue to cultivate sugar cane and produce rum, while cocoa declined in favor of secondary crops such as corn, beans or sweet potato.
It was only after the Second World War that the development of banana farming definitively supplanted previous productions.
In 1959, no more cane was harvested and therefore the last year of cane production will be 1958.
In recent years, Jean-Louis, the grandson has returned to the tradition of cane and cultivates it on the 60 hectares that still have the house.
Recently, a new still is even installed in the home in order to regain the breath of yesteryear.
Hello Arthur, could you introduce this new distillery? Who, what, why and how? 🙂
Hello Roger, what a very broad question to start!
Who: Arthur of Lucy and his father Jean Louis.
What: reopening of my great-grandfather’s distillery, closed in 1958. Small distillery developing artisanal stills rums.
Why: the agricultural buildings, classified historic monument, were not used any more, it was necessary to find an idea, and we have 60Ha of canes!
Logic and passion have made us start rum production again this year.
How: 2 years of administrative file, 6 months of work, opening of production in January, and visits in May.
I am very well surrounded technically, by great current rum professionals.
At the time, we had also won a gold medal in 1932 in Paris, who knows in a few years …
You have chosen not to be an AOC, given the still distillation in particular, just like A1710. Why this choice? Do you think that the AOC is too restrictive for a new establishment?
The AOC !!! why always this question hahaha!
As I have said to a lot of other people, AOC is a real force for Martinique, the producers of rums guarantee an excellent level of quality in the methods of production, culture and maintenance of the terroir. .
Thanks to the AOC, Martinique is known worldwide.
But it is a very rigorous specification and it takes a lot of resources to set up a distillery that meets all these criteria.
So the choice not to belong to the AOC was made for economic reasons first, and also because we are much more free!
It is not to say that our rum will not be good, even if outside AOC.
So we will soon be able to taste your first creations, when will all of this be available? What will be your gamm?
Varietal selection yes, plot traceability too!
A white punch and a premium white no, just a premium white punch to start, hahaha.
The normal variation will then come from ESB, VO, VSOP, XO etc.… We will put about 50% of the production in barrels the first year.
The first barrels arrive in March and yes, you will find bottles in mainland France, in specialized cellars or on the internet.
What type of keg will be used? bourbon ?
I chose several types of barrel, and several types of wood, we will try and we will taste to determine the best choice for our rums.
So it’s not really decided yet.
Do you have your own cane fields or do you rely on local growers and those close to the house?
We can count on 60Ha of own canes, the first year we will only use 5ha, you see, we are large and there is plenty to do !
Is the cultivation of the cane on all of these fields and therefore a part goes elsewhere for the moment? Or are these fields used for other types of agriculture for the moment ?
Almost everything is in sugar cane yes, we sell the rest to other distilleries to meet their needs.
How do you plan for the future? What are the goals ?
For now, we start, we learn, we taste (a lot) we select.
If it works, and if we manage to reach profitability, why not get bigger and maybe even pass on a distillation column !
We have room for and the cane available, everything is possible if fate is favorable to us.
The future will tell…
Martinican rum is becoming more and more « hyped », what do you think of that and what does it inspire you ?
Yes, this is largely why we thought of the distillery, of course.
In addition to the heritage and cultural side, there is also the current trend.
Martinique rum is one of the most popular and it is thanks to the producers of rum from the AOC.
Do you have a favorite distillery on the island? a heart distillery which would be a kind of inspiration?
They’re all so different … the rums, the land, the canes, the buildings, the stories. it’s impossible to choose just one !
Besides, we never drink a single rum here !
But to answer you a little all the same: I am a boy from the North, I spent all my childhood walking in the plantations of the North and I played a lot at JM, the former JM !
This is probably where I wanted to embark on this adventure …