Picture yourself on the sun-kissed shores of Barbados, where every sip of rum carries the essence of the island's rich history and vibrant culture. With a rich heritage that dates back to over 300 years, Barbados, often hailed as the birthplace of rum, boasts four distinct distilleries that are a must-visit for both the avid traveler and the rum connoisseur. Let's embark on a spirited journey through Mount Gay Distillery, Foursquare Distillery, St. Nicholas Abbey, and West Indies Rum Distillery, discovering the unique flavors and tales each one has to offer.
1. Mount Gay Distillery: The Pioneer of Perfection
Our adventure begins at Mount Gay Distillery, the oldest rum producer in the world. Established in 1703, Mount Gay has perfected the art of rum-making over the centuries. From the iconic Mount Gay Eclipse to the rare and aged Mount Gay 1703, each bottle tells a tale of tradition and excellence. Take a tour through their historic facilities, and witness the craftsmanship that goes into every batch. Mount Gay Rum offers two types of tours:
Historic Distillary Tours
The Historic Distillary tours are located in St. Lucy, the original landscape where it all began. These tours take you through a fully operationally rum making establishment. Be immersed in the surroundings from the sugar cane fields to the bounds where hundreds of rum barrels are waiting to be bottled. Every rum, and ever acre tells a story - this is the heart of Mount Gay!
Visitor Centre Tastings and Workshops
The Visitor Centre located in the heart of Barbados - Bridgetown, offers it's visitors a laid back setting to experiencing rum. From rum tasting to cocktail workshops, the visitor centre is the perfect introduction to those visiting for the first time and even the experienced rum aficionado!
2. Foursquare Distillery: Where Heritage Meets Innovation
Next on our list is the only family-owned distillery on the island - Foursquare Distillery, a harmonious blend of Barbadian heritage and modern innovation. Tucked away on the south east of the island in the parish of Saint Philip, Foursquare has been producing exceptional, authentic Barbados rum for over 25 years. Renowned for their exceptional cask selection, Foursquare produces rums that cater to both traditionalists and those seeking a contemporary twist. Explore their diverse range, including the rich and spicy Foursquare Criterion and the complex Foursquare Sagacity – a true testament to the mastery of blending.
The distillery is open from Monday through Friday during business hours and operates with an open house policy - therefore you can tour the distillery and the gardens at your leisure. Be sure to take advantage of this and be immersed in the charm and history of Fourquare. After you have toured the grounds, rum tasting awaits you at The Copper Still Bar. At a reasonable $15 USD, there you would be given an introduction into the different types of rums which are produced at Fourqure and of course the opportunity to taste them.
3. St. Nicholas Abbey: A Glimpse into Elegance
For a touch of elegance, St. Nicholas Abbey is the place to be. Nestled in a 17th-century Jacobean mansion, this distillery is a living testament to the island's colonial past. Marvel at the historic surroundings as you sip on their refined rums which embody the sophistication and charm of Barbadian craftsmanship.
The St. Nicholas Abbey Distillery is open from Sunday to Friday (closed on Saturdays) and offers a variety of tours such as:
The Heritage Railway + The Great House Combo
The Great House
A tour of this distillery is truly one to be enjoyed and savored as you explore the steam driven syrup factory boiling house, light refreshments on the terrace, the birds and even the surrounding gardens, orchards and gullies.
Tip: Keep in mind that the grinding of the sugar which is reaped from the plantation occurs during the January to May cane harvest.
4. West Indies Rum Distillery: The Modern Marvel
Our rum-filled journey concludes at the West Indies Rum Distillery, a contemporary powerhouse that seamlessly marries tradition with modernity. Known for producing a wide array of rums, from light and versatile expressions to rich and robust blends, West Indies Rum Distillery caters to every palate. Uncover the secrets behind their popular brands like Cockspur, and witness the evolution of Barbadian rum-making in every glass. West Indies Rum Distillery offers two types of tours:
Stade’s Rum Distillery Tour Experience
Discover the art of rum-making as this tour takes you on through an array of historic stills in the lively "Pot Still Alley," featuring the world's oldest surviving pot still. Dive even deeper into the Distiller's Vault for a treasure trove of recipes and experiments from bygone decades. Be immersed in all things from from the bonds to sampling.
Stade's Rum Tasting and Beach Experience
Embark on a delightful sensory journey against the stunning backdrop of the Caribbean Sea as you explore the diverse styles and flavorful profiles that have made Barbados rum legendary as you savor four exceptional rums from the renowned Stade’s Rum and Plantation Rum collections.
As you explore the four corners of Barbados through these distilleries, you'll discover that the island's rum is more than just a beverage – it's a celebration of history, innovation, and the spirit of the Caribbean. So, pack your bags, embark on a rum-fueled adventure, and let the flavors of Barbados linger on your palate long after the trip ends. Cheers to the sun, sea, and the soulful sips of Barbadian rum!