St Lucia Distillers was founded in 1972 and is based in the valley of Roseau on the island of St Lucia. In the 1950s, only two distilleries remained on the island, Dennery on the Barnard family plantation, and the Geest-owned facility at Roseau. These two distilleries combined to form St. Lucia Distillers Group at the location of Roseau in 1972, and it is now the island’s only remaining distillery. The Barnard family then bought out the Geest’s shares in 1992, and in 2005 they sold their shareholdings to Clico Barbados Holdings, though Laurie Barnard stayed on as Managing Director. In May 2007 the distillery suffered an arson attack, which destroyed the laboratory and blending building, and the brand was forced to work from a converted warehouse for years after.
The distillery now sources its sugar cane from Guyana, as banana plantations have replaced sugar plantations on St Lucia. However, the distillery recently planted five acres of sugar cane on site.
The Forgotten Casks of Chairman’s Reserve is an extra aged sipping rum crafted to mimic rum found in the original forgotten casks of Chairman’s Reserve, which were preserved from St. Lucia Distillers horrific fire on May 2, 2007. The cellar master was forced to find appropriate however unusual storage space for his rum barrels during the rehabilitation of the distillery, and these casks were barrels misplaced during this time of confusion. These forgotten casks gave him rum too old for the original Chairman’s Reserve blend, so it was decided this rum would be released on its own, as an extra aged Chairman’s Reserve to worldwide acclaim. St. Lucia Distillers continues to hold back select Chairman’s Reserve for extra aging to offer a limited release of the ‘Chairman’s Forgotten Casks.’
The rum is aged separately by batch and by type of still in ex-Bourbon barrels, then blended and rested in oak vats for an additional six months to finish. The rum is between six and eleven years old.
Nose: Spicy and intense with coffee beans and cocoa, maple spice and vanilla, a little potpourri and coffee beans.
Palate: Dark rich spices, apricot jam, golden syrup, toffee brittle, coffee and treacle.
Finish: Plum and raisin.