Samui Wining & Dining
Rum is charming us all over again, thanks to La Rhumerie de Samui.

Rum is charming us all over again, thanks to La Rhumerie de Samui.Who doesn’t want a happy surprise when on holiday? On Samui nobody expects to find a rum distillery, and it’s a delightful experience to suddenly come across it. It’s located in the south of the island, close to Thong Krut, and is set in extensive gardens of its own that wouldn’t seem out of place in Martinique or Guadeloupe. Offering everything from rum tasting sessions to a fully functional restaurant and bar, La Rhumerie de Samui is the new name for the distillery that’s stood here since 2003. It’s now under brand new ownership, and we can expect major developments in the months to come. It’s definitely in expert hands. It’s managed by the same people who have been running a distillery up in the north of the country, called Issan Rum Distillery. There they produce the only rum in the world to be made from sugar cane where the outer layer of the cane is first stripped. The resulting products won a gold medal at the Rum Fest in Paris, and a bronze one for 40% proof agricultural rum. Now the founder David Giallorenzo, along with David Defossez, is bringing their know-how to Samui.


Rhum agricole will be made at the Samui distillery, and is guaranteed to be silk-smooth. As in the Caribbean it’ll be distilled close to where the sugar cane grows. In this case, the cane is grown just across on the mainland and is then harvested and shipped to Samui, with the transport taking a matter of hours. This all helps guarantee the special flavour and aroma of the rum, and its fine taste. After crushing in mills made of revolving cylinders, the cane juice is separated from the cane fibre, with the former going into the stainless steel fermentation vats.


Once the fermentation process has ended, the fermented juice is distilled in a special alembic, which was expressly made in France for distilling sugar cane. The entire process from growing the sugar cane to the bottling and transportation is closely and professionally overseen. The rum can be bought at the distillery, and the artistically-labelled bottles are a great souvenir for visitors to the island. And you may already have drunk some of the rum, as it’s delivered to resorts and restaurants all over the island, as well as further afield. All the products, incidentally,Rum is charming us all over again, thanks to La Rhumerie de Samui. are correctly licensed, labelled and taxed – an inordinate amount of paperwork goes with rum production!


La Rhumerie de Samui guarantees that the sugar cane used only comes from local sources and nowhere else. Unlike some of the big industrial distilleries, the rum that’s derived is all about quality rather than quantity. As such it’s very much an artisanal creation – a heartfelt production that wins people over with its sheer good taste.


It’s a far cry from any of the original rums that were made. Originally, rum was the preferred drink for slaves. It was known in the mid-17th century as ‘kill-devil’- the phrase describing the force of what was unleashed when people drank rum – it was crudely produced and rough on the palate. Even so, it proved abidingly popular, and over time the distilling process just got better and better. Rum started to be mixed with tea, lemon and cinnamon. Punch was born, and all manner of cocktails, too. Distilleries such as these tend to offer more than just rum, and are into additions to their basic product. La Rhumerie de Samui guarantees very high quality at the most favourable prices, and don’t hesitate to contact the distillery with a special request.


Meanwhile, you’re welcome to come to the restaurant and taste the rum for yourself. You’ll be amazed at the clean, pure taste of it. As such it can be drunk neat or with other ingredients in the form of a cocktail. In addition, you can find special home-made syrup that the former owner of the distillery used to drink with her family on Martinique. Made from sugar cane, lime, muscat, cinnamon and vanilla, this is a soft drink that can be drunk on its own or as a base for other concoctions.


The restaurant serves a great selection of Thai and international foods, and guests are also welcome to use the swimming pool for free. If you’re yearning for a rum that is produced just metres away, yet is deeply faithful to its Caribbean origins, this is the only place to be on Samui.


Dimitri Waring


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