Never in my life did I think I’d be stepping into the Caribbean’s oldest operating rum distillery… and yet, here I stand on the grounds of Arundel Estate in the ever-so enchanting, Callwood Rum Distillery.
Situated in a tiny limestone building, nestled away from the main drag of Cane Garden Bay in Tortola, this little distillery has a very important role in preserving the island’s heritage. Dating back over 400 years old, this is not only the oldest but also the only working rum distillery operating here in Tortola, BVI.
Unlike most Caribbean rums, Callwood Rum Distillery distills their rum from pure cane juice- not molasses like we are generally used to in this big ol’ rum world of ours. Their process begins when cane (grown from their property) is cut and put through a pressing mill. The sugar cane juices are extracted, flow through receivers into a large iron cauldron and then boiled on a fire until it reaches a temperature where alcohol is produced. It is then run through a coiled cooling system and finally stored in their oak barrels (which are burnt on the inside) till it ages to the desired effect.
For just $2 US dollars, we were poured a shot of all four of their rums: the white rum, the golden rum, the 10-year aged rum, and one classily names one called the “Panty Dropper.” The white rum is the equivalent of a Bacardi white rum… more of a mixer than a sipper sorta’ deal. The golden rum was our favourite, as was the 10- year aged rum. Super smooth, no after burn and full of individuality. And lastly, the so-called “Panty Dropper”; a rum geared more for the ladies due to it being easy to drink. Although it was indeed easy drinking due to all the sweetener added to it, simply based on the guy’s description alone “this rum guarantees to get the ladies in your bed…” this rum get’s a huge thumbs down from me.
Rum lovers and globe trotters should add Callwood Rum Distillery to their list of places to check out. It was one of the highlights of my trip around the British Virgin Islands and well worth the visit for the history alone.
Photography © by Kara’s Rum Quest – Copyright: All rights reserved.
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