Takamaka Rum is a brand of rum distilled, aged and blended in the Seychelles, at the Trois Frères Distillery, on the main island of Mahé. The distillery has been operating since 2002, and was founded by the d’Offay brothers, Richard and Bernard d’Offay. It is the first and only commercial rum producer and exporter in the Seychelles.
In an exclusive interview with VoyagesAfriq from its base in Mahe, the General Manager of Takamaka Francis Mondon said they produce variety of rum for both domestic and export market. ‘’We produce a variety of rum and we supply to both the domestic and export market. Our total production is around 45,000 to 50,000 cases a year out of which 50 percent is for export’’ he added
‘’We have got 7 dedicated export markets but that is growing and for the last 3 years we have grown from about 10 to nearly 50 percent of our total production. The other 50 percent is for the domestic market. We have approximately 550 retail outlets, the nightclubs, the bars, resorts, hotels and guesthouses purchase the spirit of Seychelles. We employ around 40 people throughout the year. We have approximately 12,000 visitors on an annual basis, so our business has really been growing’’ the General Manager observed.
Mr Mondon said the takamaka site receives 5 percent of the 350,000 visitors to Seychelles and looks set to even grow further.
History of Rum
The British Navy first introduced rum to the Seychelles in the mid 16th century. Only from the late 1800s to the early 1900s was sugar cane cultivated on the islands – primarily to supplement the supply of sugar from infrequent visits from ships. Only as the delivery of sugar to the islands became more frequent, did the use of sugar cane begin to evolve – initially to making fermented cane juice known as ‘Baka’.
Local residents also have a history of making their own rhum arrangé – a mixture of local rum and a blend of herbs and spices (usually a family recipe). This is traditionally served as a digestif (post-meal drink).
The Trois Frères Distillery was founded in 2002 and is located on an old tropical spice plantation site, La Plaine St André, which dates back to the 1700s. The d’Offay family was granted a lease for the property, which is a national heritage site, and they restored it over a period of two and half years in order to set up the distillery.
The name Takamaka refers to a local bay on the island and is the name of local tree which featured on the early labels of the rum. The Takamaka brand is now exported internationally to markets in Europe and the UAE.
Takamaka Rum is made from naturally grown local sugar cane from four different regions of Mahé by a cooperative of three dozen local farmers. It is then crushed on site at the distillery.
The sugar cane juice is fermented and distilled in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The distillation process takes place in three copper stills, two pot stills for flavour and a rectifying column for purity.
Takamaka Rums are then aged and matured in French and American oak barrels before being blended with aged rums, local spices, fruit extracts, and spring water from the island.