AN ARTISANAL RHUM AGRICOLE
In the late 17th century, the famous Père Labat, a Jesuit credited with proliferating sugar cultivation in the French West Indies, was the parish priest of Macouba while he operated a sugar refinery at his house along the Roche River. Antoine Leroux-Préville purchased Father Labat’s estate in 1790 and gave the plantation the name we know it by today, Fonds-Préville. In 1845, Antoine Leroux-Préville’s daughters sold the property to Jean-Marie Martin, a merchant from Saint-Pierre and husband of Marie Ferment who was the daughter of one of the island’s great planters. Jean-Marie Martin recognized the superior quality of the sugarcane he found on the Fonds-Préville estate and decided to properly cultivate sugarcane solely for the production Rhum Agricole. He built a small distillery on the estate and branded his initials “J.M.” on the first oak barrels used to mature and transport his rhum to market. Since then, these two letters have become and remain the emblem of the most prestigious and most superior rum known in Martinique.
In 1914, Gustave Crassous de Médeuil, already owner of the Maison Bellevue, purchased Habitation Fonds-Préville. From this day, Maison Bellevue and Fonds-Préville became one entity. Located at the foot of the volcano Mont Pelée, Distillerie Fonds-Préville continues to be the highest-regarded rhumerie in Martinique. Today, the heirs of the Crassous de Médeuil family continue to craft the most superior rhum in the world by abiding to the tradition and the promise to always produce artisanal Rhum Agricole, from sugarcane of the adjacent Bellevue and Fonds-Préville plantations.