The history of Isautier rum

The Isautier family has established itself in Read more

The history of Isautier rum

The Isautier family settled in Reunion Island (then called Bourbon Island) in 1832... Read more

The history of Isautier rum

The Isautier family settled in Reunion (then called Bourbon Island) in 1832. The brothers Louis and Charles arrived at the age of 21. Sugar and sugar cane were booming on the island, and molasses rum was being produced. The Isautier brothers founded the largest distillery of the time in 1845. After the death of the founding brothers, Charles' wife Antoinette took over the business with the company "Veuve Charles Isautier et fils" in 1865. The brand's stoneware bottles were already an international success and were crowned at the Paris World Fair in 1878.

Alfred, grandson of Charles and Antoinette Isautier, bought the distillery in 1918. He started to modernise it by installing a distillation column. He was also the first person in Reunion to use bagasse as fuel for the boilers. Isautier was still the only independent distillery, not attached to a sugar factory.

It had difficulties during the Second World War, but eventually stocks melted away very quickly after the end of the conflict. The main customers were European, the best being Germany and Sweden. Charles had three sons: Paul-Alfred, Charles and Henri. They learned with him how to make rum and recorded the recipes in small notebooks. When they took over the company after their father's death in 1950, they greatly diversified its activities, creating up to 60 small businesses.

A distillery in constant evolution

In the 1970s, the distillery moved to Frédeline. Charles Isautier installed a new cane mill, consisting of three mills driven by a steam engine. The distillery was thus self-sufficient in cane juice until the end of the 1980s.

It was also during this period thatIsautier developed its first arranged rums, without much success at first.

In the 1990s, after diversification came a refocusing on rum and punches.

In 2005, Mathieu Cosse, oenologist and former winemaker, started working with the distillery. Isautier showed an increased desire for quality, and it was time to review its entire production, from fermentation to ageing, including distillation.

In 2010, the first blended rums as we know them today appeared, with great success. In 2011, the liqueur factory moves closer to the distillery.

Today, Isautier is still independent and family-owned. It cultivates more than 300 hectares of sugarcane which are processed at the Gol factory. Very significant investments were undertaken in 2016, with the aim of doubling the production and ageing capacity.

The making of Isautier rums

The Isautier distillery is able to make both traditional molasses rum and traditional agricultural rum.

The fermentation of pure cane juice takes an average of 35 hours, while that of molasses takes about 22 hours.

The distiller adds yeast and acids. The open vat allows air to enter, which allows the yeast to multiply and create the leaven. After 15 hours, the yeast is distributed to the fermentation tanks and diluted cane juice or molasses is added. At the end of this process, the wort is between 6 and 8°.

Distillation is continuous, in columns. Molasses rum runs at an average of 94%, and agricultural rum between 70 and 78%. The rums are reduced with demineralised and filtered water according to the desired alcohol content. The Isautier distillery operates continuously during the cane harvest, which runs from August to December.

The cellar benefits from extreme heat and humidity conditions, which causes a very high extraction of wood from the barrels. The cellar master uses new barrels for the first 24 months of maturation. Then he transfers the rums to red, ex-cognac or ex-rum barrels. A third maturation may follow.

The barrels selected are mostly made of fine-grained European wood, with a long but gentle toasting. It is estimated that a period of 10 or 12 years is ideal for the balance of a great old rum.

A commitment to quality and ecology

Isautier rums have a PGI, which guarantees that all the sugar cane and molasses come from Réunion.

The distillery is also involved in a project to improve its ecological impact, notably by converting its vinasse into fertiliser for the fields.

Today, Isautier of course offers white rum (traditional molasses rum at 40 or 49%, and agricultural rum at 55%). It also offers a wide range of punches and arranged rums.
The old rums are both molasses rums and agricultural rums, or blends of the two styles. Read less

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