The Rivière du Mât distillery was founded in 1886 on the small island of Reunion, not too far off the coast of Madagascar. The distillery is situated on the east coast in Saint-Benoit (google maps). On the map, you can see the actual Rivière du Mât is the large river to the distillery's north.
The Name: We all love a bit of sailing history with our rum and Rivière du Mât has a nice little story to go with theirs. The name Rivière du Mât translates to Mast River in English. While the distillery was founded in 1886, the legend had been told for many, many years before. The legend talks about a ship that set sail to explore the island but unfortunately struck ground and sunk, laying peacefully in a river bed leaving only the mast exposed for many years.
The Cane: The sugar cane grows in areas with very mineral-rich volcanic soil combined with pure waters from the rivers on the eastern side of the island. Interestingly, other than tourism, the sugarcane industry is the primary source of export income. It occupies 55% of agricultural land and contributes to the income of more than 15000 families on the island. One hectare produces an average of 8 tons of sugar. On the island, 45% of the electricity needs are covered by the cane waste (bagasse).
The Distillery: The rum produced at Rivière du Mât is made through traditional methods using open fermentation tanks to create the wash. This is followed by a selective distillation using a Traditional, Multi-Plate, Column still in accordance with the G.I. for Reunion Rum, in order to separate different aromas and congeners throughout the distillation process.
The Aging: Post distillation, the rum is then placed in new and old, French oak barrels to mature. The old oak barrels had previously held cognac for many years before being transferred to Reunion to age the rum. The rum in-turn takes on a complex profile of earthy, mineral rum crossed with sophisticated cognac attributes.
The Environment: Concerned about respecting its island, the Rivière du Mât Distillery is the only distillery on Reunion with a process for treating distillation residues. It is through anaerobic digestion, a natural biological process, that we add value to our effluents by producing renewable energy called bio-gas, necessary for the operation of the distillery in heat and steam, thus avoiding the importation and burning of fossil fuels. This anaerobic digestion unit also makes it possible to produce fertilizing sludge which will then be reused in the sugar cane fields as a substitute for imported chemical fertilizers. Committed to this eco-responsible approach since 2011, RDM wishes to be a benchmark for their region by decontaminating 100% of effluents by 2020. Thanks to their commitment, Rivière du Mât participates in the energy autonomy of the territory promoting the development of a circular economy.