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Rums to look for on St Maarten/St Martin


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15 replies to this topic

#1 Jason Perlow

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 07:34 PM

I'm going on vacation this weekend and will be going to St Maarten for a week.

Where should I be shopping for rum (Phillipsburg? Margiot?) and in particular, which agricoles and aged rum should I be looking for, in particular ones which are rare in the states?

I've heard the shopping on the dutch side is cheaper, particularly in phillipsburg.
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#2 Jason Perlow

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 07:57 PM

Aside from stuff imported into Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, theres the local Guavaberry stuff that I am curious about

http://www.guavaberr...llprods_eng.htm

I'm not sure if I'll like the guavaberry flavored liquor itself, but they appear to manufacture other rum liquors as well as their own brands of rum. However it looks pretty commercial and tourist-oriented. Ed?

Not guavaberry flavored rum liquors:

Mango

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Lime

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Passion Fruit

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Almond

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Anis (Sambuca flavor?)

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Spice:

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Bois Bande:

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Cariba Nativa (Jamaican shown, they have ones from St. Croix, Antigua, Guadeloupe and Barbados as well)


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Sheesh, are any of these worth buying?
Jason Perlow
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#3 Ed Hamilton

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 08:03 PM

Ah Sint Maarten, the Dutch side, aka Philipsburg has a number of liquor stores. The refurbished Philipsburg Liquor store should be open, out by the cruise ship docks, and is worth the walk. From time to time you'll find all kinds of esoteric things like old bottles of Cuban rum with damaged labels for $3 in the bargain bin, although they are cleaning out the old warehouse and trying to get rid of the old stuff. Ask for other liquors here, they have all kinds of things from whiskys, cognacs and other specialties that I can't afford. They are the bottler for Rum Jumbie, which you can't miss in SM. Worth the look for what's there. Last year I bought some nice sulfite-free French Merlot for less than $3.50 a bottle, later this year I'll buy more.

On the way back from Philipsburg Liquor Store on the right across from the boatyard on your left is Sang's Chinese grocery store that has all kinds of things from time to time. Bologne, Barcelo, Barbancourt, Brugal, I usually buy something.

Still in Philipsburg, Caribbean Liquors, is the distributor for Bally's and Clement from Martinique.

My next stop is AFOO's a Chinese food store on back street on the east end, ask anyone for AFOO. They have a pretty good selection of such things as Barbancourt 3/5 star, Barcelo Anejo and Gran Anejo, also Brugal from the Dominican Republic. In the French rhum category look for Bologne, Montebello, Damoiseau and Severin from Guadeloupe.
LaMauny and Dillon from Martinique.

On the French side just north of the entrance to the Marina area is a liquor store with a barrel outside and a wooden waiter, Cave de Marigot's the name. Benjamin used to have a great selection of fine liquors, Cuban rums, and rums from Martinique and Guadeloupe.
Around the corner Gran Vins de France (name?) has(d) J M. rhum vieux from Martinique but it is expensive. Take a look around and you'll see a lot to choose from.
Also check out the Match supermarket for specials. For locally blended spirits MaDoudou are some of the best.

If you happen to get lost and end up near the Simpson Bay Bridge, on the south side is my favorite bar, Floating Bar, actually an 80 foot ketch, with a great happy hour and lots of character(s). On the north side of the bridge in LaPalapa Center the Connoisseur's Shop also has a surprising selection of rums.

Lastly, SM is one of the fastest changing rum venues in the islands. The good news is that you never know what you'll find, or where you'll find it.
Happy shopping.
.
Edward Hamilton


Ministry of Rum.com
The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

#4 Ed Hamilton

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 08:10 PM

Guavaberry has to be one of the most popular tourist drinks on front street. I always have a taste when I visit there to sell some books. Say hello to the ladies, some of the nicest West Indian smiles on the island. Guavaberry tastes best when they serve it mixed in their special recipes, which they'll share. I know a lot of people who have an almost full bottle of Guavaberry in their cabinet. Definitely try it in while you're there. Just across the street to the west is a great art gallery, Greenwith.

The Blackbeard's aren't really anything special if you fancy great rum but consider that Front street is a tourist street if there is one in the Caribbean, only St Thomas is more geared for tourists.
Edward Hamilton


Ministry of Rum.com
The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

#5 Jason Perlow

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 08:13 PM

Wow Ed, awesome.
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#6 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 03:12 AM

Any clue as to the import limitations into the US?

#7 Ed Hamilton

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 05:34 AM

Good question. If you are flying back to Miami, you're in luck. Buy all you can carry and chances are you won't be taxed anything. Otherwise depending on the proof you'll have to pay about $2.50 per bottle.
My experience is that as long as the tax is less than $20, they will let you continue and 'Have a Nice visit in Miami.' I've never been asked to pay, and, I always go through the 'Declare your Luggage,' line for two reasons. First, that line's always shorter. 2nd, I wouldn't consider not declaring my luggage even if I don't have anything to declare- see first reason. In the last ten years, I've never come back with less than a case of rum.

The law is something like 4 bottles, 5 if one came from the US Virgins. But, it is actually proof gallons which I won't get into. In reality bring all you can carry, for personal consumption.

On the other hand if you are unlucky enough to be flying into Texas, well, you probably already know what to expect.
Edward Hamilton


Ministry of Rum.com
The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

#8 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 07:10 AM

We're flying direct to/from NJ.

Ignoramus alert: Please explain the difference between declaring and not declaring? What am I to declare or not? In general we are not overly extravagant vacation shoppers.

#9 Ed Hamilton

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 12:58 PM

When you are on the flight to return to the US you are asked, commanded, to complete a Customs form that lists what you are carrying - cameras, perfume, clothes, etc. purchased on your trip. You're allowed $400 per trip, but no drugs, etc. The form also demands that you tell Customs if you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash or instruments.

After you clear immigration and pick up your luggage you have to 'Clear Customs' which amounts to letting them go through your bags, if they want to. There are two lines, one is for travelers that have something to declare, lots of merchandise, drugs, etc. The other is for travelers that 'claim' they don't have anything to declare. The first line is always shorter and I've never been searched in that line, not that I ever carry anything worth over $400. Alcohol is taxed on the amount of alcohol, not the value. So if you are bringing in 160 proof rum from St Vincnet, you will pay twice as much as if you bring in 80 proof rum from Jamaica. But like I mentioned in a previous post if you don't owe a lot of tax you won't be asked to pay anything in Miami, don't know anything about NJ.
Edward Hamilton


Ministry of Rum.com
The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

#10 Ed Hamilton

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 02:22 PM

And don't forget to look for SUGAR CANE SYRUP from Martinique or Guadeloupe. No doubt you'll have a 'ti punch on the French side and then want one when you get home, and you can't make a good one without sugar cane syrup.
The various syrups differ by viscosity. Tip the bottles up and down and watch the liquid. Or buy a couple. Keep in the frig, and you'll probably want more when you run out.
Edward Hamilton


Ministry of Rum.com
The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

#11 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 07:56 PM

Confused. First you said you get in the "something to declare" line, then you say you get in the "nothing to declare" line. :wacko: I'm sure it was just an error but if you could clarify this. If you get in the "something to declare" line, but you don't have anything over $400 what do you declare?

#12 Ed Hamilton

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 09:01 PM

Sorry I got my lines crossed, I've corrected my post above.
I get in the line to declare my merchandise and then declare my rum. When they see that I only have a case or so of rum, I've always been whisked through the rest of the process which consists of the Customs officer making a mark on your declaration and either taking it or asking you to give it to someone at the exit door. Since that line is always shorter, I'm through faster.
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The Complete Guide to Rum

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#13 JOHN REEKIE

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Posted 26 September 2002 - 03:56 PM

Jason P.... I hope you look at this before you close down and head to the airport.
But to add to Ed's Shopping list for St Martin/Saint Maarten here are a few more
suggestions.....I think that a day trip over to Anguilla is a must to solve some of
the questions that we all have about Anguilla Rums Ltd. The ferry leaves from the
east end of Marigot Bay ( under the Fort). Go early in the morning ,its only seven
miles. But take your passport and other papers , you are entering British territory,
and need identification and a small entry fee. Anguilla Rums Ltd are not always
open (to Public) They suggest a call for a rum tasting schedule before you go.Their
phone number is 497 5003/5006. or ask a taxi driver when you get of the ferry.
Find out the time of the last ferry back (its in daylight). Take swimsuits, there are
some good bars and beaches and hotels restaurants for lunch.....So You can juggle
your time when Anguilla Rums are open.

Then you can find out about their supply imports of aged rums they use for blending.
And the various declared ages of the blends etc, also get to taste the $300 dollar
Pyrat Cask 23.

You know that the Patron Tequilla, Mexico, is also produced by this group.

Various other 'Punch au Rhums' are also made in St Martin. Ma DouDou being one
of them, and available in most stores.Look for the four small ,10cl,gift bottlepacks
wrapped with a madrass cotton bow, as a way to sample four liqueurs cheaply.

Ma Dou Dou Rummerie can also be visited, again phone first to see if open, but if
you have a car then just go visit. She is in Cul de Sac (french side) NE corner
of the island close to Baie Oriental on the road to Anse Marcel.
Her phone should be 50 90 87 30 43 .Its not much of a place but you will learn
all the secrets of liqueur making.
By the way 'Dou Dou', other than 'sweetheart', also can mean 'market woman'.
often refered to as 'DouDou Darling' in caribbean songs, either in English or French.

Often Punch au Rhum liqueurs are served aftermeals in most restaurants....Sometimes
complementary... sometimes as an extra charge...... Sometimes as a house special,
made in house....sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet.... Some you will like, some you
just want to spit out.... But Ma Dou Dou is one that you might just want to bring
home as a memory of a local craft.

On leaving St Martin/Saint Maarten Juliana airport has two licquor stores .They are
no cheaper than any where else but if you can carry just one more bottle, check out
their shelves. My last and extra bottle was 'Malibu Lime" (not available in Canada)
just to round things out.

Have a great Holliday......And let us know how you got on and your experience
with Pyrat Cask 23.

John Reekie

#14 Jason Perlow

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Posted 06 October 2002 - 08:47 AM

Here's pics of some of the rums I found on St. Maarten:

Rums Found on St. Maarten (click)

#1 is a Trois Rivieres 1977 purchased at Antillean Liquors N.V.

#2 are a 1885 and 1939 Rum Saint James, found at a specialty shop in Marigot on the French side, both of which I did not buy for obvious reasons. But we can dream can't we?

#3 Clement Cane Syrup purchased at a small shop on Front Street.

#4 Rum Jumbie Liqueur purchased at the Old Philippsburg Liquor Store. Each bottle is hand painted and has unique colors.

#5 Niesson XO and Niesson Blanc, purchased at Caribbean Liquors. Niesson is a new import and according to the owner of Caribbean Liquors, the XO is one of the finest rhum vieux agricole's he's brought in, even better than the Bally.

#6 La Mauny 1984, purchased at the Old Phillipsburg Liquor Store, their last remaining bottle.

#7 J. Bally 1985 purchased at Antillean Liquors N.V. J Bally is in very short supply now as its primary importer on the island, Caribbean Liquors, has run out of stock and doesnt anticipate more for a while.

#8 DuQuesne 10 Year Old, purchased at the Old Philipsburg Liquor Store

#9 Rum Dillon X0 purchased at Antillean Liquors N.V.

Not shown: Ma Dou Do Vanilla Rum, Appleton Extra ($8 a bottle!), Appleton 21 ($34), Matusalem Anejo Reseva De Cuba
Jason Perlow
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#15 Jason Perlow

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Posted 06 October 2002 - 09:08 AM

And don't forget to look for SUGAR CANE SYRUP from Martinique or Guadeloupe. No doubt you'll have a 'ti punch on the French side and then want one when you get home, and you can't make a good one without sugar cane syrup.
The various syrups differ by viscosity. Tip the bottles up and down and watch the liquid. Or buy a couple. Keep in the frig, and you'll probably want more when you run out.

As you can see I did buy some, but the proper Ti Punch I was told was not made with the syrup... a respectable French bartender at Cafe Soleil in Grand Case showed me how to make one with brown cane sugar. She said you can use the syrup, but the original one is made from sugar. I suppose there are different theories on this one. The La Mauny bottle says to use cane syrup or cane sugar, ice being totally optional. You do HAVE to use a white rum agricole, 50% alcohol or less though. If its not agricole it wont taste right.
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#16 Ed Hamilton

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Posted 09 October 2002 - 03:35 PM

The 'ti punch is traditionally made with white rhum agricole which is bottled at 50 or 55% alcohol. The 62% white rhum is for cooking.
When you use an aged rum the drink is known as a punch vieux.
Edward Hamilton


Ministry of Rum.com
The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.