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St. Nicholas Abbey

Macaws and steam trains aren’t what you’d expect to see at a distillery, but then St. Nicholas Abbey isn’t your average rum maker. A premier tourist attraction in Barbados, the site is home to a restored Jacobean-style mansion, manicured gardens, a museum, exotic birds, and its own mini railway. It’s also a former plantation, and while today it’s a beauty spot on the bright face of Barbados, it’s also a sobering reminder that rum’s story is often an ugly one.

The great house was built by Colonel Benjamin Berringer in 1658, but the first reference of this site’s association with rum dates back to a survey taken between 1717 and 1721 that lists 870 estates and 320 windmills used for sugar production in Barbados, including what was known then as Dottin Plantation. The name Nicholas comes from George Nicholas, husband to the founder’s granddaughter, Susanna. The Nicholas Family sold the plantation to Joseph Dottin and it found its way to Sir John Gay Alleyne (of Mount Gay fame) in October 1746.

St. Nicholas was no longer a functioning plantation by 1947, over 300 years after cane was first cut there. Barbados native and noted architect Larry Warren bought St Nicholas Abbey in 2006, creating a heritage attraction, cultural centre, and self-supporting distillery, complete with bottling line and local sugar cane supply. A restored 1890 steam mill, the last of its kind in Barbados, crushes the sugar cane.

A select variety of sugar cane unique to the plantation is crushed to extract the juice and then fed to a vacuum evaporator which reduces and pasteurises it to create a syrup commonly known as ‘sugar cane honey’. An on-site well and mill pump provide clean water. Fermentations last five days before small batch distillation takes place in a traditional pot still (called Annabelle) with a rectifying column. The rum comes off the still at 92% ABV and is diluted to 65% for ageing.

The new make rests for three months in stainless steel tanks before being transferred into bourbon barrels, which are removed and re-barrelled after three years to ensure an even characteristic to the vintage. Older casks are also preferred for a more subtle interaction. There’s no adulteration whatsoever of the rum, including no blending, and production here is tiny, with the distillery only producing about 40 barrels a year.

There’s no plan to expand as the Warrens have tried to create a distillery that’s part of a wider experience. The rum is delicious though, distinctively different from the kind its island neighbours of Mount Gay and Foursquare make, with creamy and fruity, almost agricole vegetal brightness to it.

St Nicholas Abbey 15 Year Old

70cl, 40%

St Nicholas Abbey in Barbados won Best Distillery at Rumfest 2012, whilst this rare single cask 15 year old offering won a Gold at the Rum Masters.  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 15 Year Old
£246.30

St Nicholas Abbey 23 Year Old

70cl, 42%

An immensely impressive offering from St Nicholas Abbey in Barbados, this rum spent a generous 23 years maturing in a single cask. Produced from sugar cane grown on the St Nicholas Abbey plantation…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 23 Year Old
£810

St Nicholas Abbey 5 Year Old

70cl, 40%

The St. Nicholas Abbey 5 Year Old Barbados rum is the first from the range which was distilled and aged entirely on the estate! Should be an fascinating tipple...  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 5 Year Old
1
£81.89

St Nicholas Abbey 5 Year Old Cask Strength

70cl, 60%

The St Nicholas Abbey distillers in Barbados have rustled up a cask strength variant of their excellent 5 year old rum. Bottled at 60% ABV, expect this expression to pack a punchy flavour profile of…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 5 Year Old Cask Strength
£114.77

St Nicholas Abbey Overproof White Rum

70cl, 60%

White rum all the way from Barbados, produced by St Nicholas Abbey. This particular bottling is an overproof expression, having been presented at a robust 60% ABV. The additional strength means this…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey Overproof White Rum
£74.95

St Nicholas Abbey Rum Gift Set (4 x 200ml)

80cl, 40%

A handsome set of rums from the Barbados-based St Nicholas Abbey. Perfect for if you fancy exploring its range – which you should, because it's bloomin' marvellous. This set contains a 200ml bottle…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey Rum Gift Set (4 x 200ml)
£174.95

St Nicholas Abbey White Rum

70cl, 40%

A white rum from the St Nicholas Abbey distillery in Barbados. Winner of the Bronze Medal at the 2012 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London, the highest medal awarded in its category.  More info

St Nicholas Abbey White Rum
2
£46.40

St Nicholas Abbey 18 Year Old

70cl, 40%

18 year old rum from Barbados, produced as part of the St. Nicholas Abbey range - the Abbey itself has a long tradition of rum production, and they favour traditional methods of distillation when…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 18 Year Old

St Nicholas Abbey 20 Year Old Special Reserve

70cl, 40%

From St Nicholas Abbey comes this Barbados rum, which has been bottled at a whopping 20 years old! What's more, those two decades of ageing were spent in one single cask, before it was bottled as a…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 20 Year Old Special Reserve
1

St Nicholas Abbey 22 Year Old

70cl, 40%

From St Nicholas Abbey in Barbados comes an incredibly well-matured single cask rum, which has been bottled at 22 years of age. Always a treat to see rum reach lofty ages like this, and likely to be…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 22 Year Old
2

St Nicholas Abbey 8 Year Old

70cl, 40%

From St Nicholas Abbey in Barbados comes this eight year old rum! Distilled from sugar cane over in Saint Peter, the single cask Bajan rum was then aged exclusively in a bourbon cask. Eventually…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey 8 Year Old
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St Nicholas Abbey Sugar Cane Syrup

20cl, 0%

Not only do the wonderful folks over at St Nicholas Abbey produce their awesome rum from sugar cane, but they've now bottled up their very own Sugar Cane Syrup! This will certainly come in handy when…  More info

St Nicholas Abbey Sugar Cane Syrup

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