French influence on the isles of the West Indies — Guadeloupe, St. Martin, St. Bart’s and Martinique — can be traced as far back as the 1630’s, when the French first settled the area.
In particular, the picturesque island of Martinique is located where the untamed waters of the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the tropical Caribbean Sea to the west, constantly refresh and invigorate its shores. Only 4,261 miles from Paris, Martinique measures a mere 425 square miles in size.
In addition to being celebrated for its lush tropical surroundings, wildlife and delicious French-Creole influenced cuisine; the island of Martinique is probably most recognized for its production of rhum (French for rum). One of the most renowned producers on the island is Depaz, whose history can be traced back to 1651, when the Estate was first established by the premier Governor Jacques Duparquet.
The Depaz Estate is located in the northwest region of Martinique, and at the foot of the famous Mont Pelée (the highest mountain on the island at 4,586 ft.), in the coastline city of Saint-Pierre.
The Chateau Depaz Family Estate
The Depaz family is well respected and beloved by the people of Martinique, holding a significant place in both the island’s historical and agricultural development. In 1902, Mount Pelée delivered a devastating volcanic eruption which impassioned Victor Depaz, the sole surviving family member, to return to the Estate in 1917 to successfully rebuild the estate and the distillery. His ultimate return in 1917 was an emotional one, as the city of Saint-Pierre had been described by some who knew the family as the “cradle of his childhood and the tomb of his family.”
Working tirelessly, Victor Depaz focused his efforts in replanting the surrounding land, specifically rebuilding the agricultural distillery on the hundreds of acres he called home. His hard work paid off, and he successfully rebuilt the Depaz Estate to the brilliance it had historically known. Today it is the proprietary blue cane from the Depaz Estate, which delivers the luxury agricole rhum called Depaz.
An incredible story of devastation and rebirth, it’s these destructive volcanic ashes that help fuel the rich production of the blue cane that permeates Depaz with its “explosive” taste.