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Bordeaux – rum capital of France

As the city warms up for its first ever official rum festival in December, Bordeaux Expats takes a look into the astonishing history of the Bordeaux rum industry.
Forget about wine, for nearly 100 years Bordeaux was renowned as one of the world epicentres of the rum trade! Cheers!

by Chris Tighe
A brief history of French rum In 1755, Marie Brizard started producing an anisette that quickly became a smash hit nationwide. They then brought out a highly aromatic blended rum called Charleston which contained “20% of ‘great Galleon aroma’ from Martinique or rum from Jamaica” – the rum industry in France was born.

Rum had been popular in French Caribbean (Antilles) throughout the 18th century, particularly with the upper classes. However, its import and sale was banned in France for fear of competition with the wine and domestic alcohol trade. This didn’t stop the smuggling of guildive (an early name for rum – from the English name ‘kill devil’ given to all sugar cane alcohol from the Carib…

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