Habitation Saint Etienne
Habitation Saint Etienne, better known as HSE, is located at Gros-Morne in northwestern Martinique, a Caribbean island of rugged scenic beauty that is part of the Lesser Antilles. The French overseas department has a distinctive culture with a blend of French and West Indian influences. The current HSE distillery was built on the foundations of the La Maugée sugar factory, which was first mentioned at the beginning of the 19th century and was one of the leading sugar factories in Martinique. The plantations belonging to the sugar factory, with an original area of 400 hectares, were divided several times before Theobald Monguy acquired 178 hectares in 1863 and renamed the property Saint-Etienne. HSE thus looks back on a good 200 years of history..
The estate of about 400 hectares is located in the interior of the island and is divided by the Lezard River. Because of the optimal soil conditions, the Habitation functioned as an important sugar supplier to France in the 19th century. Since 1882, rhum agricole has been distilled on the Habitation in a traditional Coffey Still (also called Creole Column Still). Until the 1970s, H.S.E. developed magnificently and became a leading rhum brand in Martinique. In 1979 and 1980, two hurricanes destroyed the plant so badly that production at Habitation Saint Etienne had to be stopped completely..
It was not until 1994 that the brand was revived. Since then, the distillation process takes place in the distillery du Simon. Rhum is produced in the traditional way with heating by steam engine, which has been in operation since 1934.
It crushes the sugar cane and presses the fresh juice from it. After 48 hours of fermentation, this is distilled in the copper Creole Still. This is followed by the aging, refining and bottling phases, which are carried out by hand in the traditional manner at Habitation Saint Etienne.
In addition to the typical qualities Blanc, VS, VSOP and XO, there are a variety of exciting finishes from barrels with wines, sweet wines and whiskey. The Black Sheriff bottling also enjoys great popularity.