Zipping through the back streets of Chalong, thankful that I know my driver very well, otherwise I would be having some Wolf Creek flash-backs in my mind. We finally arrive at our location. If you blinked you would have missed it, the discreet little driveway into this hidden gem. We arrived on dusk. It was picture perfect with the warm colours of the sun setting behind the sugar cane around the property and soft tunes carrying across from the boutique Chalong Bay bar.
I wasn’t sure what to expect before visiting Chalong Bay Distillery, I had visited distilleries before but they were always on a much larger scale of production. I was curious to see ‘handcrafted’ in action. Honestly, I don’t think you will find any liquor more handcrafted than this. I was completely blown away! Everything from the cutting of the sugar cane to the labelling and bottling of the spirit is done by hand, every bottle handled with exact precision.
Chalong Bay is made of 100% pure sugar cane juice (only 5% of the world’s Rum is made this way), so production is seasonal with distillation only lasting 3 months of the year. We were lucky our visit coincided with distillation season giving us the perfect opportunity to see the creators and artisans behind Chalong Bay, Thibault and Marine, in action. Using a traditional French method of making rum that has been seen throughout the Caribbean for centuries, a traditional Armagnac copper still imported from France is used making the distillation process continuous. Both Thibault and Marine work around the clock while distilling, constantly monitoring the process to ensure the premium quality of the rum being produced.
Don’t let the size or the surrounding of the distillery fool you, this handcrafted spirit packs a big punch winning a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2015, gold medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2015 (packaging), silver medal at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Competition 2015 and bronze medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2015.
Chalong Bay Distillery has bought traditional french rum making home to the origin of sugar cane farming in the most complementing way tying the two traditions together. I highly recommend a trip to the Chalong Bay Distillery if you are ever in Phuket. Chalong Bay Distillery is open six days a week to the public. Check out their website www.chalongbayrum.com, they offer tours of the distillery, weekend cocktail workshops or just dropping by for a drink!
Blogger: Madison C.