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Saturday, 6 October 2012

Magic Alambic Rum Distillery in Ban Thale

In Ban Thale, in the deep Southern parts of the island, you can find the only Rum distillery in Thailand. It's a family business established in 2003 by the French couple Michel and Elisa Gabrel.

Rum distillery Koh Samui

The assortment

The location is superb, in the quiet South of the island, surrounded by big gardens, a little bar is tucked away in lots of green and if you like the area, you can rent a bungalow as well on the premises.

Rum distillery Koh Samui

The sugar cane juice extractor machine

The process of making the rum is interesting, first juice is distracted from sugar cane, after which the juice is fermented without either yeast or molasses. Once the fermentation process is completed, the fermented juice is distilled in a special alembic, which is made specifically for this in France.
Now the soon to be rum is placed for at least 6 months in a stainless steel vat to refine it's taste and is then bottled at a strength of 40 degrees, according to Thai regulations.
The rum is bottled on the premises and for their rum agricoles, available in pineapple, coconut, lemon, orange or natural taste no colorants or fruit essences are being used.
The distilling is done just once a year only and finally they now have also a 6 year old rum!

Rum distillery Koh Samui

Distillation

There are two kinds of rum, rum agricole, which is obtained by distilling fresh, fermented cane juice (the 'vesou')while industrial rum (molasses rum) describes the alcohol resulting from distillery of molasses, a residue of non-crystalizing sugars left over from sugar production.
In Ban Thale they make the rum agricole or properly know as rhum agricole.

However, because the distillery is on Thai soil, the labels have to be in Thai according to Thai law. At the same time, it's forbidden for the labels to mention the phrase 'rhum agricole', only 'white alcohol' is permitted.
Labels are unfortunately not allowed in French or English but thanks to the symbols on the bottles you will be able to recognize the flavors f your rum; pineapple, coconut, lemon, orange or naturel.

Rum distillery Koh Samui

Made in France

Many Thai people from Bangkok come and visit the distillery and even former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has visited. Also many Western tourists come and visit, from France, Russia, the UK etc are all on the menu.

Rum distillery Koh Samui

Tasting is available

This is a great and high quality souvenir from Koh Samui and it's also unique around Thailand! Before you buy anything you can taste the different rums available and make your choice and if your lucky the very charming and entertaining Elisa, one of the two owners, will help you out. It's a very international operation, with Elisa having a mixed Vietnamese and Martinique background and being raised in France and her husband Michel being French.

Rum distillery Koh Samui

The way to the bar

As already mentioned, the location is beautiful and the bar where you can taste and buy the various bottles, is located in-between a nice green area. The whole premises are lush and quiet and invite to a relaxed tasting session. Just be careful that you don't taste too much if you need get home by bike or car! It's tempting!

Rum distillery Koh Samui

The lovely Elisa

Plan a visit to the distillery into your next visit to enjoy the calm surroundings, have a taste and buy yourself a nice present in the form of a bottle of Rum, distilled and bottled on Koh Samui! It's highly recommendable.

More information can be found on the distillery's own website.

Don't forget to use my Camille's Samui hotel recommendation blog and my Camille's Thailand hotel recommendation blog for all your hotel bookings on Koh Samui and around Thailand. By doing so, you will support my blog. Thanks folks!

Camille

4 comments:

Christopher Meunier said...

I am a sugarcane agronomist working for big scale sugarcane farms in Africa.
My dream is to start a business like this one on my tiny island of Rodrigues.
I would like to visit in the future

Camille said...

Hi Christophe,

Hopefully you can fulfill your dream and I hope this is a good inspiration for you.

Jay said...

Hey Camille! Any idea how we would get here from Chaweng? We don't drive and are unsure if a taxi is the best option or to see if we can get it included in a tour of the island (the only one we are looking at so far costs 2500thb per person).

Thanks

Camille said...

Hi Jay,

Taxi would be the easiest option, but I can offer a tour of the island that besides the distillery, would also include a few other options with drinks included. Please send me an email if you're interested at camille@idcthailand.net