HSE_Logo_orange.png

OWNED BY

José Hayot

FOUNED

 1862

MUNICIPALITY

Saint-Joseph


REASONS TO GO

The garden

The store

martinique_habitation_saint-etienne_maison_3005.jpg

FORGET THE SOUTHERN WHITE BEACHES— HEAD TO THE LUSH NORTH-ATLANTIC

Around one of the numerous bends in the road connecting Gros-Morne to Saint-Joseph lies a narrow, warped gravel path, furrowed by heavy rains and lined with immense royal palms.
You have arrived at Habitation Saint- Étienne.

martinique_habitation_saint-etienne_3007.jpg
 

Red colors everything here:

the manor house and its outbuildings;

the bricks lining the enormous windows in the former distillery;

the flowering red alpinias in the gardens;

the earth that bore the first stalks of sugar cane. 

martinique_habitation_saint-etienne_jardin_2942.jpg


A CLASSIC STORY: FROM SUGAR REFINERY TO DISTILLERY

Around 1820, Théobald Monguy, a trader based in Saint-Pierre, purchased at auction the La Maugée plantation, whose property extends over 400 hectares between the cities of Gros-Morne and Saint-Joseph.

Monguy renamed it Saint-Étienne, and the plantation later became a distillery when Amédée Aubéry bought it in 1882. He used the Lézarde River, which crosses the estate, to construct a water mill and built train tracks to enable the transport of sugar cane.

He also built the factory with its immense arched windows. His son-in-law, André Simmonet, took over in 1909. The 1950s to 1970s saw the distillery prosper: it was one of the largest agricultural rum producers on the island, with an annual production that was known to reach 1.5 million liters.

martinique_habitation_saint-etienne_chais_2976.jpg

The 1980s brought their share of challenges, and the damage caused by hurricanes David and Allen, in 1979 and 1980, did not help matters. In 1984, Saint-Étienne was purchased by André Dormoy, owner of the La Favorite property.

The distillery definitively ceased operations in 1988.


martinique_habitation_saint-etienne_2989.jpg

“CULTIVATE ORIGINALITY, DISTILLING THE ORIGIN” :
SAINT-ÉTIENNE BECOMES HABITATION SAINT-ETIENNE (HSE)  

martinique_etiquette_rhum_saint-etienne.jpg

In 1994, José Hayot took over the farm distillery and Saint-Étienne was given new life with a complete restoration. Cellars and stock were rebuilt to relaunch sales of the brand. However, the distillery was moved to the Simon factory. Only bottling and aging are still carried out on-site.

As for the brand, it was given a complete makeover: the bottle was given a new shape and the smiling, but outdated, image of a Creole woman in traditional garb was retired in favor of the elegant HSE stamp used to mark the barrels.

PLEASURE PLACE

You can, of course, taste and buy the entire line of HSE rum in the gift shop.  Don’t miss the park, classified as a Remarkable Garden and ornamented with artistic creations, where the Lézarde River winds through the greenery. Then there are the Foudres HSE, the former cellars, classified as Historic Monuments, which have been transformed into a cultural center inaugurated in 2010 by the late writer and poet Edouard Glissant. The space hosts exhibitions, concerts, conferences, projections, and readings.

Habitation Saint-Étienne has all the makings of a success story, much like Habitation Clément. This exceptional site, once fallen into disrepair, now has an artistic vocation, a remarkable garden, and is considered a historical monument. The Hayot family signature is clear.   


martinique_habitation_saint-etienne_jardin_2955.jpg
martinique_habitation_saint-etienne_maison_3000.jpg

FUN FACTS

In his fairy tale, Elmire des Sept Bonheurs, illustrated with photography by Jean-Luc de LaguariguePatrick Chamoiseau pays homage to Saint-Étienne rum and to those who make it, from the land owners to the cane cutters..

HSE might well take the prize for innovation: the rum in its “Finitions du monde“ line is aged in Sauterne, Xerès, and Single Malt barrels, which give it surprising flavors. 

 
martinique_habitation_saint-etienne_2943.jpg
 
 
 

HOW TO GET THERE

Free entry Monday through Sunday, 9am to 5pm

Visit: about 1 hour

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Telephone : 0596 57 49 32

http://www.rhum-hse.com/