San Andres Rum Factory

Distilling equipment at the rum factory, Puerto Espindola, La Palma
Distilling equipment at the Aldea rum factory in San Andres

La Palma has a small rum factory (the Aldea distillery), at Puerto Espíndola, in the borough of San Andres y Sauces. Unlike most rum factories, they start with sugar cane rather than molasses. After all, La Palma had commercial sugar cane plantations in the 15th century, before the West Indies had them. At harvesting season, the factory’s south building smells of sugar cane being crushed and fermented.

Distillation happens in the north building, which is the one you can visit. The still is wood-fired, and surprisingly small. Then the rum goes into oak barrels, to mature.

Rum Barrels, Puerto Espindola, La Palma
Rum Barrels, Puerto Espindola

Once the busy season is over, there’s just a couple of people in there, folding boxes, filling them with bottles, and keeping an eye on the place.

You can visit without an appointment. In fact it’s wonderfully informal – just stick your head around the door and say, “Hola.” The downside of the informality is that they don’t do guided tours (well, maybe for a coach party by appointment). I went with a friend and we were waved towards a board showing the stages of rum-making. and then we were given samples in the shop. Such a shame I was driving! If you like sweet drinks, I recommend the “ron miel” which is rum and honey (very comforting if you’ve got a stinking cold, but you don’t need to wait until then).

Me, I’m trying to work out how to wangle an invitaton to their Christmas party. Cheers!

The shop at the rum factory, Puerto Espindola, La Palma
The shop at the Aldea rum factory, Puerto Espindola

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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