Forres Park, nestled in the southern reaches of Trinidad and Tobago, boasts a rich and multifaceted history. Once a bustling sugar plantation and later a renowned rum producer, its legacy continues to this day, albeit in a different form.
Early days: Sugar and labour
The earliest recorded association of Forres Park dates back to 1825, when Joseph Harragin, Robert Gray, and William Hardin Burnley jointly owned the land and the neighbouring Cedar Hill estate. By 1834, William Gray managed both estates, marking the beginning of a long and prosperous era for Forres Park.
Throughout the 19th century, Forres Park thrived as a sugar producer. A testament to its success is the narrow-gauge tramway built in 1850 under the ownership of William Frederick Burnley and William Eccles. This tramway connected the vast cane fields to the factory and the “Embarcadere” at Claxton Bay, facilitating the efficient transportation of sugar and molasses.
The workforce at Forres Park mainly comprised indentured labourers from India. These individuals, brought from their homeland under a controversial system, played a crucial role in the estate’s operation.
From sugar to rum: A new chapter
By the 1870s, Forres Park was owned by Louis Le Roy, a Corsican planter. Le Roy further modernised the estate by constructing a tramway connecting the plantation directly to the seaboard. This enabled the direct shipment of sugar, rum, and molasses, streamlining the process and maximising profitability.
The production of rum alongside sugar was a common practice on many Caribbean plantations. White fire-water rum, a potent variety, was also distilled at Forres Park, catering to a different segment of the market.
Fernandes and the birth of Forres Park Puncheon Rum
The year 1933 marked a significant turning point for Forres Park. JB Fernandes, a visionary entrepreneur, acquired the estate with a specific goal: to produce his rum. The derelict wooden pot still on the property became the focal point of his endeavours.
Fernandes not only revitalised the estate but also briefly transformed it into the second most efficient sugar refinery on the island. His most significant contribution, however, was the creation of the iconic Forres Park Puncheon Rum. This dark, overproof rum, aged in wooden puncheons, quickly captured the hearts of Trinidadians and continues to be a beloved brand today.
60%, Rhum, Trinidad & Tobago / 1.5L
QUANTITY LIMITED TO 1 BOTTLE PER CUSTOMER
A blend of 12 casks, this bottling is a reminder that the distillery ceased production in 2000. Whether woody, tarry, generously fruity, heavily spiced, extremely floral or a combination of all of these characteristics, every cask has helped design and enrich the aromatic and gustatory palette of this Caroni, which is of course named “Millennium”. The perfect time to paraphrase the three musketeers: “One for all and all for one.”
A legacy enduring
While the original Forres Park estate and sugar refinery no longer stand, their legacy echoes through the lush greenery and historic landmarks of the area. The Forres Park Landfill, a major waste disposal site, occupies a portion of the land, serving as a reminder of the estate’s transformation.
The most enduring legacy of Forres Park, however, lives on in the form of the beloved Forres Park Puncheon Rum. Each sip of this potent spirit evokes memories of the estate’s vibrant past, the dedication of generations of workers, and the innovative spirit of JB Fernandes.
Forres Park may no longer be a bustling sugar plantation, but its history remains deeply woven into the fabric of Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural heritage. The name continues to resonate with locals and visitors alike, standing as a testament to the island’s rich and complex past.
28%, Autres Liqueurs, Italy / 70cL
Adriatico’s Amaretto liqueur is made from 100% natural Italian ingredients, in particular almonds from Puglia. For this limited edition, Adriatico took the bold step of aging its liqueur for 12 months in Caroni rum barrels, with the help of Luca Gargano, a great rum collector, who offered three Caroni barrels. The combination of Adriatico with the aromatic profile of this extreme rum offers an intense experience.
Special edition limited to 1,500 individually numbered bottles worldwide.
The history of Forres Park, Trinidad, is multifaceted and surprisingly complex. Here’s a summary:
Early years (1825-1870):
- 1825: Joseph Harragin, Robert Gray, and William Hardin Burnley jointly own Forres Park and Cedar Hill estate.
- 1834: William Gray becomes the manager of both estates.
- 1850: Ownership passes to William Frederick Burnley and William Eccles.
- 1859: William Eccles owns nine sugar estates, including Forres Park.
- 1870: Louis Le Roy, a Corsican planter, owns Forres Park and builds a tramway for transporting sugar, rum, and molasses.
Sugar and Rum Production (1870-1933):
- The estate flourishes as a sugar and rum producer, employing hundreds of indentured labourers.
- A narrow-gauge tramway connects the cane fields to the factory and the “Embarcadere” at Claxton Bay.
- The estate boasts a large business for refining sugar.
- Production of a white fire-water rum variety also takes place.
Plantation Trinidad 2009 Bottling Note
A 2009 vintage rum from Trinidad, released as part of the Plantation range. This expression spent 11 years maturing in Trinidad, before making its way over to France for a final year of maturation in Maison Ferrand barrels. Intensely flavoursome, perfect for sipping neat and slowly enjoying.
Fernandes and Puncheon Rum (1933-present):
- 1933: JB Fernandes acquires Forres Park, primarily for its derelict wooden pot still to produce rum.
- Fernandes reestablishes the estate and briefly makes it the second most efficient sugar refinery on the island.
- He developed the famous Forres Park Puncheon Rum, still a favourite in Trinidad today.
- The Fernandes family continues to own and operate the rum brand under Angostura Holdings.
- The original Forres Park estate and sugar refinery are no longer operational.
- The land is now occupied by the Forres Park Landfill, a major waste disposal site in south Trinidad.
- The name “Forres Park” continues to live on through the popular Forres Park Puncheon Rum.
59%, Rhum, Trinidad & Tobago / 70cL
QUANTITY LIMITED TO 1 BOTTLE PER CUSTOMER
With exceptional telluric power, this venerable 23-year- old is guaranteed to leave you lost for words! Caroni to the tip of its toes, it is a stunning example of just how well this unique rum ages. The hydrocarbon notes that continually gain in power are, to say the least, an incredible testament to this.
- The amazing history of Forres Park, before it became a dumping ground: https://trinidadexpress.com/features/local/the-amazing-history-of-forres-park-before-it-became-a-dumping-ground/article_49cb688c-5881-11ed-b88f-db5dc9f699db.html
- Angelo Bissessarsingh’s Virtual Museum of Trinidad and Tobago: https://www.facebook.com/help/289066827791446
- 1933: Fernandes acquires Forres Park: https://guyaneseonline.net/2023/02/07/business-history-the-portuguese-caribbean-rum-of-trinidad-guyana-and-antigua/
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