Cane juice "Vesou" Extraction
Once cut, the sugarcane is transported as quickly as possible to the rum factory, where it is weighed, sampled and stored in the cour à cannes yard awaiting processing.
The weigh scale is the physical area where the first two operations are executed. It is carefully monitored by the factory owner as well as the cane farmer, for this is where the various parameters used in calculating payment are measured. Hence, other than the weighing process, two tests are conducted on the samples: the Brix scale, which measures the sugar content and calculates the bonus or rebate; and the pH level (characterizing acidity) which should be higher than 4.7 for the cane to meet Martinique A.O.C. label of origin compliance.
Then, with a grappling hook the sugarcane is carried to the major conveyor which feeds one or two cane-cutters or perhaps a cane-cutter coupled with a shredder – a striker which shreds the stems. This operation is essential, for it releases a maximum amount of juice retained in the fiber.
Following the defibering process, the cane arrives at the crushing works and successively passes through several crushing mills. Each mill consists of three or four cylinders or rolls which crush the cane under strong pressure and extract its juice. For improving juice extraction, water is sprinkled on the cane while passing through the mill. Little by little, the fiber weakens until it becomes crushed refuse known as bagasse, an excellent combustible for the boiler which produces the steam required for the running of the factory.
The steam engine is the major component of the crushing works. Every hour, it uses four to six tons of saturated steam which comes from the bagasse-run boiler at a pressure of six to eight bars. The steam used for extracting the alcohol during the distilling process in the columns, does not come directly from the boiler but from what is called the waste-steam pipe.
The machine converts the steam energy into a steady, rotating movement of approximately sixty revolutions per minute and drives the crushing mills through a system of gears at reduced speed.
Cane JuiceDepending on its milling capacity, a rum factory processes from three to thirty tons of cane per hour. Based on the richness of the canes' sugar content, more or less water is sprinkled on the mills for soaking the fiber. An average of 1,500 liters of cane juice — or "vesou" — at 9° sugar as determined by the Brix scale. Gathered into a spout under the mills, the vesou is then filtered twice. This mixture — water and juice — must be closely monitored to ensure its density remains stable in order to obtain identical alcoholic strength and guarantee constant quality. For the fermentation phase, the vesou is then stored in the vathouse (where all of the steel vats are found — or, more frequently, stainless steel — whose capacities vary from two to five hectoliters).
Rum from the Sugar Works
"Le Rhum de Sucrerie"
Other than the traditional sugar-works rum (obtained through the fermenting of molasses resulting from the production of sugar cane), the Le Galion semi-public firm possesses a unique and specific savoir-faire which enables it to produce its rum, Grand Arôme.Although the Galion sugar works rum is the result of a classical distilling process, the Grand Arôme draws on yet another technique, which safeguards its mysterious ways: the cane wine, with its very high alcohol content is obtained without the addition of any outside elements (ferments or yeast), through natural eight to sixteen-day fermentation of a must, composed of molasses, vinasse from the still and water. This rum possesses an exceptional, powerfully rounded aromatic quality. From a technical point of view, it is set apart from all the other rums — in particular, ordinary molasses-based rums — by its very fruity bouquet derived from its high rate of esters. It is a light, digest rum sought after for its qualities of improving other neutral alcohols in the wine and liquor industry as well as in the food processing and flavoring industry. Every year, the Le Galion semi-public firm produces and sells approximately 700,000 liters of its Grand Arôme.