Sailing to the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean 1500

Visiting Tortola (continued)

 
The ancient stone building of the Callwood Distillery, near Cane Garden Bay. Click on the picture to see a bigger version; use your browser's "back" command to return here.  
Callwood Distillery

On our way around the island, we came down to sea level near Cane Garden Bay, on the northwest coast. Our driver asked us if anybody drank alcohol, suggesting that we stop at a local rum distillery. We all agreed, so he turned inland and drove a short distance back from the main road.

The Callwood Distillery consisted of an ancient stone building that was well over 200 years old, according to local history. Inside, we met Michael Callwood, the proprietor and sole worker, who told us the history of the distillery. It has been in the Callwood family for several generations, and today he produces rum the same way his ancestors did, probably using some of the same equipment. Everything was very old, including the still and pipes, the giant glass bottles for aging the clear rum, and the oak barrels for the amber rum. It's the last operating rum distillery on Tortola.

After looking around and taking pictures, we each bought a small five-dollar bottle of rum as a souvenir. As we drove away, I opened my bottle and tasted it, and it was quite good.


 
The grounds of the distillery to the left of the building in the previous photograph. In the right-hand picture, you can see the big metal drum that is the still (behind the "Employee Only" sign). It was not in use the day we were there, because it's not the right season to produce rum (which requires sugar cane). Click on the right-hand picture to see a bigger version; use your browser's "back" command to return here.

 
Two views inside the old building, looking towards the oak barrels that age the rum, and looking the opposite direction at the small company store where Michael Callwood is selling bottles of rum. Click on the right-hand picture to see a bigger version; use your browser's "back" command to return here.

 
I scanned the rum bottle (it was nearly empty). The label says: Arundel Cane Rum, Distilled From Pure Cane Juice and Aged In Oak Casks. As distilled and blended by The Callwood Family for more than 200 years in Caribbean's oldest continuously operating pot distillery. By The Callwood Distillery, Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. 80 Proof.   Next to the distillery there was a banana grove, but somebody had posted a big sign: Please Do Not Pick The Fruit, Eyes On, Hands Off!!!

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