On 8 May 1902, the bustling town of St Pierre in the north of Martinique ceased to exist. Following the eruption of nearby Mount Pelée, an explosion of hot gas destroyed the town and left Victor Depaz, studying in Bordeaux, without a family. He returned to Martinique and in 1917 he defiantly started distilling on his own estate, perched on the side of the mountain that killed his family.

By the time he died in 1960, he had 11 children, a huge château on his estate, and had become a prominent member of Martinique society. The distillery is still powered by steam, generated by burning bagasse – the leftovers from crushing sugar cane – and produces a range of old-fashioned rhum agricoles. A thoroughly traditional distillery, surrounded by its history, with the peak of Mount Pelée almost always in sight.

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