A journey to the beating heart of Grenadian culture…
In the Southern Caribbean, on the South East corner of Grenada, lies the beautiful Westerhall Estate.
Since the early 1700s it has been producing sugar cane, coconuts, bananas and limes. Most importantly, over the centuries the family at the estate have developed a unique approach to the blending and bottling of rum.
Westerhall’s location on Grenada, the ‘Spice Isle’, means our rum is infused with a unique range of flavour notes. We’re now proud to say that we can promise quality and taste that can’t be found anywhere else.
But more importantly, we are right at the beating heart of Grenadian culture, and the result is a selection of rums with a range of individual tastes and aromas that scream sun, summer and carnival.
"There is something fresh and crisp about the first hours of a Caribbean day, a happy anticipation that something is about to happen, maybe just up the street or around the next corner."
- Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary -
A family secret
Prior to The Westerhall Estate’s registration as a private limited liability company in 1966, it operated as a 951 acre agricultural estate planted with sugar cane, bananas, coconuts, cocoa and limes.
It has always had a small distillery on the premises, with sugar cane crushing equipment dating back to the 1700’s, when it was purchased by Sir William Johnstone of Dumfriesshire, Scotland.
In 1836 it passed into the hands of John Powell, Lewis Hoyes and Thomas Browne collectively. By 1862, new sugar cane processing machinery was brought in from the firm of W&A McOnie in Glasgow. Most of this machinery remains at the estate today.
In 1876 the estate was sold again to Jonas Browne, before passing in 1900 into the hands of William Alexander Whiteman Ross. In 1944 Mr Arthur Keith Wells took it over and sold part of his share to George Williams and John Otway in 1965 and it remains in the Williams/Wells family to this day.
"Why look so glum when Doctor Rum is waiting here to cure you?"
- Oliver Herford -
Straight from the
Grenada is not a big place. It is 344 square kilometers, with a population of a little over 100,000 – that’s about the size of the Isle of Wight.
Despite its size, it still packs a punch. Grenada is one of the world’s largest exporters of nutmeg and mace (supplying nearly 40% of the world’s annual crop), and has a world-wide reputation for its beauty, way of life and incredibly friendly culture. Not to mention the rum.
Grenada was first colonised by the French in 1649, who went ahead with the European tendency at the time and fought, marginalised and eventually wiped out the indigenous population by 1750.
Shortly after that, in 1763, the British overcame the French and settled Grenada. Only to lose it back to the French again in July 1779, and then recapture it in 1783. They very nearly lost it to the French again in 1795 but managed to keep hold of it.
It is perhaps this fractuous, violent early history that lends Grenada its easy-going outlook today.
After all, with a start like that, the rest would seem like a walk in the park.
"Blood can't wash out
- Grenadian Proverb -
They call it a
It wasn’t a walk in the park, though. After slavery was abolished in 1833 Grenada was made a Crown colony and calls for more independence began to get louder and louder – reaching a clamour by 1917. It took until 1967 for Grenada to finally be allowed its head, though (the same year as the Summer of Love – coincidence?).
Unfortunately that did not signal the end of conflict. Coup after coup after coup followed and eventually the US intervened to overthrow a highly pro-communist dictatorship (sound familiar?). The UN described it as a ‘flagrant violation of international law’ but that didn’t stop the Americans!
This crucible of conflict has produced a uniquely charming, vibrant and colourful culture. The French influence remains but less obviously than in other Caribbean islands. The African roots of the local population shine through, with a strong love for music (especially reggae, calypso and hip-hop), storytelling and dancing.
It’s clear as soon as you step on the Island that the people here have a unique lust for life – if you ever make it to a Grenadian carnival, you’ll know what we mean.