Kervegant P. 1-50

As part of Operation Rum Babelfish (also: INRA papers, Circular 106, etc) I’m putting together a slowly emerging translation of Kervegant’s 500 page French language text on rhum. This will be completed (and fine tuned) by the many friends of rum. To make it work, I’ll slowly upload 10 page PDF segments of the text and anyone can download one, perform OCR then refine and render a readable English translation.

For free OCR, simply copy the PDF into google drive then right click and open the PDF as a google doc. Paragraph by paragraph, I then use google translate (and old fashioned sleuthing) to render readable English. For the photos, I simply screen capture them and crop them on my phone. Once they are emailed to me, I’ll re-work it all into word press. Each PDF segment will be at the beginning of the pages it relates to. Some times a PDF won’t open as a google doc and what I’ve found is it mysteriously formatted bigger than 8.5″X11″. The trick is to open the PDF then print it, not to a printer, but as a new PDF and that will scale down the format to something OCR accepts.

The text, at 500 pages, is really massive so it may not be possible to read multiple times looking for typos and translation errors. If there are unresolvable translation issues I’m going to flag them with an “SOS”. That way a native French speaker can quickly ctrl-f for SOS then quickly help resolve the tricky issues.

[After finishing the first 50 pages, there are 13 SOS cries for help to process. Fifty pages is a lot so I may break the book into ten 50 page segments.]

Kervegant Part 1 PDF

Rhums et
Eaux-de-Vie de canne

Ingénieur principal de l’Agriculture des Colonies Chef du Service de l’Agriculture à la Martinique

Professeur de Distillerie « l’Ecole Nationale des Industries Agricoles
President de l’Association des Chimistes ar Ingénieurs de Sucrerie, de Distillerie et des Industries Agricoles
Président d’Honneur de l’Association des Ingénieurs des Industries Agricoles

1946 Tous droits réservés
Dipot igal te trimestre 1947 N• 8



Although many books have been devoted to rum, none has treated the subject in such a comprehensive manner, examining not only the questions relating to the technique of manufacture, but also all those likely to be of interest to both men and women. producer, the trader, the consumer and even the hygienist.

Since the history to the sale of the product, nothing is missing in this masterful study and attention is retained from the first to the last line. The most scholarly reader finding at any moment unpublished information and documentation without gaps.

I thank Mr. Kervégant for asking me to write this Preface. The reading of his manuscript was for me a joy and a revelation, and I do not hesitate to declare that it is a masterpiece, which constitutes a real Distillery Treaty.

We must congratulate the author for having given to our technical literature of agricultural industries, currently impoverished by the years of occupation, our industrialists, our technicians, who search in vain for the pre-war works, remains exhausted and obsolete, indicating to me nothing of the considerable progress accomplished during the last ten years, a perfect improvement of the various sides of the distillery.

With admirable patience, M. Kervégant has collected books and journals from all over the world, in all languages, all that has been published on the chemistry of musts and wines, fermentations, distillation, methods of manufacture, aging, trade issues, production statistics, and rum markets.

This volume, which is essential for all cruxes interested in Rum and Cane brandies, will also be sought, as a result of its general documentation, by all the distillers and technicians of the distillery, in all the French language countries. Everyone will find in his reading, extreme pleasure and interest.

If rum is produced by many countries (the author examines the particularities of its manufacture in each of them), the French Empire occupies a place of choice, and our rum is worthily alongside the cognacs, armagnacs, wine brandy, calvados, fruit spirits of the metropolis whose reputation is well known. For the maintenance and extension of our privileged situation in the world, it is necessary by an incessant action, to assure the perfection, the quality, which made our reputation.

At a time when our country has so much need of foreign exchange, where the increase of our exports is indispensable, spirits and liqueurs have more than ever a privileged role to assure, the articles to be exported being unfortunately few in France.

Regulations have, fortunately, stopped attempts to manufacture by new techniques, which, in favor of performance could compromise the quality of our metropolitan products. Before the war, it was the same for rum.

All efforts must focus on improving quality. Mr. Kervégant deals at length with this question, and gives a good deal of information on this subject, as on the others. Whether it is the composition of the rum, the aroma factors, the smelly products whose formation must be prevented, the tasting, the chemical analysis, the reader will find all the information that is desirable.

In congratulating the writer on the excellent production of our Agricultural Industries, I can assure him that the rapid spread of his work will bring him the reward he deserves.

Professeur de Distillerie à l’Ecole Nationale des Industries Agricoles. Président de l’Association des Chimistes et Ingénieurs de Sucrerie,
de Distillerie et des Industries Agricoles, Président d’honneur de l’Association des Ingénieurs
des Industries Agricoles.


Definition du rhum

Rum is generally defined as a spirit derived from alcoholic fermentation and distillation of sugar cane juice, molasses and by-products of cane sugar manufacture.

In some countries legal definition is more restrictive. So, in France
the decree of August 19, 1921 establishes that “the denomination of rum or tafia is reserved for brandy coming exclusively from the alcoholic fermentation and the distillation of sugar cane juice, not deprived by the defecation of the principles aromas to which rums and tafias owe their specific characteristics “. The legislator’s concern to exclude products with a low non-alcohol coefficient was also reflected in the Decree of 20 May 1923, which obliges rums of French colonies imported into France duty-free not to be distilled at more than 65 ° GL.

In the United States, the regulations of the Federal Alcohol Administration specify that rum comes from the fermentation of the cane or its by-products, to be distilled at an alcoholic strength below 95°G.L. and possess the taste, aroma and characteristics generally attributed to this spirit. The “New England Rum” must be distilled at less than 80°.

In England, rum is legally a spirit resulting from the fermentation and distillation of sugar cane products in a country where cane is grown. Great Britain has always imported large quantities of cane molasses for the manufacture of alcohol. Since the spirit obtained is generally of inferior quality, and in any case possesses a very different bouquet from that of the rums of colonial origin, it is understood that it was intended to make a clear distinction between the two products (1). This, however, has the disadvantage of not having the spirits manufactured in certain parts of the United States (New England) admitted as real rums, or from the beginning of colonization the distillation of cane molasses imported and or the product of this distillation has been traditionally designated and sold under the name of rum.

Most countries, however, tolerate the sale, under the name of fantasy rum or imitation rum, of mixtures of natural rum with neutral alcohols, and even that of imitations of rum obtained by simply adding dyes and aromatic “enhancers”. Quite often, the qualifier “fantasy” or “imitation” is omitted, or replaced by another word that can be confusing. In Germany and Austria, for example, the Kubarum and Inlander-rum denominations were used to designate artificial rums some years ago, and the Deutcher rum denomination a distillate made from beet molasses by a special process and with a certain resemblance to rum.

(1) In various European countries, attempts have been made to produce rum with cane molasses, but it has never been possible to obtain a product having the organoleptic characteristics of rums from hot countries (Gaber).

“It is not only in the islands that molasses brandy is made,” wrote Le Normand in 1817. “In sugar refineries, where molasses are obtained, they are applied to manufacturing distillates. We can not pronounce on the causes that prevent the eau-de-vie of molasses manufactured in France to acquire this perfection, this perfume that we recognize with pleasure in the rum of the islands and particularly in that of Jamaica “.

In England, the name imitation rum refers to all the spirits with the characteristics of rum and come from countries where sugar cane is not cultivated. In the United States, the federal alcohol administration applies the term to rum containing neutral alcohol, a spirit other than rum or any rum flavor product.

In France, the legislation is more restrictive. The law of December 31st, 1922, prohibits the designation of rum or tafia, with or without any qualifier, any alcohol not coming exclusively from the distillation of juice, molasses or cane syrup, while that of August 16th, 1930 formally prohibits all mixtures of rum and alcohol, apart from a few special cases (preparation of therapeutic compositions and liqueurs). Only the rums of origin, reduced or not, may be sold under the name “rum” without the addition of any other spirits.

The meaning of the terms “rum” and “tafia” has changed somewhat since the beginning. In the early days of colonization, the cane brandy was called in the French islands guildive or tafia. The name “rum”, which the ancient authors write rome or rum, was reserved for the product coming from the English colonies and which proved to be much superior to the tafia. When, in the first half of the nineteenth century, English methods were introduced in the French West Indies, the term was used to designate the finest eau-de-vie obtained by replacing the froths with vesou well clarified in the composition of musts; then the molasses eau-de-vie made with care.

“The real rum of Jamaica,” wrote Lanessan (1) in 1886, was formerly made directly with the vesou itself of the violet cane and possessed a particular aroma. The tafia was the product of the distillation of molasses. Today rum and tafia come only from melasses, and under the first name we designate the eau-de-vie of melasse manufactured with care, and we sell tafia-like alcohol whose quality and perfume are inferior”.

Rocques (2), however, still gives the following definitions in 1913: “The name of rum is more particularly reserved for the product of the fermentation and distillation of sugar cane juice, and the name of tafia for spirits originating in wine of sugar cane molasses.”

Currently, the distinction between rum and tafla is no longer made in France, at least in the retail trade. However, it remains in the French West Indies, where the first term always refers to a product of superior quality, but obtained by aging the newly distilled eau-de-vie in charred oak barrels. The name are reserved for molasses (industrial tafia) or juice of cane (tafia habitant or grappe blanche).

The same distinction is made to Haiti between the clairin, which is the green product freshly distilled, and the rhum brandy rectified and aged in cask. In Venezuela the term ron also refers to a cane brandy (aguardiente de cana) aged by natural processes.

The guildive designation, originally applied to the brandy of molasses or cane juice, was later reserved for the former. Charpentier de Cossigny (3) wrote about eaux-de-vies of sugar:

“It is made in colonies of several species, which have different names. One is called guildive it is the one that is removed by the distillation of juice expressed from sugarcane, after letting it ferment: The other is called taffia: it is made with molasses, or gros sirops, and sugar skins, which are deluged in water, fermented and distilled; it is preferred to the guildive, but it is inferior to the name, which is nothing but the tafla rectified.”

(1) Les plantes utiles des colonies francaises. p. 244, Paris, 1866
(2) Eaux-de-vie naturelles et industrielles. Paris, 1913.
(3) See Bibliography. In principle, we give at the bottom of the pages only the references to the publications not nested in the Bibliography.

Kervegant Part 2 PDF

Finally, it should be noted that for a long time the term arak has been used to describe rum in Mauritius and Comores. The real arak of Batavia is obtained in Java, by forming in a fermentation of cane with a special yeast prepared from rice.

Etymology of the terms alcohol, rum, tafia, etc …

The liquid from the distillation of the wine was first called by the alchemists of the Middle Ages, aqua ardens, ardent water, denomination that has been preserved in the Spanish-speaking countries in the form aguardiente (1): or aqua vitae (2). eau-de-vie, because of the property attributed to it to maintain youthfulness and prolong life. The word whiskey would also be a corruption of the Celtic expression Wisge beatha (eau-de-vie), which one first made usquebaugh, long used in Ireland, and finally whisky.

(1) This term, used to describe spirits in general, is applied more particularly in certain countries of Central America (El Salvador, etc.) to cane brandy.

(2) In Norway, aquavit is still used to refer to potato alcohol flavored with certain herbs (caraway, etc.) and can be considered as the national liquor of the country.

It is probable that the term alcohol is of Arab origin (al, article: le, la — and cohol, kool, which comes from qochl: subtle thing, very fine powder). For a long time, in the old pharmacopoeia, alcohol or alkohol was used to designate substances reduced to powder of extreme fineness. Glaser gives the following definition in his “Traité de la Chymie”, (1663): “Alcoholiser is to reduce some matter into very subtle and impalpable powder, it is also used when one has exalted some spirit or essence and when it has been well deprived of its phlegm and of all impure substances: that is where does it comes from that wine alcohol is called well rectified spirit”. In the 6th edition of the Dictionary of the Academy (1877), the etymology (preserved in English and German) was deleted and the word alcohol has taken its definitive form.

Rhum comes from the English rum, which gave rum in German, ron in Spanish and Portuguese, rom in Russian and Swedish. The origin of the word is obscure. We can not accept the hypothesis put forward by some and that it represents the last syllable of the generic name of sugar cane, Saccharum. It has also been derived from the term Malay brum, which means “spirit-like” (3).

(3) P. Doire — Dictionnaire des Sciences et leurs applications.

More likely, rum would come from the contraction of rumbustion or rumbullion, old terms used in Devonshire and meaning “trouble, agitation, disorder”. We find, indeed, these words used before that of rum, and today some sailors use the expression rumbowling to designate the grog.

An old writer wrote in 1651 about Jamaica: “The chief feedling they make in the Island is Rumbullion, aka Kill-Devill, and this is made of sugar canes distilled, a hott, hellish and terrible liquor” (4). Hughes (5) reports in 1672: “They … make a sort of strong water they call Rumbullion, stronger than spirit of wine”. The first official mention made of this spirit under the name “rum” appears to be in an Order of the Governor and Council of Jamaica, dated July 3, 1661.

(4) D. Davis — Cavaliers and Roundheads Barbados, 112, 1887
(5) Amer, Physitian, 34 1672.

The old French writers usually wrote rum, which is the best spelling, writes Littré in his “Dictionary of the French language, being the spelling of the English who passed on the product to us” Others spelled rome (de Cossigny). It was not until the middle of the last century that the use prevailed of inserting an “h” and writing rhum (6).

(6) This spelling already appears in 1′ “Encyclopedie” of Diderot and d’Alembert (art. punch), but it will not generalize until much later.

The origin of the term tafia (or taffia) is even more uncertain than that of
rum. It seems that it was born among the natives of the French West Indies, according to a statement by P. Labat, who writes: “The brandy that is fired from the cane is called guildive, the savages and negros call it taffia.” However, in Malay dictionaries, one also finds this word, with the meaning of molasses brandy (1).

(1) The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford, 1933.

As for the term guildive, now fallen into disuse, except in Haiti, Reunion and Mauritius, where it would still be used sometimes, it seems to derive from Kill-Devil, an expression frequently used in the English islands from the beginnings of colonization. Littré reports on this subject: “Mr. Roullin made some conjectures, supposing that giul represents either guiller, fermenter, or giler, popular term to spring, and then dive, corrupt form of devil”

Origin of eaux-de-vie.

Fermented drinks have been known since ancient times. Genesis attributes to Noah the discovery of wine, the year following the Flood. The Egyptians, who probably came from Asia 5000 BC, knew the art of making wine; they also prepared a kind of beer. It has been argued that in the Far East the manufacture of fermented beverages was already widespread 2000 years before the Christian era. Udoy Chand Dutt gives the Sanskrit names for two alcoholic liquors from sugar cane: the sidhu provided by the cane juice, and the gaudi obtained with the molasses.

On the other hand, alcohol as distilled liquid was only known at a relatively recent time. No text of the ancient writers, Egyptians, Greeks in the Hebrew, relates to it, and it is necessary to arrive at the alchemists of the Middle Ages to find allusions to this product. The Greek scientists of the School of Alexandria (II century), who studied distillation very much and imagined many forms of apparatus to be distilled, did not think of applying it to fermented drinks. Those of the Arab School, from the 8th to the 12th century, who in their writings speak at length of distillation, do not seem to have thought of it more, according to Berthelot. The first author who gives a definite name to the liquid resulting from the distillation of wine seems to have been Marcus Graecus, whose writings date back to the thirteenth century, according to Hoefer. Arnaud de Villeneuve (1250-1314), to whom some mistakenly attributed the discovery of brandy, was the first alchemist who studied in some detail the distillation of wine.

During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, brandy, prepared only by the alchemists, remained a rare and very expensive substance. It was considered as a special sovereign and a prince’s remedy, of which the great lords alone could procure some flasks. The use began to spread towards the end of the sixteenth century.

In 1624, the corporation of distillers was organized in France for the manufacture and sale of spirits, operations which were hitherto carried out by privileged traders, apothecary grocers and vinegar makers. Around 1630, the provinces of Aunis and Saintonge (Charentes) began to convert wines from the region into brandy. At the end of the century, the production of alcohol had become so important that the Government, by an edict of December, 1686, thought it ought to establish a fourth and eighth tax, raised to 50 livres 8 sols at the entrances to Paris, “in order to prevent the great consumption which is done in the kingdom.”

From the 18th century, the distillation of wine became a prosperous industry in France. In the second half of the century, the exports of Cognac brandies abroad amounted to 10 to 15,000 hl. and by 1750, the totality of wine spirits shipped annually by the port of La Rochelle amounted to 35-40,000 barrels of 200 liters. From this time dates the creation of the great Cognac houses: Martell et Cie (1705), Hennessy and Co. (1765), Otard-Dupuy (1795), etc.

In order to protect the wine spirits trade against the competition of other spirits, a Declaration of the King, dated January 24, 1713, forbade “a fine of 3,000 pounds of fine and confiscation, the manufacture of eau-de-vie of cider and pear, throughout the whole of the kingdom, with the exception of the province of Normandy and the various dioceses which compose that of Brittany, to carry such spirits from one of the said provinces to the other and in all the other places and provinces of the kingdom, a fine of 2,000 pounds fine and confiscation of spirits and carriages, carry these spirits to the foreign country, and embark on foreign vessels, under penalty of the same fines and confiscation”. This edict also defended, under the same penalties, the manufacture and trade of spirits of “syrup, molasses, grain, beer, boissiere, marc of grapes, mead and all other matter than wine.”

The origins of rum in the XIX century.

The making of rum probably followed the establishment of Europeans in America.

On his second voyage to America (1493), Columbus transported sugar cane from the Canary Islands to Hispaniola (Santo Domingo). The plant reached Mexico in 1520, Brazil in 1532 and Peru in 1533. Its introduction to the French and English Antilles probably dates from around 1630. In any case, the cane existed in 1640 in Martinique and Guadeloupe and as early as 1635, the directors of the “Company of the Islands of America” committed the settlers to its culture.

The consumption of alcohol began to spread at that time, so it is possible that the first settlers thought of fermenting and distilling the cane juice before extracting the sugar. Be that as it may, as soon as the sugar industry was established around the middle of the seventeenth century, the making of rum appeared as the normal use of by-products: defecation foam and molasses, or “big syrups”. , from the wastes of raw sugars.

One of the first authors to talk about the alcoholic use of cane is P. du Tertre, who made several trips to the French West Indies between 1640 and 1657. “The canes, broken and exhausted of their juice,” he writes in his article. The general history of Antilles inhabited by the French (1667), “as well as the foams from boil are not useless, because for the foam of the second and third boilers, and all that is spread by stirring it, falls on the glaze furnaces and sinks in a basin, where it is reserved to make brandy, the Negroes make drinks that inebriate and of which we have a pretty good flow in the Islands… The juice of the canes which not having been put in the boilers quickly enough, becomes sour, being mixed with water, boiling and making a drink called Vesoü, which sells very well in the Islands, and all the little buyers have to pay expenses for a whole family owning a sugar plantation.

Among the references of English authors, one can quote, in addition to those already given, Warren (1): “The rum is a spirit extracted from the juice of the cane with sugar, generally twice as strong as the brandy”. Hughes: “The rum is usually consumed by the planters, both alone and in the form of punch.” R. Ligon (2), who lived in Barbados about 1650, does not mention rum: he only points out that one made, by heating together sugar and water and leaving the mixture to himself for 10 days, an alcoholic drink called punch.

(1) Descr. Surinam VI, 17, 1667.
(2) A true and exact History of the Island of Barbados. London 1657.

P. Labat, who arrived in the West Indies in 1694 and lived there for 11 years, describes at length the fabrication of the the guildive, in his “New voyage to the Isles of America”.

“The brandy that is distilled from canes is called guildive, the savages and the negroes call it tafia, it is very strong and has an unpleasant odor, and acrid much like grain brandy, that it is difficult to remove.”

“The place where it is done is called vinaigrerie (3) .. I do not know why it has been given this name which does not suit it in any way. I have already noticed that it would be more-about to name it a distillateire, but it is not easy to change these sorts of names, when they are once in use. This place must be joined, or at least very close to the sucrerie, so that the froths and the big syrups can be carried comfortably, or with saddles and buckets, or by means of a gutter. In the dwellings where there is a water mill, it is necessary to place the vinaigrerie so that one can drive there, with gutters, the water that escapes from the wheel, so much to fill the vats, as to continually refresh the condensers.”

(3) This term does not come, as suggested by Pairault, from the fact that the fermentation tanks were to be easily invaded by the acetic ferment, but that originally, in France, the eau-de-vie was manufactured by the corporation of vinegar makers. It remains in use in the French West Indies until about the middle of the 19th century.

“The utensils of a vinegar factory consist of a few wooden vats, one or two boilers with their capitals and their condenser, a skimmer, a few jars, pots and bowls or buckets.”

“The vats are of different sizes, depending on the capacity of the building and the work that can be done there. They use wooden vats rather than masonry, because the vats are made of wood they soak up the juice that has soured in it, which helps considerably to sour and ferment whatever is put in it.”

“The vats are filled with water up to two-thirds, sometimes as much as three-quarters, and they are filled with large syrups and scums and covered with balsam leaves and boards over them and at the end of two or three days, according to the goodness of the foam and the syrup, this liquor ferments, boils and throws up a rather thick foam to which all the filth which was in the syrup or in when it has acquired the degree of force and bitterness which is necessary to it, what is known about its color which becomes yellow, its taste which is very sour, and its odor which is strong and penetrating, it is put in the boilers, after having removed with a skimmer all the foam and all the garbage are stuck on it”.

The still used was a copper boiler, measuring about 0 m 80 in diameter and 1 m 30 in height surmounted by a copper capital. The latter was connected to a serpentine condenser, made of copper or tin, placed in a barrel containing cold water, which was renewed in a continuous manner (see Chapter VII).

“The first liquor that comes from a boiler is called the small water, because it does not have much strength. You keep everything you get from small water during the first five days of the week, and one or two boilers are filled to iron Saturday, and the spirit that comes out of it is really the eau-de-vie, taffia or guildive, which is very strong and very violent.”

“In sugar houses, where there are two boilers for brandy, one must make 160 pots or about a measure of Paris a week, and sell it usually 10 sols per pot, and sometimes more, on everything in times when we do not make sugar, and when the French brandy and the wines are rare and expensive.”

H. Sloane (1) gives the following information:
“Our most common drinks are the Madeira wine and rum-punch. The first, mixed with water, is the drink of honest people, the people and the servants use a lot of the other… The rum-punch is aptly named Kill devil, because there may be no year that he kills more than a thousand people. When the new landed makes the slightest excess, they expose themselves extremely, because this liquor warms the blood and soon causes a fever which in a few hours puts you in the tomb. It can not be used too moderately, and it would be best to refrain from it altogether, at least until one has the body made in the air of the country.”

(1) A voyage to the Islands Maderas, Barbados, Nieves, Saint-Christophers and Jamaica with the natural History of the last of these Islands. London 1707 — 25. Traduit en francais par M…, sous le titre “Histoire de la Jamaique”, Londres 1751.

“It is with the foam of sugar and molasses that the rum is made, for this purpose, we put in a tank a portion of molasses with four parts of water. The whole is stirred twice in 24 hours with a spoon of copper; after ten days, we put everything in a still well strained and distill ordinarily.”

The Journal Oeconomique (1783, p.141) describes how the rum was prepared in the mid-eighteenth century as follows:
“Take one-third of the boilers’ scum, one-third of the wash water and one-third of the cold, clear liquor (vinasse) to warm up and ferment the whole thing. Now, by adding a few gallons of molasses, an expert distiller can vary these doses without losing his success. When these cold ingredients are put together and cooked well, the fermentation begins soon, and. in 24 hours time, it will be advanced enough to add the molasses at the rate of about 3 gallons on every 100 gallons of the wash or leaguer. This molasses perfects the mixture, thickens the fermentation; and about 24 hours after the liquor is ready to receive the second and last dose of molasses, which is about the same quantity as the first; but we must be careful not to give him the debt of molasses before the fermentation diminishes, otherwise the liquor would become slack and lazy, and give not the same quantity of spirit. Fermentation decreases little by little after four or five days. And when the Liquor becomes beautiful and pushes the surface of the clear and infrequent air bubbles, it is suitable for putting into the still, from which the spirit is distilled by means of an equal and constant fire; during this time, care must be taken to maintain cold water in the coolant. For the colder it is, the stronger the spirit will be, in great quantity and ripeness.”

“Although this is the usual proportion of the method of working the ingredients that go into the composition of the rum, many planters who distill every year a considerable quantity of this liquor, mix their ingredients in the following manner: they employ three parts of water, 1 1/2 parts of molasses and as much dregs. This composition requires a long fermentation that usually lasts from ten to twenty days and gives a large amount of good spirit. Others who, by negligence, by accident or because they lack workers, have large quantities of bad canes, ferment the juice and use it to make rum, but it has fermented enough in three days, it never provides good spirit or abundance.”

“The best economics, on plantations, usually make 200 gallons of ordinary good rum for every three cubes of sugar. This proportion, however, is liable to vary according to the quality of the cane, because there are plants whose juice is more viscous and makes more foam and molasses than the others.”

The Roman writes, in the “Encyclopedia” of Diderot and d’Alembert, about the preparation of the taffia:
“We begin by putting in large wooden vats built in one piece, two parts of clear water, on which we pour a portion of large syrup of froths and melted debris of sugar: we cover the vats with boards and give time for the fermentation to produce its effect. ”

“It is usually with color, as well as with the smell, that the worker judges whether the batch is in a condition to be passed to the still. So we remove very exactly all the garbage and the scum that float and we pour the bunch into large boilers placed on a stove in which a fire is made.”

“When the spirit does not rise in the capital, the joints of the neck are loosened, and after having seen the boiler they are filled with new batches, and the distillation is repeated to obtain a certain quantity of first distilled water, which being weak needs to be repassed a second time to the still. This rectification acquires a lot of clarity and strength. It is very spirited, but by the few precautions, it always contracts airiness and tanned leather smell very unpleasant to those who are not accustomed to it.”

Dutrone La Couture (1) reports:
“In the first part of the rummerie, fermentation vats are stored standing. These pieces receive syrups diluted with water in a proportion such that they carry 11 & 12 degrees to the hydrometer, in this state they take the name of rasps. The fermented rasp are carried to a still where they are distilled. The product that we obtain is rum or taffia according to the state of the syrup, and according to the circumstances which have accompanied the fermentation and the distillation of the rasps.”

(1) Precis sur la canne et sur les moyens d’en extraire le sel essentiel. Paris, 1790.

“We distill as long as we see “proof” of the liquor, says de Prefontaine (2): when it gives no more, it is called petit taffia. It is rejected on a second quantity of fermented liquor, it serves to fortify the taffia that one draws. For, instead of water, we can use what remains of the previous distillation to fill the vats, provided that it is fresh.”

(2) Maison rustique a l’usage des habitants de cayenne. Paris 1763.

A former inhabitant of Santo Domingo, S.J. Ducœurjoly, describes at length the manufacture of rum according to the English method, towards the end of the XVIIIth century.

According to this author, a well-established rhummerie had to include: two 300-gallon stills each, a 150-gallon still, to distill the small water: oak fermentation tanks, 310 gallons of capacity and conical shape, at number of 10-12 per alembic: two 5-gallon links or tubs, to measure liquids used in the composition of bunches in high-capacity tanks, to receive scoops and “drainages” (vinasses): finally, barrels in 500-600 gallon oak yard for rum conservation.

The fermentation time of the musts, consisting of a mixture of froths, molasses, vinasse and water in varying proportions (see Chapter V), was usually 7-8 days, but could reach 11- 12 days. The author insists on the need to rinse well the “pièces à grappe” with each operation, to carefully remove the foam rising on the surface of the mosts and to cover the vats with a wooden lid or, better, with thick mats made with dried banana leaves.

The distillation was cut off when the degree of rum fell to 30° below the proof (40° GL). The small waters which were then collected were distilled apart and provided a “spirit” at 46-47° GL, which served to raise the degree of rum too low. Commercial rum was usually 25-26 degrees below proof (41-42 degrees), exceptionally 22 degrees (45.5 degrees) when it was destined for the London market.

The yield was good under 120-130 gallons of marketable rum per 300 gallons of must and 1 gallon of rum per gallon of molasses or 5 gallons of skimmings used. Outside of the season, when the canes had the highest amount of saccharine (March to May), they were usually much lower.

From the foregoing indications it follows that the methods of making cane spirits used in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries varied considerably. The quality of the product obtained was generally mediocre or frankly bad, which was due to the inferior quality of the raw materials employed (1), the little care given to the fermentations and especially to a faulty distillation. The eau-de-vie from must in which the acetic ferments (favored by the flat shape of wooden “vats”), butyric or even putrid (alkaline foam) were to be easily developed would have needed to be strongly rectified for to be free of bad tastes. However, the average alcoholic strength of the distillate rarely exceeded 42° G.L. and was often weaker, especially in the French colonies.

(1) Foams of defecation, rich in ferments of all kinds and with an alkaline reaction favorable to the development of bacterial fermentations, presented themselves as particularly defective. They mixed with washing water and cane debris to produce an inferior tafia.
“The rum of better quality,” writes Le Normand, in his “Treatise on the Art of the Distiller of Spirits and Spirits” (Paris 1817), is that which is made only with molasses; but that is in the the fermentation of which we leave the debris of the sugar cane, the foam, etc.. always retains a touch of disagreeable acid, and often contracts the taste of burning, which makes it rejected from commerce, abandoned to the negroes who work in sugar mill; it is called for this reason Negro rum.”

The rums of the English islands, especially those of Barbados and Jamaica, were much superior to the guildives and tafias of the French colonies, especially because they were the object of a more thorough rectification.

Various authors report that the French colonists mixed the “small waters” obtained at the end of the distillation with the tafia, while the English subjected them to a new distillation and used the strong alcohol resulting from this operation to increase the alcoholic strength of the commercial rum (Ducæurjoly).

Charpentier de Cossigny, who published in 1781 and 1782 in the Ile-de-France (now Mauritius), two remarkable “Memoirs on the manufacture of sugar spirits”, wrote on this subject:

“A modern author who has treated in the greatest detail the manufacture of the English rum, claims that the product of this liqueur forms one-third of the revenue of the sweets of this colony (Jamaica). He adds that the French mix the small water (this is the last part of each distillation) with the taffia, and that the English set it apart and rectify it. It attributes to this process the great difference that exists between the two liquors.”

“It does not seem to me possible that the French mix the small water, which is also called blanquette, and which has a milky color, with taffia. Not only, it would bespoil it, but make it far too weak it would be no longer marketable, and would be, so to speak, worthless. The rectification of the small water is a process known to everybody, and absolutely necessary. This is not what gives quality to the English rome: it is the rectification of the taffia itself, and probably the attention that the burners of Jamaica give to removing the froths from their batches, after two or three days of fermentation, because they would become putrid or they would communicate a bad taste and a foul odor to the batch and, consequently, to the eau-de-vie. In addition, it is advisable to filter the batches, before putting them in the still, to remove all the coarse materials which are prone to burning, and which, afterwards, communicate to the distillation an empyreumatic odor…”

“I will insist on the advice I gave the distillers to rectify the liquor destined for export, and not to deliver it to the trade which at least, at the Baumé armeometer, 21 degrees. They must understand that this object can become very considerable for them, and that if they want their rum to compete with that of the English, they must give it more quality because they have to fight a made reputation. The first quality is the strength of the liquor… At Teneriffe I had a little bit of Jamaica rum from an English catch: it weighed 21.5 degrees. it was a little colored. I had another, which weighed 21 degrees and a half, also colored… ”

Dazille (1) points out, however, that the guildive, “a pungent and harmful drink when it has just been made,” was considerably improved by storage in barrels. “It has been observed,” he writes, “that it takes only two years to make it lose these bad qualities. In some colonies, regulations had even been passed requiring the spirits to be kept in barrels for a certain time before being sold (2), but they were rarely enforced.

(1) Observations sur les maladies des Nègres, leurs causes, leur traitement et les moyens de les prévenir. Paris, 1776.

(2) The Ordinance of August 2, 1781. of the Governor and Intendant of the Ile de France, prohibits under penalty of very severe penalties, the sale of spirits sugar of less than 3 months of manufacture, as well as that of eaux-de-vie having an empyreumatic taste, or containing “plots of copper or lead.”

The rums and tafias were mostly consumed locally at first by people too poor to buy wines from France or Spain, or even the eau-de-vie, reserved for the rich.

“The brandy that is made in the islands with the froths and sugar syrups,” says P. Labat, “is not one of the least used beverages. The savages, the negroes, the little inhabitants and the tradesmen do not seek any other, and their intemperance on this article can not be said, it is enough for them that this liquor be strong, violent and cheap, it does not matter to them that it be rough and unpleasant.”

The legislator had to intervene to regulate the consumption and circulation of the product. The Ordinance of the King of March, 1685, concerning “the Discipline of the Church and the Status and Quality of Slave Negroes in the Islands of America”, forbade the masters to give slaves “eau-de-vie de cannes or guildive”, to take the place of subsistence for which the weekly supply was obligatory (2 and a half pots of cassava flour or 3 cassavas weighing at least 2 and a half pounds each, with 2 pounds of salted beef or 3 pounds of fish).

The ordinance of the Intendant of Martinique of April 19, 1713 prohibits “to all sugar workers of any condition that they are, to sell to and sell by their Negroes and others, in their houses or elsewhere, tafia or eau-de-vie of the country: may be sold by barriques, barrels and canes, which barrels and canes will contain no less than five cans; may also exchange for poultry, eggs, ropes and vegetables, even under the pot; will be and will remain responsible in their private names and under the same penalties as by them the facts of their negroes who will be surprised selling in detail in their huts, squares or intersections, in any way… ” The sale of spirits at retail was reserved for the innkeepers.

In the English colonies, the rum was consumed mainly in the form of Punch, which the old French writers wrote ponche. “This is the favorite liquor of the English,” said Savary des Brulons in his “Dictionnaire Universel” (1759), which was invented in the islands owned by this nation in America, from where it passed to the French Islands. It is composed of two parts of eau-de-vie and one of ordinary water; sugar, cinnamon, clove powder, roast bread and egg yolks, which make it as thick as a broth, often instead of water, it puts milk, and it is the most valued, it is very nourishing and it is better for the chest.”

Fr. Xavier de Charlevoix (3) declares: “The Poor still have a great resource for the drink in eau-de-vie that is made with sugar canes, and which has this double advantage over that of France, that it is cheaper and healthier, it will not be difficult even to take away from it the taste of canes, which gives it an unpleasant disappointment, since it is the bottom of the Water of Barbados, which has not. The English still make from it a kind of lemonade, which they call Ponche, and it can be varied in a thousand ways, by bringing in various ingredients, which one finds more to one’s pleasure or which one will judge more beneficial.”

(3) Histoire de l’Ile Espagnole ou de St-Domingue. Amsterdam, 1733.

Note that alongside the wine and spirits, there were still, at least in the Lesser Antilles, fermented drinks of Caribbean origin: the l’ouicou, obtained by fermenting for 2 or 3 days cakes of cassava, with some potatoes cut into pieces and some concentrated syrup; and maby, a kind of beer made with thick syrup, sweet potatoes and oranges. The fermented cane juice was also consumed under the name of vesoü (du Tertre), grappe (Labat) or even punch (Ligon).

Foams and thick sugar syrups, as well as damaged canes unsuitable for the manufacture of sugar, constitute an abundant raw material for the distillery, early thought was given to exporting the cane brandy, “There are plenty of them,” Labat said in 1696, “to the Spaniards of the Carac Coast, Cartagena, Hondures, and Great Islands; they do not make any differentiation from that made of wine,
as long as it is in English glass bottles sealed with brass wire or Dutch canevettes of ten or twelve flasks.”

The English favored the new industry from the beginning, the rum being a particularly interesting product for the traffic with the Indian tribes of North America and the trade on the coast of Africa. The Spaniards settled on the American continent and in the Greater Antilles also bought large quantities. The Metropolis, which produced at that time only a small amount of whiskey and consumed mainly wine spirits imported from France, constituted on the other hand, a significant outlet for colonial rums. Finally, thanks to their maritime supremacy, which enabled them to trade with all Europe, the English could gradually develop the consumption of this spirit in the countries of the North and in Germany.

The colonies where rum production seems to have developed most are Barbados, Jamaica and New England. Barbados brandy, known as d’eau de Barbades (1), was the most popular. “This water is of great consumption in England, which supplies all Europe,” says Savary ds Brulons, “The rum or tafia is one of the best branches of commerce in Barbados. This is a considerable consumption in the English colonies of North America, and the seafarers also use them a great deal.”

(1) Later on, a liquor was applied consisting of rum flavored with orange and lemon peel, cloves and coriander.

The rum of Jamaica was also famous early. William Burck (2) states that in 1753 about 4,000 puncheons were exported (15,000 hl). “That of this Isle is considered the best, written, so we use almost no other in England.”

(2) Histoire des colonies européennes dans l’Amérique, trad, par M E. Paris, 1767.

New England (now Massachusetts State) received considerable quantities of molasses from the various West Indian sugar regions and turned them into alcohol. “The quantity of spirit liquors distilled in Boston,” writes Burck, “is as surprising as the low price at which they are sold. They are worth about 2 schelins a gallon. They supply all our colonies in North America, the Indians of the country, the vessels that go fishing in Newfoundland, and even those who trade in Africa, but their rum is not highly esteemed.” In 1791, more than 7 million gallons of molasses were imported for the production of rum.

Kervegant Part 3 PDF

The sale of molasses and cane brandies gave the island’s sugar producers substantial profits. It is expected that when things are well managed, rum and molasses will pay for a plantation, and that sugar is the net profit, “says Burck. Savary des Brulons writes: “It is expected that the American who makes 100 barrels of guildives & already fetched from his fund 400 thousand of sugar, and that the 100 barrels of guildives worth 7000 pounds of France, 70 pounds the barrel: if instead of making this brandy, he sells his syrups he will have 2 to 3,000 pounds less, so it would be an advantage for the settler to make and sell this kind of brandy.”

Labat, at the end of the eighteenth century, calculated: “This manufactory makes a considerable profit for our inhabitants: for when we work only 45 weeks a year, it would still be 60 barrels of brandy that the rest would be made, of which at least 54 could be sold, the rest being consumed in the house: 54 barrels with 120 pots each must produce more than 6,000 crowns, which are enough to maintain clothes, meat, tools and others required for a troop of 120 negroes.”

“America makes a great consumption of rum,” writes Ducourjoly, “and the English islands can not supply a sufficient quantity of it, and, being unable to draw from our colonies, which do not distill it, the Americans come and take our syrups to distill themselves, we lose the manpower, as well as the foam. In the sale of syrups, more than half is lost; for a gallon of syrup is sold for only twenty sous, and the result would be a gallon of rum, which would be sold for two or ten pounds, or even three pounds.”

“The manufacture of the rum is an object that has not yet been appreciated in the French colonies. This branch of commerce forms one-third of the revenue of the English sugar industry, while we confine ourselves to making some bad tafias whose burnt and stinky taste is repugnant to the delicate consumer.

In France, the guildive and the tafia appeared from the beginning as dangerous competitors for the spirits of wine, and we have already indicated that a Declaration of the King of 24 January 1713 had come to forbid the manufacture and trading of spirits of molasses and syrup, “in order to sacrifice all to the important commerce of wine-brandy, which is done both inside and outside the Kingdom.”

The planters of the Antilles protested energetically against this prohibition, which did not prevent them from making and smuggling their guildives abroad, especially in New England.

Butel-Dumont (1) writes on this subject: “The inhabitants of New England also exercise with the French islands a trade of contraband in which they receive money, rum, molasses, sugar for their woods, their horses and their edible provisions. The injustice caused by this traffic in the West Indies obliged the Parliament to interfere with it by imposing very heavy duties on the rum, molasses and raw sugar of foreign colonies imported into the colonies of England’s dependency.”

(1) Histoire et Commerce des Colonies anglaises de l’Amérique Sepuentrionale. Londres, 1755

The thesis of the metropolitan distillers, opposed to the claims of the settlers of the West Indies, is exposed in a “Memory for the Corpsde-ville de la Rochelle”, published in the Journal de Commerce of August 1759 and analyzed in the “Universal Dictionary” of Savary of the Brulons:

Supporters of the manufacture of guildives say that the guildive is a taste only for the poor who can not afford to buy brandy wine, because a pint of guildive sells for 7 to 8 sols to America, and that of brandy wine 15 to 16. Thus the brandy wine declines in proportion to those of guildives that one would like to defend for this reason since the trade of those of France, and that of the colonies depend on the metropolis which founded them. They include, for example, Quebec City and Isle Royale. They take the consumption of France, they deprive France of the consumption of her spirits, they make trade unsuccessful, they cause losses. It is therefore necessary to defend this transport, without which the state in itself, giving its colonies its own trade, enriching them at its expense, sacrificing its own cultures, the work of the people.

“It is said that guildive spirits are good for Negroes on the coast of Guinea, so that they come back for cheaper, but on the other hand, it shows that they succeed better by the way of the wine brandy, which Negroes prefer.”

“In the aforementioned Declaration it is said that “the guildives are of a very bad use and very prejudicial to the human body.” It is on experiences and reports that have been made during three years by the Gentlemen Intendants of the Provinces, with all the Corps of the State, that this Declaration has been made.”

“The daily practice proves again the prejudice that all the French have against the guildives, which is not without foundation. All the Captains of the King’s Vessels, all the Captains even of the Merchant ships, who pride themselves on watching over the preservation of their crews, banish the guildive from their side, and forbid their sailors to drink it.”

Fig 3.- Cane mill moved by the wind (Martinique, XIX century).

“The Englishman sells these guildives to the Negroes; the necessity, the jealousies of nations, the perpetual fear with which England is agitated to give France too great advantages, by trading in wine-brandy, all this makes the eyes of the English on the trade of guildives. If the English had vineyards, they would not allow this trade in guildives. If, on the other hand, the French did not have vineyards, they would be like the English. It is the interest that guides in the Commerce.”

It was only in 1763 that the colonies were officially granted permission to export syrups and tafias abroad, in exchange for certain food products and other products (animals, rice, wood, brick, tiles, etc.) the Metropolis could not provide in sufficient quantities. A Memoir of the King, dated April 18th, 1763, intended to serve as Instruction of General to the Governors and Intendants of his colonies, specifies that:

“His Majesty desiring to procure for those of His subjects who live in the colonies the aid which they can not procure for the Kingdom, both for their subsistence and for the other needs of life, and considering that the abundance of these succours is the the most secure way to reduce both the expenses of the Administration and those of private individuals at an appropriate rate, and it has decided to permit the importation of the following articles from abroad into its colonies; to exchange them with the Syrups and Tafias which these colonies abound and which can be only a pure loss for the colonists or prejudicial to the Health of the Soldiers.”

“On these considerations, SM, decided that in the future and to begin on the 1rst of January of 1764, will allow from all the foreign Ports of his islands and colonies the species of Goods that will be detailed below and designated by nature, in exchange for Syrups and Tafias only, from the growth of each colony, and that consequently all the Foreign Buildings carrying these kinds of goods there shall be unloaded without any obstacle or other impediment of any kind, nor to their refilling in Syrups and Tafias, which will be exempt from all rights of exit in the said colonies.

This was, with the consecration of a previous and prolonged state of affairs, the first attack in the legislative texts on the rigid principles of the Colonial Pact, according to which the colonies were only to buy in the metropolis and to not produce anything which could diminish the importance of these purchases: to sell only to the French merchants, who in return could only buy from the French colonies; according to which finally all the transports had to be done by the national buildings.

A Memoir of the King of March 31, 1776, to encourage the planters: establish guildiveries, declared the slaves employed at these establishments exempt from any right of capitation. A Ministerial Dispatch of June 1, 1777 allowed the temporary admission in France of syrups and tafias intended to be exported then abroad. Lastly, the law of the 8th Floreal Year X authorized the entry, for consumption, of the tafias of the French colonies, for an entry fee of 10 francs per hectolitre. The importation of foreign rums was prohibited. However, those taken from the enemy by warships or armed vessels in the race were for consumption at a rate of 40% ad valorem Decree of 24th June 1808).

In spite of the official opposition, the rum had acquired right of city in France towards the end of the XVIII century. “Since 1789,” writes de Cossigny, “the popularity of this liquor, the use of which had been introduced into France more than twenty years ago (1), has gained much favor and extension. in Rome, in Paris, in all the classes, and much is consumed in the sea ports and on the vessels: the custom of taking it hot and very strong in spirits has prevailed. that it is necessary, or at least a liquor which passes for such, that it is prejudiced that it alone is suitable for punch, although the l’araque de Batavia is judged better by the connoisseurs of all the nations, and even by the English. The result of this preference is that the flow of the French taffia is like no other in Europe, while the rum of Jamaica is very popular in Germany and throughout the North. This may be due to the fault of our colonists who do not pay enough attention to the preparation of their spirits.”

1) Savary des Bruions also points out that rum was already used extensively in Normandy.

Rum from the 19th century to the present day.

The increase in the consumption of alcohol in the lower classes, the economic liberalism, the crises which struck wine brandy [Phylloxera?] determined, during the XIX century, a great development of the rum industry in the West Indies. On the other hand, the extension of cane growing in Central and South America, Australia, South Africa, led to the creation of new rum-producing centers (Natal, Queensland, etc.).

It was towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century that the trade of this spirit reached its peak. Subsequently, the decline in alcohol consumption, as a result of alcohol control and the rise in consumption rights, the protectionist policies adopted by some countries towards national spirits gradually reduced the demand for rum. Molasses from the manufacture of sugar were increasingly used for the manufacture of industrial alcohol.

In the British colonies of the West Indies, the production of rum already reached a high figure at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In 1823 imports into England were 4,833,811 gallons (1), broken down by country of origin as follows:

(1) The English gallon, or imperial gallon, corresponds to 4.543 L and the US gallon 3.785 L. The English gallon proof is equivalent to 2.583 L of 100° alcohol and the American gallon proof has 1.89 L;

Jamaica’s exports have generally fluctuated between 1,200,000 and 2,000,000 gal. during the nineteenth century. The high duties on spirits having come to greatly reduce the consumption of rum in Great Britain, they have fallen in recent years to about 400,000 to 500,000 gal. Of Demerara, 2,500,000 gal. on average per year over the last century, have dropped to about one million gallons. As for the other English colonies of the West Indies, their production, after having maintained a certain importance until the end of the nineteenth century, has greatly diminished since the disappearance of the sugar houses and their replacement by the central factories. It is currently limited, except for a few islands (Trinidad), to meet the needs of local consumption. In 1876, exports were as follows (in gallons):

A large part of the residual molasses obtained in the English colonies, instead of being locally processed into rum, were exported and continue to be exported to England or North America. It’s only in Jamaica that they were fully processed on site.

In the French colonies, production of rum remained relatively low until about the middle of the 19th century: an average of 3 to 4 million liters per year for Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana combined. of which one million to a million and a half liters were exported, almost exclusively to the metropolis. Molasses exports, made mainly to the United States, reached 5 to 10 million liters annually.

The disease of oidium, which determined, from 1853 to 1857, the rarefaction and the price of alcohol in France, the suppression of the customs duties on the colonial spirits (decree of June 26, 1854) caused an appreciable increase of exports of rum, which reached in 1854, 4,205,000 L for Martinique and 1,472,000 L for Guadeloupe.

The phylloxera crisis (1876-1892) struck even more severely than that of oidium on the French vineyards and the wine spirits industry, whose production fell by 545,994 hl. in 1876, about 30,000 hl of pure alcohol during the period 1880-91. The rum industry took advantage at the same time as the beet alcohol industry, of the space left free. In 1882, exports from Martinique exceeded 11,600,000 and in 1892 they reached 19,021,000. Those of Guadeloupe remained at about two million liters. In the first of these islands, the export of molasses had practically ceased since 1846. The local sugar factories could not provide a raw material abundant enough for the production of distilleries had to import industrial who had settled in Saint-Pierre, and the colonies near them (Demerara, Trinidad, Guadeloupe) had large quantities of molasses (up to 170,000 in 1892).

Following the destruction of Saint-Pierre in 1902, Martinique’s exports fell to 8,800,000 in 1903, while those of Guadeloupe to 5,297,000 L, and those of Reunion, which were very low earlier, at 1,800,000 L.

The demand for alcohol that manifested itself during the 1914-18 war led to a “race for production”: in 1917 Martinique alone shipped 29,564,000 liters of rum. The consequence was, in 1920, a collapse of the prices on the metropolitan market and a very severe crisis, of which all the rhum producing colonies had to suffer. As a result of this crisis, the law of December 31, 1922, fixed the quota of colonial rums liable to be introduced into France free of the tax imposed on foreign spirits at 160,000 hectoliters of pure alcohol, subsequently increased to 200,000 hl. Nearly 45% of the global quota (87,715 hl.) Was allocated to Martinique.

Thus, initially frustrated by the application of the “Colonial Pact” the rum industry was able to take in the French colonies, when this application was softened, a superb development, while in the English colonies, it decreased progressively in importance as Britain’s excise tax increases and customs barriers rose in foreign countries.

Since the early nineteenth century, profound changes have affected the structure of the rhum industry and manufacturing techniques.

Until about 1865, when the central factories began to replace the old sugar houses, the rhummerie was an annex to the sugar refinery. The average sugar plantation in the French West Indies consisted of 100 squares (130 ha) of land, about 60 of which were planted in cane: a sugar mill with two or three “crews”, batteries of 5 boilers for clarification and cooking of syrups) and a “purgerie” for the draining of raw sugars; finally, a distillery working the defecation foam and waste syrups (molasses) from the sugar refinery. Rum having a limited outlet, many of the most important house, had no distilleries, they sold their molasses for export, or, more rarely, in the colony even to distillers installed in the cities.

This organization has continued to this day in Jamaica, with the difference, however, that the old crews have generally been replaced, since the beginning of the twentieth century, with more modern appliances to evaporate and cook. Elsewhere, sugar houses have been absorbed by central factories or have abandoned cane cultivation. In some countries, special distilleries, known as industrial distilleries, have been established to process molasses from sugar factories. That’s what happened in Martinique: about twenty rhummeries, the largest of which could produce 4 & 5,000 liters of rum per day of 12 hours and whose total production was of the order of 10 million liters per year. , rose to Saint-Pierre around 1881.

More often, however, the sugar plants add distilleries for the processing of their by-products. This was the case in English Guiana, Trinidad, and Martinique, when the catastrophe of 1902 caused the disappearance of Saint-Pierre’s rhummerie.

At the same time, some colonies, particularly in the French West Indies and French Guiana, set up agricultural distilleries, carrying out the direct alcoholization of the cane. Some owners of old sugar houses far from the factories, instead of selling their canes with high transportation costs or trying to obtain domestic quality sugar, found it more advantageous to turn their crops into rum, by fermenting the juice, directly (rum of raw vesou) or after defecation and concentration (rum of syrup). These eaux-de-vie acquired a rather large importance from 1883, when the low price of sugar made it less profitable to manufacture it, but especially from the 1914-18 war. At present, agricultural rums account for about 50% of total production in Martinique, 35 in Guadeloupe and nearly 100% in French Guiana.

Improvements in the technology of the fermentation industries have had a profound impact on rhummeries, especially in the last thirty years.

The manufacture of rum had already reached a high degree of perfection in the English colonies in the first half of the nineteenth century, as can be seen from the presentation made by Wray in his “Practical Manual of the Cane Planter”. sugar (1848). The methods of fermentation and distillation described by this author are, with some modifications of detail near, still in use today in Jamaica.

It was not the same in the French colonies, whose tafias, insufficiently rectified, remained of very inferior quality. “There is in our colonies, notes a report of the time (1), only a few inhabitants who distill their syrups. It is for them a very secondary branch, abandoned to their negroes, and to which they place little importance. Hence the little progress and improvement which has kept us so far away from our neighbors, for this object of industry.”

(1) Notes on the Distillery Institution administered by Payan and Fonblanc, in St-Pierre Martinique. Feb. 15 1818.

Following the occupation of Martinique by the British, from 1809 to 1815, distillation processes were gradually improved.

As early as 1818, two merchants from Bordeaux were creating an industrial Rhummerie in Saint-Pierre of Martinique, which could process 12,000 gallons of molasses per month. The facility consisted of 50 tanks of 760 gallons capacity each, and for distillation, two Baglioni continuous units, capable of distilling 5,000 gallons of fermented mutton per 15-hour day. The rum obtained a head of 18 to 25 ° at the Cartier hydrometer (46 to 67 ° GL.)

In spite of the quality of the product obtained, the establishment seemed to be in decline, apparently as a result of competition from English rums, which could enter the colony freely and were then re-exported to France as local products.

However, in 1859 a columnist (2) wrote, on the occasion of an agricultural exhibition held in Fort-de-France:

(2) Monit de la Martinique, No 80 et 84. 1859.

“The art of working with metals has been perfected among us, at the same time as the knowledge of distillation is being diffused…

The tafia, thanks to these precious changes, is no longer what it once was; he no longer inspires delicate palates with a legitimate horror; he is no longer considered. unless it is abused, like a dangerous poison. Some 30 years ago, all our spirits were included under the same denomination, we did not make rum, this legitimate brother of the tafia was banished from the paternal roof, and the drink that the well-off people consumed under this name was produced by the English islands, especially Jamaica and Grenada. At this moment, we are closer to yielding the delicious liquor to these colonies than to ask them … and the rum that comes out of the stills of some of our big owners or vinegar makers is the same as that of Grenada.”

From 1880, the continuous distillation apparatuses were replacing progressively, in the important rhummeries of Martinique and Guadeloupe, the old discontinuous stills, to which the English continued to remain faithful. Although the alcoholic strength of the eau-de-vie remained higher in the English colonies (55-60°, at 80° and above), the improvements made to the apparatus made it possible to obtain a product free from bad tastes.

The rum of the French colonies most appreciated on the metropolitan market was that of Martinique, whose reputation was established by the industrial distilleries of Saint-Pierre. The product, obtained by long-term fermentation, had a very aromatic bouquet, probably lacking finesse, but remarkably suitable for the purpose for which it was intended (preparation of grogs and punches). This type of spirits continues to be made on a small scale in the colony, under the name of “rum grand arôme”.

From the end of the nineteenth century, there was a tendency to make fermentations purer and faster. First of all, the working conditions of the spontaneous yeasts were improved by lowering the density of the musts and adding to them sulfuric acid and ammonium sulphate. Then, the use of pure yeasts, sometimes even acclimated to certain antiseptic fluorides) spread in many distilleries of the French West Indies, Cuba, etc., especially from 1918.

The application of pure fermentation methods to the production of rum, recommended especially by Pairault in his work “Rum and its manufacture” (1903), has not always given satisfactory results. Although the yield of alcohol has been significantly improved, the quality of the product has generally been reduced. The eaux-de-vie obtained are finer, but, too light and insufficiently aromatic, they no longer correspond to the “organoleptic concept” of rum, accepted by the majority of European consumers. To deliver them to the consumer, one is often obliged either to add them special “sauces” (rums of Demerara and Cuba), or to mix them with grand arôme rum (rums of Guadeloupe and Indochina).

Chapter II


The raw materials used in making rum are, in order of importance: molasses, cane juice and syrups. Various other residual sugar products such as defecation scums, washing water of apparatus, etc., are also possibly sent to the distillery. Finally, the vinasses resulting from the distillation of fermented liquids frequently enter, in more or less important proportions, into the composition of musts.

Cane juice

It is only in the French West Indies that cane juice, or Vesou, is used on a large scale in the production of rum. Elsewhere, it is used for this purpose only in an exceptional way and in order to obtain a product most often consumed locally.

In Martinique and Guadeloupe, rum de vesou is produced in special establishments treating cane only for distillation, the “rhummeries agricole”. Exceptionally, the sugar factories send directly to the distillation the juice coming from spoiled or insufficiently ripe canes, which, because of their high glucose coefficient, would give bad results in sugar. It has also sometimes been recommended to reserve for the distillation the juices of the last mill, which are richer in non-sugar and ferment more easily than those of the first mills.

Extraction of the vesou.

The primitive extraction system of cane juice was the vertical mill with 3 rolls placed in line. The median cylinder received the movement of a carousel shaft in the air, either from oxen or mules, from a gear wheel, from a windmill, or from a steam engine, and transmitted it in the opposite direction to the other two side rolls by toothed wheels.

A worker presented the rods between the middle cylinder and one of the side cylinders. Another worker, placed on the opposite side of the mill, received the pressed rods and immediately directed them between the middle roll and the other lateral roll, very close together, so that they stand out on the side of the first maneuver. The yield in vesou was only 50% of the weight of the canes used. The rate of ligneous of the old varieties of cane (Bourbon, Crystalline) being of 10% on average, it remained about 40% of the vesou in the bagasse.

The vertical mill has practically disappeared today; it is no longer in use except in some primitive installations of the Antillean or South American countryside.

It has been gradually replaced, since 1840, by the horizontal mill which has 3 rolls arranged in a triangle. In small distilleries, the mill is short, of low power and constituted by a single train of cylinders. In larger plants, it is formed by 2 or 3 sets of cylinders, joined by a bagasse transporter and sometimes preceded by a shredder. The most common brands in the French West Indies are the mills Mariolle, Gilain, Society of mechanical constructions of St-Quentin, Thiriau, Company of Fives-Lille, Fletcher. The feeding is generally ensured by means of a rod-lift, constituted by a system of two endless chains interconnected by wooden or metal slats.

FIG. 4. – Vertical windmill with carousel in the air (Martinique, 19th century).

The mills of agricultural distilleries are still quite often driven by hydraulic wheels. However, the large distilleries are equipped with bagasse-heated steam engines, capable of moving powerful mills, which make it possible to obtain an extraction almost as good as in the sugar factories.

Imibition is a widespread practice. If the mill has only one train of rolls, the bagasse is subject to repressing, after being watered or macerated in water for 15 & 20 minutes. When the mill is double, the imbibition water is distributed, usually by means of a perforated ramp, at the outlet of the first mill. Finally, when it is triple, the bagasse is watered after the first mill with the small juice of the 3rd pressing and, at the exit of the second mill, with water. When this is lacking, it is sometimes used for the imbibition of vinasse, hot or cold.

The imbibition rate is much higher than in the sugar industry. Frequently, the amount of water is adjusted so that the mixed juice has the density required for the final “composition” of the must, i.e. about 1.040 [S.G.]. It varies consequently during the rhum season, following the saccharine richness of the cane.

In some distilleries, the imbibition is replaced by maceration: the bagasse instead of being watered, goes into a bath of water or small juice, or it lasts 10 to 20 minutes before being re-pressed. This system, which has been abandoned in cane sugar factories (except in factories in Australia (1), as having the disadvantage of causing too much dilution of the sweetened juices and causing the acetic acidification of these juices, would gain to be applied more in distillery, because it allows a much better extraction of the sugar.

(1) It was also released a few years ago under the Nobel process.

FIG. 5. – Simultaneous manufacture of sugar and alcohol.

The extraction rate, that is to say the amount of sugar existing in the extracted juice relative to the total sugar of the cane, is very variable depending on the facilities. In small distilleries, the percentage of bagasse sugar can rise to 10% and the extraction rate to be only 80-85%. On the contrary, when there are powerful mills, the extraction is often, because of the better imbibition of bagasse, as good as in the sugar factories (92-96%). Finally, if we practice maceration, it can reach, under excellent conditions, up to 98%.

The diluted juice from crushing of the cane flows into a bowl placed under the mills. It then goes on a crazy bagasse sieve. In the small distilleries it consists of a simple perforated copper plate and, in larger plants, a long and narrow corridor arranged parallel to the mills. It has a horizontal portion carrying a copper cloth and an inclined portion terminating at the level of the intermediate conveyor of the mill 2. The fine bagasse retained by the sieve is taken by an endless chain, with wooden squeegees, and rejected after the first mill. The sieved juice is sent immediately to the composition pit, or, more often, directly to the fermentation tanks.

[SOS how would “folle” be translated here? It would mean extra quick or crazy?

From blog reader Jérôme:
‘It then goes on a crazy bagasse sieve.’
“Folle” is literally “crazy” (with a feminine ending, as bagasse is feminine in french), but here it’s with the idea of “it goes where it wants (but should not)”, so it’s about a filter or sieve for “out of place”, “wild”, “escaped”, “raving” bagasse, gone with and flowing in the vesou instead of staying with the bulk of the fibrous residue.

Possibly for the translation we should call it “errant bagasse sieve”.]

Kervegant Part 4 PDF

In small installations, the bagasse, after the last pressing, is received in a large basket that a worker takes to the generator or to the bagasse shed. The evacuation is carried out, in some cases by a mechanical transporter.

A. C. Amador (1) recommends the following process to simultaneously manufacture sugar and alcohol from the cane (FIG. 5):

(1) Fabricacion simultanea de azucar crudo y alcohol, in Almanaque 1945, 312. Ministerio de Agricultura, Cuba.

The juice from the shredder and the first 2 mills is pumped to scale C, where it is weighed and limed. It then goes into the juice heaters D, and is subjected, in the bins E, to defecation. The clear juices are directed to the multi-effect feeding tray, while the sludge undergoes a second defecation in the trays I, which receive the juice of the last mills, previously heated.

The clear juices of second defecation, after being cooled by passing through the refrigerant M, are sent to the distillery, where they are subjected to fermentation, as is or after mixing with molasses. The sludge of second defecation is received in the mixing tanks, diluted with hot water and used for the imbibition of the bagasse, at the entrance of the fourth mill, if the installation comprises 5 mill trains.

This way of doing things makes it possible to reserve pure and concentrated juices for sugar, hence a very appreciable saving of fuel made in the evaporation of the juice, obtaining a sugar of better quality, reducing the amount of molasses, etc. …

Composition of the vesou.

Cane juice from the mill is in the form of a cloudy liquid, containing in solution sucrose, reducing sugars, gums, salts of organic and inorganic acids, dyestuffs, albuminoid materials, and in suspension of bagasse particles and soil. Among these substances, some are in the state of colloidal solution (proteic matters, gums, dyestuffs, free silica), the others in the state of true solution (sugar, proteoses, amino acids and mineral salts).

The composition is quite variable depending on the stage of maturity of the cane, the variety, the factors that have governed the vegetative development of the plant (soil type, fertilizer, climate) and the mode of extraction of the juice (mill pressure, hot or cold soaking, etc.).

Honig (2) indicates the following percentage of cane reaching full maturity and the distribution rate of the various constituents between the juice and the bagasse:

(2) Arch. Suikerind. Ned. Indië XLII. 249. 1934,

The normal cane juice coming from the mills would, according to Hardy, have the following composition (by weight):

Eau …                                80 – 85 %
Saccharose …                   10 – 18 –
Reducing sugars              0.3 – 3.0 –
Organic Matter                0.5 – 1.0 –
Mineral Matter                 0.2 – 0.5 –

The average centesimal composition of the non-sugar would be, according to the same author:

Before examining the various constituents of juices, we reproduce below some analyzes, which illustrate the variations of composition of the product under the action of various factors.

Honig (1), in Java, reproduces among other analyzes relating to the composition of the vesou at the different stages of development of the plant, the following, made in 1931 on canes of the district of Modjo:

McKaig and Fort (1), in Louisiana, found as composition juices (juice of the shredder) of healthy canes and canes damaged by the borer (Diatraea saccharalis F.) and by the fungus of the red snot (Colletotrichum falcatum Went):

(1) J. Agr. Res. LII, 17, 1936.

The non-sugar of the previous canes contained % dry matter:

(2) In cc, O. 1N sodium hydroxide required to neutralize 10 cc. of juice (titration of phenolphthalein).

Density, sugars.

The density of cane juice is subject to significant variations depending on the saccharine richness of the plant and the rate of imbibition. It oscillates in general, for the undiluted juice (juice of the shredder or the first mill), between 1060 and 1080. But we have seen that the density of the mixed juice can be lowered, in the agricultural distilleries, around 1040, by the use of a large quantity of water of imbibition.

Brix of the undiluted juice, i.e., the amount of dry matter p. 100 of the juice by weight, usually varies between 14 and 20 (16-18 by the average weight of the salts dissolved in the vesou being higher than that of the sucrose solutions of the same concentration, the apparent dry extract given by the Brix saccharometer is greater than the actual dry extract obtained by evaporation of the liquid. Fort and McKaig can be calculated by multiplying the apparent Brix increased by percentage of carbonate ash by the factor 0.0120.

Cane juice normally contains only 3 sugars: sucrose, glucose and levulose. The latter two (reducing sugars), which represent intermediate bodies in the synthesis of sucrose, gradually diminish as the plant approaches maturity. In the juice of ripe canes, their proportions usually oscillate between 0.3 and 2%, for sucrose levels of between 12 and 18% (14-16 on average).

If the cane is very far from the point of maturity, glucose and levulose exist in approximately equal amounts. However, when maturity is advancing, levulose is used more rapidly than glucose and tends to disappear (Prinsen-Geerligs, Browne and Blouin). ). In some cases, rare it is true, the glucose itself can be in turn fully used, so that the cane contains only sucrose, no reducing sugars (Spencer).

In canes having exceeded their point of maturity, attacked by rats or insects, burned or left to their own after being cut, the inversion of sucrose occurs more or less rapidly, under the influence of certain microorganisms or of the invertase, which normally exists in the tops of the cane and diffuses, after cutting, throughout the stem.

These different causes explain that the coefficient of purity of the juice, that is to say the percentage of sucrose relative to the total dry matter, is subject to great variations. In regions bordering the growing zone (Louisiana, Argentina), where the cane is never perfectly ripe at the time of harvest, and in the equatorial countries (English Guyana), where clumps of cane contain stems at all stages of maturity, the average purity hardly exceeds 80 and can descend at the beginning of the season to 70. On the contrary, when climatic factors allow a good maturation of the plant, the purity reaches 83-85 and even in favorable cases (canes of dry regions, cultivated under irrigation) 90 and more.

The apparent purity, obtained from the apparent Brix and directly polarized sucrose, is always lower (usually 4 to 6%) than the actual purity, calculated from the actual dry matter and sucrose determined by double polarization.


The vesou has an acid reaction. In the case of mature and healthy canes, this acidity is low: it is generally between 0.6 and 1.6 gr. per liter, as acetic acid (1).

(1) It is more appropriate to evaluate the acidity in acetic acid than in sulfuric acid, the average normal weight of the organic acids in the composition of the vesou being approximately 60, normal weight of acetic acid.

The concentration of the hydrogen ion juice is approximately constant, the vesou having a high buffering capacity. Paine and Bach (2) observed in Porto Rico that the pH of undiluted vesou ranged from 4.73 to 5.29 (5.09 on average); Gomez (1), in the Philipines, found an average of 5.39 (5.26 to 5.57); Fort and McKaig, Louisiana, 5.38.

(2) Facts ab. Sugar XXII, 338, 1927.
(1) Philippine Agr. XIX, 609, 1981,

Canes burned before cutting, left to themselves for some time before being handled or parasitized have a much more acidic juice. The pH of the vesou of canes strongly affected by insects or fungi goes down to 4.0 – 3.8 (Iwata).

Similarly, the expressed juice acidifies rapidly, even before having undergone a beginning of alcoholic fermentation: after 24 hours, the acidity can reach 30 grs in SO4H2 per liter. This “souring” comes from the action of bacteria, which seem to directly attack sugars and which give rise to volatile acids (among which predominates acetic acid) and especially to fixed acids (Tempany).

The acidity of the vesou is due to the presence of acidic mineral salts (sulphates and phosphates) and organic acids (aconitic acid, malic acid, oxalic acid, etc.).

Yoder (2), in Louisiana, found per liter of cane juice: 0.50 gr. of aconitic acid, 0.0077 gr. of malic acid and 0.0004 gr. of oxalic acid. He did not meet tartaric, citric or succinic acids.

(2) Ind. Eng. Chem. III, 640, 1911.

Mc Allip (3) observed that the level of aconitic acid, which is a dehydrated citric acid and has the formula CO2H – OH = C (CO2H) – CH2 – CO2H. could vary in fairly large proportions, depending on the variety of cane and the locality. He found in various syrups, prepared without defecation with lime, rates ranging between 0.880 and 1.330 gr. of aconitic acid per 100 gr. dry matter.

(3) Ind. Eng. Chem. XXXIII, 637, 1941.

Balch, Broeg, and Ambier (4) found that the proportion of aconitic acid in the blended juices of Louisiana sugar factories ranged from 0.15 to 0.31% of the juice. It is 3 to 5 times higher in juices from immature ends (white tips) than in those provided by the body of the cane. The level of aconitic acid also depends on the cane variety and the nature of the crop soil. In general, it is roughly proportional to the total acidity of the juice.

(4) Sugar XL, No. 10, 32. 1945.

Tanaba dosed in the cane juice of Formosa, in gr. per liter of vesou:

Acide aconitique       0.119
>>    malique           0.0063
>>    citrique            0.0006
>>    oxalique           traces

He found no trace of tartaric, lactic, succinic and fumaric acids.

Unlike previous authors and several others (Behr (5), Taylor (6), etc.) who observed that the dominant organic acid of cane juice was aconitic acid, Winter and Prinsen-Geerligs (7). have been able to detect the presence of this body in Java juices and syrups. On the other hand, the canes of this country are richer than those of Louisiana in oxalic acid: Bosz (8) found 0.014% in the P.O. J. 100.

(5) Proc. Amer. Chem. Soc. 1876, 220. Arno Behr is the first author who reported the presence of aconitic acid in cane juice.
(6) J. Chem. Soc. (Trans) CXV, 886, 1919.
(7) Arch. Sulkerind, Ned. Indie XXXI, 720, 1923.
(8) Arch. Suikerind. Ned. Indie XXVIII, 969, 1920.

The acetic acid is found in appreciable quantity in the vesou only if the cane was previously damaged by fire, jelly, etc … or if the juice has undergone a beginning of fermentation.

Mineral matter.

The mineral content of cane juice is subject to great variations. Pitcairn (1) has found, in the Hawaiian Islands, 0.29 to 0.62% ash juice: Spencer, Cuba, 0.25 to 0.60; King (2) in the Philippines, 0.31 to 0.63% (mixed juice); Fort and McKaig in Louisiana, 0.40 to 0.72% (shredder juice), corresponding to 2.63 – 4.01% dry matter.

(1) Facts ab. Sugar X, 128, 1920.
(2) Ind. Eng. Chem. XXIII, 954. 1931

The agrological conditions (soil, climate, manure, etc.) obviously have a great influence on the richness in mineral matter. The varietal nature of the plant is also involved. Coates, Fieger and Salazar (3), for example, have observed that the varieties formerly grown in Louisiana (Louisiana Purple, Louisiana Stroped, D. 74) contained an average of 3.1% ash as dry matter in the cane, while P.O.J. 36, 213 and 234 contained 3.9%, an increase of 22%. The amount of ash from the juices also increases with the pressure of the mills (Prinsen-Geerlig, Thieme). However, according to Thieme (4), the most important factor would be soil moisture: the relatively dry regions produce high ash canes, and this rate is also higher in dry years than in rainy years.

(3) Plant. Sug. Manuf. LXXX, 422, 1928.
(4). Arch. Suikerind. Ned. Indië XXXVIII, 1155, 1930.

The main mineral constituents of cane juice are silicon, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, chlorine and sulfur. Other less important elements are iron, aluminum and manganese.

Like that of total ash, the proportion of the different elements undergoes important variations.

Spencer gives the following centesimal composition of the ashes of the juices obtained in 1912, in different factories of Cuba:

Fort and McKaig found the following average minima and maxima for various varieties of Louisiana cane (POJ 213, 234, 36 – M, Co 281, 290, CP 807, 28 – 19, 28 – 11), harvested in Canada. 1931 and 1932.

The average ash rates varied between 2.63 and 4.01% dry matter juice.

Saline materials are in the form of mineral salts (phosphates, sulphates, chlorides) or organic salts. The organic acid radicals being heavier than the mineral radicals (carbonates or oxides) dosed in the ash, it follows that the ash content is lower than that of the salts actually present.

Fort and McKaig calculated the content of Louisiana juice in mineral salts and organic salts (mg per 100 cc of juice from the shredder). Phosphates and sulphates have been evaluated as acid salts, chlorides and organic salts as neutral salts, organic acid radicals being generally monobasic (Shorey).

According to the above results, the total salt content is thus 58 to 72% higher than that of ash, while the proportion of organic salts relative to total salts varies from 54.2 to 62.5%.

Silica is found only in small proportions in the vesou. It seems to come mainly from soil adhering to the cane and fine bagasse particles, rather than the sap itself. It exists in the form of silicates and especially of colloidal silica in the free state or combined with other colloids. According to some authors, it would also be in the form of esters, in combination with certain polysaccharides.

Phosphoric acid, which is in the form of organic and inorganic phosphates, passes almost completely into the juice during cane crushing (Honig, Saint (1) Some varieties are much richer than others in this element.

(1) Prec. 5. Cong. Int. Soc. Sugar cane Techn., 616, 1936.

Sulphates generally exist in about the same proportions as phosphates, but they are subject to greater variations. These depend mainly on the soil’s richness in sulphates and chemical fertilizers.

Of the different mineral elements of the vesou, potash is the most important: 25 to 50% of the total ash. The extraction rate of potash from the cane is about the same as that of phosphoric acid and sucrose (Honig, Saint).

Soda ash is found in much smaller quantities: the soda-potash ratio averages 1/25 in cane juice (Fort and McKaig), while in beet juice it reaches 1/3.

The proportion of alumina, which comes, at least in part, from the soil adhering to the canes, is nearly the same as that of soda and iron. As for manganese, it exists only in very small proportions.

Nitrogenous substances.

Nitrogen is found in cane juice in the form of proteinaceous matter (proteins proper and nucleoproteins), coagulable by heat; proteoses (albumoses and peptones), products of hydrolytic degradation of the preceding materials, not coagulable by heat; amino acids and amides; and finally mineral materials (nitrates and ammoniacal salts). Proteins and proteoses are in colloidal solution, the others in true solution.

The amount of nitrogen compounds in the juice, generally estimated by multiplying the nitrogen by 6.25 is highly variable, Fort and McKaig, Louisiana, obtained, for the individual samples of vesou (juice of the shredder), extremes of 0.294. and 2.488 (0.590 and 1.057 on average) % dry matter. Protein nitrogen relative to total nitrogen is also variable: 18-81% (average 50-56) in Louisiana juices, Fort and McKaig: 75-90% in Hawaii, according to Shorey.

The ecological conditions, the stage of maturity of the cane and the varietal nature of it are involved in these variations. The amount of nitrogenous material passing through the juice that can vary from 40 to 60% according to Honig, the pressure exerted by the mill and the rate of imbibition are also taken into account. Canes harvested before maturity, as well as those attacked by parasites, the tops of the stems (“white tips”) give a juice richer in nitrogenous materials and fermenting more easily than that of normal canes (Iwata). The nitrogen richness of the vesou also grows with the pressure of the mills: Fort and McKaig, for example, found in the juice of the shredder 0.064 of protein nitrogen and 0.056 of non-proteic nitrogen % of dry matter against 0.073 and 0.088 % in the mixed juice.

The nature of the nitrogenous organic compounds of the vesou is still poorly known. Shorey (1) has found as amino acid glycine or glycine (aminoacetic acid) NH2 – CH2 – CO2H. According to Zerban (2), who could not identify the previous body, the main amino acid would be aspartic acid, or aminosuccinic acid CO2H – CH2-CH NH2) – CO2H. This acid is mainly in the form of amide, the asparagine NH2 – CO – CH2 – CH (NH2) – CO2H, which is particularly abundant in the juice of unripe canes The same author also isolated the glutamine, amide of aminoglutamic acid having the formula NH2-CO-CH2-CH-CH (NH2) -CO2H, and another amino acid, tyrosine, or oxyphenylamino-propionic acid. But these last two bodies are in much smaller proportions than asparagine.

(1) J. Amer. Chem. Soc. XIX, 881. 1897 : X, 133, 1898 ; XXI, 609, 1899.
(2) Proc. 8. Int. Cong, Appl Chem. 1912.

Shorey has recognized the presence in the vesou of various lecithins, distearic phospahtides in one of the acidic functions of the phosphoric acid is saturated with a nitrogenous base. The bases identified by the author are choline (CH2) 3 ≡ N (OH) – CH2 – CH2OH, and betaine CH2 – N (CO2) ≡ (CH3)3, an oxidation product of choline. Guanine, amide of the purine series, has also been identified. In 6 samples of vesou studied by the author, the guanic nitrogen content was 0.0012% and that of the total nitrogen 0.0350%.

[SOS there may be a typo in that last chemical formula

Reader, Jérôme, is helpful to clarify (We now know we can ask him complicated chemistry questions!):

Choline is (CH*3*) 3 ≡ N (OH) – CH2 – CH2OH,
betaine is CH2 – N (CO2) ≡ (CH3)*3*
(of course without highlighting “*”).
Three things:
-I don’t want to be picky, but numerals should be in indices (but maybe they can’t due to blog’s limitations),
-it’s an old way to picture molecules, in order to show molecules in text-only, and thus have many limitations (and some benefits altogether),
-(OH) (in fact OH- , with the “-” being in superscript) in choline is a counter-ion in order to compensate the ammonium cationic charge as we show it today. There is also an ammonium in betaïne, but the counter-ion is the carboxyl (COO-) at the end of the molecule (the molecule being a zwitterion). So, it should be shown as:
but the writer had the carboxylate “glued” to the ammonium it compensate:
and the trap is that methylene has in fact “one arm” on ammonium and “the other arm” on carboxylate, but the formula shows only one bond, just because showing two between methylene and ammonium is incorrect, leading to the fact that “gluing” ammonium and carboxylate facilitates the understanding that they compensate each other in term of ionic charge, but make writing the formula tricky…


Mineral nitrogen exists only in very small proportions in cane juice. Ammonia salts are only found in trace amounts.


The organic substances of the alcohol-precipitable organic matter are commonly referred to as the “gums”. These include not only true gums, which are soluble in water and give by hydrolysis reducing sugars, but also various hemi-celluloses (lignin, etc.).

The amount of gum existing in the cane juice is very variable. It increases with the pressure of the mills and the temperature of the water mixture (Browne and Blouin). The variety of canes, the stage of maturity of the plant and the time that elapses between cutting and milling also influence it. The proportion of gums is higher in the cane of young canes and those which are left to themselves for some time before being handled (Steuerwald). Some parasitic diseases, such as gummosis, caused by Bacterium vascularum Cobb, strongly increase the amount of gums: the juices are thick and viscous, very difficult to work in the sugar factory.

The gums are derived from hemi-celluloses of the cane and are formed mainly by pentosans: xylan and araban, with small amounts of galactan (immature canes). However, those of parasitic origin consist of dextran (gummosis) or levulan (Bacillus levaniformans). Some of the gums are in the form of pectins.

Steuerwald and Hazewinkel (1) found that Java mixed juices contained 0.25 to 0.38% pentosans dry matter, with those from the first mill containing only traces and those from the last mills from 0.77 to 1.21%. Farnell (2) measured 0.14 to 0.34 pentosanes and 0.08 to 0.38 pectins (lime pectates) % dry matter in mixed juices from Natal and Mauritius. The same author found that the proportion of pentosans and pectins was very low, (0.036 to 0.049% pentosan) in the juices coming from the crushing of the cane by the low-pressure apparatus (laboratory mills). Browne and Philipps (3), based on the proportions of methoxyl and uronic acid found by them, think that the gums of cane juices and molasses consist mainly of pectins.

(1) Arch. Suikerind. Ned. — Indië XIX, 313, 1913.
(2) Int. Sug. J. XXVI. 480. 1924: XXVII, 254, 1926.
(3) Int. Sug. J. XLI. 430, 1939.

Wax and fat.

According to Honig, 20 to 40% of the waxy materials that cover the surface of the cane go into the juice. It contains quantities of wax very variable depending on the rate of extraction and especially the variety of cane considered, some kinds like the “Uba” having up to 0.05% wax and others almost no.

According to Wijnberg (4), 70% of raw cane wax is composed of the glycerides of oleic, linolic, palmitic and stearic acids, with resinous acids, lecithins, phytosterol and dyestuffs, and aromatics. The remaining 30% is represented by myricilic alcohol (about 45%) and another non-primary alcohol.

(4) J. Soc. Chem. Ind. 1912, 991.

A wax sample extracted from a Java sugar factory press sludge and examined by Bosz (5) had a melting point of 60-62° C., an acid number of 47.3 and a saponification number of 177. The fatty acids extracted by saponification, addition of hydrochloric acid and stirring with benzine, had a melting point of 54° C. and appeared to be constituted by a eutectic mixture of palmitic and stearic acids. In the liquid obtained by steam distilling the product of the saponification, the presence of myricilic alcohol and caproic and formic acids was recognized. Acetic, benzoic and cinnamic acids and cholesterol could not be detected.

(5) Arch. Suikerind. Ned. Indie XXVIII, 974, 1920.

Coloring matters

The main coloring substances in cane juice are chlorophyll, anthocyanin, saccharetin and tannins.

The chlorophyll of the cells that passes into the juice remains in colloidal suspension and is eliminated during defecation; it is more abundant in the juice of unripe canes.

Anthocyanin is a purple pigment found in epidermal cells of red or purplish cane varieties. Soluble in water, it becomes dirty green in alkaline medium and dark brown in the presence of ferric salts.

Dasa Rao, Walawalkar and Strikanton (1) were able to isolate the coloring matter from the “purple cane” of Mauritius and found that it consisted of a diglucoside of formula C28H33O15Cl. H2O. maybe ampelopsidine.

(1) J. Indian Chem. Soc. XV, 27, 1944.

Steuerwald (2) has given the name of saccharetin to an ill-defined material which permeates the cane fibers; colorless in acidic medium, it takes a dark yellow tint in alkaline medium and dark brown in the presence of ferric salts. It is introduced into the juice by the fine bagasse particles in suspension and dissolves during liming.

(2) Int. Sug. J. XIV, 153, 1912,

Finally, we find in the tops and eyes of the cane polyphenols, or tannins, which pass partly in the juice and take contact with the iron mills a dark green coloring. Among these polyphenols, according to Zerban (3), we find a true tannin derived from pyrocatechol and related to oak tannin.

(3) Ind. Eng. Chem. X, 814, 1918; XI, 1034, 1919, XII, 744, 1920

According to the same author, the dirty green color of the vesou results mainly from the interaction of the polyphenols and the ferrous salts formed by the action of the organic acids of the juice on the iron of the rolls and then transformed into ferric salts by the oxidases of the cane. The brownish color may also appear in the absence of iron salts, but it is then 2 or 3 times less pronounced. It is due, in this case, to the action of a laccase on the polyphenols and, for a small part, to that of a tyrosinase on the tyrosines of the juice.

Besides the substances which we have just indicated as being part of the composition of the vesou, there are others, not yet determined, which may play an important part in the constitution of the bouquet of eaux-de-vie. Of particular note is an aromatic principle that communicates to cane juice a particular taste, called “taste vesouté”. This principle is found in rum and can only be eliminated by defecation and concentration of the juice.

Value as raw material of fermentation.

Cane juice, whose composition is close to that of grape juice, except for less acidity, is an ideal medium for fermentation.

It also contains a high number of microorganisms. Owen found in Louisiana 250,000 per cc. raw juice; Nakazawa, Takeda and Suematu, at Formosa, from 104,000 to 1,000,000 per cc. These microorganisms, which include yeasts proper (Saccharomyces and Schizosaccharomyces), Torula, Monilia, mold, acetic, butyric, lactic, putrefactive bacteria, etc., are provided by the cane itself (on the surface of which they live), by the earthy matters which defile it or by the air. Abandoned to itself, the juice immediately enters fermentation.

Browne, however, reported that the newly extracted vesou has germicidal properties and that during the first days after extraction, the number of microorganisms decreases. This is no longer the case when the canes have been damaged by frost or fire: in this case, the deterioration of juices continues rapidly as soon as extraction is done.

In order to achieve the optimum conditions of the alcoholic fermentation, it is advisable to lower the concentration of the vesou to about 1.040-1.050 and to increase the acidity by the addition of a mineral acid. The juice provided by the ripe canes is also insufficiently rich in nitrogen and sometimes in certain mineral salts (phosphates). The alcoholic fermentation is consequently improved by the use of a small quantity of sulphate of ammonia. On the other hand, the juice of the unmature canes, damaged by the parasites and those coming from the tips (white tips), do not need to be added of nutritive salts, because they have a higher content of nitrogen and mineral matter (Iwata).

Kervegant Part 5 PDF

Ohtsu also reports the presence in the tops of the cane of a crystalloid substance that stimulates the activity of the yeast. By adding 0.008 of this substance to cane juice [surmurie], it has achieved a 40% increase in fermentation activity and a sharp reduction in the duration of fermentation. The yeast, in the treated juice, multiplied actively and had larger cells. [SOS what is surmurie? summer? a typo? Also, what the hell is happening here? Fascinating]


The molasses, which is the raw material the most used in the manufacture of rums, is the residual syrup of the manufacture of sugar.

Depending on whether it comes from the turbining of the sugars of 1, 2 or 3. jet, it is called first, second or third molasses. More often, in French, the term “molasses” is reserved for the final product, of which it does not belong. It is no longer possible to extract more sugar economically, the intermediate syrups are rather referred to as “égouts” [sewage]. In Cuba and Louisiana, the name “blackstrap” is used to describe molasses sold from the manufacture of 96° polar sugar.

It is especially the final molasses which are used in distillery, the first or second molasses, when they do not enter the manufacture, being rather reserved for the direct culinary consumption (United States). However, in Jamaica, first-order molasses are normally directed to the distillery.

In addition to sugar, the molasses contains the impurities of the raw juice which could not be eliminated by the purification work; products formed by the decomposition of certain elements of the non-primary sugar, in the presence of the reagents used for the purification; finally bodies resulting from the alteration of sugar by heat and lime, Its composition is very complex and varies quantitatively with the nature of the canes implemented and the conditions of work in the various phases of manufacture. The methods of purifying the juice (defecation of the skin, sulphitation or carbonation) have a particular influence on the composition of the non-sugar. [this is where rum oil begins]

We give below some analyzes of final molasses coming from different sugar producing countries.

Java Molasses (Prinsen-Geerligs)

Molasses 8 and 9 are molasses of carbonation, others molasses of defecation.

Molasses from Hawaii Islands (Peck and Deer)

Here is the comparative composition of molasses of different jets obtained in Louisiana (by Browne) (1):

(1) Louisiana Exp. Sta. Bull. No. 93 1907.

Reich (1) gives the following composition for various types of molasses:

(1) Molasses distillers; dried yeast. Sugar XL No 3, 26-29, 1945.

Finally, Arroyo found for molasses from Puerto Rico:


Unlike beet molasses, which contain an average of 45% sucrose and have no or very little sugar reducers, cane molasses, which usually range in density from 80 to 90 ° Brix (1.412 to 1.480), contain large quantities of reducing agents.

The proportion of these is very variable. It depends mainly on the amount of reducing sugars existing in the cane. The methods of making sugar are also involved: if one works in an acidic medium (manufacture of white sugar), there is a inversion of sucrose, which does not take place in neutral or slightly alkaline medium.

The amount of reducing sugars is sometimes reduced to below 10% in the case of mature cane molasses with a low glucose content. On the contrary, it may exceed 35% when the canes have not reached maturity or have undergone a beginning of alteration. It is on average 20 – 25%.

The proportion of sucrose is all the higher as that of the reducing sugars is lower, at least in the case of depleted molasses (1). It also varies between 30 and 40%.

(1) When the production of rum is lucrative, we generally tend not to exhaust molasses, whose composition is then intermediate between that of syrups and molasses (Jamaica, French West Indies).

It is generally accepted that a molasses can be considered as commercially exhausted, when the apparent purity, Pol x 100: apparent brix, is close to 30, and absolute or real purity, Sacch. real. x 100: Real Brix, close to 40. The apparent purity, however, provides only vague indications because the ratio between polarization and sucrose is extremely variable, the optical activity of the reducing sugars being very low or even nil in some molasses (molasses of carbonation of Java in particular) and high in others. The purity of molasses depends essentially on the ratio Reducers : Ashes, according to Prinsen-Geerligs, and is as great as this ratio is weak.

The cane molasses reducers consist essentially of glucose and levulose, in proportions that are not equal as in the invert sugar, but unequal and variable according to the quality of the cane used. In addition, there are small amounts of mannose and non-fermentable reducers which have been referred to as glutose. Mannose has been reported especially in Egyptian molasses by Pellet (2). It would average 0.4%, according to L. de Bruyn and A. van Eckeinstein.

(2) Pellet also reports the presence of raffinose in Egyptian molasses. But this assertion could not be confirmed by the other authors.

Glutose. – Lobry de Bruyn and Alberda van Eckeinstein (3) observed, as early as 1897, that the monoses (glucose, levulose, mannose) undergo, in the presence of alkaline or alkaline-earth bases, a transformation by which a small quantity of a non-fermentable reducer hexose, which they called “glutose”.

(3) Rec. Trav. Chim. Pays-Bas XVI, 274, 1897.

Many authors have identified with this sugar the nonfermentable reducing material found in cane molasses of various origins. We give below some figures relating to the proportions of these reducers (calculated in glucose% of molasses):

Note that beet molasses contain at most 1% of infermentable reducers.

Colthof (4), repeating the experiments of L. de Bruyn and A. van Eckeistein, was not able to obtain by treating the fermentable monoses by the bases a unique and well-defined reductive substance. He therefore considers that “glutose” is, not a specific chemical substance, but a mixture of substances of unknown constitution and probably very variable, including hexoses and bioses, glucic acid, saccharinic acid, etc. These conclusions were confirmed by Reindel and Frey (5), who were able to prepare two different osazones from the unfermentable residue of a Natal molasses. These authors also showed that the infermentability could be partly due to the presence of inhibiting substances and to a high ash content.

(4) Biochem, Z. 191, 1931.
(5) Z. Spiritusind. LVII, 237, 1934

According to Sattler and Zerban (1), the glutose of Lobry de Bruyn and Alberda van Eckeinstein is constituted by a mixture of fructopyranose anhydride and difructopyranose anhydride, with small quantities of other reducing substances: complex anhydrides of glucose, comparable to caramel, hydroxymethylfurfurol, d-allulose (encountered by the above authors in the “glutose” of cane molasses), etc.

(1) The nature of glutose. Sugar XXXIX, No. 12, 28, 1944.

Benedict, Dakin and West have observed that glutose is chemically inert in the human body and is excreted without transformation. Yeast added to a mixture of glutose and sodium phosphate can not form hexosephosphate.

The infermentable reducers of cane molasses result mainly from the action of lime on glucose and especially levulose, during defecation of the juice. A series of decomposition products having a high molecular weight and different chemical properties are formed. Some of these may undergo fermentation after hydrolysis with dilute acids; others become optically active, while others are finally transformed into insoluble humic substances. It is mainly the duration of action and the concentration of the lime which affect the quantity of infermentable reducers (Müller) (2). According to Waterman and van der Ent (3), these, which would already exist in the newly expressed cane juice, would increase during the purification of the juices, but not during evaporation and cooking. Their formation is facilitated by the rise in temperature and pH. The rate of infermentable reducers also increases during the conservation of molasses during the first months after manufacture (La Bastide). [RUM OIL PRECURSORS!]

(2) Arch, Suikerind. Ned Indie XXVI, 346, 1918.
(3) Arch. Suikerind. Ned. Indië XXXIV, 943, 1926.


Molasses have a slightly acidic, neutral or slightly alkaline reaction. Most often, they show 3-6 grams of acidity in sulfuric acid per liter. Their pH varies between 4.5 and 7.5 (5-6 on average) The molasses obtained in the manufacture of white sugar are acidic, and those derived from the manufacture of brown sugar with 96° polarization are slightly acidic, neutral or alkaline.

The combined acids are mainly in the form of salts of potash, lime and magnesia. The principal mineral acids are hydrochloric, sulfuric (4), carbonic, phosphoric and nitric acids.

(4) Sulfur is also found in molasses which have been purified by sulphitation, under strong sulphites (Ca, K, Na). These can undergo during fermentation a reduction giving rise to H2S [hydrogen sulfide], or a decomposition with release of SO2 [sulfur di-oxide]. These gases combine with alcohol to form ethyl sulphide and sulphite, of very unpleasant odor which can depreciate the obtained eau-de-vie. The smell of hydrogen sulphide is sometimes very noticeable in juices and syrups that have been left standing for a long time.

Nelson found in a molasses of Cuba the following organic acids:

In addition, there are amino acids (aspertic acid and glutamic acid) and dark-colored, incristallizable acids of poorly known constitution: glucic acid, glycolic acid, melassinic acid, saccharinic acid.

Balsh, Broeg and Ambler (5) found in blackstrap molasses from different origins (Cuba, Louisiana, etc.) variable and often very high proportions of aconitic acid (0.96 & 6.13 dry matter). Part of the acid is in the form of an insoluble compound: the sediments that come from the centrifugation of diluted molasses contain in fact from 16 to 35% of aconitic acid. The variability of the level of this element in molasses undoubtedly depends on the primitive content of cane in aconitic acid, which is eliminated in small proportions during the manufacture of sugar and passes almost entirely in the molasses.

(5) Sugar XL. No. 10, 32, 1945.

Takei and Imati have isolated acetic, butyric and benzoic acids from the ethere extract of Formosa molasses, as well as another unidentified volatile acid with the characteristic fragrance of molasses. By treatment with dilute sodium hydroxide, this last aromatic material was completely destroyed. In the neutral portion of the ether extract, the same authors found stigmasterol C29H48O and syringic acid or ac. dimethylgallic, of formula (CH3-O)2 = C6H2 (OH) 2 – CO2H5.

Glucose, glycolic, melassinic and saccharinic acids result from the action of lime on glucose and levulose during the purification of the juice. They are very unstable. Glucic acid, for example, which has the formula, according to Nelson and Browne (1), CHOH = CH – CO2H (β-hydroxyacryylic acid), is easily oxidized on contact with air, giving acids Formic and acetic. The level of formic acid can reach a significant figure in some cases: up to 0.154% in Cuban molasses and 0.791% in those of refinery, according to Zerban (2).

(1) J. Amer. Chem. Soc. LI, 830, 1929
(2) J. Ass. Off. Agr. Chem. XV, 355, 1932,

Acetic and lactic acid also come from the action of lime on sugars, while aconitic, malic and citric acids pre-exist in cane juice.

Finally, during the conservation of molasses, bacteria and mold infections can occur, giving rise to various acids such as oxalic acid, citric acid and butyric acid.

Mineral matter.

The mineral matter content of the final molasses is generally 8-10% (10 to 12% dry matter). In dry countries it can rise to 15% and lower when the molasses is poorly exhausted, at 5%.

The saline concentration of the molasses is therefore on average 3 or 4 times higher than that of the vesou (2 to 4% of dry matter). The balance of mineral elements is also significantly different in these products. During the purification of the juices, certain elements are, in fact, eliminated for the most part: this is the case for phosphoric acid, silica, alumina, iron and manganese, of which more than 80% are precipitates. Others are not reached and pass entirely in molasses: potash, soda, hydrochloric acid. Others finally increase in absolute value, by the contribution of the reagents used: lime and, in the case of purification by sulphitation, sulfuric acid. By way of example, we reproduce below the results obtained by Fort, (3), in Louisiana, by clarifying at pH 7 the juices mixed by the processes of the defecation and the suifitation:

(3) Facts ab. Sugar. XXIX sept. 1939, 34.

The mineral composition of molasses is very variable. Here are some analyzes of the ashes of molasses from various countries (% of ash).

Prinsen-Geerligs found for various Molasses of Java (% molasses):

Nitrogenous substances.

The nitrogenous materials (N x 6.25) of the molasses generally vary between 1.5 and 5%.

They consist mainly of amino acids (aspartic acid, glutamic acid, etc.) resulting from the hydrolysis of the Vesou nucleoproteins and the transformation of the amides into amino acids under the action of lime (asparagine is especially transformed into aspartic acid). During the purification of the juice, most of the albuminoid material is coagulated and eliminated; the other nitrogenous principles are little or not affected. Farnell (1) found in Natal molasses, 0.054% colloidal nitrogenous material (albuminoids) for 1.32 to 2.52% total nitrogenous matter, and in maize molasses: 0.048 to 0.198 of colloidal nitrogenous material, for 2.11 to 4.88 % of total nitrogenous matter. The ratio of albuminoid nitrogen to total nitrogen varied widely, depending on the samples (1 to 12%).

(1) Int. Sug. J. XXVII, 254, 1925.

A small amount of nitrogen is also in mineral form: Nammonical (traces) and N nitric. Pellet and Müller (2) measured 0.47% potassium nitrate in the molasses of Egypt, corresponding to 0.02% of handled canes.

(2) Int. Sug. J. XIII, 493, 1911.

Coloring materials and waxes.

Chlorophyll is eliminated during defecation. The other dyestuffs of the juices (anthocyanin, saccharetin, tannin) undergo various transformations: the process of sulphitation removes a greater quantity than the defecation with lime. Finally, during the manufacture, by the action of lime on the sugars, there are formed staining materials (comparable to those which originate in the preparation of the caramel), which give molasses a brown color more or less pronounced.

Liming removes most of the wax and fat from the vesou, which ends up in the sludge. A certain quantity, however, passes into the molasses, while another is deposited in the form of calcium soaps in the tubes of the evaporation cases (incrustations). Farnell found 0.1. 026% wax in molasses from Natal and Trinidad.

Gums and Various.

The pentosans and the pectic substances of the juices escape for the most part the action of the purifying agents. The sulphidation and the carbonation would eliminate a certain quantity, but the liming very little. Farnell found from 0.14 to 0 46% pentosanes in the molasses of Natal and Mauritius. In 3 molasses from Trinidad, the same author doses 0.55 – 0.72 pentosanes and 0.33 – 0.70 pectines (in pectate lime)% Brix. According to Browne, the molasses gums are largely composed of pectins.

The pentosans usually found in molasses are araban and xylan. Other substances which may be accidentally encountered include dextran, levulan, cellulan, mannan and galactan.

Dextran appears quite often in canes geleed or attacked by insects (Browne), the juice having undergone gummy fermentation (Leuconostoc), etc. Due to its high rotatory power (+ 200 °), it introduces an important cause of error in the polarization of juices and molasses.

Levulan results from the activity of various bacteria, including Baillus levaniformans. It provides, by hydrolysis with acids, levulose, while dextran gives glucose.

Cellulan was found by Browne in Louisiana. It is formed in certain fermentations of juices and molasses. It is in the form of large membranous lumps, insoluble in caustic soda (which differentiates it from dextran). When treated with hot soda, it gives a product presenting the reactions of cellulose, and, hydrolyzed by acids, it transforms into glucose.

Mannan is sometimes found in sedimentary deposits of fermented juices and molasses. It gives mannose by hydrolysis with acids.

Galactan or galacto-xlyane gum was found in significant quantities by Gupta, Sen and Watson (1) in molasses obtained in the manufacture of gur (brown sugar produced in India by indigenous methods). It is very resistant to hydrolysis by acids and provides by oxidation a large amount of mucic acid. It has pronounced reducing properties and consequently introduces a cause of error in the analysis of reducing sugars. It is to this cause that the above authors attribute the defective alcoholic yield of the molasses examined by them. Galactan does not normally exist in molasses (Farnell).

(1) J. Soc. Chem. Ind. XLIII, 291, 1924.

Finally, Browne has encountered relatively high amounts of chitin in the froths that form on the surface of Louisiana molasses kept in bins. This body, which appears to have a fungal origin, gives by hydrolysis with HCl, glucosamine C6H13NO5.

These scums also contain a significant proportion of a fat whose composition is similar to that of cow butter. However, it is more acidic than fresh butter and has a predominance of soluble acids (caproic and caprylic acid).

A sample of scums offered, after removal of the molasses, the following percentage composition: water 10, chitin 11.30, pectin 31.61, fat 27.50, ash 5.58, undetermined 14. During the distillation, the fat decomposes giving acrolein and other undesirable products that spoil the resulting brandy. It is true that the inferior quality of the rums supplied by certain types of molasses is due to the presence of fat in them (Owen). The elimination of the foam that forms on the surface of the molasses during their conservation is therefore advisable.

We often find in molasses a hexatomic alcohol mannile, CH2OH (CH OH4 – CH2OH) which is formed in various fermentations, and in particular in that caused by Leuconostoc, by reduction of the invert sugar. The quantity of mannite varies moreover rapidly, this product being attacked by many bacteria.

Conservation of molasses.

The storage and handling of molasses was formerly done in a defective manner. Pairault wrote at the beginning of the century:

“In the sweets that produce them, these molasses are most often kept in large masonry basins dug in the ground and not covered.These molasses are thus exposed to all the dusts of the plant, moreover, it is frequent that rats (not to mention the many insects) fall into it and die there, and even more often than once for larger animals. Drawn from these basins, the molasses is introduced into the boucauts (barrels of 500 liters), which are used for its transport and whose internal cleaning is almost always insufficient. On their arrival in the rhummeries of the cities, the barrels are rolled on the dusty soil and brought by special men on depots formed by planks arranged in a clear way over a pit similar to that of the factory. The dust brought by men’s feet falls into molasses. Syrup spreads over the beams, forms a viscous coating thickened by dust, molds grow on the whole, but no one cares.”

At present, molasses are generally kept in steel tanks, in the form of vertical or horizontal cylinders, and whose capacity can vary from 100,000 to more than 1,000,000 liters.

In Java, certain factories, in order to make the transport and the handling easier, make solidified molasses. The molasses, diluted with water so as to mark about 70° Brix, is introduced after having been heated and skimmed in a vacuum box. It is concentrated until only about 6% of water remains. The contents of the box are then poured and received in bamboo baskets lined with mats, where it becomes a hard and brittle mass. The molasses prepared in this way often undergo compositional changes, which diminish its value as a distillery raw material. During the preparation, relatively large losses of dry matter occur. The reducing sugars are partially transformed into non-organic sugar by polymerization, and all the more so as the temperature is higher.

Even when stored under excellent conditions, during its conservation, the molasses undergoes a progressive inversion of the sucrose and a decrease of the total sugars. If the product is concentrated normally (about 50% of total sugars) and is kept at a moderate temperature, close to 30°, this is low, but losses can in some cases reach high proportions.

Bastide (1), in Java, examining molasses on their reception and after 4-5 months and 9-10 months intervals, observed: a reduction in polarization and sucrose level (average 0.23% after 4 months and 0.80 after 10 months), a decrease in fermentable reducing sugars (0.58% after 4 months and 1.21% after 18 months) and an increase in non-fermentable reducers, which rose on average from 3.42% to 3.99 after 4 months and at 4.21% after 10 months. The molasses obtained by the various purification processes (defecation, sulphitation or carbonation) behaved in a practically similar manner.

(1) Arch. Suikerind. Ned Indie XXXVIII, 701, 1930.

Koffler (1), in Cuba, also found a progressive reversal of sucrose, the average rate of which increased from 37.75% to 34.48% at the end of the 7th month, a decrease in Brix (1%), a decrease in pH (from 5.92 to 5.23 after 7 months) and a very noticeable accentuation of the coloring. The glucose level did not increase in parallel with the inversion of sucrose, so that there was finally a loss in total sugars.

1) Int. S. J. XL. 108; 1938

Browne followed, for 21 years, compositional variations in two molasses samples from Cuba. Here are the results obtained by the author for one of these molasses:

On the other hand, the rate of non-sugar organic molasses reached above, in 1927, 34.68% dry matter, while in the ordinary molasses of Cuba, it is only 12.38% on average. The amino acids had disappeared and the color had gradually become darker and darker.

In addition to this slow decrease in saccharin richness, much more abrupt deterioration has been reported, molasses undergoing spontaneous decomposition, with temperature rise and release of gas.

Prinsen-Geerligs describes the phenomenon, known as froth fermentation, as follows:

“During the cooling of the low-purity cooked masses, the surface swells and sometimes dies, a blackish foam filtering through the crevices. This foam covers the entire surface, rising continuously and sometimes overflowing the tank. In the case of the final molasses, which do not form a crystallized superficial crust, the whole mass begins to foam from the bottom, but the phenomenon also has the same appearance as cooked masses … ”

The phenomenon is accompanied by a strong release of heat, the temperature being able to rise to 100°. The emission of gases, formed by a mixture of CO2 formic acid, acetic acid and fumes acres of unknown composition, is sometimes violent enough to give rise to projections of matter. After a few days, the mass can be transformed, in part or even entirely, into a charcoal, hard and porous, resembling carbonized sugar.

[Here the last line carries over into the next page. I may serialize this in 50 page chunks]

Kervegant Part 6 PDF

Kervegant Part 7 PDF

Kervegant Part 8 PDF

Kervegant Part 9 PDF

Kervegant Part 10 PDF

Kervegant Part 11 PDF

Kervegant Part 12 PDF

Kervegant Part 13 PD

6 thoughts on “Kervegant P. 1-50

  1. Hi Stephan,
    you have already mon e-mail, if you need help for the translation of this text do not hesitate to write me. It ll be a pleasure to participate!

  2. David (Reunion Island) February 16, 2019 — 1:12 pm

    Hello, I was looking for this book since a long time. Thank you very much.
    I would very interested by the chapter XII : “Chapitre XII : Le rhum dans l’alimentation et en médecine”. I am french, if you need help for the translation it would be a great honor !

  3. Hi David, I just sent you an email. I’ll try to digitize that chapter for you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Boston Apothecary

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close