Approaching this old Jacobean plantation promises to be a memorable experience. Coming from the west (via Holetown or Speightstown) you’re greeted by a road lined with massive mahogany trees. Via the east coast its impossible to miss the view offered by Cherry Tree Hill.
It is one of the highest points on the Bajan Island and offers the breathless view of the entire rugged east coast. The last route is the one we took. After stopping to take pictures of the view you start driving down the slope where you enter the mahogany lined road that leads to the estate.
The first thing you notice while nearing St. Nicholas Abbey is how well manicured the area is. First impressions are always good (as if the amazing view and tree lined road were not enough!).
One must understand that rum is only one part of the experience (albeit a great one). Once you’re there take time to enjoy the beautiful gardens surrounding the mansion.
Once we paid to access the site we were handed a detailed pamphlet that interprets most of the sights we’d encounter and a detailed history. Of course, the first thing we did was admire the architecture of the house, especially the attention to detail inside. It’s amazing to imagine such luxurious accommodations over 300 years ago.
After touring the house, we were greeted by a lovely courtyard that offered a quaint sitting area, the old bathhouse and outhouse, a massive tree nicknamed “Monkey no climb” and the entrance to the rum shop…
This area offers the most amazing view of the estate’s tropical gullies. A major plus is you can enjoy this while having a snack in the other courtyard.
We did so and were offered a complimentary rum punch. While waiting for our meals, we had the opportunity to chat with Simon Warren, son of the owner of the property. After a great conversation and our food, Simon offered to bring us to taste their aged rum.
The setting cannot be described and done justice, you just have to go. The decanter, in which the rum is presented is absolutely stunning and promises something great.
Needless to say the tasting went great and I immediately purchased a bottle with a special engraving done just for me. Each bottle is etched numerically to underline its limited availability. Talk about a special visitor experience.
My only regret was not purchasing an extra one, as I’m saving mine for a special occasion. From my understanding they bottle selected rums from the Foursquare Distillery, in Barbados, and are aging them in their own barrels for 10 years. What is even more exciting is that they will eventually be bottling their own rum from their own sugar canes.
Proofs of this are the brand new copper stills that are prominently displayed in another building nearby (the distillery) and the old windmill that has even been revamped and is now crushing sugar cane on a regular basis.
The only thing that is left to be said is a huge recommendation not to miss this on your next visit to Barbados. The sights are absolutely stunning, the history intriguing and the rum not to be missed. Do not miss the video showcasing life on the island and the plantation during the 19th century.
They also offer full guided tours. One final recommendation is to visit the site’s public “facilities” for the chance to see a true “Crapper”.
St. Nicholas Abbey 10 Year Old Barbados Rum Review