St. Nicholas Abbey is a Jacobean plantation house in the highlands of St. Peter, Barbados, set in 225 acres of cane on an estate covering 400 acres, much of the balance being woodland with mature trees. Built in 1658, the house was recently fully restored by local architect and current owner, Larry Warren who took over the estate in January 2006 and then spent ten months on renovations to open to the public as a visitor attraction in November 2006.
Larry has also restored the estate's original steam-driven mill, made in 1890 by Fletchers of Derby, England. This is the last working steam mill in the Caribbean and is now once again being used to squeeze the juice from the cane. This vintage piece of equipment now sits alongside modern day distilling kit such as a state-of-the art Arnold Holstein 600 litre pot still that is topped by an eight-plate column. Bureaucratic issues delayed the start of distilling proper, but when I visited in late February 2010 these had just been overcome and the resumption of distilling at St. Nicholas was imminent.
While distilling proper was delayed, fellow Barbadian and distiller, Richard Seale of Four Square stepped into the breach and supplied Larry with casks of his rum made from imported Guyanan molasses. These were stored and hand-bottled at St. Nicholas and are sold as St. Nicolas Abbey 10 Year Old and 15 Year Old rums.
St. Nicholas White Rum and St. Nicholas 5 Year Old rums are true estate rums distilled from estate grown sugar cane juice by Larry and Simon.