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From Martinique to Vietnam, Belami Rum is an ode to craftsmanship


Rody Battajon

It all starts with sugar cane. Without it, rum wouldn’t exist.

While most people associate rum primarily with the Caribbean, and younger generations might think of the whimsical adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow, today we embark on a journey to the micro-distillery of another equally colorful pirate: Rody Battajon.

In the southern part of Vietnam, in his adopted city of Ho Chi Minh City, Rody, born to a Martiniquais mother and an Italian father, created Belami, his artisanal rum, made entirely in Vietnam. When the artist talks about his rum and the journey that began in 2016, his eyes shine with an unmistakable passion.

The choice of sugar cane is crucial. Rody tirelessly traveled the country in search of the ideal terroir, much like a winemaker juggling grape varieties. He initially worked with black sugar cane, cultivated in the Long An plantations, but has now switched to an exceptional Vietnamese cane from the Ben Tre region, the ROC16, with a BRIX level (an indicator of the amount of sucrose that feeds the fermentation) reaching up to 24.4!

He can’t help but smile when he opens the fermentation tank and sees the precious cane juice bubbling and singing after just one night of work. After fermentation, the meticulous work begins: Rody carefully crafts the flavor profile that will be revealed during distillation and barrel ageing. The alchemy happens in a still with a gin basket, where carefully selected ingredients are placed, then Rody transfers the nectar into barrels prepared by him with local spices to age and infuse, giving it the refined and distinctive “Belami touch.” When the rum is ready, each bottle is hand-sealed with wax in the workshop.

This attention to detail and uncompromising quest for excellence are the foundation of the company, which also prides itself on sourcing ingredients locally, paying employees fairly, and establishing a strong network with other local actors.

The efforts of this pioneer in artisanal spirits have quickly been recognized and rewarded, notably with a gold medal for his Legacy Edition rum at the Top Rhum World Spirits Awards in a blind tasting competition, the pinnacle of success.

Since then, the micro-distillery has continued to forge ahead, and Belami rums are now distributed internationally and served in numerous luxury restaurants and hotels.

His current range includes the following rums: ROC16 Agricultural Rum (52%), Legacy (48%) with notes of grilled pineapple, rambutan, Phu Quoc red pepper, and turmeric, Premium (40%) with notes of chocolate, coffee, and coconut, and Euphoria (55%) with notes of water chestnuts, oak, and anise with a beautifully smoky finish.

Belami is much more than a quality spirit: it’s a celebration of artisanal adventure, the richness of Vietnamese terroir, and a passion that transcends borders.

Text and photos: Aurélien Foucault