The Armateurs de Rhum of Saint-Malo CEO Mathurin Heude (Interview)

Published by The Rumlab ago about the Armateurs de Rhum company

The Armateurs de Rhum of Saint-Malo CEO Mathurin Heude (Interview) article cover image

Mathurin Heude is the founder and CEO of the Armateurs de Rhum of Saint-Malo. He’s from Saint-Malo, with a family in Saint-Malo’s gastronomy for 150 years. After his food engineering industry and a cooker formation, He has worked in big companies such as Danone and Unilever, but he ever had in mind entrepreneurship.

“My first and main support was my father. He has 40 years’ experience in the sommelier trade. He gave me a passion for taste. Thanks to his career, he gave me an entrepreneurial spirit. This is the reason why I’ve found in June 2020 the Armateurs de Rhum”, said Mathurin.

Learn more about Mathurin Heude,  the founder and CEO of the Armateurs de Rhum of Saint-Malo, in the following interview:

TRL: What does the rum mean to you? What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?

Rum is a long love story with Saint-Malo. From the French East India Company to the “Route du Rhum” nowadays, Saint-Malo is an essential place for these wonderful spirits.

Because I’m from Saint-Malo and with my family story, it was obvious for me to create my company in this place, to revive this story between Saint-Malo and rhum.

I think the day I really fell in love with Saint-Malo was when I met Jacques Larrent, the cellar master of Bielle. I was 20 years old and Jacques was in Saint-Malo for the famous « Route du Rhum ». He organized a testing session of rhums and I realized that there was a real complexity and an infinite way of tasting as in the wine sector. I think this day is the beginning of the Armateurs de Rhum, because it’s the beginning of my passion for rhum.

TRL: Three essential characteristics that define the rum according to your perspective.

The know-how of women and men behind the products, the rum terroir, and the heritage and history behind rhum.

TRL: What is the most important contribution you have made in the rum industry?

I think that the most contribution I’ve made is to revive a forgotten heritage. Indeed, with the Armateurs de Rhum, I have given life back to an aging rhum cellar in Saint-Malo, as it was done in the XIXth century with the French East India Company.

TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you.

Sharing. I’ve found this adventure with the love of rhum, and I think I’ve transmitted it, but I also met many passionate persons who shared with me their experience, their love of good products, and their know-how.

TRL: What’s another thing you are passionate about, in addition to rum? Why?

Gastronomy. With a father cook-sommelier and a mother cellar woman-sommelier, I had the chance to grow up in a family of gastronomy lovers. They shared with me their knowledge, experience, and passion. This is also the reason why I’ve done a cooker formation while I was studying.

TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?

Inside my aging cellar, with the smell of all the rhums inside the casks.

TRL: Favorite drink + Recipe

An original Saint-Malo Spritz. Saint-Malo Spritz is a revisit of a famous Italian aperitivo with French and natural ingredients, using rhum as an ingredient, instead of neutral spirits.  

The recipe is really easy :

¼ of SMS Original

2/4 of french sparkling wine

¼ of sparkling water

Full off the ice and a slice of orange or green lemon.

TRL: Why is it important to educate the rum consumer?

It is like in the wine sector. The first step is to understand ourselves well, what do we like or not. The second step is to learn some theories to have a better understanding and an analytic aspect of the sensorial tasting.

The last step is practicing. We need to give ourselves time to learn and to have our own experience to be able to appreciate the real quality of the products.

TRL: Any tips to train the palate and taste a good premium rum?

There are 3 times in tasting of good premium rum :

1st – tasting just a small drop on the lips

2nd – tasting just a small drop in a mouth, with a large quantity of saliva

3th – a larger sip that allows you to cover the entire palate.

TRL: How can rum contribute to improving the crisis in some countries?

Rum has a high growth market around the world. Often, sugar cane farming areas are undergoing a severe crisis. It is necessary to defend the work of man and to revalue quality products at the right price.

TRL: Is the commitment to sustainable development the key to success for the permanence of the rum industry in the world? Why?

Yes, because respect of our environment and our earth is something « nice to have » but something we « have to ». It is a forward march that will never stop.

TRL: Who would like to meet in the rum industry? What would you say to him/her?

The founder of La Maison Ferroni, Guillaume Ferroni, because he has extremely inspiring work. He really defends his region’s heritage and he is passionate about the work of men and women behind aging cellar work.

TRL: What are your next goals in the rum industry?

Growing of the aging cellar with new tastings, always more surprising, between tradition and modernity!

TRL: Plans you have when you leave the rum industry.

I am clearly not ready to leave the world of rum, because once you’re in, it is difficult to leave because there are so many things to discover and learn!

However, if I were to leave the rum industry, I think I would take the opportunity to learn more about my other passion, gastronomy, and why not try to be a cook!

TRL: Why is the role of the bartender important in the rum industry?

A bartender has an essential role in the rum industry. He allows the modernization of this spirit and he reveals all rum’s facets! He plays a role in the consumption trends of rum users, and in the democratization of the various rums in terms of use. He is an explorer of new incredible products for his clients!

TRL: What is your advice for new generations in the rum industry?

Rum has a thousand facets to explore, so let’s talk about your creativity to launch new products that highlight all the qualities of this spirit! Don’t forget rum heritage, you don’t have to deny the past to do innovative products, it’s a strength you have to rely on.

TRL: How can people learn more about you? Website? Social media page?