"Got Rum?" Magazine- April 2015
April 2015- Rum in the News
Mike Kunetka shares with us in the 2015 April issue of "Got Rum?" magazine the most recent and noteworthy headlines in the rum industry.
April 2015- Rum in the News
-by Mike Kunetka
TWIN VALLEY DISTILLERS
Tucked in behind a body shop in an industrial park in Rockville, Maryland is Montgomery County’s only distillery. Opened less than a year, Twin Valley Distillers is currently producing two rums. Seneca Bay White Rum is Jamaican style rum made from molasses and is bottled at 40% ABV. There is an ‘aged’ version that is currently maturing in barrels and will be bottled at 95% ABV. A former restaurateur, Edgardo Zuniga started three years ago infusing vodka with fruits and herbs. He then searched the local library and Amazon for books on distilling. After two training stints at nearby craft distilleries, Zuniga began the difficult process of licensing. His patience has paid off, and locals can find his products at the county-run liquor stores.
The folks at Ferrand have changed the blend and the packaging of their Original Dark Rum. Original Dark starts as Trinidad rum aged in the tropical climate at home in heavily charred American oak barrels. The rums are tasted and the finest marks are sent to Chateau de Bonbonnet in France where they are now blended with small quantities of high ester Jamaican pot-still rums that have also been well matured. The new blend is aged a second time in medium-charred French oak casks. The packaging of the new Original Dark has also changed. It now incorporates the classic look that Plantation uses on their 3-Star White and Stiggins Fancy. Plantation Original Dark recently won a Gold Medal at the 2015 Festival Rum Bahamas Tasting Competition.
Havana Club’s Maestro Ronero, Asbel Morales, and Cigar Expert, Fernando Fernadez, have joined forces to create the perfect rum/cigar pairing. Fernadez has chosen the Cohiba Siglo VI and Morales has created Havana Club Union. Inspired by the similarities of aging, blending and maturing again the finest ingredients (rums and tobaccos), Morales has combined small batches of rare rums that have been aged and blended again and again. Havana Club Union comes in a classic shaped bottle, similar to Havana Club’s other high end rums, Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros and Havana Club Maximo Extra Añejo. The bottle is packaged in an elegant cedar wooden box.
DOMINICAN RUM SMUGGLING
Fake rum and cigarette smuggling in the Dominican Republic has cost the government over US$45 million in lost tax monies. Jose de Castillo, Industry and Commerce Minister, recently said that these illegal activities have harmful consequences for the government, retailers, manufacturers and citizens. “It’s time to revert it before it becomes uncontrollable” he said.
JUST-DRINKS.COM RUM REPORT
Just-drinks.com, an online news, insight and research portal for the beverage industry, has just released a 122 page report entitled “Global Rum Insights” that predicts that the rum category will be the “next big thing” in the global spirits market. The report forecasts that, between 2014 and 2019, the overall rum market will decline by 1.73%, shedding as many as 12 million cases. This fall will be seen at the value end of the market, but for the other end of the spectrum, the picture is far rosier. Excluding value and low-priced rums, the market will grow by over 5.5 million cases to 64 million by 2019. For more information on their report, go to just-drinks.com.
Zane Lamprey traveled the globe to more than 60 countries tirelessly sampling the world’s finest spirits for his TV shows, Three Sheets and Drinking Made Easy. Upon returning home with his simian companion (Pleepleus the monkey), he created his coconut and spiced rums to capture the spirit of his adventures. MONKEY RUM is made from the finest Caribbean rum, infused with natural toasted coconut and tropical spices. Both rums recently won Triple Gold Awards at the Beverly Hills World Spirits Competition.
GLOBAL RUM MASTERS COMPETITION
The beverage website SpiritBusiness.com recently held their Global Rum Masters Rum Judging. Two teams of London bar managers, and rum experts tasted 76 rums in 15 flights. Only 9 of those rums earned the coveted Master rating. In the Gold Rum Over 12 years Old, La Hechicera won Master. In the Dark 8 – 12 Year Old category, it was Banks’ XM VXO Royal 7 Year. In the Dark over 12 Year category, Master Awards went to Banks XM Supreme and Connoisseur’s Cut Guyanian Cognac Cask. Twin Master Awards were also given in the Super Premium Category to Cruzan’s Single Barrel Rum and Brugal’s 1888. The Rhum Agricole Master Award went to Rhum J.M Tres Vieux Rhum Agricole X.O. The final Master Awards went to Toussaint Coffee Rum Liqueur and Rum-Bar’s White Over-Proof.
What do two geeks do when they have reached burn-out in the volatile high-tech world? They start a rum distillery, of course. Greg and Sherial Starr have opened Geek Spirits in Boulder, Colorado. According to Denver.Eater.com, a Colorado fine food and drink website, Greg, who holds a PhD in electrical engineering, “spent two years researching molecular philosophies around creating spirits and attending intensive training about the distillery business”. The couple has experimented extensively with molasses, agave and grain based mashes, developing an “unapologetic enthusiasm and precision to intelligently creating rum.”
KRAUSE FAMILY SPIRITS
This little piggy has gone to market. JP and Monika Krause have just introduced Squeal Go Pig Black Spiced Rum here in Colorado. They have already scored a 91 from the Tasting Panel magazine, with comments like “smooth and lush, with spice and brown sugar.” I will check out both of these neighbors and have more details next issue.