"Got Rum?" Magazine
Rum in the News
The most recent and noteworthy headlines in the rum industry, written by Mike Kunetka and published monthly in the "Got Rum?" magazine. To share your news with our readers, please send an email to Mike@gotrum.com
December 2014- Rum in the News
by Mike Kunetka
TREATY OAK DISTILLING
In September, MicroLiquor honored Treaty Oak Distilling Co. of Austin, Texas, with a Triple Gold Award for their flagship spirit, Treaty Oak Barrel Reserve Rum. MicroLiquor Spirit Awards recognize products from emerging spirits brands around the world, as well as small distilleries selling up to 50,000 9-liter cases annually. Additionally, Daniel Barnes, founder and Master Distiller of Treaty Oak, was named MicroLiquor’s “Distiller of the Year” for 2014. The Barrel Reserve is made with Texas molasses and rainwater. Treaty Oak will soon be moving operations to the 32-acre Ghost Hill Ranch near Dripping Springs, about 25 miles west of Austin. The new, expanded state-of-the-art distillery will include a 32-foot-tall continuous column still and a complete working brewery, allowing Treaty Oak to start making beer as well.
Last month, I mentioned the various barrel aging programs at Dos Maderas. Habitation Saint-Etienne is one of the first distilleries on Martinque to experiment with different finishing barrels. Their Black Sheriff is a blend of three to four year old rums, aged in Kentucky and Missouri bourbon barrels. Other rhums spend four to seven years in standard HSE oak barrels and then are finished in Sauterne barrels (Chateau La Tour Blanche) or single malt barrels from Scotland (island of Islay). Their latest efforts include additional aging in sherry barrels. After seven years of aging in oak barrels, this 2005 vintage agricole rum spends an additional six months maturing in Pedro Ximenez sherry barrels. On your next visit to Martinique, stop in at the La Compagnie du Rhum, where you can find all of HSE’s special bottlings, as well as six hundred other rhums/rums, including three liter rum boxes and huge 4.5 liter bottles.
TROIS FRERES DISTILLERY
Rum collectors, take note; this may be a new, little known rum for you. The Trois Freres Distillery was built and developed by brothers Richard and Bernard d’Offay back in 2002. Their vision was driven by a desire to provide the Seychelles islands with high quality rum based on their grandfather’s original recipe. Takamaka Bay Dark Rum was created. Since then, the Takamaka Bay family of products has grown to include St. Andre Rhum Vesou, distilled from cane grown locally on the island of Mahe. The cane is pressed only once to release the sweetest juice, or vesou. Trois Freres (three brothers) also offers a white rum, a coconut rum and an eight-year-old rum.
Rum doesn’t have a great reputation in Cambodia. At best, it’s regarded as a handy component in cocktails. At worst, it’s mislabelled “whisky” and sold for $1 a bottle in street-side neighborhood shops. It’s a perception that South American expats Daniel Pacheco, Antonio Lopez and Diego Wilkins – the founders of the new Samai Distillery – are keen to change. By the end of this year, the distillery plans to launch Cambodia’s first premium rum, made from sugarcane grown on local family owned farms and then fermented, distilled and aged in a beautiful and airy building in Phnom Penh. Samai’s light and dark rums will initially be sold at the distillery as well as local bars, hotels and bottle shops, with international exports starting next year. Other plans include producing aged and flavored rums, such as coffee and Kampot pepper, as well as running tours, functions and tastings.
MAGGIE’S FARM (ALLEGHENY DISTILLING )
Maggie’s Farm (Allegheny Distilling) is an independently-founded distillery and the first producer of a commercially-available craft rum in the state of Pennsylvania since Prohibition. All products are distilled from scratch in the Spanish-made copper potstill, just behind the cocktail bar in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. Maggie’s Farm’s mission is to produce a smooth, yet full-flavored, full -bodied spirit through the use of temperature controlled fermentation, a 100% copper pot still, and conservative distillation cuts. Their White Rum is made from 100% turbinado, a raw sugar rather than a processed molasses. This lends to a softer spirit for an un-aged product and the use of raw sugar also adds some floral notes characteristic of the “agricultural” rums of the French West Indies. Maggie’s Farm Spiced Rum is made from the same turbinado sugar as the white rum, but is infused with a blend of eight different spices, including fresh orange zest and vanilla beans. Their most interesting product is the Queen’s Share, a reserve spirit that results from the redistilling of a collection of end-runnings from each of the normal cane rum distillations. These “tails” are full of heavier congeners and when redistilled on their own, they result in a full-flavored and complex spirit. This reserve is presented at cask strength and with various finishes, including casks of virgin oak, bourbon, and rye whiskey.
Steeped in history, this distillery takes its name from The Malahat, the “Queen of Rum Row” - a five masted schooner that supplied the finest spirits to Southern California during Prohibition. Capable of carrying over 60,000 cases of spirits, she delivered more contraband liquor than any other ship in the Pacific. Anchoring off the coast of Southern California, she delivered her spirits to rum runners who would take the precious cargo to shore to awaiting patrons. The distillery has two copper pot stills, a large dual column copper pot still that was custom designed to fit into the skylight of the production facility (the only spot in the distillery tall enough for the towering copper columns) and a smaller “experimental” copper still, designed for small batches for research and development to create their innovative recipes. Their initial products include a white rum, a spiced rum and a very tasty ginger rum.
BLACK SQUIRREL DISTILLERY
Black Squirrel is Buffalo’s first legal rum distillery and maybe the first distillery in the country to make rum from maple syrup. They had to convince the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau that a product using maple syrup can be technically qualified as rum. The TTB has recently begun allowing sorghum-based products to be classified as rum — and Black Squirrel argued that maple syrup-based molasses is closer to sugarcane than sorghum. Their rum is currently aging in French oak barrels.
In the October issue of “Got Rum?”, I wrote about Wicked Dolphins Moonshine. Now they have just released the long anticipated Wicked Dolphin Coconut Rum, available now through Republic National Distributing Company and at the Wicked Dolphin Distillery located in Cape Coral. “We have worked on our Wicked Dolphin Coconut Rum for over 2 years getting the taste just right,” reported JoAnn Elardo, founder of Wicked Dolphin. “ I started by using natural ingredients from Florida and the coconuts in my backyard and came up with great tasting rum! We were looking to get rid of that suntan lotion taste and smell that you are getting with larger brands that mass produce. “We introduced our Wicked Dolphin Coconut Rum first at the distillery and sold out within the first few days,” she continued. “Selling out over 260 cases within the first week and a half at the distillery told us we were on to something. We are now working with a lot of restaurants and bars in Florida coming up with some interesting and new cocktails that they are adding to their drink menus.”
Halewood International, who owns the distribution rights to the Lamb’s line of rums in international markets outside of the United States and Canada, will be introducing Lamb’s Spiced Cherry in UK markets next year. It will be a blend of Caribbean dark rum, spices and cherry and vanilla flavors. Halewood has also developed a super-premium line called Lamb’s Cellar Collection, which will be a limited edition collection of small batch, single cask rums from brand founder Alfred Lamb’s private cellar.
These are the most recent and noteworthy headlines in the rum industry. If you want us to share your news with our readers, please send an email to Mike Kunetka at Mike@gotrum.com.