September 2015 "Got Rum?" Magazine
September 2015- Rum in the News
Mike Kunetka shares with us in the September 2015 issue of "Got Rum?" magazine the most recent and noteworthy headlines in the rum industry.
September 2015- Rum in the News
Batch # 1 of Yankee Distillers Colonial Rum is in production. It will be released first as Colonial White, with Colonial Amber to follow when the used whiskey barrels do their magic. The distilling company, founded by Matthew Jager, Walter Kleemeier and Scott Luning, recently opened up their 9,000 square foot facility in Clifton Park, NY to the public. If rum (and their whiskey and vodka) was not enough reason to visit, the Shmaltz Brewing Company is right across the street.
Amrut Distilleries in Bangalore, India, has long been known for their amazing selection of fine single malt whiskeys. However, India also happens to be the biggest rum market in the world, so it only makes sense for Amrut to turn their distilling and blending talents to rum. The name of their latest creation, Two Indies Rum, refers to the interesting blend of rums from the West Indies and the East Indies. They select Caribbean rums from the finest distilleries in Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados and blend those with rums made at their own distillery. Their rums are made from Jaggery, a natural sweetener that is a solidified reduction of cane juice, commonly used to make candy in India. It is said that Jaggery contains nutrients that aid in digestion and helps clean the respiratory tract, stomach and intestines. The rums are combined and then aged again to round out the mixture. The high-ester, pot-still Caribbean rums and the smooth column-still rums of India make for an interesting blend, combining the best of two cultures. Amrut also makes a more traditional molasses based rum called Old Port that is worth trying.
SelvaRey has expanded their U.S. distribution to now include New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, Washington DC, Tennessee, Florida and Hawaii, with Ontario, Canada to follow in the Fall. SelvaRey, roughly translates as ‘King of the Jungle’, is a Panamanian rum that is owned by musician Bruno Mars and Seth Gold, Marc Gold and Robert Herzig. They worked with Don ‘Pancho’ Francisco Fernandez, one of the world’s most renowned master rum blenders in the world, to create a superior blend of 3-year old and 5-year old Panamanian rums to create SelvaRey White Rum.
Regular readers will know how fond I am of Plantation rums. This summer, the Pineapple Stiggins Fancy Rum has been a popular drink in my house. I am glad to see that distribution has been greatly increased and this fine rum is readily available. I am told that it will be released annually around April/May and July/August, based upon the availability of the Queen Victoria pineapples. More than 2,000 pounds of these special pineapples from the island of Reunion are hand-peeled for every batch of Stiggins.
ST. AUGUSTINE DISTILLERY
On September 3rd, rum fans in St. Augustine will be able to test the first offering of St. Augustine’s Discovery Series of rums. The Discovery Series is a group of limited release expressions, created during the development of the Distillery’s flagship rum. Each one has been fermented and distilled on-site from select regional sugarcane syrups and molasses in copper pot stills and then barrel-aged for a distinct flavor profile. Series 2, 3 and 4 will follow in October, November and December.
Philip McDaniel, co-founder and CEO of St. Augustine, says that this process will allow Brendan Wheatley, Director of Production, to “dial in the best combination of sugar sources and distillation techniques for a first- rate final rum recipe.” The Distillery’s flagship rum (or final recipe) is slated for a January 2016 release. The four releases will be available at the distillery on Riberia Street. Tours are offered at various times throughout the day and there is a gift shop and the Ice Plant Bar and Restaurant.
The latest company to draw Diageo’s ire over copyright infringement is Captain Amsterdam, a California based e-cigarette and herbal remedy company. Diageo claims that Captain Amsterdam has used a character and lettering too similar to Captain Morgan in their advertising material’s artwork. Diageo feels that Captain Morgan is one of the most well known and iconic spirit brands in the US and will do what is necessary to protect it’s brand.
The latest addition to the Captain Morgan portfolio is an interesting blend of rum, Caribbean citrus and spicy chipotle and jalapeno peppers called Cannon Blast. Aimed at the growing ‘shot ’ market, Cannon Blast offers an alternative to various cinnamon whiskies that are so popular right now. It is packaged in a creative cannon ball shaped bottle at 35% ABV.
Rational Spirits was founded earlier this year and will produce only pot still rums that have no added ingredients, especially sugars. Santeria Rum, their first offering, will be a dunder-pit style Jamaican rum, produced in association with the innovative distillery, Lost Spirits. Rational Spirits expects to start operations at its own facility in Charleston later this year. To help promote their new rum, Rational Spirits has hired Helena Olsen, noted rum and Tiki blogger, as their Brand Ambassador. Helena, under her web name Tiare, has hosted the beautiful and informative blog, A Mountain of Crushed Ice. She will help create brand awareness of Rational Spirits, create signature cocktails, attend industry events and conduct various tasting events. She will also be in charge of all Rational Spirits social media. In a press release, Helena said ”I am very excited about this rum. I think the use of both historical research into rum production methods and new technological approaches brings an interesting new dimension to craft spirits.”
In 1995, Bacardi introduced their first flavored rum, Limon. Limon was a tremendous success and Bacardi followed with numerous flavored offerings. To mark the 20th anniversary of Limon, Bacardi has just released Bacardi Tangerine. Like the other expressions, Tangerine combines Bacardi Superior White Rum with fruit flavors. It is bottled at 35% ABV and will incorporate Bacardi’s new packaging design. Sounds like a great addition to those boring Sunday Morning Mimosas.
CARIBBEAN RUM COLLECTION
Inside Grantley International Airport in Barbados, there is new addition to the Duty-Free area called the Caribbean Rum Collection. The shop is a combined effort of the West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers’ Association and the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque to promote the quality, history and versatility of authentic Caribbean rums. The shop will feature more than 80 rums from across the Caribbean and will include information on the brands, the methods of production and the cultures surround the rums.
In 1917 Jacques Bally star ted aging his fine rhum in oak barrels. The distillery closed in 1989 and the rhums are now made at the St. James distillery. J Bally has always been known for its special releases, including those in the beautiful pyramid-shaped bottles.
If you are lucky enough to be in Martinique, a true Rhum Heaven, be sure to look up the latest release, J Bally Reserve de la Famille, a special blend of 8 to 12 year old rhums. You will almost believe that you are tasting some hidden family treasure.