Thursday, November 29, 2012

Some Great Video for You - Montanya Distillers

Found a great video on You Tube.... This is a peek into Montanya Distillers in Colorado (yes in our directory!). Any distillers out there who have video -- please let me know and I'll share with all here.

Hope you liked it as much as I did....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

News of the Day!

Changes and new stuff...

Distillers:

 So, we got some things done.... well, not done, but started. We now have updated our Rum Distilleries in the USA, page and we now have 21 States of the USA represented! Each has at least ONE rum distillery in it. So, check out your State and make sure you find the one(s) near you. Additionally - If you do not find your favorite distillery -- PLEASE, please email me... We can fix that... We want to fix that. If you are a fan of any one (or more) Distillery -- drop me a line and make sure it is represented!
For all you Still Masters, please make sure we are linked correctly and feel free to comment, email or message me through FB (our page there is American Made Rum). If you are checking us out and can not find YOUR Distillery -- please send us a link and I will personally take care of that! I am amassing a Data Base containing the Distilleries and it grows nearly daily. I will try to update, as necessary, with new additions.

Recipes:

Erin Phelan a friend from Book Crossing as well as Facebook had mentioned cooking with rum. Since finding these great small batched, crafted rums, it is only natural to add those flavors to recipes! So, to fill the hole (Nature and Rick, The Rum Runner abhor a vacuum) I added a link to recipes using rum, in our Rum Related Sites page. BUT.... That's a pretty big but.... I will gladly accept (and actually am begging for) any dish you love to make using rum as an ingredient. Sure we all love drinking rum and even mixing it with other things -- but adding it to food sounds so good! So rather than just a link to some anonymous recipe page, I would love to have personal tried and proven favorites!

Rum: 

Finally, since I am only one, and situated nearly in the middle of the US, I am excited in traveling to and visiting as many Rum Distilleries as I can. However, all kind of restraints are preventing that. So I need to depend on YOU to visit, taste and report to us the experience of fine, American Made Rum as you do. In the mean time, I will try to get to places and/or have rums shipped to me so I can taste as many of these great brews as I can. If you find a rum in the liquor store and love it -- Please write to me and tell us all about it. You don't have to visit the Distillery, just taste the rums you love and let us know what to expect. This blog is about it all. The making of, the tasting of and the discussion of American Made Rums...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving -- Rum Runner Style

I have no fancy dance but I do wish everyone who reads Rick The Rum Runner, the very best Thanksgiving. The year ahead looks adventurous for us. Please sign up for Email updates, or subscribe to the feeds to stay up to date. If you click around you'll certainly notice some changes, some already done - others in progress.
Erin Phelen a friend on the Facebook side at American Made Rum asked if I cooked with rum. Had to admit, no. I LOVE to cook and I LOVE rum. So look for drink recipes and food recipes as we continue to grow. And thank you Erin for a GREAT idea!
So have some turkey, sip some great American Rum and be thankful for everyone, everything and every day.....

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lots of Sawdust and Junk....

Changes....

To quote David Bowie. So much for a musical interlude, back to work. I have come to a few conclusions over the weekend, thought I'd let everyone in on them.

First; Gotta update the Distillers list. I have finally decided on a format. So you will see changes all week. I will build it in stages, but it will build!

Next, yes, the rating numbers will disappear. The rating of rums will be by description and discussion. An actual numerical ranking is unnecessary.

So... I hope to update here as we go but feel free to visit and stay up to date...

Later
Rick

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Value of Numbers

Confessional is Open

So, I am enjoying this blog immensely. However, I have to hope more people subscribe to it (please feel free to register your email to get the latest updates and posts here). Regardless though, I think the long run will see real growth. In the mean time I see evolution being paramount. One thing is "Ratings". I have done only 2 taste tests of great US made Rums. At the end of each I attach a number. Well, last night I lay in darkness about "The Number." A rating from 1-10 or from -100 to +100, what value does it have? It's my number of how I think a certain rums tastes. But let's look at the rating as I have it set up now. What does 1 to 10 mean? Sewer water to The Perfect Rum? OK, I may be qualified in the sewer water department, but, The Perfect Rum (TPR)? How the hell would I know? Sure I have been drinking rum over 40 years (I have no comment on any pre-age 21 experimentation in ANY alcoholic beverage) but really have not started to really investigate new, different and/or craft rums since 1996. Would I know TPR if I drank it? Again, who makes it TPR? So I have been thinking of eliminating the numbered rating. But what I want is reaction. Please PLEASE take a moment to comment. I'll take experts, distillers, fans even innocent bystanders. I just want some reaction.

The Problem, for Me

If 1 is Bad and 10 is Perfect, let us look at the rating. First, who would make, taste and market a Bad Rum? So if 1 is not godawful what IS 1? Good enough to drink but not as good as........... what? Another brand? Geezuz! So who picks the Bad #1 rum?? I want no part of it.
If 10 is Perfect, let's see how that racks up. Perfect by whose rules? Yeah, every drinker is looking for a different taste. So there is no Perfect Rum, but there could be TPR for you. You have a discriminating taste, looking for a rum with certain flavors, sweetness etc... Perhaps you are just looking for THE BEST to make a Mojito.
My feeling. I will honestly rate each rum by taste, aroma, appearance, etc. I'll tell you what I taste, smell, see; but, to give it a number? It would only rate it from me, by me, for me. That sounds quite selfish. I want to have a conversation about rum. I want to help people make a decision on a rum that sounds attractive to THEM. So my move would be to eliminate the 1-10 rating and post my opinion as..... well, my opinion! Also, I want to post YOUR opinion so that readers can see more than one point of view. That is why comments are needed, followers encouraged.  Join in.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Taildragger Rum White – Tasting

The 170 Proof Taste.

So we all remember where we left off last episode. Toby Beall had just offered me a sample from The Louisville Lush. Right around 170 proof (Taildragger, if I remember correctly is 80-85 proof range) was the call. Okay, I inhaled and found the aroma a mix of fruit and floral. Really different than most rums I had recently tasted, American or not. I took just enough to wet my lips and licked off the film. Wow, no bite – smooth and at 170 proof that surprised me. Sweet? Not as much as I had recently had nor expected – sure there was the rum flavor, that natural sweet but more a molasses strength than a sugar sweet. I did discover that sucking air through it to find back flavors took a bit extra – that's when the fragrance got really intense! But with moderation I found a stronger molasses flavor. For me I discovered the intensity was the biggest point of focus. But, I chalked that up to proof.

So, next stop the tasting bar sampling the bottled product. I slid into a stool, and Toby poured a nice sample into their snifter style glass, emblazoned with the Tailwinds logo.

Aroma

Swirl, swirl and a deep sniff. Yes, the fruit and floral was there. There was a bit of candy, call it butterscotch but very much in background. I did detect the molasses sweet more in the bottled rum than in the nearly double proof sample.

Straight Shot

Bit of an alcohol tingle at the lips. The fruitiness is pronounced. I can not pull one out of the fragrance, but a melange of fruit background. Holding it in my mouth the molasses come out – it is robust, but understated. The swallow is smooth and in take a breath for a sweet finish. The glass walls show thick legs

On The Rocks

Cold seems to sweeten the flavor. Overall, it holds together just like a straight shot. Now drawing in air makes the blackstrap molasses sing. Nice – I added no lemon nor lime – but if someone added a few ounces of Taildragger with ice and lime.... Summer in my mind!

Water

Have to say the delicate flavor are broken up if you add too much. My recommendation is if you want water – go over ice, let it melt in. The more robust fruits and molasses is still there, a lot of the bouquet is lost.

My Diet-Coke Mix

Pleasant, Taildragger does not get sugary sweet, nor does it get a caramel flavor as much as many others. The back flavors, the blackstrap, the fruitiness become more pronounced. It made the drink different from any rum mix with D-Coke I 've had. And, I like it!

My Score??

Based AGAINST just one USA made Rum and my background of Universal spirits I am already splitting hairs. I have a 1-10 rating and like this one just a bit more than the last. As I have said – I am looking for other raters and we need multiple tasters to sidle up to the bar and give me their opinion. So after beating around the bush --- Taildragger Rum White gets an 8....

Until next taste..... Get your daily ration – that's an order.
Rick

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Distiller Visit – Tailwinds Distilling Co.

Aviation is what this rum crafter is all about. When I visited Tailwinds Distilling on November 14, aviation was evident. Toby Beall has aviation in his blood. His father, flying b52's, his brother and himself having careers in the commercial air industry, they surround their distilled spirits in the names and emotions of man's most freeing activity; flight. The Front Store has large maps, hints and signs of flight are abound. Even a black, painted plane on the tasting bar, emblazoned with Tailwind's logo.
The company, set in a modern industrial park building (parking lot is still crushed stone.) is going through good growing pains after its birth over the last year or more. Taildragger Rum White has hit the craft rum market with a splash. Managing to get enough rum sent to the The Ministry of Rum's Annual Rum Tasting event in Chicago Tailwinds garnered themselves a silver medal. The team had hoped for some recognition – but to take silver the first time was not only rewarding, it had to be a bit frightening too. They felt they had truly entered the arena of fine rums. But, what is that arena?

Toby was open with me. He is proud of his distillery and everyone who has helped build it to its present state. He explained to me that a second, larger distillation tower was in the immediate plans. The current able to handle 100 gallons was being used to near capacity already not just with Taildragger, but also Midnight Caye Blue Agave Tequila. He spoke of how rum had become over time to be just another drink. For so long the majority of most rums drunk were from large companies that made a very good, but predictable spirit. This was not Tailwind's goal. So, fighting the reputation of “a good mixer” and “great with,” brands, the craft rum distillers wanted a rum with personality. Judging from Toby's personality Taildragger was never meant to be “with” anything – even when mixed, it would always be The Main Ingredient. We shared stories on how we, as rum sippers, had gotten to that “ah Ha!” moment in rum drinking. For me a 1996 sample of CSR, for him, a tie to air planes again with a Caribbean vacation as a setting, the taste of rums he had never heard of and relished as much – even more when the “mixers” ran out. As a pilot and on a layover in Kona, Hawaii, Toby's mind clicked.. With support from his wife and family – Tailwinds became reality. With that in mind Tailwinds wanted to stand out. Even with a growing craft rum industry, they were going to make sure they were known.

“It's funny,” Beall told me, “We all know each other, the other distillers. We know each other, many of us are friends.” He explained that discrimination palettes and plethora of rum varieties meant everyone was finding a market. Face it, in days not that long ago, how many people just had only one or two rums? You know a white, perhaps a spiced, a few even went to the dark. Now, with so many enjoying rum for its robust flavors and fragrances as well as it's ability to reignite some long lost mixed drinks, many bars now have a “collection” of fine rums. Now a new clientele willing to seek it, buy it and drink it! He was kind to say people like me and to a far greater effect, Edward Hamilton (Ministry of Rum) were getting the news out and all the distillers were excited that they had people who shared their passion – able to preach the varieties and specialties of crafted rum. In our case an American Made Rum.

Getting Taildragger to be just right meant better ingredients. They went with high grade molasses, worked with companies to develop the perfect yeasts to render the flavor of their rum to its very finest degree. A lot of work – plenty of testing, trying and re-trying. Tasting one batch then another until finally they had Their Rum. Even the still and distillation tower has a personality, They dubbed it The Louisville Lush.

So, now I stand in their distilling empire. Toby has invited me to see a batch start up and it was in the “touchy” phase and he needed to adjust, test, evaluate. A thin stream of white rum flowed from The Lush. The room where distillation was done had a familiar, great aroma. Rum. Toby made the adjustments needed. Took hold of a snifter style glass and poured a bit of clear, new, white rum into it. He passed it to me. “Taste,” he said. “That's running about 170 proof right now.” I stuck my nose into the glass, inhaled. Surprisingly, not a strong perfume, but, a clean smell with a touch of sweetness. It touched my lips and I licked the first film. Well the tasting of it is really the story of the next part.... Part II Tailgragger Rum White's taste test..... See you next time

Rick.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Big Day -- Fun Day

Updates and More

So a normal morning here at Rum Runner central. If you look at the page list you can see we have taste cards. OK we only have one tasting under our belts but the card exists. Check it out just to see what it looks like and find out how you can help. I want you to join in the fun.

The "More"

I needed to check around the web some more, always looking for new distillers or contacts in the Rum Industry. Well, I find The Ministry of Rum. A great forum full of fabulous information, connections, commentary as well as loads of run lovers. Needless to say I submitted my application to join. MoR is about all great rums so my little niche fits in and is unique. I'll be spreading the word about this blog and our Facebook page, American Made Rum.

So I explore more and find another, wonderful sounding Distiller of Fine Spirits, Tailwinds Distilling Company. the very best part is it is with in minutes of my place! Better yet soon after I emailed Tailwinds - got a great response. They "Liked" American Made Rum and checked out the blog as well as inviting me out to their Distillery to talk rum.... It is on the list!

Later I am adding more Distillers into my database (Yes the Rum Distillers in the US will be getting updated tomorrow, I hope) and come across Woodstone Creek in Ohio. I email greetings and a question. Try as I might I can't find a name for their Rum. Well, Linda O. answers; "Still in the barrel. We don't name 'em until they are born.." Gotta say love distillers with passion! Anyone near Cincinnati -- Check out Woodstone.

That's it for now --- Pour a sweet one....
Rick

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Prichard's Crystal Rum - Tasting

Let's Start

First of all let me introduce my bottle of Prichard's Crystal Rum. The bottle is as clear as the rum. A nice rounded look. I like this shape -- it has the look of age, like a cache of bottles from the 1700's was found. The top, sealed by a faux black wax and while it is a synthetic cork, it still has that satisfying "thunk" when you open it. In addition a silver ribbon seal is glued across the top. Very nice presentation.


Let's drink!

 Straight up

Aroma: From the bottle you get vanilla - immediately. From the glass vanilla with a hint of caramel. 

Taste: Front - Very smooth up front. Just a hint of tang at the tongue-tip. I taste a bit of butter scotch as well. There's a sweetness, not molasses as much as cane sugar. Just a hint of alcohol.

In mouth - Let it roll a bit.. sweetness stays - intensifies along the sides. The swallow has a burst of tingle then cool sweet. I'd say under the tongue is sweetest. For some reason -- just a hint of floral soon after swallow.


After taste: In the glass Crystal Rum has a thickness. As clear as water, and it legs on the glass, long, thick streaks. Look at the picture and you can see them.... Sweetness!

Water:

Less Than 1 oz water with 2 oz Crystal
Water gives you a sweet, very, very smooth drink. This tastes best with just a splash of water -- less is better!

Added ice: I recommend Crystal cold, especially if the molasses flavor is what you are looking for. The aroma is muted, but the flavor comes through -- sweetness under control. Definitely molasses. 





Ice

Over Rocks: The cold has a soothing effect. Smoother than rum alone. I might even say Crystal would taste good if kept chilled! Seems like the aroma is as muted as with water -- but I seem to detect more flavor. I find the sharpness at swallow much nicer. Colder seems to mean sweeter as well. Just a bit.



Mixed Drink:

I tend to keep it simple and low calorie. Yeah I know it's a sin but I will have a Crystal Rum and Diet Coke. For me this is an important taste as so often I end up drinking an R &D-C at gatherings. As with other premium rums -- The Diet Coke actually tastes sweeter, and any artificial sweetness is replaced in this case with a definite caramel mouth flavor.

 

Wrap-up

This is my taste writing -- I will file a card (starting a page called Taste Cards) later as I distill my comments here into a rating on the card....
Let's be fair - this is my first attempt at a serious tasting. I think I had picked a superior product but I am sure there are many, many more. Prichard's Crystal Rum though would be a very nice addition to your shelves. Guests who appreciate this fine spirit will ask for more. Visit their Web Site and please feel free to like their Facebook Page.
Finally, whenever you do explore some of the fine craft rum distillers, please let them know you read about it at my blog:  Rick The Rum Runner.  If you'd provide a line -- I'll tip a glass of Rum in your name

We are a Facebook page!!

Rick, The Rum Runner is now a page on Facebook. Please, LIKE us there. Coming up later? We taste Prichard's Rum. We have the Crystal label.....

Saturday, November 10, 2012

First Rum For Tasting...

Trip to the Liquor Store

Managed to stop at the liquor store near my house, Binny's. Noted for their HUGE inventory and willingness to carry even small - craft made beers and spirits, I was anxiously looking forward to my visit. Walk through the door --- head for the Rum aisle. We are talking about 40 feet long and four tiers high. Somewhat disappointed with the selection. over 1/2 are easily the main suppliers. The rest is the less known groups. Some real high end but imported rums, a few handcrafted but imported rums that looked and sounded quality but were not US made either. The only one I recognized with my VERY limited knowledge was Prichard's. Now that brand has four rums -- but only the Chrystal was offered. I though reasonably priced -- so I purchased it. I will discuss my tasting in another post. I stopped at the Service Desk to ask about other brands that I knew -- no distribution for the few I mentioned except one. That would be gotten for me by request.
So what does this trip tell me? First I have to shop with a complete list of brands, for two reasons. One to make sure I spot brands that I already know are US made, speeding up the process and number Two, to ask about availability at the service desks. I really don't mind special ordering something just for me -- Heck Rum Snob sounds better than Rummy! So that is a valuable thing. Another thing I came up with (after discussions with friends and family Friday evening) -- I need to tap some people I know who live in other states that might be able to find and buy harder brands for me to get here in Chicago, and ship them to me privately! Yes thaet opens up availability to some smaller distillers that have no out of state distribution. The education continues.
So more to come -- very soon

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Education For This Blogger

Working in the Background

As usual, when you want to do something right, it takes time. Well, blogging is no different. I am working on a list of US Rum Distillers. I want this to be a page that is always available and can bu up dated. That is one of the new things I "think" I have learned how to do. Building that list is going along well, but I will delay posting it until I have a larger representation of Distillers. Also, I have started a design of a tasting card for rum. I plan to bring that to the blog as it begins to look something like a finished product.

 

Rum Lovers - Please Join In 

I want to include your ideas as well so please, if you are reading this -- Please make this blog a favorite, or click on the button that says "Follow The Rum Runner" or subscribe by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page and you will see Subscribe to: Posts (Atom). This final choice will email each new post to you and you can stay informed and hopefully a bit entertained. So, I can tell this blog gets lots of views, but I need you to follow, join, subscribe..... If you like rum or are just wondering what makes this fine spirit so appealing that I decided to blog about it --- Read and follow!!!

 

Coming Up

I have more Distilleries to talk about and coming very soon -- We go Rum Shopping! Till then, All that is needed to drink a good rum is a 4 ounce glass and a pure heart.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Getting some great response to my Blog!

Slowly Coming Together

I have been slowly building a database of American made rums. My education continues. One thing I have started doing is visiting the Distilleries I discover and pay a visit (and "like") to their Facebook page and or websites. I am emailing and/or posting introducing this little endeavor and have gotten some very nice replies. The two I want to mention here are listed below. One I hope to visit in the next few weeks that other.... well some day. But, living in/near Chicago helps tremendously. We have some HUGE spirit distributors here and I have easy access to their retail outlets. That means most (maybe all) of the delicious sounding rums spread across the 5fifty states may be readily available! I have even included the rums of my search on my Christmas gift list, so I'll have friends and family sharing in the journey. As time goes by -- you'll be seeing things grow here -- if you want to join in -- please comment, send email if you'd like and please subscribe to the blog so I can see my audience grow too! For now -- let's look at two American Rum Distillers:

Journeyman Distillery

Located in the great little town of 3-Oaks Michigan, Journeyman Distillery creates a selection of craft made spirits. Our focus is Rum -- but I an sure many of you will be interested in some of the other choices as well. Expect to see me on their blog as I try to learn more and this one is just over a hour from my house so we may be visiting soon! They have a great library of rum mixed drinks and their Product Information leads me to want to sip some neat, soon.

My email was answered by Tiffany and she made it clear that a visit there would be interesting, education and fun... I can live with that!

Railean 

Those of you near -- or planing to visit Texas, might want to stop by. Tours are available by appointment and you can call directly 713-545-272 or email to set one up. As far as it's location I will quote their website as it is the most picturesque description - with a generous touch of humor, I have read. Makes me want to pack the car and GO.

"The RAILEAN Eagle Point Distillery is the first and the only distillery located in the Houston/Galveston vacinity.

It is actually tucked away along the shores of Galveston Bay in a little coastal town called San Leon. The area was once a stronghold for the swashbuckling pirate Jean Lafitte, today San Leon is a "small drinking community with a large fishing problem". The area is also home to a thriving population of wild parrots called Monk Parakeets, or Quakers which, naturally became the mascot of RAILEAN."

Like most distilleries Railean offers other spirits as well...

That's about it for this entry -- please read -- please comment and subscribe to the blog if you want to know more about American made Rum!!!

Rick...