Sunday, May 19, 2013

Muddy River Distillery

We managed to  make the six and a half hour Drive from Lexington Kentucky to Charlotte North Carolina in time to get a taste, a tour and an interesting glimpse into the future of Craft Rum from the Proprietor of Muddy River Distillery. Great Rum - good talk and wonderful dreams that are no longer just formless imagines, but concrete and steel plans.

Back to the road.... We managed to travel through 4 states today to end up in Belmont NC. Belmont is a near suburb of Charlotte and as we find the ideal place for a budding business. In an industrial park rental unit, MRD is a small, gritty, fun-filled place; determined to manufacture the best Rum in North Carolina -- if not the USA. Running through traffic, rain and well, a bunch of miles, we made it to the Distillery in time to meet and talk with the owners.
 Caroline at "Freedom"

The Distillery is set in a great aged building, there is not much room for show rooms or gift-shops - but the REAL necessities are all there. The location IS on the banks of the Catawba River which upon securing their Distillation house had flooded the area. Yeah, it was muddy. This business is still stretching from its birth. It can already see the potential and realistic market-place for small batch craft rum. They have spirit (as well as spirits) and Caroline and Robby Deleney make a great team. All that aside though, one must have a product that deserves the title Rum, better: Craft Rum. 

I have found in my tours of these micro distilleries is that they have their histories, the Distillery itself is often old; a product not just of history (take as an example - Barrel House actually being on the grounds of a long-time distiller) but for price.
Practicality makes humble starts a necessities. In Muddy River's case - their humble start will not last long. It's my opinion that they have a real winner here and will very soon look back with pride on their beginnings, but from bigger digs. More on that at a later date. Let's talk Rum.

The still was running as we came in. Freedom is the name of the smaller, Democracy the larger one of the pair, it was just starting to yield. Being a warm day (first really warm one of the season) it was going to be a long run. Robby Delaney mentioned it may be 2 AM before this batch was done. It's part of the Distillation business. You can't hurry distilled spirits. In fact the longer run makes the best alcohol. It's dedication like that that makes Carolina Rum, the Distillery's rum, white and an aged recipe up to their expectations. I got to taste and compare both.

Carolina White -- As with most un-aged white rums, this comes on at the lips. I call it "the buzz", that tingle as the rum touches your lips. Now, I tasted much more sugar than I taste in some other whites, still it had a buzz. I was surprised that they used molasses and not much sugar in their batch. However, the molasses is top-notch and plenty sweet on its own. I find it pleasingly luscious. The aftertaste, falls off nicely with a clean finish after another sweet back rush at swallow. Very smooth in the mouth and overall, a good rum for mixing and -- I bet (I will report on my further tastes) -- with a splash of water or over a rock or two. 

Carolina Aged -- six months or so in a Bourbon barrel does wonderful things to rum. Besides the darkened color, it also imparts that toasted flavor and for me releases a caramel tang in the sugars. I have mentioned here before that I never was a big fan of aged rums before I got deeper into my journey. Now, I find rums taste like nothing else when wood aged and while I tend to dislike the wood flavor in many spirits (even some wines) I have now become a believer in aged rums. Carolina aged hits the spot for a great sipping rum -- again - I would drop a rock into it or even chill the rum first. I have found that the smokiness of aged rum also comes alive with certain sweet drinks as well. 

I will be following up over the next few blogs with some recipes and some designed for Carolina Rum from Muddy River Distillery. We will get "in to" that then. Oh - a few more photos from MRD's website.

Robby innovating
Just breaking out and straining at the restriction of sale and distribution, Carolina Rums and Muddy River Distillery will continue to grow and attract followers. If they get distribution out of just a few states and become more readily available they will have many many fans. I know I plan to keep a bottle on my back bar and be more than willing to share with my friends who I am am introducing to Craft Rum...

In The Upcoming Days & Weeks
So far, there are so many more, bigger, stories behind the little stories I write that I don't want to jam it all into one blog. So, watch for more about each and every Distiller we visit. Stories of beginning, of growth or learning as well as futures and realities; sprouting from dream. I plan to touch upon it all over the coming times. Make sure you come a visit this blog often. Register your email so you can get a fresh story as it is written. Please comment, email me with comments question or information about your favorite rum(s)...

                    So, till next time, from the road - I am:

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