Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Richland Rum -- Our Final Stop

I have yet to relate the full story of our discovered rum at the Charleston Harbor Marina and Resort... That will follow soon. However, Richland Rum was the last stop to make a visit to a Rum Distiller, on this trip.

Richland Georgia is a small community outside just about 2 hours south of Atlanta. Richland Rum is on what is becoming the New Main Street and is helping lead the way to become a destination for not only Atlantians and tourists but also people from all the surrounding countryside. This is part of one of the absorbing stories behind the distillation of rum. As it happens the rum has it's birth in the memories of its creator, Erik Vonk.

Mr Vonk related a story to me that he remembered a time in his childhood when his father and uncles would drink a rum that seemed to be a tradition and a staple to their lives. A binding agent so to speak that branded them as family. As Erik grew, he recalled the taste as he too was introduced to the hearty rum his family and friends had drank, not as a cocktail - but as a sipped, warming cordial. Sometimes straight, sometimes with a bit of ice or splash of water, this was a rum that was savored, not just .

As an adult, he decided one day to re-discover the spirit that he recalled so fondly. On the American Market there were few, if any that offered the body, the robustness that he recalled. Searching makers world wide he found some that recalled some, but none brought back the taste he relished. Some twenty years ago, he made the decision to remake those memories.

From a small experimental still, he began to rediscover and rebuild the rum of his heritage. The "hobby" grew. He'd gladly share his successes and learn from early failures. Each step he felt, brought him closer. Another still, this one copper and a bit larger. From the very beginning he had obtained the permits and licenses needed to distill. His rum was pretty popular locally and was gaining notice from stores, restaurants even fine hotel dining-rooms began to seek him out. Finally the town asked him to join in the effort to help rebuild the Main Street. Richland Rum Distilling had a home.

Let's talk about the rum. The large still in operation is to be joined soon by its twin and the slightly smaller still most likely used as an R&D vessel. Rather than putting it in my words, I'll let the story unfold in the words of its makers. 

imageNot only to control quality, but also simply because of our affinity with artisan techniques, Richland Rum is handcrafted in small batches. We do not apply any continuous or industrial processes; our production design and volume are defined by quality, not by efficiency.

Richland rum has only two ingredients: sugar cane juice or premium sugar cane syrup and water. Each year, for a very short period - limited by the Georgia sugar cane harvest season - we use estate, - or locally grown fresh sugar cane juice. The remainder of the year, our base ingredient is premium sugar cane syrup, NEVER molasses.The very limited quantities of Richland Rum made with fresh cane juice will be released in later years as a Proprietor's Reserve.

Richland Rum is an all natural product which does not have preservatives, artificial aromas, coloring, additives or chemical enhancements of any kind.

Recognizing that fermentation plays a key role in defining the taste profile of our Rum, we have perfected a proprietary fermentation recipe over a 15 year time span.

We 'play' our handbuilt, gas-fired copper potstills as if they were musical instruments and each day the performance is a joy!
Every morning, our master Distiller personally inspects the previous day's run, gallon by gallon. Subjecting the Virgin Rum to vigorous test for taste, aromas and clarity, he separates Heads and Tails from the run's Hearts and determines which portion of the spirits deserve to be barreled, sending the heads and tails back for re-distillation.
The Master Distiller takes pride in never compromising on quality.

Our Virgin Rum is pampered to maturity in new, American white oak, medium charred barrels for minimally one year. A portion of the production is earmarked for aging 5 years and beyond.

We expect to release 4,500 cases in 2013.

There is more, I'll be back to tell about coming expansion, returning to the community and the never bending boundaries that guard the quality of the product... Keep reading -- and we all keep learning... Enjoy Richland Rum and tell them you found out about it from me:

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