Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thoughts From A Sickbed

OK I am not THAT sick, but this sinus, coughy, crumby. achy thing I got is just wearing. Really. I think the worst part is lack of concentration. Really, it hurts to think. So I can nap, watch TV (as long as I avoid the documentary, history based shows I love because...... They make you think. Even some of the series I watch are off limits. I kind of need shows that: 1. Tell me what they are going to tell/show me; 2. Review what they are going to tell/show me; 3. Tell/show me; 4. Repeat what they told/showed me and 5. Answer all question I might want to ask about what they told/showed me.
I can't read... It hurts trying to read
I can't pursue my hobby (Lincoln Cent Collecting)... It hurts squinting through a loupe and concentrating on what I am looking at.
I can't seem to type this blog... the hurt/think process kicks in so quickly...
I can nap. But. before I do all that I need to say a few things...
Happy Thanksgiving! Here in the US we celebrate this day to look back to the past and around in the present for thing, people, incidents etc we are thankful for. I think that is a good, healthy exercise for most everyone.
A Happy Anniversary to my Wife. She is the better 3/4 of me and the absolute light of my life. She somehow makes me a better me. That BTW is VERY hard to do, as I need so much bettering. Hard to believe she's stayed with me 42 years!
It's getting cold out..... Have a great - Hot Buttered Rum.
Great Things happen to great people. One of our favored dark Rum, Richland Rum, has sent us information on their expansion. When we visited them in the early Summer, the plans were moving forward. It was fun to get a tour from Erik Vonk as he expressed his dream for the new space. Really folks -- this is a destination now, so add it to your travel plans. Karin and Erik Vonk are a great pair and so gracious and fun to visit. Karin is the promotion and press arm of their relationship, and is SO nice to work with and hear from.
Here are some excerpts from their Press Release:

Georgia based Artisan Rum Distiller facilitates growth

RICHLAND, GA – November 25th, 2013 – The Richland Distilling Company – artisan crafters of Richland Rum – announced today the opening of new facilities in support of its continued growth. Located adjacent to the company’s Distillery, the expansion is housed in a restored historic building and includes a barrelhouse and the Richland Rum Experience Center.

Experience Center showcases creation of authentic, all natural, handcrafted Georgia Rum

“The new barrelhouse significantly increases our aging capacity and will help us in meeting the robust demand for Richland Rum while further solidifying product quality and the integrity of the aging process”, said Erik Vonk, founder and owner of the company.
“In addition, the new Experience Center and Tasting Room enable us to showcase our artisan craftsmanship in detail to the growing number of rum enthusiasts”.
Vonk continued: “The fact that the Distillery is an integral part of our family owned Vennebroeck Estate has allowed us over the years to bring back a ‘farm to bottle’ approach in making all natural, authentic Rum from fresh sugar cane syrup - not molasses. Handling all aspects of artisan product creation in-house translates into superior quality and intrigues many people. With the new facility in place, we can now share a complete ‘Richland Rum Experience’ with guests”.

About Richland Rum
Aged Rum, meticulously handcrafted in small batches, copper pot distilled from all natural sugar cane syrup and aged in virgin American oak barrels. Richland Rum is of Single Estate origin and of Single Barrel quality.
Richland Rum was rated ‘outstanding’ with a score of 94 points by Tasting Panel Magazine and recommended in Cooking Light Magazine’s Gift Guide as ‘beautiful for sipping’.
About the Richland Distilling Company
Founded in 1999 as part of the family owned Vennebroeck Estate, the Richland Distilling Company is solely dedicated to producing aged Rum from pure sugar cane syrup – not molasses. All facets of production are handled in house, including sourcing of syrup from its own estate. Richland Rum is entirely hand crafted in small, single day batches, using time honored artisan techniques and vintage equipment to safeguard authenticity and quality. Expected production for 2014 is limited to approximately 6,000 cases (9L).
The company is located in down town Richland, GA, welcomes visitors and hosts tours, tastings and events dedicated to rum science.

For product availability please view listing of distributors and retail points or visit for more information.

So, till next time, I remain: 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Musings, Thoughts, Ideas From Around the Rum Bar

Here we go into the second year of Rick The Rum Runner Blog (RTRR). It's funny how it has grown and changed (with more to come!). I guess this would be an appropriate time to talk about some of those changes and, at the same time, talk rum.
As a reader here you have access to more than a few rum sources just by clicking the man links I have built into the blog. If you are serious about rums or want to be or wonder why you'd want to be, RTRR is a great spot to start. So, let's list the ways you can read this blog, and be kept aware of its addition, information, recipes etc, etc....
Number 1: Make this page a favorite or at least a book marked page. This would mean you'd have to click on it from time to time to read new content.
Next best and better thing to do; click into the box allllllllll the way at the very bottom of the page that says "Follow The Rum Runner by Email" That means you will be sent an email alerting you of new content. That's it -- no ads, no spam just a notification from us that I have gotten to the computer and spewed some words of semi-wisdom about our favorite distilled spirit. 
Another way to make sure you receive the blog is to subscribe via news feeds. Again -- at our page go all the way over to the left-hand column and slide down below the directory of Distiller's list (we'll visit there soon), the Places You Should Visit links ( and our Facebook page - yeah, more on those later too...) and you will find a place to click onto and choose what feed source you want to use. These are nice as they automatically update and you can "catch up" as so many of us have to do from time to time. A new RSS Reader is FeedSpot. They are available and -- They now carry RTRR... So they have to be good! Please check them out and they can sign you in via Facebook, Twitter or Google+, or if you prefer, by starting a new account.

Other Pages We Recommend
All right now we come to my recommendation of pages you should follow beyond RTRR. First, Twitter: Please follow me @Rick_Rum_Runner
 Additionally, visit our Facebook page, the link is on our blog at the top of the PLACES YOU SHOULD VISIT column to the left of the main blog. Or just click here. Once there, please click the LIKE button at the top of the page just under the Banner. I love the look of the growing LIKES list. What makes American Made Rum interesting, is that we have a pretty lively group of fans, tasters, drinkers, distillers: Enthusiasts all, that visit and post. So you will get lots of info and from all over the US and the world -- so it could be local for you!!
Finally, please check out Rum Ratings it is a fascinating page dedicated to listing what YOU and I think of any number of Rum from around the world! Rick The Rum Runner posts all of its taste ratings there so you can always look up my commentary, but everyone gets in on the act so you can get multiple ratings and really find a rum that matches your taste. At end, you can then post YOUR rating and join in the fun.

NEW Rums to look for and -- Add to Your Taste List.
I have discovered a new listing of Craft Distillers in the USA (seems Canada has joined us -- but I'm not complaining). The list is l-o-n-g so I will reveal as the days and weeks go by. Also, I will be adding them to the best part of RTRR, the RUM DISTILLERS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA list which links you to any and all distillers, listed by state and hyper-linked from here. Please use this list to find rum distillers in your state or a state you plan to visit, to try new rums. Also, if the listing has an *I* next to the name it means they sell via internet and you can order online. I will add distillers as I find them, vet them and talk about them here - another great reason to read Rick The Rum Runner every week..... Don't miss a blog!

Lick The Glass
Till next time, when I will bring some of the new (new to me) Rum Distillers I find around the US of A to light and we can talk... The upcoming week includes Thanksgiving here in the USA, so I may be spotty in content. Register in one of the ways I listed above so you will be kept in the know, as far as Good Rum. So, in the mean time -- grab your favorite sipping glass, pour a bit of your favorite rum sip, read and don't forget -----

Monday, November 18, 2013

Rum mixing - Traditional Recipes With Nontraditional Ingredients

A bit of an All-over-the-road kind of blog today - but a follow-up on our party here back last month. We continued to taste and mix and talk liquor long after the "Official" tasting ended. This is sort of a report on what we did.We wanted to try different brands of rum with some traditional Rum drinks. We tried Cedar Ridge Amber in a Dark & Stormy -- found it to be extremely good. We also tried it with other amber or dark rums and in general, liked them, but Cedar Ridge stood out. I had a Mai-Tai mix and many of the White rums were mixed and each had a distinctive taste. This drink seemed to be really dictated by personal favorites and my recommendation is if you like the rum to begin with, don't be afraid to try it in a mixed drink that you like as well.
The biggest and widest span of taste trials was with Pina Coladas. We split up tasting (We decided to use pre-mixes here and I have to say we really liked Mr & Mrs T Pina Colada Mix) into three Rum additions. First; White rums. Now I was willing to mix any of the whites that we had into a Colada. I did try it with Taildragger White, and Manitou Passage. While I liked both - of those two my personal favorite turned out to be Manitou Passage (Northern Latitudes Distillery). This rum has an almost peppery flavor that just works with the real sweet of a PC. The next Rum addition was some of the Ambers. Now we offered mixes with any of the darker rums for anyone who wished, we had a few, but, the standout there was New Holland Freshwater Amber. To be 100% honest I did not get a sip of that one but got
lots of thumbs up from those who did. The real winner - Tailwinds Coffee Rum in a Pina Cola
da. Everyone, myself included, absolutely LOVED that combo. I heard the word "Yummy" used quite
Mixed drink tasting was not confined to Rum drinks. We had Northern Latitudes Distillery's Horseradish flavored Vodka as well as Ugly Dog's Bacon flavored Vodka mixed into Mr & Mrs T's traditional Bloody Mary Mix as well as Ditka's Kickass Bloody Mike Mix. This combination was a HUGE hit. I had both, have to say that normally I am a traditional kinda guy when it comes to Bloody Marys. However, the spicy Ditka's stood up better with the Bacon & Horseradish flavors. The Traditional allowed a good taste of the two vodkas mixed (a marriage made in heaven BTW) and you got the essence of a BLT. The Ditka's mix though just came alive with the flavors and actually turned out to be my favorite of the two.
That sort of wraps up the Spirit Taste of 2013. I hope you had some fun reading about it and if you have questions or suggestion - please write! Use the comments section here (at the end of each post) or email me (just click this link). I'd love to have a Mailbag blog too!

Stand By, Normal Blogging Will Resume Soon

Due to a stormy day with a 6 hour power failure, I managed not to complete a blog for today. I am a whiner I know as so many people lost so much more. I really think it was the hardship of not being able to watch the Bears game that sucked the creativity out of me ( yeah, right). The normal, Monday morning blog will get posted..... Just not on Monday morning.... 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Awards & Fun Stuff

As RTRR enters its second year of being, and in light that we just had one HECK of a party celebrating that fact, it is only right that we pass out gifts. While there were so many great Rums to be tasted here at Spirit Taste 2013, five stood out. Two in the White Rum Catagory and Three in the Dark/Amber Category. These are not first and second place finishes, these are TIES. In the White Rums there were nine Rums for tasting and two were tied for The favorite! Oh and every rum received at least one vote for The Best. In the Dark Rums the bunching of favorites was even more dramatic. There were six rums and Three were voted as The Best. Once again all six rums received at least one vote for Favorite!

Let's look at the White Rum Winners, and congratulate the Distillers on their efforts.

Prichard's is no newcomer to Rum distillation. They take pride in their product and it shows both in their distinctive packaging and their tried and true taste. Prichard's Crystal Rum was the rum that caused many unbelievers that rums could be delicious, and totally different than mass marketed brands. This Rum deserves not only this award (as little as it is) but also to be behind every rum drinker's bar.

The next recipient is Tailwinds Distillery's TailDragger White Rum:

The folks at Tailwinds are persnickety. In the Distillation Business, this is a very good thing. It means great care is taken in everything that goes into their still (The Louisville Lush). They are serious Rum (and Agave) Distillers.
On the other hand, they are fun, entertaining and just cool to be around. Their aromatic and smooth rum (with an herbal background) deserves to be here as well.

Next on the list is the Dark Rums. Wearing the color of their aging and flavoring, these Rums standout when ever served. Again, Six Rums tasted -- THREE Rums tie. For first timers - the Amber/Dark category blew their taste-buds away.

The first award goes to Freshwater Amber (New Holland Brewers)

This is one of quite a few Michigan Rums that impressed me. New Holland sports three Rums and I liked the Amber right off the bat. Now, don't ever think their other two are inferior! The White and Single Barrel are treat unto themselves, but for me, Amber stood out. It was good to have so many agree!

Number Two, but not second by any means, is Richland Rum

Erik Vonk is driven. He is on a quest to make The Rum he remembers as he grew. His quest is well represented by Richland's Premium Rum. For me, this wins in the aromatic department every time. As a Rum to sip and enjoy, this distillation occupies the Cordial status. In the back of my head, I knew that this rum would be favorited by more than a few of its tasters. To Erik, Karin and Jay McCain... Well done.

The final Dark Rum (but not in last place!) is Old New Orleans from Celebration Distillation.

When printing the rating sheets, this rum was not even on it. My nephew decided to purchase a nice rum to share at the tasting. He is more of a whiskey drinker so the dark rums caught his attention. He selected Old New Orleans and we opened it for all to taste and it tied for The Best. A fine addition to my bar and one that had been on my "gotta Gt" list but just ad not made it. I don't think we will ever not have a bottle around now.

So, that about rounds out the award winnings. Again ever Rum tasted seemed to be someones favorite and Spirit Taste 2013 went a long way to introduce friends and family to the world I entered just a year before. My education in Craft Rum continues. I am now trying to work with more local bars, restaurants and liquor stores to carry the Crafts as they will catch on and make their establishment stand out. 
Till Monday then:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Looking at the Future

Lick the Glass
As I have written many times in this blog, the movement forward is always accompanied by change. RTRR is no different. To keep my standards high (which is incredibly low to everyone else) my posting schedule is going to change a bit. I still will go for 3 additions a week, but they will follow a bit of a plan that I hope you will appreciate. 
Monday - Wrap up of things from the weekend and a look at the coming week.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - Left open but with short, perhaps more numerous updates that seem fit and timely.
Friday - Feature blog of the week. This will be the main day to post tastings, awards, tours etc, It comes on a day where we generally have the largest readership, plus it gives everyone a weekend to read.
Yes I am a rebellious child of the 60's so don't count on this to be bound in steel. In general though I'd rather post a short blub 2-3 times and have two content full blogs a week.

Coming This Friday - Look for a award filled blog - as well as a fun time mixing spirits of all kinds to find out what tastes great!


Monday, November 11, 2013

The Specialty Rums of Spirit Taste 2013

 As promised, we will report the tasting of the three Specialty Rums that were taste tested by an intrepid, honest and thoroughly fun-loving bunch at our home, celebrating not only Sprit Tastings, but the One Year Anniversary of this blog! So without much further adieu, lets taste!

First Rum tasted was Fire Fly's Sea Island Rum. I will write down the reactions this group of tasters had and temper this with - most of these have had only one, specific brand of Spiced Rum (name to be withheld). I'll comment at the end, as always...
Sea Island Rum: "Palatable," Sweet, smooth very good!" "Very nice blend o flavors, smooth drinking." "Great aroma, nice taste, mild." "Liked it! Aftertaste was coconut - very good!" "The BEST! smooth, spicy/sugary, great taste!" "Great aroma, sweet. Sweet smooth flavor great soft sweet aftertaste!" "Very, Very Good, Sweet smell, very smooth Just Right!" "Tastes Delicious!" "Not heavily spiced - full of flavor, smooth caramel, great smell!" "Fantastic! Great aroma, wonderful aftertaste!" "Yummy! Dis I taste Coconut? Feel and smells like an island paradise!" "A winner, smells like coconut and spice." "Fragrant, pleasant taste, Me likes!" "To me had a bit of cherry flavor in amongst the spices." 
I was taken aback by the great response to this Firefly creation. I liked it a whole lot as well, and it has been on of the craft Spiced rums that has really changed my opinion of said rums, since the only experience I had with spiced Rums was the same (unnamed) Spiced rum practically everyone drinks, but I did NOT like at all... Oh, and I did re-taste and yes -- I DO detect coconut which I really did not taste before!

Taildragger's Coffee Rum: "My favorite." "Almost primitive, very fine flavor tough..." "My Favorite!" "Great coffee bean aroma and dark Coffee taste." "AWESOME, what a way to wake up -- how about a squirt of whipped cream?" "The best park of waking up is Tailwinds in your cup!" "Wow coffee, coffee, coffee, great over vanilla ice cream?" Fantastic & Great." "Strong, but great dark coffee taste. Team this with a blast of Bailey's and O... M... G!" "Smooth, pleasant strong coffee flavor." "Imagine this with Godiva Chocolate liqueur!" "Has that great dark, strong black coffee after taste." "Great as a mixer with any drinks that need coffee flavor, or have cream or creamed liqueurs in them."
Yeah I knew this was going to be a hit. I even found others, like myself who, while I agree 1000000% with those who suggest ways to mix it, find this a great after dinner sipper - neat....

Finally, a Rum that is not a Rum... Mississippi River Distillery's Sorghrum: "Sweet and smooth but a different aftertaste - Good!" "A Whiskey twin" "Bit of a hard aftertaste." 'Smooth upfront but hard after." "Caramel aroma, smooth, sweet flavor, lingering aftertaste" "Very light, with a light aroma too." "Light Tasting." "Very low aroma, light and smooth tasting leans toward a whiskey." "Great sipper." "Nothing special, OK" "Light fragrance & Taste, no bite but not no real flavor." "No, sorry." "very light, good,."

There you have it. The results of a non-rum - rum. See to be called rum the distillation must be of sugarcane derived sugars, sorghum is not sugarcane. However, it makes a pretty good rum! Now MRD only makes this rum occasionally, and they really specialize in vodkas and whiskey. But, I find it a great ice-breaker, conversation starter and a darned good ru.. er .. Sorghrum... Oh and they are right down the street from Antique Archeology (American Pickers) so a great little town to visit!
All in all, we picked no favorite from this group of three, as they were all very distinctively different. All three Distillers can be proud of them!

Thanks for hanging in there with us... We will be back with more from the land of Craft Rums made in the USA. Please visit us at our Facebook page as well (and click the LIKE button!) to keep up with what is happening.
Coming up soon: We talk a bit about the other spirits tasted and some of the recipe's we experimented with. Also -- there is a video attached - but post production is lagging -- hopefully we will post it here soon!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Darkly Tasting -- Part 3 - Spirit Taste 2013

I am laughing here -- so much Rum to taste - I lost my place! I said we'd have 3 more rums to talk about here today -- but was wrong. In so many ways! -- First, we have 2 Dark Rums to talk about - including my personal taste of one. We then have 3 Specialty Rums to report on. The next blog will include those and a wrap up as well as a bit about some of the drinks we experimented upon, and what unlikely things we had to mix -- perhaps even some of the "other" spirits we had to taste, and mix and comment about, to follow. For now, though - let's talk Dark Rum!!!!

We start with - Richland Rum: "Tons of flavor. Very warming." "Mellow but a bit harsh after." "Very nice a sweet taste but to many to pick. No bite, smooth nice." "Scents of candy, caramel. Great flavor, consistent from first taste to a rich after taste." "My over-all favorite Smooooth, fabulous aftertaste; Yummy-Yummy. This is to be drunk while cuddled up on a cloud." "Great flavor, so smooth!" "Mild, caramel smell, whiskey smooth drinking. - A sipper!" "Smells like vanilla, distinct flavors of caramel and vanilla." "Butterscotch bouquet, very smooth swallow; Awesome aftertaste!" "Light aroma, a
smooth light taste, a heavy, pleasant aftertaste." "Very little aftertaste but a smooth flavor of vanilla." "Liked it but had a bit of a rough aftertaste." "Butterscotch aroma, fairly mild, smooth taste, one of the better rums tasted tonight!" "Butterscotch (hot Buttered rum??)" "Carmel, butterscotch, a buttery rich flavor." "

Seems like the majority liked this rum a lot. It is one of my favorites too. For me, it is one Rum that I may never mix. For me this is a great, warming rum that is best neat, or chilled... 
Now, we would normally have gone into the Specialty Rums of the night - but as mentioned before one of my Nephews (one with a great discerning taste and normally a whiskey drinker) was nice enough to buy and bring a rum he hoped we did not have. Well he was spot on; and it has been on my list for some time to taste. So we penciled it into the tastes and here we go. The last quote will be mine....

Celebration Distillery - Old New Orleans 3 Year Rum: Smells so sweet, tastes sweet! So vanilla! just a nice light sting and great swallow - A-Okay!" "Sweet nice on the tongue, very good!" "Great aroma, Great flavor, so smooth - and great with a splash!" "Mild aroma; smooth, mild taste - VERY nice." "Smooth carmelly sweet flavor." "Another butterscotch rich smell. Sweet aftertaste - so Good!" "Light smell, pleasant smooth taste." "Vanilla sugar up front, smooth sweet taste." "Very mild, smooth - good sip." "Vanilla and butterscotch nose. very upfront and sweet. Aged wood flavor, but with a nice underlying sweetness. While I might mix this (more about that later when we get into mixed drinks.) I love to sip it as the nose is rewarded as well as the taste buds at each sip." 

So now you know. I liked Old New Orleans. But with the-circle-your-favorite-vote we used -- what did this rum first timer group think?? 
A THREE WAY TIE!! Each of the six rums got at least 2 votes each - but Old New Orleans, Freshwater Amber and Richland Rum each had the same number of circle-in votes as the tasters favorite!

That was awesome - so awesome that I will hold onto our specialty Rums and our commentary about the mixed drinks we tried, retried and sometimes re-invented - Next Time -- Right here with me:

In the more distant future.... The video!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

We Taste --- The Dark Side, Part One -- Spirit Taste 2013

In the midst of visiting, eating and just plain having a good time, the Spirit Taste 2013 never lost its way. We had Rum to taste!! After going through 9 White Rums, we turned our attention to the Ambers, the Aged, the Dark Side of Rum. We started with 5 dark rums but one of my nephews brought a bottle of Old New Orleans Rum from Celebration Distillery. Without much of a pause - it was added to the list -- so lets taste Six Dark Rums!

First - Montanya - Oro: "Very warming, great bouquet, tastes just as great too." "Strong" "A burn to the tongue." "Detect a slight c0ffee flavor. Nice on the palette, just a slight bite. Nice" "Vanilla aroma, spicy, BIG finish of flavor." "Like a lot - could be a good mixer too!" "Strong at the start but a nice final taste." "Fair Taste." "No bite, no after taste - smooth, neat." "Great aroma, woody, sweet tiny bite, very smooth." "Dry, sweet after taste, light aromas." "Strong base of flavor; Coffee, Vanilla, Cinnamon." "Liked it a rough taste - strong but smooth." "Taste stays with you, on strong aroma, very smooth drinking." "Smoother than any off the shelf rum." "Slightly sweet and woody." "Woody undertones with a slightly sweet taste." "Would be GREAT in a hurricane!" 
Seems the aged rums got stronger reactions. Or they were renewed in enthusiasm after a meal.

Second - New Holland - Freshwater Amber: "Loved it best one yet! Great finish. I am gonna buy this one." "No sting, sweet and lightly colored." "Would swear it was a whiskey mixed in. very smooth though." "Smooth well bodied, not much aroma though. My runner-up!" "Too much like a whiskey." "Wonderful aftertaste." "Very light bouquet, would mistake for a smooth whiskey." "Strong, Smooth Whiskey Taste." "Sweet smell, fruity and woody infused flavors." "Almost whiskey flavored, smooth sweet, but light. Great aftertaste." "Tasted like a great Canadian blended whiskey!" "I Liked it!" "Too much like a whiskey." "Smooth, strong aroma." "Whiskey-like. Sharp, not a favorite." "Tastes like whiskey."
I don't know. I like my aged rums because they have a great aged, wood flavor and DON'T taste like whiskey. Oh well

Three - Sgt Classick - Gold: "Very smooth, lighter flavor, a bit of heat." "Way too strong for me." "Sweet, light aroma, a little bite on the tongue." "Citrus and alcohol smell." "Like, nice and woody." "Strong Licorice small, like a Good & Plenty!" "Light sweet Smell, nice flavor." "Too oaky and wood strong - sorry." "Sweet wood/cherry smell, nice strong flavor, light after." "Sweet but very light flavor." "Slightly spicy flavor, mild aroma, Whiskey-like" "A bit too spicy for me." "Strong, like a nice whiskey!" "Charred wood, sweet, nice."
Seems Dave's rum really evoked reaction across the board.

Number Four -- Cedar Ridge - Amber: "Very easy on the tongue, good flavor." "Great aromas, easy, smooth taste." "YUMMY!" "Ok with me!" "This is a sipping rum, smooth, great in the mouth. Warm after tastes." "Sweet nose, hint of wood but a full smooth flavor." "A heavy not unpleasant after taste - Smooth drinking." "Oak, smooth, no bite - Nice." "Delicious! Sweet smooth and no bite!"
This seemed to get a lot of reaction. A few did not get a taste as we ran out... Great reason to re-stock!!

 With three more left to taste we will pick this up next time. I think it's time to:

Lick The Glass

Monday, November 04, 2013

White Rum Tasting -- Part Three - Spirit Taste 2013

I often wonder what goes through Distillers minds when we, the consuming public slurps down their hearts and souls. I mean if one thing EVERY Master Distiller I have met has in common with each of the others is -- Their commitment to their Rum. I have to admit when I read some of the comments, while honest, I sometimes think we tasted two different rums. I don't just mean the "good" or "bad" comments I think we all know everyone has their own favorite flavor boundaries. Sometimes if you skirt a bit TOO far through them, you can get a negative reaction. Face it if one rum was perfect, there would be no need of another. I Love this one -- but he hates that one, and vice-versa on the next. But it is the scale of the differences that blow me away -- From "It smells like medicine," to "I love the gentle aroma of butterscotch..." And they're drinking the same product!
No accounting for taste -- heh heh heh...

Let's start the slurpin'!
Because of the shear volume of magnificent Rums we had to taste, nine whites if you have been keeping count, I have broken the white down to three blogs - so today is the wrap-up. And remember, there is no ranking - not even alphabetical, the Rums were listed as I pulled to bottles from teh bar. In fact Cathy, my Wife, organized the bottles so I had no idea how she staked them up. In summary, we have tasted the following so far:
Part One - Striped Pig and Journeyman's Road's End. They were appreciated by all and the comments are interesting to read.
Part Two - Montanyas' Platino, Prichards' Crystal and Ugly Dogs, Ugly Dog Rum. I noted that by this time the tasters really had something to compare there sample in front of them In fact to even things a bit I often encouraged them to re-taste some of the earlier ones for comparison. It was funny, we had two spit jars for dumping the shot glass rinse waters and the unused contents or for them to spit into (As most South-side Chicagoans, most thought it was a sin to "dump" unused rum!" and the running joke was "What drink could we manufacture from the contents!! One taster even laid claim to one jar for his own....
Okay, onto Part Three:

Muddy River Distillings' - Carolina Rum. This is one of the White Rums that is more than a mixer for sure. Caroline and Robby Delany though are still perfecting the tastes. Additionally they are releasing an aged rum as well. Here is what our neophyte crew had to say: "Licorice taste, Very light, pleasant flavor, certainly not "Muddy"." "Sweet and bit spicy in my mouth" "Tastes like and old time rum, full body but not overpowering." "Sweet fragrance, not bad at all!" "Strong alcohol aroma, a bit too much burn in the mouth - good but needs more complexity." "Too much like a whiskey going down." "A pungent after taste that slowly gets more and more pleasant. I found it lasted a long, satisfying time." "Plain." "Love the bottle! Smooth. A great mixer, a long burn after." "Smells of butterscotch, nice smooth burn, not bad at all..." "Alcohol smell, and aftertaste, lighter in the aftertaste." "Light on flavor, medium burn, with a long aftertaste," "Smooth Sweet, I like." "Slightly sweet & clean." 
There ya go. Carolina Rum runs the gamut. I keep seeing Sweet, and variations of clean, or light flavors. Let's rinse our glasses and pour on.

Northern Latitudes' - Manitou Passage: "Flat aroma, strong taste, great heat!" "I got a fruity aftertaste and good sweetness" "Bouquet is light, but a bite to the tongue, a good, spicy flavor." "A peppery aroma and taste - peppercorn like not chiles." "Too Strong for me." "Very strong burn, sorry not a fan." "Peppery flavor, strong, warming". "Bouquet almost like a wine, sweet. Sorry I did not like the aftertaste." Very light smelling, strong taste, but the aftertaste is sweet." "Oaky, strong burn," "An oily taste, not smooth. a no from me." "Smells like wine, really opens the sinuses, pepperminty and fruity." "A bit harsh of an aftertaste." "The taste on my tongue after is pepper, pleasant."
Okay, I found Manitou Passage to be a bit peppery as well. I like this all purpose Rum. I can mix it or sip it on the rocks.

The next rum was the first craft rum I tasted at a distillery; Tailwinds -- Taildragger White: "Vanilla smell, very, very smooth." "Good, perhaps a bit of pepper in this too?" "Too strong - too much!" "Very nice flavors, very light fragrance, no bite, light on the tongue. Very nice." "Earthy, almost a cornmash smell." "Bouquet is refreshing, butterscotch aromas, a long lasting nice aftertaste, Smooth Very Good smooth." "Light, spicy taste, great flavor linger too." "Strong to the nose, very smooth going down." "Aroma is grainy, bit of a burn going down." "Not as smooth as others but a peppery taste." "Aroma is almost floral, herbal, Soft flavored and a touch of herb and floral there too." "Too Strong."
I was gratified that some picked up a herbal scent and flavor, one of the endearing flavors I enjoy from this white rum.

The Final White to be tasted; Sergent Classicks' - Silver: "Ok, just not enough taste." "Smell the syrup! Sweet, strong flavors" "No, not for me." "Bit of a bite, but a sweet flavor and fragrance." "I smell pineapple and got a bit in the taste too. Mid sip, comforting burn." "At first a bit of whiskey flavor, but soon a sweet yummy taste!" "Very smooth a very natural tasting rum." "A bit plain." "Strong scent, smooth in the mouth, no burn, has a very floral, herbal taste... Good" "A bit bitter to me and a bite." "Too much alcohol smell, and it is in the taste too." "A herbal taste, very smooth taste - not a burn." "Slightly medicinal?" "Really liked this one!"

Well, that's it folks. Nine Rums and lots of opinions. I asked the crown not to rank the rums but to indicate their favorite. Some did not - some did - so in a totally unscientific way I say the crown really liked: Tailwinds Taildragger and Prichards Crystal tie. Seven of the nine got at least one vote for the best. A pretty satisfied crowd.
It was at this point where we broke for some food. So we will break here as well. Not for Pulled Pork, Beer Brats and Chicken wings, but a break none the less.
See you Next time when we go to The Dark Side!

Friday, November 01, 2013

White Rum Tasting - Part Two -- Spirit Taste 2013

We've talked about two of the absolutely great white rums that we had on hand for tasting. I want to take the time to thank many of the rums we had a chance to taste for sending samples to us. While on that subject, if you are a distiller  or know of one (you favorite) please get them to send us samples so we can get the word out. With our relationship with and the readership has grown dramatically. I am here to pass the word, taste the rums and explore the stories. That in mind, let's talk White Rum!

The next sampling was Montanya Platino:  The tall, thin bottle was turned for all to drink. The comments follow. "Strong aroma, nice immediate bite, best so far." "Licorice," "Strong Sweet bouquet, goes down very smooth, just a small bite." "No burn, very nice aftertaste - I like!" "Has a flral smell, a bite at first but
smooths out." "Yummy, really like the aftertaste." "Not as pungent as the other very very smooth to drink." "Detect a bit of wood in the aroma, sort of a damp aftertaste." "Nearly aroma-less, to me I taste a strong Oak or wood flavor." "Almost reminds me of a gin, a bit of a bite." "Light smell very smooth & nice aftertaste." "A little burn - and I detect Oak." "Aromatic - smells of licorice." "Licorice," "Smells just like black licorice."

Seems like this group had licorice on their mind. We had a discussion about alcohol content, the "burn" or "bite" at first taste. I attribute that to the alcohol content. Some commentary about Montanya after the official tasting was done. Some of the tasters followed up using a bit of water to open up the bouquet and flavor of this complex rum. Let's go to the next!

Prichard's Crystal Rum Was next: "Almost like bubblegum or cotton candy sweet to the nose" "Very tasty smells like bubblegum!" "Very easy and smooth on the palette, sweet." "A bit strong for me, but still a smooth swallow." "Excellent sipping rum, very nice in the mouth and swallowing, sweet." "Very smooth and tasty - has a sweet, female aroma, goes down easy." "My favorite to this point, Love the sweet taste great after taste, great to sip and sniff." "Great smell and flavor, sweet!" "Sweet bubblegum smell along with vanilla." "Absolutely no burn, pleasant on the palette a sweet, nice taste." "For me it had a hint of banana, a touch of bitter and great sweet over, and that was just the aroma -- taste sweet - a great sipping Rum!" "Vanilla smell, light though, no burn and a light, nice after taste." "This would be great on the rock, no burn and so so smooth." "All around smooth, great sipping" "I found it a bit too strong."

Prichard's ran the gamut with these new tasters.  One thing I have found is ... you wonder where some of the flavors come from. I mean, why some taste bubblegum while other swear it all about the licorice.

Ugly Dog Rum was one we visited this summer. They are proud of the full bodied rum and we all recommend it as a great mixer. Here's what the first time tasters had to say: "Not for sipping, a strong aroma. Appropriately named -- just for mixing." "Not by itself, too rough" "reminded me more of a moonshine, quite smooth, bet it mixes well." "medicine smell? but good tasting. This would be great in a mix. Was great with a splash of water" "Bit of a caramel bouquet, fiery taste a very quick finish." "Strong bite at first with an herbal after." "Plain - a mixer." "predominate alcohol smell; strong - rough flavor, needs a mix" "very strong woody flavor with an alcohol after taste. Good with a bit of water." "Alcohol smell, sour to the taste, would mix well in a sweet drink." "A medicinal aroma and taste, sorry." "Sharp taste, strong... This would come alive in a mixed drink!"

So there you have it. I think the Ugly Dog Rum (UDR), while hit a bit hard as a taster, most people recognized it's value as a superior mixer. I have to mention, UDR was the most requested in Pina Colada's we mixed of all the white rums. Seems the taste was perfect. More about some of the mixes we tried, and peoples reactions coming up....
For me, until next week -- guess what? I am: