Monday, February 02, 2015

Rick the Rum Runner - Just Talking Rum

The winter is kind of Rum Doldrums, not because people stop drinking it (it is a great warming spirit), or that the Distillers stop making it. I think it's because I don't get out and visit Distillers or make tastes happen at local spots. It's me, it's not you.... That said, I have to take time to look back and revisit moments of the year past and talk a bit about where we are going next.

After a few discussions with a couple of Distillers, its heartening that the Rum business is growing still, and that Rum is gradually shaking of the "Pirate Party" persona. Don't get me wrong; who doesn't like Pirates? Who doesn't like to party? I see you nodding - I thought as much. But, we have some setting to do. The subject of my blog here is small batch, craft Rums, mage in America. The last part is not 100% enforced, face it, I love rum. I talk about rum, I drink rum. I am part rum.... So you'll see posts about Puerto Rican Rum (American enough for me) and even fine foreign rums. I just don't put them in the Blog Directory. Still, we tend to specialize here.

The other part is the Small Batch, Craft Made labels -- Handmade and Hand Crafted are other words tossed about or printed on packages. We may need some definitions on that. In the wake of more than a few lawsuits may very well set that certainty into motion... I have not seen any in the Rum Business, hopefully we won't see any either as rules will be more defined. But I am open to discussion (and will print and discuss your comments here) on the subject -- so comment here or email me your feelings or experiences.

My education continues, slowly I learn more and more about the types and styles of rums as well as how it's made, what variations are there in the distillation methods, ingredients, aging, etc? I am constantly learning. This year mostly due to the education at the Rum Expo in Chicago, I really learned to taste and enjoy Rum Agricole. Simply put it is when the distillation is from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. It is a distinct (to me now that I know what to look for) taste for me - best described and an herb, or grassy taste, with immediate a growing sweetness on the tongue. I have learned to appreciate it. I find the use of sugar cane juice becoming almost the norm. It is definitely different from Molasses.

I am finding more flavored rums. Used to be Light, Dark and Spiced. Flavoring and differing aging of rums makes so many variations available that it can get nearly as dizzying as the rum does when you drink to excess. Still, flavoring is looked upon by me as a good thing. It means the Industry is looking to expand. Remember when we all drank Vodka, then were told that one Vodka was SO much better than another? Then we were able to distinguish the grains used and the filtering methods as we drank more and different Vodkas. Then, the flavored vodkas arrived. I feel that marked the quest for growth by the distillers, looking for new drinkers ones that perhaps were not into the variations and fine differences, but liked Vodka. I find this a good thing in my mind. A bit of fun with flavor, but at the same time Vodka had more of a formal feeling that flavoring loosened up. Does rum really need a party feel? I think lightening up the market will still attract drinkers and QUALITY comes out more at the small batch/craft level than the flavored rums of many of the "Bigs".

As far as plans -- I talked a bit about plans for travel. I want to attend more shows and hope to make more videos as well. I want to taste EVERY rum, and am trying to make sure that Distillers that I find are listed in the directory, Tasted when/if possible and the description published here and So keep reading about more there happening throughout the summer.

Finally -- write me - ask questions. I don't know much but love to learn so I will find out what you want and learn things too. If you distill and market -- please try to get me a taste even 2 oz of  you product is appreciated and I will LOVE to write about it. If you want to talk anything about rum -- make this the place..

Thanks for the last two years and now onto 2015!!

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