One of the cool things to doing this blog, besides that I get LOTS of rum to taste, is that I get to witness real growth in the industry. By making contacts and watching, writing and talking rum I have seen some of the Distillers really explode. Muddy River is one of those. When I first found them, they were just into the market (2001 - we found in 2012), just getting their Carolina Rum out there and really up for the challenge. Robby and Caroline Delaney had plans, they had goals and they had a product that they knew would be the key to their growth.
When we visited last, they were just obtaining a HUGE amount of expansion space, waiting for a new product to age to perfection and still getting their feel for the Distilling business. It has been a running joke in that being a Chicagoan, I had problems getting the Distillery's name correct. Muddy Waters is a legendary blues man from Chicago -- so when I first listed MRD, I did it wrong. Robby made sure I got it right.
We were pumped to make a return, to see the new digs - to taste Queen Charlotte's Reserve and to just visit with this fun, committed couple. We had a window of time, early May and I made sure distillers I knew of were alerted. An email from Caroline let me know that they would be out of town
and the distillery would be closed. So not only could we not meet, but we would not get to see the new distillery and taste rum. No, that is NOT the Muddy River style. Caroline shipped bottles of both Carolina Rum and Queen Charlotte's to me! So they sat until we came back and now I get to taste these rums. Let's get down to business!
A silver or clear rum I was able to not only taste this rum, but compare it to there rum from 2 years ago. Unlike mass produced mass marketed rums, craft rums evolve. I am expecting that the original and the "new" Carolina Rum will have some differences. Let's see.
First, I saw the original seems to have a slight int. Upon closer examination, I think their old bottle was not crystal clear. So we sip. Hmmm yes I remember that well. A sweet aroma, just a hint of candy, a touch of molasses. Their rum has a good smoothness and would stand up to sipping on the rocks.
Now the new Carolina Rum
The aroma is sharper. I get a sweeter bouquet, a greater sense of molasses. Tasting it the flavor profile has been raised, nicely too. On the tongue it is a sweet rum, even smoother than before. I also find the flavors are longer lived in the mouth and pleasantly so. This is much more sip-able than the two year old sample I have. You can sense the growth and the change they put into their spirit.
Generally White or crystal rums are more for mixing - I say that Carolina Rum is an excellent mixer and will make your rum drink better, tastier and memorable. Also, this mid-bodied rum stands up to water (a splash brings out more flavor, smooths it greatly) and ice. A great improvement to their first runs of Carolina Rum - not that they were bad. They were very good but improvement to me shows growth in their efforts and talents... Great stuff!
Queen Charlotte's Reserve
An aged, three year old rum. Aged in White Oak barrels, it acquires an awesome dark amber color. Some of the most attractive attributes of an aged rum are color and bouquet. The color is very nice,
lighter in glass that the volume of rum gives in the bottle. The aroma is sweeter, but with that woody, butterscotch background. A very attractive vapor comes out and sniffing the glass is fun. Seems like I identified more and more subtle aromas, a touch of vanilla. I got a bit of a spiciness - but it was wood spice, not some added flavor. The aroma IS pronounced and satisfying in it self.
Taste, face it, it can smell nice, look nice but if it tastes raw or harsh, its not gonna make it. No fear, the taste has a pleasant bite (yet supremely smooth) it lets' you know it is in your mouth! It doesn't say in what I read but these are new barrels either VERY lightly toasted or un-toasted. The resins of the Oak are here and tasty. For those who taste whiskeys, this will remind you of that as well, but the similarities end in the long list of complex flavors; Butterscotch, Cotton Candy, and a pronounced sugar snap in the vapor let's you know, this is no whiskey, this is rum, aged rum, aged, good rum. It is a treat. It is the Rum I have learned to enjoy an write about! the sweetness kicks in early. lasts throughout and just manages to accent the woodiness and flavors three years imparts. Folks, this is great stuff!!! this is on my -- "Gonna sip a bit" list as of now.
There you have it a real win in all these visits and we are out visiting more as you read this... I have more to talk about (including what I drink rum from) in upcoming posts -- Be there - read and please - feel free to drop us a comment or email... Til then -- Lick the glass!