Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rum Updates for January 2015

If you have not noticed -- please look at the directory on the leftmost column next to this blog. Those of you reading in our syndicated blog posts (Liquor.com, DrinkWire etc), use that link on the word "blog" above to go to the home page and access the list. We have updated that list of Distillers and it should be 100% current. There are (or were) 95 distillers across the US that made a rum. There are hundreds of more distillers. Many that don't make rum, or we have not discovered yet. So that number, hopefully will grow. 

Next on the agenda will be to send updates to RumRatings.com and make sure I can post my taste scores there and you can go there - read mine and others tastes. While there - join and let us know what you think of your favorite Rum(s).

We are making travel plans and hope to include some North Carolina, South Carolina, perhaps other places along that route. That would be in May. Nothing has been nailed down yet.

In late May, early June we will be in the Iowa, northwest Illinois area... We are looking for Distillers along that route -- we may or may not include parts of Wisconsin in that tour.

August will most likely see us in Michigan once more. Always willing to visit some of the places we know - but on the lookout for new distillers as well.

So there ya have it -- preliminary travel plans.

I want to point out that the taste of the Devil's Own line of Rums from Stillwagon Distillery took off like a rocket and in 24 hours topped the list showing the most popular posts in the last 30 days...
Wow! If you have not red that post DO NOT let the opportunity get by!

Just keeping in touch - So for now - I go back behind the bar...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rick Makes A Deal With The Devil...

Part of the job here at RTRR is that we get to drink and talk about it. Yeah I know many of you do that on your own - but I get to do it to thousands of people at one time. I do it one time and the people read it... 

To make that possible I need rum. In the beginning - I bought every bottle I tasted and reviewed, later, as I visited Distillers, I found them to be generous and smart in that they saw RTRR was starting to make a small impact and they would supply me with a bottle or two - just to sample and write about. As Rick the Rum Runner became more visible, I have had the honor of being contacted by Distillers to send samples and ask my opinion on their Rums.
Richard Stillwagon has a Distillery that bears his name. He sent a sample of all five (I may have mentioned six in the past) rums and I intend to sip and comment. But let's look at Stillwagon Distillery, first.

They have a Website and it does a great job of presenting their products and business. It certainly attracted me and if I find myself near Charleston Oregon, I plan to visit. 
Part of a persons journey into any business is the story behind it. I have to include the story of Rick Stillwagon's route:

"This venture  started with a Koi pond.  I was raising koi and looking for a better way to clean and heat the water.  I stumbled upon aquaponics, the Living Machine, steam, had a steam engine built in India, water distillation, then ethanol fuel production.  I then began my path through the licensing process with the federal, state, and county governing bodies.

That is the very short version.  There is about 10 years of exploring, experimenting, and a lifetime of developing different skills that led to this current endeavor.  This is only a piece of a larger puzzle.

We are also working on a waste water treatment system to process our spent wash, a CO2 capture system to prevent excess CO2 from escaping our fermentation process, and solid waste composting and recycling to reduce our waste stream.

We are just getting started, and slowly getting to these very complicated but necessary amenities to our business.  So if you would like to know more about what we are doing feel free to contact us or drop by for a visit."


Sounds like an interesting trip!  

So enough of my Blah-blah-blah... We gotta taste!

Their comment at their website is; "Our White Rum has a delicate smooth flavor with a sweet and fruity finish. Not to be taken lightly at 110 proof."
As soon as I opened the bottle a bouquet filled the room. Sweetness, sugar, I get a bit of burnt sugar or caramel. Big legs on the glass wall... For a 110 proof, there is the tiniest tongue bite, but a burst of flavor immediately. This is stout, unruly rum -- a Pirates drink for sure. No dainty "just a mixer" here. Describing the flavors is interesting - so complex, its like tasting a Jambalaya, layers of taste. Smooth - yes, the sweetness is not just a finish but upfront as well. There is a clean almost grassy taste (cane) - caramel, very subtle butterscotch. The finish is sweet and a nice fruity sweet as mentioned by the makers. 
I say this is too good to mix -- but don't write that off - any mixed trink that asks for rum will be improved with this clear, rowdy rum. But, take some to sip. A water splash brings out a greater aroma. It also sweetens the flavor - so a slowly melting rock would make this a cool, very refreshing sipper....

This is a crystal rum at a 155 proof! They say:
"Our Wicked Rum is our overproof at 155.  It is incredibly smooth for a high proof with a sweet fruity finish."
You would think the aroma would be even greater than the White, but not so. I find it very cotton candy, touch of caramel, deeply attractive to the nose. Tasting it yes  a tiny tongue bite but the flavor is released like a tiger escaping from a cage! My palate was immediately warmed. I have a passing of vanilla, Sweetness down the center of my tongue and a long term sweet finish. Holding a small sip in my mouth was warming - sweet, slightly burnt but intensely satisfying... Wonderful sipping rum. Any mixed drink calling for over proof rum would explode with the addition of Wicked Rum.. Still in a glass over a lump of hard ice -- YUMMY I added a touch of water and teh butterscotch aroma came to the forefront. Absolutely smoothed the taste out and intensified the long lasting finish....
Always a surprise - I find Spiced Rums an exciting style. There are so many varieties that each has a personality whether sipped or mixed. Their comments: 
"Our Spiced Rum is infused with the flavors of the tropics.  We use real Pineapple, Coconut, Vanilla, and a host of other spices carefully blended to tantalize your palate."
Aroma is spicy and very attractive. This will be complex - just by the nose. I smell so many things -- besides what they say... Is that APPLE too? Now to taste. Oh my... The flavor is a drink in its own! All they say (love the pineapple) the spice mix is rich, very rich. I detect clove, as well as a huskiness - perhaps cinnamon? What ever it is -- whoever came up with the mix was spot on!
I know spiced rums tend to be used in Cuba Libras, and this would elevate that drink to skyscraper heights, but, you HAVE to try this alone. At 96 proof, the rum is great neat, actually cooling on its own. A bit of water separates some of the flavors. Ice would complete it on its own, but I WILL have a Rum & Cola just to experience it!

Aged golden rums is where rum crosses lines. I am sure the authenticity reigns as rum was carried aboard ships for over a century or more. Naturally they'd age in the cask... Stillwagon writes:
"Our Gold Rum is aged for at least a year in new charred oak barrels made by ISC in Missouri.  It has a mellow smooth slightly sweet flavor with a hint of vanilla and oak.  Many Bourbon drinkers have been swayed by this rum..."  
Ah-h-h- a mellow, subtle bouquet wafts up. You can tell the barrels are new, the wooded aroma is pronounced and has that toasted twinge to the nose.  The smoothness of the taste is so evident. They speak of swaying bourbon drinkers, and the shear smoothness on the tongue is sway enough for me. There is a definite butterscotch after taste that lessens to that slight tingle that makes aged rums so tasty. The proof is 109 -- and you are not aware of that high number - flavor is what it is about. Stillwagon has treated his rum like a good whiskey and the reward is beyond its cousin in flavor. Sure you are free to mix this as you want but this is a HIGHLY ranked sipping rum. Saying Rum is just sugar and/or molasses fermented is like calling whiskey just moonshine in a barrel. there is a a LOT more there and it is presented so well by Rick Stillwagon's Gold Rum.

This is their newest addition. I have only one rum to compare it with so far, a mass marketed one named after a mythical Greek Sea Monster. I do like that one -- especially with cola. They say:
"Our newest product is our Black Spiced Rum!  It has a different combination of spices than our spiced rum, blended in our gold rum with a splash of molasses to give it a rich bold flavor."
I stick my ample nose into the glass and detect a deep spiciness not at all like their "regular" spiced Rum. No, this is different. There is a burnt sugar and spiciness melange that is really tempting. This is a lower proof rum and I get deeper lower notes of spice (Cinnamon, and others... Not up on spice names). I taste it to discover that they have made this into a sweet spicy complete drink of its own! Rolling the rum in my mouth lets the layers expose themselves. Sugar, caramel, butterscotch - offset by a heavy spiciness that both intensifies but mellows the sweetness. Oh -- Rick -- This is a winner! Again -- mixable and MADE for cola drinks -- but Please, please -- chilled or over a rock -- yes, yes indeed. 

There you go - Five rums from Stillwagon Distillery -- My final comment is this. If this was born of koi  raising..... Can you imagine how kick-ass their koi are? Best to you all at Stillwagon Distillery, please keep us up on where you are - where we can get your products and any news we NEED to know -- Thank you for the opportunity!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Comments - Ideas and Moving Right Along

OK -- Seems like I have gotten the winter cold under control... So lets look at things we find in the Rum News...
I try to read most everything that has key words in it that crosses over my monitors screen. The words are "Rum, Distiller, Alcohol, Spirits" things along that line. So here are a few things I found.

If you don't get Drink Spirits, I recommend it -- An article from them popped up and I found it very interesting and based upon short discussions with Distillers over the last year or so - seems timely...
[DISCUS, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.]

Drink Spirits: Limp DISCUS – How Alcohol Lacks A Watchdog

Link to Drink SpiritsDISCUS is no Watchdog
How alcohol is handled in the United States is nothing short of chaotic, piecemeal, and absurd. Although the prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcohol was repealed in 1933 by the Federal Government, the dismantling of Prohibition was handled by each individual state. This lead to a nation with a patchwork of rules, laws, and regulations, including one of the most absurd facts that one of the nation’s largest spirits, Jack Daniels, is made in a “dry” county that still observes some of the laws of prohibition.
To manage this hodgepodge, the Federal Government created the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The core function of this body is to ensure that the Federal Government receives a national excise tax for the sale and distribution of all alcohol in the US. In order to properly tax this alcohol, the TTB had to create a set of rules and regulations aimed at classifying, typing, and controlling the manufacturing and sale of spirits. These rules weren’t really about consumer protection or cutting through the chaos of a dysfunctional system, they were established to prevent alcohol producers and distributors from playing a cup-and-ball magic trick with their products to avoid paying taxes.
Here’s the formal mission of the TTB (note that it starts with its core, tax):
Collect the taxes on alcohol, tobacco, firearms and ammunition;
protect the consumer by ensuring the integrity of alcohol products;
and prevent unfair and unlawful market activity for alcohol and tobacco products.
When a new distillery is founded, the TTB will inspect the facility to ensure that it’s compliant with the rules and eliminate any sort of trickery to avoid tax. Inspectors have been known to try to search for hidden doors and walls, and accuse distillers of attempting every form trickery with how they handle their spirits. The TTB isn’t interested in the safety of the people working in the distillery – that is handled by local fire and government – it’s all about making sure they get paid.    To continue chick here.

That link will take you to the magazine and I ask that you think about getting on their mailing list.
It appears winter and the start of a new year is time for Distillers to stock up!
For more info like this please go to our Facebook page and like it.
Thank goodness for friends and family! Small businesses like us couldn't make it without you!

 Thank goodness for friends and family! Small businesses like us couldn't make it without you!

Black Dog has gone to the warehouse on it's first shipment. Look for it in stores near you or order at your local liquor store with the product code #12310.

The Toasted Coconut rum is at the Speakeasy Rum Bar on the south end of Duval in Key West! We can't wait to see what drinks Bahama Bob comes up with!
Stop by and try the new Siesta Key Toasted Coconut Rum, it's great.
That is some happy yeast!
Finally, this from Stillwagon Distilling:
That is some happy yeast!

Mentioning that leads me to the plans for this week -- We will be tasting the Rums of Stillwater Distilling, thanks in no small part to Richard Stillwagon who sent samples of their 6 (six -- count them -- SIX!!) rums for yours truly to slurp and comment upon -- so keep track of us. Better yet subscribe via email and get every post sent to you! -- the link is on the mail page - click - enter your email and stay on top! So that said -- See you next time!

Monday, January 12, 2015

What is happening in Rum - Jan - 12 - 2015

Looking around the Rum Business:

From Jamey Beall at Tailwinds --

Hey Rick,
Don't know if you've seen that Tailwinds has been approved for full cocktail tasting by the city of Plainfield and we are building a brand New tasting bar....
Yes we have seen that and just want to be in on the loop -- we will be hanging there...

Looks like Stillwagon Distillery is readying some samples for us -- just emailed our address to Rick Stillwagon.... 
Great to see you guys at American Made Rum .. Great to keep track of all your favorite Distillers!

With all the colds - flu etc (I got hit with a Sinus infection AND Bronchitis) going around we have this remedy from Richland Rum -- Almost worth getting sick over.... 

How to weather the cold? With heart warming HOT BUTTERED RUM
- 1 small slice butter (optional),
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional),
- Spices such as
cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice (optional),
- Dash of vanilla extract (optional),
- 6 oz hot water (optional),
- 2 oz Richland Rum
Pour rum in glass.

Seems Striped Pig Distillery has a new logo --- Their Rum is the same -- Soooo Good!

We will be back with more!! 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

We Speak of Rum in 2015

I love referring to myself as first person plural... That aside, I was reading Drink Spirits magazine and was very pleased with their 2015 Spirit and Alcohol Trends Predictions. I found it very good reading and always search it out for Rum References... I was not disappointed. One section had this:

"The War on Sugar

In 2014, the movie “Fed Up” made its mark with a battle cry against sugar. The war against sugar will deeply intensify in 2015 with lawsuits, “Super Size Me” style movies, and an increasing number of experts reiterating just how bad sugar is.  The most profound indicator of this is Coca Cola’s major move into the milk space with Fairlife, their new premium milk. Coke sees the writing on the wall and they’re making a massive bet on milk.

The impact of the war on sugar will be twofold. First, it’s going to have a real negative impact on rum. Even though the sugar is consumed in the fermentation and distillation processes, confused consumers are going to wrongly equate rum with sugar and opt out of having rum in their glass. Secondly, we expect to see more consumers look for “healthy” cocktail alternatives, with some bars adding calorie counts on their menus."

I had to smile a bit as I read - but also I need to express a bit of concern. The quote that makes me want to comment is; "Even though the sugar is consumed in the fermentation and distillation processes, confused consumers are going to wrongly equate rum with sugar and opt out of having rum in their glass." 

Folks if you are on a sugar hunt -- there are far greater villains than Rum. As the article rightly states, the sugar used to make rum is basically gone via fermentation. In fact, Rum has some the the least amount of sugars in the product than most distilled spirits. I have written about this in the past in this blog post. If you don't want to click, the part I wanted you to re-read has this in it:

 "Rum, when it is thoroughly distilled, has no discernible sugar in it. I often talk about a sweetness or a molasses flavor, even a sugar, burnt sugar tang. Well, I'm lying. Kidding. It's hard to describe but sweet is a flavor as well as a state of being. Most of the time the sweetness is an after-taste or develops in the mouth long after you'd detect actual sugar. Smell also plays a part. Many aged rums have some of the sweetest aromas. Using Richland Rum as an example -- You pop the cork on this rum and the room is filled with so much butterscotch, caramel perfume that you'd think the liquid would be sweet enough to make your cavities ache. Wrong. I'd compare the flavor to many aged spirits coming from a barrel, smokey, floral, crispness and -- a sweetness that rum only can claim -- but as an aftertaste like your tongue recalls the root of that aroma, Cane Juice. When all is said and done. Rum can taste sweet, but only if sugar (or any sweetener) is added after distillation. Yes some distiller do add it and sometimes the sweetness IS tasted that way. Adding sweetener is not a bad thing, it is just like adding seasoning to a dish. It is an additive (albeit a very natural one) but added by desire from the distiller. The biggest reason why most people think Rum is sweet is because a majority of drink made with rum tend to be sweet. Also, the addition to sweet mixes seems to fire up or almost multiply the sweetness of a rum flavor. For instance, many dark rums lose much, if not all of their caramel flavor. When added to a sweet mix of say... cola; which is caramel flavor based -- BINGO it multiplies that same caramel flavor (really try this. its fun). Putting a Coffee infused Rum into say a Piña Colada invents a totally different drink! The coffee suddenly morphs (partially) into having a chocolate undertone! The sweetness of the drink actually diminishes a bit and subtler, deeper flavors leap out. So, don't be afraid of rum if you fear sweetness. In fact, Rum in most cases has less calories (And sugar) than many spirits save vodka..."

That's it for today -- go forth and search for excess sugar in your diet, while sipping a great Rum with no fear.

Oh -- on the New Rum Front -- got a message from Stillwagon Distillery - asking for info to get a sample of their Devil's Own Rum to me.. I have passed my address on -- we will be honored to taste - and tell! 

Until next time -- Lick the glass!!!
Lick The Glass!! #LTG


Friday, January 02, 2015

A Look Behind - A Look Ahead

Happy New Year! Seems we have made it another time around the sun. I wanted to post a greeting to you all - maybe some news, some statistics -- stuff like that... Let's get started!


Rick The Rum Runner - The Blog - continues to grow. I'd like to show you how much and how interesting the reading public is. The all time, Top Ten blog-posts, in order of popularity, are:

We Taste - Mid-Best's Rums... This tasting goes back to March of this last year year and of all the 289 posts we've made -- it comes in at #10

The #9 honors surprised me -- but apparently you all like Hump Day so much - you've kept this post alive since October of 2013! Wednesday ---- Rum-Hump Day? Rum

October 2013 was a fun time here at RTRR, as we celebrated one year with a first time in-house rum tasting. We enjoyed it very much. But that time was also marked by a local (to us) Distiller showing up at a watering hole that I like -- the take-over was inevitable - At #8 It's a Tailwinds Take-Over!

#7 is one of those "catch up" kind of posts where I needed to kind of update everyone on things... It became a favorite to many! Heading into July -- So Much Rum From June 2014, talking change and news...

We creep up the ratings to the #6 spot. This one is from Mid-November 2014 - and quickly flew up the all-time list. We celebrated a milestone and talked about a whole new group of Distillers! It was, of course: New Distillers! & We Pass 275 Posts!

From February of 2013 we find #5. This is one that jumped to the top 10 and has stayed there within weeks of its posting. A great site to read about, rate and discuss rum... Rumratings.Com Launches Site

At the #4 slot we encounter on of our Road Trip visits to rum distillers. All of them were great fun, very informative and great to just talk, taste and celebrate Rum - From May of 2013 -- Muddy River Distillery This distillery has grown and expanded -- still looks like a GREAT place to visit -- I have it on my re-visit list. 

Now we enter the tippy top section.. #3 is entrenched and deserving of its placement; Let's Taste Striped Pig's Striped Rum! Another October 2013 denizen, Striped Pig's post seems to be a Rum Enthusiasts magnet of sorts. Congrats to them! 

#2 -- This has been in this spot almost since we started - in fact it was #1 for a short time,
but since November of 2012 we have --- Distiller Visit – Tailwinds Distilling Co.

Finally, we have made it to ...

 That spot, since it slipped into it, has been immovable! It also builds its lead with a great amount of visits EVERY WEEK! from January 30, 2013, nearly two YEARS! we have - Jersey Artisan Distilling – Licensed to  


A bit of news from Lyons Distilling --

The distillery will be closed from 1/3/15-1/29/15

Before we launch into another exciting year, we are taking a short break to put booze into barrels, experiment with some new ideas, and recharge our creative spirits! We will re-open to the public at the end of January for tastings, tours & sales, but in the meantime, you can get your rum fix at select MD & DC stores (list below) or purchase online via pstreetwines.com.

From February-April we will be open Friday-Saturday 1-5pm, and other days/times by appointment. We have new equipment and new ingredients arriving this month, and are excited to continue expanding our booze factory and spirits selection.

As always, for the latest & greatest distillery news, updates & announcements, stay tuned to our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram & Twitter. #DRINKMORERUM

Cheers to 2015!

Ben & Jaime

Sounds interesting -- Ben & Jaime will keep us up to date on the changes and additions -- We will, of course pass that on to you!
It's that time of year where I fight the battle of the Winter Sinuses,  happens every year! I hope 2015 finds you in good health and with a healthy thirst for discovering New Rums!! Talk again soon!