Friday, December 16, 2016

Coming Ashore

It has been a while. Some real soul searching was done, but a decision has been made. This will be most likely the last post to this blog. I have decided to take it easier and with some health problems banning alcohol out of my life, to just quietly step back.
It has been wonderful! I have met so many people and heard SO many great stories. I'll still be around, still visiting - perhaps jotting a thing or two here, so watch for me.
Just remember, when you find that perfect rum, don't let go and remember to


Monday, August 22, 2016

More Rum News - Summer 2016

 In desperate need of an update, and we have a Tasting to report!
I have done some soul searching and decided we will be doing monthly posts and more, if needed. I have been exploring new distilleries during the years and frankly I need to go through them all - see who is still around and such as well as research states I have in the past and see what is new. That is a lot of behind the scenes, but will be of great value to you dedicated readers in your research of new, American Made Rums.

First. we finally stopped at Grand Traverse Distillery (the location in Leland, Fishtown). I had tasted their Rum a couple of years ago, but I had not tasted the "finished" bottled product, Silver Rum for over a year.
They use an imported Caribbean sugarcane, but it is all made right there in Traverse City.
The sampling was, as fully expected, a pleasure. When done in house with the Master Distiller, the product was a very nice rum. In its store bottle, it is understated, refined and quite good. As usual, I tend to see a clear rum as more of a mixer. Well, this one would make a very, very nice mixer rum. I can easily see this neat (or a cube if wanted) as a sipper as well as the butterscotch nose is nice as is the vanilla flavor on the tongue. I can recommend this one, for sure.
At their website the advertise a Dark, Aged Rum -- None in evidence -- we will pursue and see what we find! I had tasted this rum in their downtown Travers store last time, but I love making the Quality Control taste whenever I can!
I can say, if you are in the Tasting room in Fishtown, their entire line is nice. However, for a treat, head to the distillery itself, just south of Traverse city, and see the magic! Say "hi" to them for me when you are there.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Checking in -- June 2016

As summer become more of a reality, we are, looking at things to do, places to go and Rum drinks to make. First, let's talk; what's happening around the Rum Business.

First, We hear from Tailwinds Distillery, right here in Chicagoland:

After Dark Rum Batch #4 Release!
The wait is over! Batch #4 of Dark Rum will be released & Available for the general public purchase at the distillery on Saturday June 18th beginning at 12 noon. Looking for the perfect present for Father's Day" Tell Pappy you love him with the gift of a Gold Award Winning Dark Rum!

We are following Rational Spirits (South Carolina) on Twitter. We hope to tell you more soon! Always out to track down new Rums. 

Here's a bit from Lyons Distilling;

Big News!
We are excited to announce the arrival of our new 500G pot still, bringing our distillation capacity to 680G!
Welded by hand in Barlow, KY, by our favorite still maker; Hillbilly Stills, we can't wait to fire it up and make way more rum & Whiskey than ever before.
The LDC team is also growing, and we recently lanched an official Istigram account @lyondistilling - so be sure to follow us to see what's new & meet the team!

For a great summer drink, using your choices of rum we send you to our own mothership - Just click the link for a luscious Watermelon Breeze!
They recommend a well know brand -- but use a nice American Made Rum and move it up! Be interested in what you think of the drink and... What Rum did you use?? 

Til Next time!

Friday, June 03, 2016

Summer's Coming. Some Rumner Time Recipes

Couple of things. I managed to hurt my back (it's a long story, not rum related - Let's leave it there) so I am not exploring Minnesota this weekend. That said, the world of Rum is just getting its Summer on. Let's look around.

Fair Game Beverages Releases their Amber Rum

"We are excited to unveil the latest addition to our family of libations, our Amber Rum!

Join us at the distillery on Saturday, June 11, from 2-6pm for a Fair Game Rum Release and 2nd Birthday Tiki Celebration!

  Our longest aged spirit yet, our Amber Rum is made from organic panela sugar, sourced from a family farm in Columbia, South America.  Panela sugar is a deeply sweet, floral and earthy form of raw unrefined cane sugar.  We slowly ferment our rum wash using a traditional Carribean rum yeast, adding wild-fermented dunder to the wash to add further interest and complexity on the palate.  We slowly distill our Amber Rum twice on our copper alembic Hoga still, paying close attention as the liquor runs to capture and highlight the unique flavor and aroma of our rum.  Batch #001 was aged for 15 - 17 months at 125 proof, and bottled at the perfect intersection of oakiness, maturity, playfulness, and complexity.

The end result?  A lively, funky aged rum that captures the sweet floral complexity of the raw Panela sugar, and is perfect for summer Tiki drinks, or simply sipping with ice."

Having tasted their rums - I have to say it was a different, very pleasant surprise. The Panela sugar is a great addition to the experience. The aging just has to make this a prize winning drink. My first experience (read here) was great. Gotta get a taste of the Amber!!

Pirates Punch - Ricks' Way

When the whole search for rums began, my wife and I were on a tour on St Kitts. We had been given a tour off the beaten track of most of the other tours, and got to see The locals' favorite beaches, their cane fields (actually drove through cane and got my first taste of new sugar). We also stopped at the place where they look out over the Carribean and party. It was a plateau above a beach (I'm talking 100 feet above). That was where I had my first CSR/Pirates Punch. Alas CSR is gone but their simple, tasty recipe for Punch lives on. I don't fool around and make this by the gallon.

RTRR Punch

Orange Juice
Pineapple Juice
Guava Juice
Mango Juice
Clear Rum
Aged Rum
Angostura Bitters.

I have used frozen and made the juices with just a bit less water that they recommend (Great if you use lots of ice). Also have used bottled juices, but try to get the most natural juices!
I don't use Coconut. they didn't so I don't
I use a large pitcher, that holds a bit more than a gallon. 
Here Is how I assemble:
16 oz rum (8 each)
About 6-8 shakes of Bitters
Fill with fruit juices
Do NOT add ice at this time -- let it sit in the fridge overnight, or longer. so its GOOD and cold. The less ice you have to add dilutes the punch less.

Add ice to a glass fill with the punch, and enjoy! I must stress to either be a controlled drinker here as this is one of those "Sneak up and get ya" drinks. Best to drink where you can stay to make sure you do NOT drive Buzzed, high, tipsy, whatever.

See you next time with Run News and Rum Fun!!
I am:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Heading Out To Minnesota

Summer is fast approaching and we are looking to discover new rum. I spotted a few of them, let's see what they have to offer>

I found Norseman Distillery and nosed through their website. They have one rum, a white. Their story brings in the Norseman persona and history:
"Norseman Distillery, the first micro-distillery in Minneapolis, was
founded with principles of using the very best local ingredients to produce small batches of exceptionally fine spirits. From our micro-distillery in northeast Minneapolis, we hand craft each batch with the hopes of inspiring legendary cheer in those who drink it. ..."

I have a file on Norseman and find a picture of a spiced rum. However, I did not see it on their site. Let's just say - we are always willing to try what the distiller has, so if there is a Spiced genre... we will taste and tell. We are trying to work in a visit to this Distillery in the upcoming weeks. I am sending email, letting them know we are aware of them and hopefully will be showing up one day.

The second Distillery Far North Distillery is near the Canadian boarder. Don't think we will be able to make that trek, this time. As always we beg a taste and tell them of our discovery. 
Here is a bit of their story:

"Great Grandpa Gustaf and his wife Anna Christine arrived in Minnesota, from Sweden, 100 years ago. They built the farm in the harshest of climates because the soil is among the most fertile on Earth and the prairie reminded them of home.
Our job is to craft spirits the live up to their legacy"

Finally, I see on my screen, 11 Wells. I perused their website and found they have 2 rums, both sounding very interesting. We will go through the proper outreach to them and we hope to travel out there, perhaps this summer. Here is some of their story:
"Located in the historic Hamm's Brewery on Minnehaha Avenue, in St. Paul, 11 Wells is proud to be part of the revitalization of the Payne Avenue Corridor along with our other great neighbors; Ward 6 Restaurant, Ace Hardware, Flat Earth Brewery and Urban Organics. And, yes, there are 11 wells on the site, the 11 of which is the source of water for our spirits. You may have heard of us before under the name Mill City Distillery, but we renamed our Distillery 11 Wells, to be true to our St. Paul roots. .."

So there ya have it. We are travelling many weekends this year, so stop by and check (You can register with your email and be notified). Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @Rick_Rum_Runner, and always lick the glass:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hello? Is This Thing Working??

 Hi. Remember me? I am Rick the Rum Runner (RTRR). Sorry it has been a long time between posts. I have been busy and at least some of it has been busy in Rum. That said, let's look at what's happening.

Spring, Summer 2016. I am doing some travel, therefore we'll be visiting distilleries. Some will be ones we've seen before, checking progress, meeting old friends. Some will be new. Remember new is "New to me". Some may have been in business for a long time, others just into the rum trade. In fact some may not even make rum at all! We will try to persuade them to change their ways. ...

On going. As I get more and more used to the retirement life, I find I am busier than ever. So I am saying here -- My posts may be fewer and far between. No, I am FAR away from giving it up, but let's just say I need to treat it as one of my activities, not the activity. We will still go one distillery hunts, Still sample new rums. Still make the road trips. I just will tend to be a bit quieter about it. ... Because of that you may see a difference in the length of my posts. They may be shorter. These will be just updates and commentary over emails, comments in and about American Made Rum (our Facebook page - like it if you have not already done that) things like that. I will usually NOT post those at, so it's a good idea to check in here from time to time (or better yet subscribe, so you are notified when there is new content).

Then we'll have bigger, perhaps multi-part reviews, tours, etc. I even am exploring more rum-based recipes to post here to make your life more rumelicious....

So, let's talk:
Looking at Twitter (@rick_rum_runner), we see lots of new readers and some rums to follow up on. We will be doing that and getting back to you. It is a GREAT selection of Rum as well as other distilled spirit news and activities. I have Rums not covered in my blog (not made in the USA) there as well. Also are a lively group of Twitterers, who comment, review, give tips, ideas and just about anything under the sun about drinking, eating you know, living. It is FUN. Also when I publish here - it gets tweeted to my followers that there is a new blog. Another way to keep connected.

Emails are a great way too. Please send comments, ideas, questions to me at our email address. As far as whats in there now I'll look:

We have news from Lyon Distillery. Everyone there is such great fun. They were just reminding me that they offer tastes and tours (and sale prices apparently) so if you are in or planning to be in the area.... Stop in! Please tell them RTRR sent you!

Blackwater Distilling sends word that they have new hours. They have succumbed to the Devil rum and are open 7 Day A Week, Noon till 5PM. They will conduct their last tour at 4PM. As said above: If you are in or planning to be in the area.... Stop in! Please tell them RTRR sent you!

I am tracking down some local distillers here in Chicagoland, so expect a report. Also plan a visit to one that was my very first visit when this all started. That is coming up, soon, here at Rick The Rum Runner - Sipping My Way Through.

Till then -- Lick the glass.

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Perfect Day to Visit Hawaii...

My Sister in Law recently visited Hawaii and was nice enough to bring back two samples of Koloa Rum and I finally got a chance to sit and have a sip... Today we will taste:
Kaua'I Coconut Rum.... Rum being sugar based lends itself to things Tropical. Coconut Rum is no stranger to me and just about anyone who has used rum as a mixer. There are a few coconut rums on the market, but being that this is from Hawaii I have high hopes for it.

Before I talk, lets see what Koloa says:
"A taste of Hawaii in a glass with hints of young coconut, toasted coconut cocoa flavors with a smooth, natural tasting finish."

Here are my impressions. After pouring a sample, the coconut to my
nose is the main aroma that hits you. While certainly strong - its not cloyingly sweet or overpowering, just a nice real smell of coconut. Any rum aroma is very light, very sweet and in the background. This is a boldly flavored Rum.
Taste; Yes Coconut. There are traces of the toastiness, of the Coconut, and a touch of cotton candy, in the background. I confess I do not know how "young" coconut tastes, but there is NOTHING in this spirit I don't like! Rather than hinting and teasing this flavored rum delivers! A VERY pleasant rum aftertaste, and the sweetness stays as well. I find in some others Coconut Rums, the after taste bitters slightly. Not so with Kaua'I Coconut Rum.
My opinion? -- A Top Shelf Mixer. When I added a touch of just water and even with just a chunk of ice, the flavor intensified. This means whether you are making something like a Pina Colata, or as simple as a Rum & Coke, this will bring the coconut flavor. The RC will roar with added flavor, and I think, make you the Pina King! Changing the standard R&C tp C & Kaua'I Coconut Rum will make you become a mixologist for your friends.

Next we sipped Kaua'I Spice Rum. Their page says:
"Produced from a proprietary spice blend, golden wheat in color with hints of spice cake on the nose. Extremely well balanced with a hint of caramel and vanilla, and a long smooth finish."

OK - I always write out my impressions before I read the Distillers' page. I found the spice up front -- again Koloa adds flavor. They are not timid, their boldness is so on spot though! I kept trying to put in words to describe the spices. I caught the vanilla, and while I did feel there was caramel, I could not place why it seemed different. After reading -- YES it does have a spice cake aroma (drool) and that is what the caramel nose is. Oh -- what a great sniff. I want incense like this! Oh my. My love affair with craft spice rums has just included another. this is yummy! The taste is so soothing. The spiciness is there and the aftertaste does linger and it is nice. It allows you to sip and appreciate it, slow, lingering... No rush. I like a good spiced rum and cola.. Oh yeah! 
When I watered and iced it, it intensified the aromas and brings out the "cakey" taste. Yes another Top Shelf Mixer. If you love spiced rums, not out of the sit and sip realm either. A 2 ounce shot of this over a hard cube, could make a sit in the shade on a sunny afternoon, a highlight of your day.

Overall -- my impression? If you can get it (available in 14 States and 4 additional countries -- just go to their website) try it. It may become your favorite. I plan to try their whole line (yes they have a white and a gold) and I will get back to you on that.

That's it for me. After a great tasting -- I usually just sit back enjoy a quiet time to sip some more and know, Rick the Rum Runner has done his job! Till next time. ....

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

A Quick Post With an Apology

Hi there!

Sorry it has been a while since I have talked with you in a bit. Real Life intervened and the computer gods wreaked havoc upon me..... So I will make this a short post, let you be in the know and tell you what I have planned for the very near future (it's good).
My main PC slowly became crippled due to an apparent bad build of Windows 10. Gradually, inexorably, the PC had a tougher and tougher time connecting to the internet. Now that unit is on a wired network, so problems with it is VERY rare. Well, finally, I could not get on at all. I was doing research and traced it down to W10, due to a good amount of traffic of people having the same problem as I. There were many "antidotes" but I noticed the authors of said cures would be back saying that it was a temporary fix. It finally became obvious that the ONLY way to get rid of the problem was to revert to my old Windows, with a clean install, and then after removing W10, go back later and re-update to W10. I am done with the install of my old W7, I have enough to finally post and get back to normal. I will re update (everyone seems good with the current W10, and my lap top is doing fine, with an earlier build) at a later date but for now can resume some form of normalcy. That said. Let's talk RUM!

I have a wonderful, very supportive family. Besides a wife that I adore, the entire In-Law group are a fun bunch and incredibly supportive. They truly are as close as my Brother and Sister and with the sheer amount of them, they are always there for me.
A group of my In-laws went of vacation that included Hawaii. Because they were their I was given two Rums to sample from The Koloa Rum Company. I am excited!! So next week (Shooting for Monday) I will have a tasting for you here on RTRR. I have wanted to wrap my taste buds
around their spirits for some time and I now can. So make sure you check next week for that taste. In the mean time lets talk about Koloa Rum.
I have never been to Hawaii but this rum has been on my radar for some time. I have not pursued getting a sample, but that was made unnecessary with this gift from my SIL. Looking at their site, I zeroed in on their history:

Kaua`i is the natural home for the Kōloa Rum Company. Captain James Cook and the crews of the HMS Resolution and HMS Discovery first made landfall on Kaua`i in 1778. It is believed that in the holds of both ships were barrels of rum.

It all started here! Established in Kōloa Town in 1835, the Kōloa Plantation and Mill's first harvest in 1837 produced two tons of raw sugar. Talking story with old timers reveals that rum production began around this time.

Today, Kaua`i’s distinctive “tall cane” continues to thrive in rich volcanic soil, nurtured by the pure waters of Mt. Wai`ale`ale, one of the wettest spots on Earth. It is from this proud heritage that we handcraft our single-batch, premium Hawaiian Rum.

Kōloa Rum Company was founded to create world-class Hawaiian Rum. We are the first and only licensed distillery on the Island of Kaua`i, where sugarcane production has been a traditional way of life. Our first batch of premimum Hawaiian Rum was distilled and bottled in September 2009 which coincided with the opening of our Tasting Room & Company Store at Kilohana Plantation.
Hawaiian Fruit Specialties and its Kukui Brand was founded in 1931 by the Tateishi Family as a means of preserving the wild guava, pineapple, lilikoi, and other abundant fruits of Kaua`i. A long and proud family history of hard work and dedication ensued that employed the entire family, including the six children of Aster and Hiroshi Tateishi.

So that said (or read) .... I'll see you next week for The Tasting...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Looking to Spring and Road Trips

Stuck in Winter means, sipping Rum neat and thinking of trips to find more rum. It also lets me catch up on things happening in the industry. Let's do a quick look and talk about what's coming.
I have been remiss in not mentioning an article that certainly featured craft rum and, for me, a local Distiller. CBS had an interview with Toby Beall at Tailwinds Distillery. Being the first distillery and distiller I met, TW and Toby catch my eye anytime I see news about them. Also got an email from Jaime Beall - letting me know that they released a dark, dark Rum. Were are talking Naval strength dark. So limited that I was not surprised to see this on their Facebook:
Batch #1 of ‪#‎Taildragger‬ After Dark ‪#‎rum‬ SOLD OUT in 3 Hours & 5 Minutes! Never fear Batch #2 is in the works as we speak! Thank you to everyone who came in to get a bottle today & stay tuned for the release date for Batch #2!
Even I did not react fast enough to get a taste.

Now, let's talk road trips. 
We will be in central Michigan in July. I am beginning to see if there places to find that could be fun to see, as well as places to revisit from the past, and see how they have fared.
Usually in August we are in the Traverse City area, I will, as usual, see what is happening there and revisit local distillers there who have been so interesting and great to taste in the past.

We are looking to visit other places as well. Day trips and overnighters. We will keep everyone informed.

Until next time -- I am:

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Manatawney Still Works - We taste their Rum, Part 2

Ricks new tasting glass from Lexington Glass Works
Welcome back. I wanted to dedicate more space and more time to Manatawney Still Works to highlight their rums without having all the information run together.

Randy McKinley has been my main contact at MSW and we have exchanged a few emails and he has enlightened me about their aging of rums. He is the head of Marketing and sales at MSW and filled me in a bit about how they approach rum.

The T. Rutter Rum we tasted yesterday is their backbone. It is a raw sugar rum, and that accounts for the wonderful sweet taste throughout. Even so - I detected a molasses late taste especially after watering it.

In effect what they have been doing is experimenting aging using different barrels. The sample I have was distilled 12/10/14. Barreling occurred 12/29/14. The tag information also states that the rum was placed into three barrels. 2, 30 gallon MSW Whiskey Honeycomb & 1 55 gallon Four Roses Whiskey barrel. So I am tasting Batch 2 and it looks like barrel number (overall) 118. Let's get to tasting!!!

First, we sniff: Often with whiskey barrel aged rums, the bouquet is overwhelmingly whiskey. Considering there are two whiskeys involved, I would not have been surprised if that was even more pronounced. Got to say -- the aromas were quite balanced! Very subtle whiskey with a sweet overtone. I would say, if the MSW Whiskey Honeycomb does have honey with it - perhaps that is added to the sugar-sweet that is this rum's signature. I also got the butterscotch richness and I swear a touch of brown sugar.
Let's taste; First, neat. The barrel is apparent at first sip, but lovingly so. Wood is there and just playing a nice accompaniment. the Whiskey and the wood are not overpowering, but I would call them enriching.
Once I add water the richness smooths out. This is a nice, pleasant sipping rum that will please the persons who like to experience a soothing, flavor that can be enjoyed
one light sip at a time. Ice, as with their white, T. Rutter, intensifies the flavors and brings out a deeper aroma. I see this as a great mixer for drinks that you'd want a robust flavored rum to join in with the ingredients. I imagine a Cubra Libre, with this rum component, being addicting.

Manatawney Still Works has a very good web page. I invite you to read the Journals that are offered to get insight into their passions, their spirits and the fun! They also have a Facebook page that will keep you up to date. Hopefully too we should see them on our page: American Made Rum.

So -- we have thoroughly enjoyed the rums we have tasted. Looking forward to more great new ones to come!! One day soon I hope to visit Pennsylvania and maybe stop by to see everyone at Manatawney Still Works.... Until then, I am...

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

We taste Manatawney Still Works Rum - Part 1

 Hello all. Gotta say while we have had a really mild winter here in the Midwest, I still would like to see Spring a quickly as possible! We are in planning for travel this year and I cant wait to drive, fly to new places (maybe some old places) relax and maybe find a new rum!
Today we will be tasting one of two rums. They are from Manatawney Still Works and  with a bad cold/infection, we have not been able to pop open the samples they sent until ... Today! Gotta tell you I am excited. First, lets talk about the Distiller.
A few months ago I was searching through states that we had on our Directory, that had no Rum Distillers on them. Pennsylvania was one. I wrote a blog about what I had found, but the great people at MSW got back, wanted to share and offered samples (makes it SO much easier for me to get to you, what the spirit is all about.) So, here is the story:

First - T. Rutter Rum. This is their un-aged Rum. As you can imagine, this is their signature rum, their baby. I poured out a sample and went from their. 
As always, I sniffed. Oh, so glad I waited until my nose was working 100%! The aroma was immediate, quite intense to be frank. A NICE intense with an immediate sweetness. There seemed (to me) a hint
of citrus. the molasses was background and all of it was very soothing. Very smooth smelling. I like this as many distillers are putting clear rum, un-aged out there that is made to mix. I often find a mediciney bouquet that, while no where near awful, kind of announces that this might make a great mixed drink; its not for sipping.  Of course, the big test is in the sip. 
First sip - in the glass - no water no ice. Very smooth the sweetness is immediate, as I swished a bit the molasses flavor came up a bit (welcomed too). After swallowing there was a slight sweet aftertaste and the 80 proof spirit left a clean, just slightly tingly feel. Very pleasant indeed!
T. Rutter is a great rum to put as your rock, your foundation to distill. It is not a one use rum, it would be welcome by many many enthusiasts as well as students of the taste. Well done guys! Now let's water it and cool it.
I added just a tiny splash (I had less than an ounce of T. Rutter in my glass) and a nice sip. The Aromas remained, I felt, with more intensity. The sweetness at first taste is there and definitely more intense. I liked that. Lost the hint of citrus (to me). Too may people forget that just adding a bit of water to a rum really opens it up. This is true with most spirits. 
I then added a couple of ice crescents. The taste, as with water, remained. The molasses was a bit more pronounced in the taste. For me (I like chilled) the mouth-feel is very rich. The Molasses bouquet was there as one sniffs as they taste and the flavor of molasses is more urgent, more immediate. If this is their base Rum for further aging and experimentation - you have a great foundation to build upon!
Here is what Manatawney has to say about their T. Rutter Rum:
"Pioneers like ironmaster Thomas Rutter forged possibilities in the land where Manatawney Still Works now distills our rum. Rutter was one of the first and his Manatawney Forge is recalled in this double-distilled spirit.
Straight or in a cocktail, T. Rutter Rum is homage to the forgotten founders."
Well done rum is what I say and my lips are ready for the next sip of their aged rum. 

I had so much to say, I want both rums to get their time in the sun, or in my glass. So I am enticing you to come back for the aged rum. More about that, tomorrow! Don't miss a post!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Let's Really Get 2016 Off To A Start...

 All right. I seem to be well on the way to recovery, that year end illness got a hold of me good! My smeller and taster are easily 90% so I am saying here that we (that blog talk for - Me) will be finally tasting Rum next week. I have been delaying tasting until I could smell as my sinuses were infected and basically everything tasted the same, and not a pleasant same I may add. Everything had a strange flat metallic taste. So rest, medication and time seems to have gotten through all that an we will be ready!

In the meantime let me talk a bit about Rum. Rum that is made in America (See [and LIKE] Facebook page) and made in small batches by people with a love and passion for distillation. As Spring approaches, I'll pass out information and more about whats going on ad what we may have planned in the upcoming Road Trip season. For today let me pass this on...

This big piece of news, from Richland Rum just came to me from Karin & Erik Vonk, Eric being the Distiller and Karin lending her expertise in running the business as well as being a charming hostess and great PR. 
I opened my email to dig out some information to include in this post and opened the newly arrive post from Richland Rum. Here are some interesting and exciting quotes: 

... I wanted to let you know that Richland Rum is quickly headed your way. We are now distributed in New York and New Jersey … also Pennsylvania and New Hampshire and hopefully soon in Illinois.
Things have been going well for Richland Rum. Our latest addition to the beautiful awards is the Good Food Awards just last week. This one is not so much about the excellent rum we are producing, but also about responsible food and sustainability and stewardship of the land.
We have been expanding our sugar cane growing area, as well as the distillery. There is now a tasting room and two barrelhouses, all on Broad Street, Richland.
We are in the process of renovating one more building, as a separate fermentation room, that will be climate controlled. As you know in the summertime, temps can really get brutal and expedites our slow fermentation process, which is undesirable...

It's plain to see they have taken this great rum and introduced it to enough people that is has started a rum-slide of appreciation and love of a great spirit. Now that it is distributed beyond their own state will just create more fans and develop and even greater market. I will keep my eyes pealed looking for it around me in Chicagoland.
Karin Von also provided a review recently (may 2015) in The Rum Gallery by Mr Dave Russell.

"If ever there was an American Rum that challenges Cognac for flavor, it is Richland Rum. It exhibits quality in spades, has all the pot still authenticity and fruit-of-the-Earth sincerity you could ask for, and tastes dignified yet not overlty refined. Thank you Richland for producing a uniquely true rum. We need more like this.

There are precious few rums produced in the same method as Richland rum. For example, Barbadosâ™ St. Nicholas Abbey distills their white rum from fermented syrup rendered down from local Bajan sugarcane, but their beautiful little still “Annabelle” employs both a pot and column. Guatemala-based Zacapa and Botran distill their rums from fermented sugarcane syrup, but the distillery employs large column stills, and the former adds substantial amounts of sugar to the rum. To my knowledge, Richland is the only commercially available rum that is made in a single-pass and pot-distilled from sugarcane syrup. In my opinion, it is Americaâ™s best aged rum, regardless of still type or the source of the fermented wash.
Reviewed: May 2015 at the Rum Gallery, USA."
As you can see Mr Russell and I are in agreement on this!

So, Keep a look out fr us next week when we taste --- FINALLY --- the rums of Manatawney Stillworks. Randy McKinley has provided us with bottles of rum, he has answered so many of my questions I have about how its all done. Make sure you stop by!

As a teaser, here is what Randy says about the rums he sent to my tasting bar: 
"We actually have both un-aged and aged rums available. Our Un-aged, T. Rutter Rum is a constant in our portfolio. Our aged, small batched rum is always an in-and-out kind of thing...."

I am SURE you will love the next exciting edition of:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Looking Back Staring at 2016

We have come a long way since our first post back in October of 2012. We still have a long way to go. Since I tend to really like to visit distillers and write their story and their passions here, is what me keep writing. Winter in Chicago is no help....
Let's add this crazy illness I have - I called my Dr on New Years Eve, they were nice enough to send meds to me without coming in as they were STACKED deep!! I have come back, except for a cough and bad sinuses. I apologize. It makes it hard to do anything that requires concentration. I AM coming along, but it's slow. I usually bounce back, but suffer with sinuses all winter. I will be fine, believe me..
I would like to talk about things happening around the industry and make some recommendations.
First, got good info that Tailwinds will be releasing a new batch of barrel aged rum in February. I love that stuff and am waiting with baited breath.

Next, fans of Firefly Distillery will be interested in hearing that the wine end of the business has been sold off. Here is the news as I received it:
It's with bittersweet emotions that Jim and Ann Irvin announce that their property and Charleston's only winery, Irvin~House Vineyards, has been sold to the Freiwald family. The new winery is named Deep Water Vineyard.
The Irvin family wish to thank everyone from around the world who made a special trip to their "little piece of heaven" and became a part of the vineyard family. They wish the Freiwald family well as they carry on the legacy of being Charleston's only estate winery. 

Tastings and gatherings at the winery and Firefly Distillery will continue as normal. Our 'Sippin Saturdays' will now be called 'Wine Down Weekends'. 
 The offshoot is that Firefly will move. The only information I have is "Closer to Charleston." I will try to keep in contact and will pass that info out to you as soon as I hear. Jim Irvin is so much fun to listen to, he is that teacher you had in school that seemed just to tell story after story, yet you find out later -- He was teaching you!
If you are a subscriber to, you already know that they are featuring recipes for favorite drinks. It's a great page and it features us there too so well worth the look. A great source of more info, more drinks and a widespread coverage of so many distilled spirits!

As far as Rick The Rum Runner goes, this blog has exploded, in particular in 2015. Many more hits and they keep coming.
The USA is still the prohibitive #1 source of readers but there has been a change to the next country that follows RTRR. The Ukraine used to be #2, they have sunk to #4. Most likely due to the political unrest in that country. Face it when your country is at risk, craft rum will slip. The #2 and 3 holders are Norway and France. Norway has shot up recently (I have no idea why) and got past France who used to be #3. To give you an idea, this week Norway is posting readers 6:1 to readers from the US! All I can say is WELCOME Norwegian readers!
Winter is a great time for warm drinks and rum warms well.....
Till next time -- I am