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

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Happy 2016 - Cough-Cough....

Why is it every year (OK maybe not EVERY year) right around this time, do I get sick?? Starting from New Year's Eve and right though Monday -- I basically just wanted to lay on the couch and moan (moaning often feels good). Well in the last few days (its Wednesday the 6th of January as I write this), things have gotten decidedly better. Still, my illness interferes. I cant taste too well yet and THAT affects my passion. I have two great looking and well spoken for samples of rum to taste. I have learned to wait until my sinuses are clear and my taste buds are much more alive. So to avoid past mistakes. I remember tasting Cedar Ridge while my head was full of, well, what head-colds fill your head with, and I mentioned it. I even said I could not really taste it all that well. I gave my opinion and while I shared good news, still sounded sure about it. Well I got comments saying I should have waited. You know, even though I did re-taste and wrote about that too, I should have waited -- so Manatawny Stillworks? Sorry guys -- I promise: Once I can detect taste better -- I will be tasting and commenting upon the samples you sent.... Thank you all for the patience.

Still, we can talk rum, cant we? While laying (and moaning) I tried to keep up with emails ans got an interesting lead from Toby Beall over at Tailwinds Distillery. He popped a story from onto FB, that caught my eye.  Entitled "Can Rum Survive Its Moment In The Sun?" and written by MPIETREK, there is a HUGE amount of information and some real, pertinent questions. Here is a teaser:

... There’s no shortage of coverage in the spirits press lately about how rum is in resurgence, how rum is the next big thing, and how brown spirits drinkers are turning to aged rums as the bourbon craze (Pappy Van Winkle, anyone?) plays itself out. ...“

However well that reads to you, just let me say - even with the little experience I have in "the industry", I found my eyebrows raised and my head nodding. A lot to read, a lot to know, but very-very valuable. Toby thought enough to post to his Facebook page, so he (because we've talked) often asks questions like the ones presented and has his opinion on the answers. To read the whole article --> LINK.

Well, the typing has exhausted me.... Time to take a nap and heal some more... (perhaps a Rum Hot Toddy?? Next time; we will be tasting RUM!!! 

So, Till then I AM.......