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!