The Gargano Files

In September of 2018, I sat down with Luca Gargano in London immediately prior to the Rum Tasting of the Century, celebrating the launch of Hampden Estate’s aged rum.

We had a wide-ranging interview that covered many topics, resulting in far too much material for a single interview piece. In my Bevvy Ruminations column, I excerpted two portions that cover topics of broad interest to the rum audience. Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2.

However, there was plenty of material left over that’s manna to the more hardcore rum wonks. Topics that are a bit more esoteric and inside baseball. A lengthy bonus reel, so to speak.  I’ve polished it a bit but haven’t added a ton of explanatory comments to the numerous references Luca makes. In short, this is raw, very lightly filtered Luca–and he has plenty to say.

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Is Rum Made From Sugar or Not?

A recently published “Rum 101” article caught my attention because it asserted rum can be made from sugar beets, as well as from sugar cane. This is simply not the case. While you can certainly make a distilled spirit using sugar beets, the end product is not a rum–just as a distilled spirit made from malted barley can’t be a rum, no matter how hard someone might wish it to be.

While sugar plays part of rum production (and actually, part of all spirits production), the real story is a tad more complicated than most people realize. So, let’s get just a bit geeky and clear up some misconceptions about rum and sugar.

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Barbados Rum Cheat Sheet

Barbados is often referred to as the Birthplace of Rum. You can make the case for cane spirits appearing elsewhere before Barbados–for example, in Brazil a century or so earlier, or even in India–but Caribbean rum as we know it today is considered to have started in Barbados, before spreading rapidly to other islands.

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Clairin Casimir’s U.S. Recall – A Deeper Look

On October 10, 2018, the New York State Liquor Authority caused a stir within the cane spirits community. The subject: A press release regarding Clairin Casimir, distilled in Haiti and imported to the U.S. by La Maison & Velier, is being voluntarily recalled due to the presence of lead. If you’re a clairin consumer, this naturally might be a cause for concern. Below, I’ve assembled some background information which helps put this recall into a broader context.

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