With the current era of rum gathering steam toward a golden age, an exciting by-product is the ready availability of full-throated, hogo-licious Jamaican rums. The intense, overripe banana and pineapple notes of Jamaican rum are bewitching and, truth be told, trigger a subconscious recognition of something primal. Names like Hampden Estate, Long Pond, and Worthy Park roll off the tongues of hardcore Jamaican enthusiasts, who collect dozens of special bottlings for their rum bunkers.
After many years of impatient waiting, rums from Italy’s Velier S.p.A. have finally landed in the U.S. market. Long considered the premiere independent bottler of rum, the company has had massive success with European rum-wonks due to its near-legendary releases from distilleries like Hampden Estate, Foursquare, Demerara Distillers Limited, and Caroni. Meanwhile, American rum aficionados could only salivate over Facebook photos or, if they were lucky, squirrel away a few bottles in their suitcaes on European jaunts.
I came across a Facebook post recently:
“I’ve been dabbling with aging my own rum. I put a couple liters of the overproof unaged Wray & Nephew into a two-liter oak cask. Anyone have an idea how long it should sit before it mimics the 17-year Wray & Nephew used in the original 1944 Mai Tai?”
After removing my palm from my forehead, I realized it was time to fire up Ye Olde Reality Generator and shed some light on this all-too-common question.
Idyllic images come to mind when picturing rum: Sweeping Caribbean cane fields, historic pot and column stills. Barrels slowly maturing in the hot sun for decades. A master blender wandering the warehouse, carefully selecting barrels to produce the perfect blend, bottled and transported to your local bar or liquor store. While this narrative may be somewhat true for brands like Bacardi, Mount Gay, Appleton, or Havana Club, distillery-driven brands are a relatively modern concept – rarely seen prior to the middle of the twentieth century. The vast majority of rum brands operate in a different universe, much as they did a century or more ago: the world of bulk rum, merchants, and blenders. Continue reading “Liquid & Logistics: Inside E&A Scheer, Master Bulk Rum Blenders”
Longtime readers of this site know well that mad scientist Bryan Davis and his Lost Spirits distillery supply a steady stream of newsworthy stories to this little corner of the blogosphere. From a radical hyper-speed aging reactor (dubbed “THEA”), to an ambitious plan to license reactors to other distilleries, abandoning that, and moving operations to Los Angeles to create an ever-evolving “distillery as theme park,” Bryan has kept everyone guessing as to what’s coming next. It’s never predictable, frequently controversial, and always entertaining.
In this enlightened era of bespoke, high-end distilled spirits, we celebrate the soloist – the carefully nurtured, single estate gems rising to the top of category: Pappy Van Winkle 23 year bourbon, Fuenteseca Reserva 21 year tequila, Appleton 50 year rum, Macallan M Single Malt, and so on. Each represents a high point, a moment in time and the essence of a particular place. A pinnacle of individuality and greatness.