Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Understanding Rum


  • Please log in to reply
146 replies to this topic

#31 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 1,884 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:23 PM

So, I want to rekindle this was the subject of unaltered rums. Most rums available to us at a normal shop have added flavor/color, etc, which makes for a boring and same-y sort of drink across several brands.  Independent bottlers have stashes of great old barrels of rum, to which they add nothing, but each bottle costs an arm and a leg.

 

Are there any, say, <$40 rums that are not sweetened/colored/flavored/chill filtered besides the ones I'm about to list? I can count WN overproof, S&C, Scarlet Ibis, and maybe Pusser's and Sea Wynde. Maybe also Seale's 10. What about the others? Mount Gay? Appleton? Flor de Caña? El Dorado almost certainly has caramel and sugar...with the exception of Wray and Nephew, none of the others in the first category are major producers.



#32 Adam George

Adam George
  • participating member
  • 438 posts
  • Location:London - UK

Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:45 PM

I'm going out on a limb to suggest that both Mount Gay and Appleton add caramel to their Eclipse and Special and Vx bottlings respectively.

I do like VX, though, I admit.

The Dead Parrot
Built from the ground up by bartenders, for everyone:

Cocktails, Craft Beers, English Wines in provincial Sussex 


#33 Rafa

Rafa
  • participating member
  • 621 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 14 May 2013 - 01:47 PM

Maybe Barbancourt, and certainly the AOC rhums agricole (though not many of the aged expressions retail for under $40). While you may not consider it a proper rum, there's also Batavia Arrack van Oosten.

 

What makes you think Seale's is altered? Is Doorly's XO?


DrunkLab.tumblr.com

 

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#34 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 1,884 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 14 May 2013 - 02:01 PM

No I think Seale's is probably not altered, it's very light-colored and dry tasting. Doorly's XO might be, because it's younger yet "smoother"



#35 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 1,884 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 17 April 2014 - 03:02 PM

Oh yes! I have that and it is seriously interesting stuff! I also got Miodula from them which I like, both because it is good and seriously unusual. Practically nobody here has ever heard of either one of them which makes it a must have for me.

 

Speaking of seriously odd stuff (nothing to do with London) but I finally got around to trying the new Lost Spirits overproof high ester navy style 136pf rum from K&L and it is seriously odd and interesting as well. Worth a try if you are into rum.

 

More notes if you have them, please!



#36 tanstaafl2

tanstaafl2
  • participating member
  • 670 posts
  • Location:Atlanta, GA

Posted 17 April 2014 - 03:16 PM

More notes if you have them, please!

 

Although overproof this is easy to drink at proof. The bottles notes it has no additives which I take to mean no added color, sugar or other flavors so what you see is what you get. A nice rich dark color that is almost hard to believe as I doubt it is aged very long.But that is the first impact of the molasses.

 

The high grade molasses base comes through first but it is also filled with these delightfully pungent spoiled (in the best possible way) plum and banana notes (bacteria from overripe bananas is used as the dunder after all!) that start on the nose and carrry through to the palate. 

 

This is clearly enhanced by the fact that this was aged in sherry "treated" barrels (barrels soaked with sherry rather than true sherry barrels). I don't know exactly why this should all work but it does. The rum also has that moderate funk presumably from the copper pot still that you find in S&C. It isn't as strong because there is a lot going on here but it is still present. Finish is fairly long and a bit of water helps tame the heat a bit although it certainly is quite drinkable.

 

Certainly plenty of Tiki potential but it will almost certainly change the nature of a drink. I think it might make a very interesting Mai Tai style drink as the only rum in the drink.


  • Rafa likes this
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#37 Capn Jimbo

Capn Jimbo
  • participating member
  • 55 posts
  • Location:Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Posted 17 April 2014 - 05:35 PM

Not so fast...

 

By now most experienced rum afficianados are well aware of the wacky claims of many rums, most of which are heavily altered with unlabelled additives (yes, including sherry, sugar, glycerol, and flavorings), yet are still labelled "rum".   Age statements are unreliable, since none of them are bottled in bond (although US law allows this).    I'm sorry but this rum is very suspect for lots of reasons:

 

1.   Color:  no new make or young rum can possibly be dark mahogany short of the addition of large amounts of E150a coloring and/or molasses, and/or caramel.   Light gold, possibly.   Mahogany, never.

 

2.   Plum and banana are the product of sincere and significant aging, absent here.   This distiller makes perhaps one of the strangest claims ever - his wood/barrels are treated with special light which magically causes a rum to age years in apparent months.   He also inserts wood staves into the barrels, a technique that has never worked.    Trust me, if either of these outrageous claims were true he'd have already sold his amazing ideas to the majors for at least $10M or more.

 

3.  Tossing a rotting banana peel in the ferment does not make it dunder.   Real dunder pits in Jamaica are at least 20 years old, open pits, filled with the leftovers from thousands of distillation, and which has thus developed hundreds of esters.    Tossing a banana peel in the mix a couple days before distillation?   Spare me.

 

4.  The poster who attributes its "funk" to the copper still is wrong.   Copper is used to remove funk (actually sulfer), not add it.   Real "funk" refers to the especially high esters, etc., that result from the use of dunder.    Banana peels result from overfed monkeys.

 

Personally, I am particularly bothered by both the marketing blather, impossible color and failure to admit honest time in the barrel.  A rum without an age statement is a rum without much age, tanning beds aside.  Carry on...


  • scubadoo97 likes this

#38 tanstaafl2

tanstaafl2
  • participating member
  • 670 posts
  • Location:Atlanta, GA

Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:20 AM

Not so fast...

 

By now most experienced rum afficianados are well aware of the wacky claims of many rums, most of which are heavily altered with unlabelled additives (yes, including sherry, sugar, glycerol, and flavorings), yet are still labelled "rum".   Age statements are unreliable, since none of them are bottled in bond (although US law allows this).    I'm sorry but this rum is very suspect for lots of reasons:

 

1.   Color:  no new make or young rum can possibly be dark mahogany short of the addition of large amounts of E150a coloring and/or molasses, and/or caramel.   Light gold, possibly.   Mahogany, never.

 

2.   Plum and banana are the product of sincere and significant aging, absent here.   This distiller makes perhaps one of the strangest claims ever - his wood/barrels are treated with special light which magically causes a rum to age years in apparent months.   He also inserts wood staves into the barrels, a technique that has never worked.    Trust me, if either of these outrageous claims were true he'd have already sold his amazing ideas to the majors for at least $10M or more.

 

3.  Tossing a rotting banana peel in the ferment does not make it dunder.   Real dunder pits in Jamaica are at least 20 years old, open pits, filled with the leftovers from thousands of distillation, and which has thus developed hundreds of esters.    Tossing a banana peel in the mix a couple days before distillation?   Spare me.

 

4.  The poster who attributes its "funk" to the copper still is wrong.   Copper is used to remove funk (actually sulfer), not add it.   Real "funk" refers to the especially high esters, etc., that result from the use of dunder.    Banana peels result from overfed monkeys.

 

Personally, I am particularly bothered by both the marketing blather, impossible color and failure to admit honest time in the barrel.  A rum without an age statement is a rum without much age, tanning beds aside.  Carry on...

 

I will happily accept that the funk is coming from the high ester content of the rum and the type of still may have had little or nothing to do with producing it. I certainly make no claim to be a distiller. But the funk is there for me. Maybe it isn't for you, presuming of course you have tried it yourself.

 

The appearance is indeed rather surprising for what is presumed to be a relatively young rum. But as for the use of additives I wasn't there when it was produced and bottled so there is no way I can know other than what is printed on the bottle which clearly makes the public claim that it contains no additives. Could that be untrue? Sure. But you declaring here that he does use additives doesn't make your claim any more valid to me than does his claim if your argument is based soley on what you happen to think a rum should appear like. I am guessing you weren't there when it was produced and bottled either.

 

He is very clear that his barrels are "treated" with Oloroso Sherry which can certainly provide some of the plum and fruit character in the spirit. This is a common, if somewhat less desirable technique, in other spirits but does not qualify as an additive as far as I am concerned, unlike say the Spanish Brandy added directly to the recent Jim Beam Signature line bottling for example.

 

I was never under any illusion that this spirit was aged for an extended period of time and I would always like to know those kind of details too but we both know that isn't going to happen in the majority of cases especially when it comes to rum, whether it is a giant producer or a small "craft" operation.

 

While he may use light frequencies to help "age" his barrels he also reports using standard techniques of heat and flame. Can light frequencies cause changes in the chemical composition of a substance? You betcha! Can they break down sugars in wood to the point where it impacts a spirit aging in a barrel? No idea. Sounds a bit improbable to me as well. I have not seen any comment about the use of staves in this rum but the notion that use of staves "has never worked" is not at all accurate in my opinion. Makers 46 has certainly demonstrated it can have an impact on a spirit. Whether that impact is good or bad is open to opinion but it can clearly have an impact.

 

Dunder may benefit from many years of "aging" but from a chemical standpoint (as a chemistry major in a long past life) it seems entirely probably that high esters can and likely were produced in a shorter period of time. Would they potentially be as complex as a dunder that had been brewing for years? Likely not. But they would still have the capability to bring a unique flavor to the spirit. I find that your "banana peel" comments don't deserve further recognition for me as they seem a bit churlish and beneath your usual level of commentary.

 

So in the end I don't much care how it was made if I like what is in the bottle and it doesn't have anything in it that will kill me (any faster than any other alcohol will). Where I would take exception is if it was shown that he was coloring and/or flavoring the rum and claiming otherwise. If you can show me that he does in fact add coloring or flavoring to the spirit I will happily join you in calling out the producer for dishonest practice. I believe the contact number is on their Facebook page and tours of the distillery are possible. I would be delighted to have you take it up with Bryan Davis and let us know!


  • Rafa likes this
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#39 Rafa

Rafa
  • participating member
  • 621 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:39 AM

Let me excerpt what Bryan Davis, the distiller in question, tells David Driscoll regarding the process behind this rum. Here he is on the "dunder":

 

 

Dunder is a mysterious substance added to the fermentation in high ester rum production.  Dunder is sometimes made from overripe fruits, rotten fruits, and sometimes a special soup of decomposing bats, and waste from the last distillation. 

 

Dunder is made in pits or caldrons and is sometimes ripened for up to a year before use.  Though it may sound like voodoo there is actually a good reason for this substance.  When the fruit, molasses waste, or bats undergo bacterial fermentation the bacteria produce carboxylic acids as a byproduct.  These acids are responsible for the "rotting smell" but remember we are going to chemically bond them to acids later to make esters.  The final esters will smell and taste completely different from the acids they are made from. 

 

A carefully made “dunder” can yield more carboxylic acid than many years in a barrel.  In my case this means overripe bananas which are a component of the yeast starter.   

 

Now, is this "dunder" in the same sense that the open pits of Jamaica constitute dunder? No, and perhaps the word isn't apt. But, as he outlines, the goal (production of carboxylic acids)* is the same, and the methods are similar. 

 

*We can argue that he's reducing the effects of dunder to just one byproduct of many, and that he misrepresents dunder pits by stating that they are ripened "up to a year" before distillation, rather than continuously for decades in the open air. 

 

Here he is on oak:

 

 

It is all about the char.  Oak on its own is chemically stable.  It is only through the charring / toasting process that the lignin and hemicellulose in the oak become unstable yielding carboxylic acids, wood sugars, and phenolic acids.  The acids coming from the oak are not only adding building blocks for ester making, they are also catalysts triggering the ester formation in the barrel. 

 

Furthermore as the cask grows very old the lignin begins to decompose into the spirit yielding the all important holy grail of benzoic acid and benzaldehyde.  These compounds are responsible for the sweet, "wet wood" character of the very oldest spirits. 

 

We use a controlled charring process incorporating heat, flame, and even special frequencies of light to break the compounds we want out fast.          

 

After that it is about manipulating the environment to make the catalyst from the oak do its job.  I won't disclose all my secrets but in truth the aging process should be seen as the last step in a long line of process decisions that create a given spirit. 

 

While it is true that you need the aging to complete the reactions and make the long-chained esters.  Honestly, in the industry, far too much attention is paid to this final step, and not enough attention is paid to all the decisions that lead up to the aging as a final columniation.  

 

P.S. The oak is Oloroso sherry seasoned New American Oak. 

 

 

When I read Bryan Davis write about his spirits, I get the sense of an idiosyncratic, technically apt if autodidactic enthusiast with a very clear idea of what he wants his spirits to do, and the imagination and technical know-how to devise unusual ways of getting them there. I don't get the impression of someone taking shortcuts to make his own version of a pre-existing product and bragging that his is better, as is the case with some craft distillers. Capn Jimbo's general skepticism about producer claims is warranted, and certainly the color of this rum is unusual enough to merit it here. But overall I don't think this rum's marketing misrepresents it unusually, and I don't think its young age or unusual production disqualify it from consideration on its own terms. 


Edited by Rafa, 18 April 2014 - 08:39 AM.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

 

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#40 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 1,884 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:57 AM

My main concern about it, as related to my micro barrel post, is the general phenomenon of "Fast-aging" as it were tending to make things taste very woody at the expense of other things.

 

tanstaafl2, do you detect any of that?



#41 Rafa

Rafa
  • participating member
  • 621 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 18 April 2014 - 09:05 AM

I don't think this is a case of someone putting spirit into an undersized barrel with little understanding of seasoning, char, etc, which is what happens with craft distillers who think they've discovered a secret shortcut and end up with a mouthful of wood (um, phrasing). 

 

But I guess tanstaafl2 can tell us for sure!


  • KD1191 and Hassouni like this

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

 

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#42 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 1,884 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 18 April 2014 - 10:18 AM

Why are we not saying phrasing!?


  • mkayahara, KD1191, Panaderia Canadiense and 1 other like this

#43 Capn Jimbo

Capn Jimbo
  • participating member
  • 55 posts
  • Location:Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Posted 18 April 2014 - 03:13 PM

So, I want to rekindle this was the subject of unaltered rums. Most rums available to us at a normal shop have added flavor/color, etc, which makes for a boring and same-y sort of drink across several brands.  Independent bottlers have stashes of great old barrels of rum, to which they add nothing, but each bottle costs an arm and a leg.

 

Are there any, say, <$40 rums that are not sweetened/colored/flavored/chill filtered besides the ones I'm about to list? I can count WN overproof, S&C, Scarlet Ibis, and maybe Pusser's and Sea Wynde. Maybe also Seale's 10. What about the others? Mount Gay? Appleton? Flor de Caña? El Dorado almost certainly has caramel and sugar...with the exception of Wray and Nephew, none of the others in the first category are major producers.

 

 

All those you listed are unaltered.   Everything made by Seales is unaltered and pure including Doorly's.   All rums by Mount Gay and Appleton/W&N remain unaltered.   On the heavily altered rums do note Plantation and El Dorado, which I will never buy again (based on the ALKO government test results). 

 

I have read Davis' blather and it's little more than a generaliized "Dummy's Distilling 101" which in no way support his specific claims of "fast aging", "banana dunder", et al.     In a posted discussion, I attempted twice to get an answer to the simple question "How long did the rum spend in the barrel?", and was neated avoided as he attempted to escape back into blather mode.   Frankly, I don't believe any of his claims.   As a new distiller making a new rum with new and untested "revolutionary" techniques he cannot afford to be less than transparent.  

 

The questions I'll ask him - for the third time - are:

 

1. You speak of fast aging that “doesn’t take years”. What size barrels do you use, and just how long is the rum aged in them? How many months or years? Just how “fast” is your “fast aging”?

2. You speak of establishing “target esters and acids” that you allegedly achieved. How many esters was that and how many of these are present in the bottled rum per the tests you claim to have made?

3. You state that “bananas and jack fruit are used in Jamaica”. By which distiller and for which products? In addition to leftovers from their 30 year old open dunder pits?

 

Most important is the first.   I'll be frank - I only had to see the dark mahogany of this very young rum to know that this rum is not worth my serious consideration.   However if the distiller wishes to forward a bottle, I'll see to it that several experienced tasters will evaluate it; further, we will subject it to our own tests for the addition of sugar and solids.  



#44 tanstaafl2

tanstaafl2
  • participating member
  • 670 posts
  • Location:Atlanta, GA

Posted 19 April 2014 - 09:22 AM

My main concern about it, as related to my micro barrel post, is the general phenomenon of "Fast-aging" as it were tending to make things taste very woody at the expense of other things.

tanstaafl2, do you detect any of that?


When first tasted it was in a session with a variety of other spirits at one of my "Wednesday tastings".

I will make an effort to taste it again tonight or soon and taste only the Lost Spirits rum with a fresh palate to get another impression. But I do not recall it tasting particularly woody in the way a craft whiskey often does that uses small barrels, pressure cookers or other unusual techniques. And I have had more than my share of young craft whiskey because I am always looking to support something that proves innovative AND good. Occasionally I do find something interesting. But it is not the same as a traditionally matured whiskey.

I did reach out to Bryan through a mutual acquaintance and he indicated the following:

"If I added flavoring or coloring additives and stated no additives on the label I would be committing consumer fraud. I'm not committing consumer fraud."

I am inclined to take him at his word until proven otherwise. In addition others who know him (I do not) have indicated they have no reason to believe he is lying.

He also noted that creating color in a spirit is not difficult in his opinion and that the use of well charred "new or newish" (to use his words) and then re-barreling a few times over the course of time can achieve this. Given that much color comes from the wood in the early stages of aging it seems plausible to me. I also suspect the use of smaller size barrels but that I did not get confirmed. Just not sure what technique he might use to minimize the tannin or woody flavors that I would normally expect to accompany such a process. Which is not to say he might not have found a way.

He also noted the following:

"The thing I usually try to point out to people, is that I am interested in making the densest and most complex spirits I can. Whatever tricks I can devise to gain control over the maturation process, are ultimately tools that help me do my job. I recoil at the idea of adding caramel and sugar to garbage juice as much as the next spirits geek. On the other hand I have no problem using technology to accomplish my goals."

As Rafa notes I think he is indeed an "idiosyncratic, technically apt if autodidactic enthusiast with a very clear idea of what he wants his spirits to do, and the imagination and technical know-how to devise unusual ways of getting them there". However I am not surprised he is reluctant to share the nature of his technology with just anyone in this day and age.

But I know none of this will satisfy our resident skeptic, Capn Jimbo. Bryan did note he will be in Miami this month to talk about "engineering rum". I take this to mean he will be at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival next week. That is in the Capn's backyard I believe and if he isn't already planning to attend perhaps this will add further encouragement for him to do so.


Finally, I do try to not wade too deep into the fray on these essentially anonymous sites but I have to note that this comment sounds to me like a bit of blather from the good Capn:

"I'll be frank - I only had to see the dark mahogany of this very young rum to know that this rum is not worth my serious consideration. However if the distiller wishes to forward a bottle, I'll see to it that several experienced tasters will evaluate it; further, we will subject it to our own tests for the addition of sugar and solids."

This sounds remarkably narrow minded to me. You "know" it to be true and therefore not "worth" your "serious consideration" just by looking at the color of the rum? And you became the end all and be all of all things rum just how exactly? Because you have a blog on rum? No matter how many others may color or flavor their rum to dismiss one that apparently you haven't even tried is not particularly objective and rather seems the epitome of blather.

Since the Capn can't see fit to acquire his own bottle of the rum before lambasting it if the good Capn would care to PM me his address (or an address he has access to), which I pledge here to keep private, I will do my very best to acquire and send him a bottle on my dime to try for himself.

Although at this point I am not certain any "evaluation" he provides will hold much value with me given the scorn heaped upon this spirit without so much as trying it himself first.
  • Rafa likes this
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#45 Rafa

Rafa
  • participating member
  • 621 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 19 April 2014 - 11:44 AM

 

So, I want to rekindle this was the subject of unaltered rums. Most rums available to us at a normal shop have added flavor/color, etc, which makes for a boring and same-y sort of drink across several brands.  Independent bottlers have stashes of great old barrels of rum, to which they add nothing, but each bottle costs an arm and a leg.

 

Are there any, say, <$40 rums that are not sweetened/colored/flavored/chill filtered besides the ones I'm about to list? I can count WN overproof, S&C, Scarlet Ibis, and maybe Pusser's and Sea Wynde. Maybe also Seale's 10. What about the others? Mount Gay? Appleton? Flor de Caña? El Dorado almost certainly has caramel and sugar...with the exception of Wray and Nephew, none of the others in the first category are major producers.

 

All those you listed are unaltered.   Everything made by Seales is unaltered and pure including Doorly's.   All rums by Mount Gay and Appleton/W&N remain unaltered.   On the heavily altered rums do note Plantation and El Dorado, which I will never buy again (based on the ALKO government test results). 

 

 

For what it's worth, the master distiller of Ron Santa Teresa repeatedly told me that his Solera 1796 rum has no additives of any kind. He lambasted other rum producers for adding PX sherry and other sweeteners and modifiers (he didn't mention it by name, but it was clear he meant Zacapa, among others). He was also remarkably forthcoming about the actual solera process behind this particular rum. I have found the 1796 to be rather dry and balanced in flavor, and not too dark in color. Their entry level rum, the 2-year old Añejo [sic], on the other hand, almost certainly has added caramel for color (though few aged spirits don't).

 

I'll be buying the Lost Spirits Navy Rum this weekend and giving my impressions. 


DrunkLab.tumblr.com

 

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#46 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 1,884 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 19 April 2014 - 12:48 PM

Interesting about the 1796 - that actually is fairly well rated on the Rum Project



#47 tanstaafl2

tanstaafl2
  • participating member
  • 670 posts
  • Location:Atlanta, GA

Posted 20 April 2014 - 09:58 AM

Took a few moments to get reacquainted with the Lost Spirits rum last night with a "fresh" palate. I had been tasting a variety of things last time to include heavily port finished Devil's Bit, several cask strength unpeated Caol Ila's and the standard CI 12 as well as a couple of other rums before we got to the Lost Spirits rum. 

 

Lost Spirits 1.JPG

 

Best attempt to try to illustrate the color. A headless selfie reflected in the lovely deep reddish brown spirit...

 

Lost spirits 2.JPG

 

Don't think it gets much clearer than this.

 

Lost Spirits 3.JPG

 

The color is what it is. Certainly surprising but I will take the distillers word on the bottle and in emails to me for it until I can be convinced otherwise.

 

The nose is still a strong and pleasant scent of baked molasses/caramel. The palate picks up on the molasses at the start but this is definitely drier than even what I remembered from before. Nothing cloyingly sweet about the one. The light plummy red fruits came in quickly but are not intense like a PX sherry finish (the barrels were reportedly virgin oak treated with oloroso sherry so that certainly fits). The light funkiness is also still present but perhaps not as strongly as I recall from the last time. Certainly a bit of heat from the proof but not excessively so (then again I have gotten rather accustomed to higher proof spirits! YMMV). The finish is moderately long and pleasant with the fruit notes and that bit of funkiness carrying through the palate for me to the end. Not particularly tannic and the bit of bitterness seems well balanced and pleasant. A touch of water helps it open a bit further but too much water, in trying to bring it down to around 100 proof, results in a much too thin flavor for me. 115-120 proof minimum seems about right. 

 

I have since learned that he uses new American oak staves or slabs in the barrel that are what have been treated with his "photocatalytically charred" processed (I think I did that in my youth with a magnifying glass! Although I do apologize for the ants that might have gotten in the way... :shock:). He also appears to re-barrel (and possibly re-char?) his spirit in new or "new-ish" barrels one or more times. In addition he indicated to me he keeps his own anaerobic bacteria cultures on site to develop his "dunder" (which he referred to in quotes). He says he uses quotes deliberately to indicate he knows his process is not going to be the same as the dunder produced in long standing pits in Jamaica and elsewhere. For one thing dunder pits in the ground will pick up soil bacteria from the ground with their own unique set of acids they produce as compared to the Lactobacillus and other strains he uses. 

 

Idiosyncratic indeed! This kind of info tickles a research scientist like me to the core even if I don't always follow every detail. I don't know exactly how or what the distiller did to create what he did but I certainly like it as much now as several days ago and that counts most of all to me.

 

And if I get back out to the Left Coast anytime soon this place is high on my list for a tour and tasting!


  • scubadoo97, Rafa and Plantes Vertes like this
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#48 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 1,884 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 20 April 2014 - 07:19 PM

What's the evaporated cane juice for? That's basically just unrefined sugar as I'm sure everyone knows. Is that added to the mash (or whatever the term for rum is) alongside the molasses?


Edited by Hassouni, 20 April 2014 - 07:42 PM.


#49 Kerry Beal

Kerry Beal
  • participating member
  • 9,233 posts
  • Location:Ontario, Canada

Posted 20 April 2014 - 07:25 PM

What's the evaporated cane juice for? That's basically just unrefined sugar as I'm surely everyone knows. Is that added to the mash (or whatever the term for rum is) alongside the molasses?

Likely to up the alcohol content of the ferment.  



#50 EvergreenDan

EvergreenDan
  • participating member
  • 956 posts
  • Location:Boston

Posted 21 April 2014 - 05:22 AM

Or maybe to add an agricole element?


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

#51 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 1,884 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 21 April 2014 - 06:50 AM

That wouldn't really fit in the "Navy Style" though, given the original (and current) Pusser's rum was a mix of Demerara, Jamaica, and Trinidad, for the most part



#52 Rafa

Rafa
  • participating member
  • 621 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 21 April 2014 - 07:44 AM

Having now tried the Lost Spirits rum, I don't get any agricole notes from it. What I get is molasses, caramel, savory-sweet sherry (raisins, salted pork), surprising amounts of rancio, dunder funk, and leather. Basically the same tasting notes as tanstaafl2. It's incredible.


  • Hassouni likes this

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

 

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#53 KD1191

KD1191
  • participating member
  • 902 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 21 April 2014 - 09:04 AM

I am purposefully quite ignorant about the making of rum (whiskey does enough damage to my wallet, thank you much), so forgive me if this is out of left field, but seeing as molasses is listed as an ingredient, couldn't it also be used after distillation without being considered a 'coloring additive'? The extremely precise, yet non-definitive nature of the distiller's comments reminds me a lot of what I hear from the lawyers I work with all day. That said, the proof is in the tasting, and I look forward to the opportunity to sample this particular quandary.


  • Rafa likes this
True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

#54 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 1,884 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 21 April 2014 - 09:10 AM

If added after distillation, that'd be both a coloring and flavoring additive - think Cruzan Blackstrap, the most extreme example



#55 mkayahara

mkayahara
  • participating member
  • 1,836 posts
  • Location:Guelph, Ontario

Posted 21 April 2014 - 09:17 AM

If added after distillation, that'd be both a coloring and flavoring additive - think Cruzan Blackstrap, the most extreme example

I'm with KD1191 on this one: from a legal standpoint, would it be an "additive" or just an "ingredient"?


Matthew Kayahara
Kayahara.ca
@mtkayahara

#56 KD1191

KD1191
  • participating member
  • 902 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 21 April 2014 - 09:38 AM

I'm with KD1191 on this one: from a legal standpoint, would it be an "additive" or just an "ingredient"?

 

Yeah, that was my thought. Ingredients listed on the label of a distilled spirit is somewhat rare, no? It makes me wonder why one might do that...and, if calling those items out and defining them as 'ingredients' would allow someone (semantically/legally) to then claim they are not 'additives'.


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

#57 Rafa

Rafa
  • participating member
  • 621 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 21 April 2014 - 09:43 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Lost Spirits do this for all of its products?


DrunkLab.tumblr.com

 

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#58 Adam George

Adam George
  • participating member
  • 438 posts
  • Location:London - UK

Posted 21 April 2014 - 10:35 AM

If I act all skeptical, will someone send me free rum?


  • KD1191, Panaderia Canadiense, Hassouni and 2 others like this

The Dead Parrot
Built from the ground up by bartenders, for everyone:

Cocktails, Craft Beers, English Wines in provincial Sussex 


#59 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 1,884 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 21 April 2014 - 11:39 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Lost Spirits do this for all of its products?

 

I dunno, but several beer producers do it in spirit of the 16th century reinheitsgebot



#60 Panaderia Canadiense

Panaderia Canadiense
  • participating member
  • 2,063 posts
  • Location:Ambato, Ecuador

Posted 21 April 2014 - 12:24 PM

So, I want to rekindle this was the subject of unaltered rums. Most rums available to us at a normal shop have added flavor/color, etc, which makes for a boring and same-y sort of drink across several brands.  Independent bottlers have stashes of great old barrels of rum, to which they add nothing, but each bottle costs an arm and a leg.

 

Are there any, say, <$40 rums that are not sweetened/colored/flavored/chill filtered besides the ones I'm about to list? I can count WN overproof, S&C, Scarlet Ibis, and maybe Pusser's and Sea Wynde. Maybe also Seale's 10. What about the others? Mount Gay? Appleton? Flor de Caña? El Dorado almost certainly has caramel and sugar...with the exception of Wray and Nephew, none of the others in the first category are major producers.

 

Ron 2300 from Ecuador fits this bill, but I'm not sure about the <$40 price tag anywhere but here in EC.  It's aged in former whiskey barrels and has a really intriguing flavour that's closer in profile to good rye than it is to good rum.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)