Jump to content

Ed Hamilton

eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Ed Hamilton

  1. Ten Cane isn't considered rum agricole because even though the label says distilled from sugar cane juice, it is double distilled to a high proof. On the other hand the French islands have a very strict protocol for making what can be called Rhum Agricole and recognize the distiller's efforts with an Appelation d'Origine Controllee seal. Among other things, only about five of the nine species of sugar cane grown on Martinique can be used to make AOC rhum agricole. Distillation can only be about 70% and only freshly squeezed sugar cane juice can be used for fermentation. Cachaca on the other hand is generally distilled to less than 50% alcohol from sugar cane juice and contains more congeners than rhum agricole. There is a lot of work being done to try and settle on some standards to raise the quality of the cachaca being distilled in Brazil, but this may take some time. I don't think anyone would be offended, except the French distillers, if you called cachaca rhum agricole, since it is made from fresh sugar cane juice, but the only AOC rhum agricoles come from the French Caribbean and South Pacific islands. French Guyana also produces rhum agricole but those rhums are considerably different from what is distilled further north.
  2. Following an expensive ad campaign by the marketers of Jack Daniels that the Old No 7 brand is built on years of tradition, that standard of the back bar got a makeover and the proof was lowered from 86 to 80. Besides changing the proof, which means more water is now added to the blend, are there other spirits that have changed in recent years? Distilling and fermentation technology has improved since prohibition, bottlers have modified blends to appeal to a greater audience and brands have been bought and sold. Cruzan's Single Barrel Rum, their premium blend, has changed at least three times since it was introduced in the late 90's. There are a number of other rums that have changed in the last twenty years. Have other spirits changed their flavor?
  3. After my comment that Clement rhum blanc was bottled at 80 proof, I was informed by the importer that they plan to introduce a 100 proof version of their white rum next year, which will be the same as their rum sold in Martinique under the Clement label.
  4. Tales of the Cocktail is in its third year and will feature some of the best food and drink in the country. But before you think you can't go, check out the website and enter to win a trip to New Orleans and the Tales of the Cocktail. You just might find yourself in New Orleans having more fun than you deserve.
  5. My favorite aperitif is a petit punch which is a very simple cocktail. A small slice off the side of a lime, about the size of 50 cent piece, a couple of ml of sugar cane syrup and a couple of ounces of white rhum agricole. Add crushed ice and stir as the ice melts and the flavor of the rhum evolves and the side of the glass frosts up. In many places in France, and everywhere in the islands, this is the first drink of the day and a great aperitif.
  6. All of these rums are blended in Anguilla from a variety of Caribbean rums. After spending time in almost every distillery in the Caribbean, I haven't found any other rum with the candied taste of Pyrat. It's interesting to me that the sweet orange taste of the least expensive Pyrat rum is lacking in their more expensive rums. At some distilleries sherry, or other sweeteners are added to blended rums to give them a smoother taste or to hide the sharp taste of immature alcohol.
  7. Maui Rum is made from Hawaiian molasses on, where else?, Maui. They make a white, gold and dark rum which I'll be reviewing soon. Has anyone else tasted these rums?
  8. Florida is still home to competitive alcohol prices, compared to a lot of other states. And since you'll be looking to buy some rum, check out ABC Fine Wines and Spirits, there are about a 100 stores, probably more in Florida. While you're there, since you can't buy rhum agricole in Florida yet, look for Flor de Cana Light Dry Rum, it's aged and carbon filtered and will be a hit with almost any white rum drinker.
  9. danimal has made a very good point! If you are looking for a particular rum that isn't sold in your local store, ask the manager to order it. It may not happen but if a couple of people ask for a brand, they will do it and that gets the ball rolling. The three tier system of alcohol distribution certainly makes it harder for consumers to buy alcohol from importers but if there is a demand, distributors will do what is necessary to make it happen. And as danimal pointed out, control states can be tough but many states will special order if there is a case order and that helps get the ball rolling.
  10. There are a lot of things to consider here. First, Pritchard's white rum isn't the same rum before it's aged as their dark aged rum. Phil's White Rum is distilled 5 times in a pot still, with the result being a very clean, unaged white rum. Though this is done in a pot still, it is a very high distillation quality. Distilling 5 times allows Phil to eliminate the heads and tails very effectively. On the other hand, Phil's rum that is distilled to be aged starts out as a heavier spirit. Jamaica isn't the only place where light and heavy rums are blended after aging. Most of the older rums of Barbados are blends of heavier pot still rum and lighter rums. On most of the rum producing islands, distilleries don't just age their white rum , but blend other rums to give the older rums more flavor. When distilling rum from molasses that will be bottled as white rum, distillers want to distill to a high proof to eliminate the heads and as much of the fusel oils as possible. On the other hand, for rum that will be bottled as aged rum, distillers want to capture more flavor. The highly-distilled neutral spirits that are bottled as white rum, don't make the best aged rums, they are just too light and taste more like wood than rum. In order to give the aged rums more character, distillers blend heavier and light rums for a balanced flavor. As inviting as it may sound, you probably wouldn't enjoy drinking the heavy component of these rums unaged. But, on the French islands, there is only one product stream captured from the still. Unaged, this rhum agricole is bottled as white rhum. After aging it is bottled as rhum vieux or some other designation denoting an aged spirit. But like everywhere else there are exceptions. Most of the French distiller's rhums are a progression of rhums bottled at different ages. But, there has to be an exception. St James and Neisson take some of their white rhum and store it in large vats, as opposed to the small barrels used for aging, and then bottle the one to two year old rhum as Rhum Ambre or Rhum Eleve Sous Bois respectively.
  11. I'm also looking for a liquor store that recognizes that rum is more than Bacardi and Captian Morgan. In the mean time keep your eye out for Barbancourt 5 star, Barcelo Anejo, Pampero Anniversario and Santa Teresa 1796. All of these rums are coming to your area as well as some good rums from Martinique.
  12. Thanks, the first picture is the label I saw at Hi Time in Costa Mesa, CA. I'm salivating at the opportunity to taste some of this one. I expect there to be several more small batch rums coming to the market in the coming year.
  13. After reading the review yesterday, I didn't have time to post, I have to agree with glossyp and docsonz that Bruno was doing what reviewers do, create discussion. Certainly an explanation of why he chose to short Alinea half a star would have given him more credibility, since he did convey that he at least tried to appreciate the food, service and was complimentary about the suggested wine pairings, not always an easy feat. One thing that came through from this review was that the reviewer didn't seem entirely comfortable at Alinea at first, but as the evening progressed he became more at ease with the restaurant and himself. It is also worth considering that very few writers can actually enjoy 4 star restaurants, service and wine, when the boss isn't paying the bill.
  14. Thanks, I forgot VSOR and there is another drinking rum that deserves tasting, 1639 from Cockspur. Originally it was bottled to comemorate the 350th anniversary of the first parliament in the New World, but 1639 was so popular that it is still on the shelves, but only sold in Barbados.
  15. Did you try the aged rum or the white rum? I was very impressed with the Pritchard's white rum, not to say that the aged rum isn't good as well.
  16. Last year someone asked about good rum bars in the New York. On a recent trip to New York I was lucky enough to find the Brandy Library, 25 N Moore St Manhattan, jus t get off the 1 line at Franklin and head north. Not only does the Brandy Library has a very impressive selection of whiskey and brandy, they also have one of the best selections of rums that I've seen anywhere. But unlike some places that have a lot of bottles, here the staff knows about the spirits they serve, quite refreshing.
  17. I just ran across a bottle of Rogue's Rum distilled and bottled in Oregon. And found this http://www.rogue.com/pdfs/100-20web/100-20_pg9.pdf and have seen the rum, but haven't tasted it.
  18. June 30th to July 3rd, I'll be joining the National Yacht Club in Toronto for the C&C sailing rendezvous and regatta. There will be rum, food, a jump up Saturday night and fun. If you're in Toronto come say hello and enjoy a little of my favorite drink.
  19. Just put a nipple on that bottle and put me to bed.
  20. Gosling's Old Rum is quite good, the smoky body and mature flavor are pretty well-balanced, slightly dry in the finish but overall a nice sipping rum to enjoy after dinner with a cigar. Goslin's Gold Rum is quite a departure from the dark, colored rums that have brought Gosling's international attention. Blended to be mixed, Gosling's Gold will make a good mixed drink and is a good addition to the Gosling's family of rums.
  21. I've had very good luck softening hardened sugar by heating it in a microwave for about 20 seconds or as needed depending on the amount of sugar. Sam, your sugar cane syrup looks very good. I wish you'd sampled the sugar cane syrup I had with my in NY last week. Where do you find dehydrated cane juice?
  22. Like any distilled spirit there are different qualities of aquavit. A few years ago, while I was introducing a Swedish film crew to good rums in the Caribbean, they tried to get me to enjoy their aquavit. The pairings with such things as strong cheese and pickled herring gave me the impression that these weren't the kind of spirits to be enjoyed neat. Then my friends admitted that the only way they can drink their best aquavit is mixed and with some strong food. Since this is basically flavored vodka, and we've all tasted some really bad vodkas, it didn't take long for my aquavit-drinking friends to put away their vials of caraway spirits and start drinking something that can be enjoyed for the flavor of the spirit not just because it warms you up on a cold day. I'm sure somewhere their is some really good aquavit, but I suspect that it is aged. Then again, most of the countries where aquavit is produced have very high taxes on alcohol so aging spirits costs too much, besides spirits don't age well in cold climates.
  23. "Patience will be rewarded," and "This too will pass," are the two phrases that keep coming to mind while I try to wait until the Pegu Club opens. None of us wants to put more pressure on the Libation Goddess so we patiently wait while our thirst grows.
  24. While you're in St Kitts look for El Dorado Special Reserve and their Rum Cream, which I highly recommend. You'll also find Antigua Distillers Extra Old rum. There are a few other rums like Belmont Estate rums which can be a bargain for rum punch rum but I haven't seen anything from Belmont that I would sip neat or with water. You'll also find Appleton rums, but don't overlook the corners of the grocery store shelves where you may find some real treasures.
  25. ← As the distillation purity of the spirit increases certainly maturation becomes more important, and I would agree that whisky can acquire more than half its flavor during maturation, but even more important than maturation to the final quality of the product is fermentation. You just can't make good spirits from a bad wash, wine, beer or whatever you want to call the fermented sugar that you are going to distill. At many distilleries a special strain of yeast is used to convert the sugar in the raw material to alcohol and to limit the number of unwanted congeners. Some of these yeasts will produce a high alcohol wash in as little as 18 hours, while others will take as much as 3 or 4 days to complete the fermentation cycle.
  • Create New...