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Ed Hamilton

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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  1. July 14th is France's Bastille Day, a holiday celebrating their independence from unruly kings and queens. In spite of the recent frog bashing and smashing that has been going on in the US in the last (too many) months, the French maintain a tradition of living life to the fullest including eating, drinking, the arts and dare I write sex? In Chicago and other cities around the country there are Bastille Day celebrations, will you raise a glass to a celebration of freedom for the common people of the world? I'll certainly have a glass of that "virgin bottle of 6-year-old, oak-aged rum from Martinique" Paul Pacult mentioned in his Wine Enthusiast magazine a couple of years ago.
  2. Bacardi Select replaced the old Bacardi Black which is no longer bottled. As for the color it is darkened with caramel. The Reserva is more than Black with a little 12 yo dropped in. Bacardi Reserve used to be a blend of rums up to 6 years old, but now it is a blend of rums up to 12 years old. Bacardi has dropped their Bacardi Spice, so if you liked that one, you should look for it now, as it will be disappearing from shelves if it hasn't already. I buy it in the BVI's for $13 and about the same in St Maarten. The Federal tax is about $3.00 on that bottle of rum, so you might find it cheaper in St Thomas as well, though don't make a trip just for that rum.
  3. Here's a picture of a still that marries the benefits of a pot still with those of a small column still. For a distiller, one of the main benefits of a column still is increased production, but at the same time, unless a distiller has a large production capacity, including fermentation tanks and plentiful raw material, they are better suited to the smaller batch process of a pot still. By adding a small column to the top of a pot still the distiller is able to separate several product streams during the distillation process and even redistill the lighter distillates as desired. This still is from the LaMauny corporate headquarters in Martinique. The still was in use in the early part of the last century and later replaced by a small column still for greater production. It about 3.5 meters tall.
  4. Thanks for pointing me to that article. As you may know, I live in a slight vacuum with respect to a lot of the published material. First I have to comment on the following quote from my friend Luis Ayala. The French, like the British, were prohibited from exporting alcohol from the colonies. They sold the alcohol to the Navy ships. But no one, in the 17th and 18th centuries grew sugar cane to make alcohol. Sugar was king and was worth more than alcohol, $10,000 a ton in the late 17th century. Even if a French planter knew something about distilling brandy, he wouldn't have been making alcohol, which he couldn't export. He was making sugar and then selling the molasses to the flegling North American colonies. There were no rum distilleries in Europe at that time. So when the British Parliament passed a law that New England could only buy British molasses, and raised the tax on that, the French planters lost a market for their molasses and became willing allies with the American colonists against England. As for a worrisome trend. . You might remember a few years ago Bacardi starting promoting their aged blends, something they hadn't done in fifty years. A good trend as far as I am concerned. Across the region, I see distillers working hard to age more rum to ensure that they will be able to participate in the future demand for better and longer aged rums. I don't see this as a threat, what I do see as a threat are poorly flavored cocktails that call themselves flavored or infused rum. The proliferation of unaged molasses spirits blended with unidentifable flavors doesn't do anything positive for the credibility of the rum industry, except dilute it. On the other hand, what's a rum distiller to do? If they don't sell unaged rum, they can't afford to age the good stuff. And if they don't supply some of these after market pirates, someone else will. Supply and demand, we just have to use our best defense, good taste.
  5. I would be surprised if you didn't like Platino, that is, if you like white rum. Matusalem is owned in part by Skyy spirits, who brought you Skyy vodka and they are marketing this rum to premium vodka drinkers. Platino is a very dry light rum with a citrus and floral body with coconut oil on the finish.
  6. I think this is a matter of semantics. If you add the word 'respectively' to the end of Dave Broom's sentence, it makes sense when refering to a column, or single-pot still. The first spirit that comes out of the still is called 'high wines' in the rum business. Next comes the 'heart of the spirit' or 'coeur de chauffe.' Next come the low wines, when most of the alcohol has been boiled from the wash. High wines are also called 'heads,' and low wines are known as 'tails.' I have never heard of unaged rum being called high wines, unless it came from the still before the heart of the spirit. Is this law in your country? In the US, alcohol can be sold as rum as long as it is made from sugar cane juice, syrup or molasses, and is distilled to less than 95% abv.
  7. New Orleans Rum labeled simply Cane, is coming of age. It's been about five years since New Orleans Rum began making their own rum and their producsts are beginning to show the maturity that can only come from age. The amber color is quite translucent. The aoma opens with hints of butterscotch, vanilla and florals lead to a body laced with spice and hints of honey. At 40% alcohol by volume, this is a very drinkable rum. Congratulations to the guys in New Orleans.
  8. Bacchant036, do you have any comments on the Plantation range?
  9. That is very interesting considering that most rums have spent some years aging in whiskey barrels. Looks like someone is looking to jump on the rum wagon and recognizes that rum isn't just a cheap product produced by giant distillers.
  10. eGullet recipes If you haven't discovered this yet, take a look at the recipeGullet , a searchable database of food and drink recipes, from the top menu bar on the eGullet homepage. This is an early version and you can't search by cocktail ingredient yet, but the eGullet team is working on it. Although most of the rum drinkers in this forum drink their fine spirits neat feel free to add your favorite recipes.
  11. Molasses makes a difference, but the some of the small distillers age their white rums longer and then carbon filter it to remove the color gained while the rum was in the barrel. Water also makes a big difference, some distillers go to great lengths to purify, recify and reduce their local water to simple H2O, other distillers are blessed with a bountiful supply of tasty natural water that simply tastes better. Other factors that make a difference are the proof of the spirit in the aging barrel, type of filtering used to remove the color, and of course the quality of the product being aged. Some white rums aren't far from vodka. Once you've tasted good white rum, you'll be spoiled.
  12. The syrups from Martinique are bottled by a couple of different bottlers, but there are only a couple of sources for sugar cane syrup because you have to have a sugar factory and there are only two on Martinique. Dormoy bottles for several brands. I've tried several others in the states and am still looking. All of the sugar cane syrups I've found outside the French islnads have a molasses taste that detracts from the taste of the sugar cane. Besides my favorite first drink of the day, sugar cane syrup is also used in cooking in the French islands. As for sources, I'm working on it, but since shipping demands an importer bring a full container from Martinique to the US, it is going to take some doing. Also the label would have to be changed for US distribution. But patience will be rewarded.
  13. I recently read somewhere that if you're drinking white rum you might as well drink Bacardi since they're all the same. There are huge differences in white rums made from molasses. All molasses-bases rums are distilled to a high proof but then some are aged and some aren't. Flor de Cana white is a good example of an aged white rum but if you like that one, you owe it to yourself to try Brugal white, and Barcelo Gran Blanco, another of my favorite white rums and both of these are made in the Dominican Republic. For me, Matusalem is a neutral spirit and in fact, they're advertising to vodka drinkers as a premium rum. As much as I like Cruzan, I don't go out of my way to drink their white rum. The rums from Puerto Rico are required to be aged at least a year but they tend to be lighter than those from Central America and the Dominican Republic. When I'm in Puerto Rico I drink Don Q white and coconut water with ice. Now that's a drink!
  14. ti punch From the French word petit, or small, the ti punch is a small punch. This is the traditional drink served in the French Antilles. teaspoon sugar cane syrup or raw sugar wedge of lime white rhum agricole ice Pour a teaspoon, or so, of sugar cane syrup, or raw sugar in a glass. Squeeze a small wedge of lime into the sugar and mix, then pour a measure, to your taste, of white rhum agricole on top of the sugar and lime. When thoroughly mixed, I add some crushed ice and stir. Since rhum agricole is bottled at 50% abv or more, this is a potent drink, and a great aperitif. Keywords: Cocktail, Easy, French ( RG1098 )
  15. ti punch From the French word petit, or small, the ti punch is a small punch. This is the traditional drink served in the French Antilles. teaspoon sugar cane syrup or raw sugar wedge of lime white rhum agricole ice Pour a teaspoon, or so, of sugar cane syrup, or raw sugar in a glass. Squeeze a small wedge of lime into the sugar and mix, then pour a measure, to your taste, of white rhum agricole on top of the sugar and lime. When thoroughly mixed, I add some crushed ice and stir. Since rhum agricole is bottled at 50% abv or more, this is a potent drink, and a great aperitif. Keywords: Cocktail, Easy, French ( RG1098 )
  16. Sugar cane syrup found in the French Antilles made from slightly cooked sugar cane juice. Quite sweet and a golden color. Perfect for cocktails though raw brown sugar well dissolved will work in a pinch.
  17. I'll second Jason's ti punch, it doesn't have to be Friday or after five. Have you had your 'ti punch today. There is only one liability, according to the surgeon general: if you happen to enjoy the second ti puch so much that you drink a third, you may become very horny.
  18. Good choice, to me there is a huge difference between economy and value and Appleton VX is usually a good value in full flavored dark rum. If you're looking for inexpensive rum to mix ook for the some of the private labels from the virgin islands, good rum but without the flavor and taste of Jamaica's export. I drink Appleton VX on the rocks in bars that don't have a large rum shelf.
  19. Has anyone read this yet? Rum the Epic Story of the Spirit that Conquered the World. Charles A. Coulombe Hardcover: 288 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.18 x 8.56 x 5.82 Publisher: Citadel Trade; (May 1, 2004) ISBN: 0806525819 I just got a review copy and it looks interesting with a lot of historical conjecture. I was a little taken back when I read on page 5 that pot stills cannot produce rum less than 85% alcohol.
  20. When I say descriptions of spirits I mean descriptions of how the drink is made, what kind of still, special treatments, raw materials, etc. Like gifted gourmet, I think the most reliable review is your own.
  21. One of the hardest things an author can do is rate spirits. I've tried to avoid discrediting anything but have instead tried to encourage drinkers to try as many different spirits as possible and decide for themselves what they would like to drink. I view my job as an author as an obligation to write the most truthful descriptions of the rums I consume. I'm always impressed with the quality of information in this discussion board so while I work on my next edition I'd like to hear your comments on ratings. What ratings do you trust? What ratings do you distrust? Do you look to sales people in stores?
  22. Appleton uses both pot still and continuous still rum in their blends, though the less expensive blends will contain little or no pot still rum. Column stills produce much more rum than pot stills. Some distillers take several product streams from their multi-column stills, age, and then blend these rums into the older blends. The least expensive rums are generally not pot still rums, since pot still rums, if they are based on a molasses wash, need to be aged before they are bottled. On the other hand, in the French West Indies, distillers use single column stills and don't age their white rhums, though they are allowed to rest a few months prior to bottling but they start with a much different wash. Imagine the difference between molasses wine and fresh sugar cane juice wine. French distillers look for only about 70% alcohol from their stills, lower than some pot stills. As mentioned previously, don't be misled by the type of still. There are many variations of each and ultimately it is the skill of the blender than determines the quality of the finished product. This sounds like an artile that Paul Pacult was writing last year some time.Does that ring a bell. He asked me about how rum differs according to geography though I never saw the article since I don't get most of the magazines in the islands.
  23. About 20 years I was in Singapore at Chinese New Year and met the importer for Courvoisier who insisted that I join him and friends for dinner. I spoke some Chinese and they all wanted to learn English. By the end of the night they were mixing Courvoisier, beer, wine and anything on the table, then drinking the cocktails with gusto. And try as I could to stick to the good stuff, it continually got diluted. It took more than a few days to shake that hangover.
  24. I just ran across the following on the Washington State Liquor Control Board site Occasionally, customers may desire to buy a product not listed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. All Stores and Contract Liquor Stores personnel will be pleased to assist in preparing a special order, in a one case minimum quantity for the product. If the product can be purchased anywhere within the continental U.S. by the Board, it will be purchased and shipped to the local store or Contract Liquor Store for pickup (Allow 6-8 weeks). Note: Any of the items listed in the price list, not "discontinued" or "closed out" and identified with merchandise symbol "P" and not stocked in your local store or Contract Liquor Store may be ordered in one or more bottle orders with their next order. Do you know of anyone who has tried to get a case of special order liquor? Does this actually work, or is it, well, another word from our sponsor?
  25. I don't know of any fatty solids in rum, but one of the biggest differences between rum and other spirits is that rum is made from a wash that is fermented directly from the sucrose stored in the sugar cane plant. In the whisky making process, glucose is changed to sucrose by the addition of enzymes and cooking then cooking the wash. There are however, small concentrations of fusel oils in some rums.
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