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Ed Hamilton

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Ed Hamilton

  1. This is one more reason I've got to get to England for at least a few days.
  2. There are no instant answers to these questions. The names gold have a lot more to do with the distiller than the taste of the rum. Of the rums you mention I'd buy all of the Barbancourt Five Star, some of the Inner Circle Green Dot, try the San Miguel 7 and possible 5. Unfortunately, in my experience the Cadenhead rums vary greatly in quality and value. One of the best rums I've enjoyed was a 30 yo cask strength Cadenhead, but I've been very disappointed in a 15 and 20 yo from the same bottler. San Miguel bottles some good rum, but if they aren't to your taste then they aren't a good value. I wouldn't however put these rums in the same class as things like Barbancourt Five Star. Distillation proof is only one of the factors for taste, raw ingredients and fermentation as well as conditioning after distillation all have to be considered.
  3. The Santa Teresa distillery website has a few details about these rums.
  4. The Zacapa, Botran, Montecristo and Zaya rums are made from sugar cane syrup in Guatemala at the same distillery. They aren't rum agricole which is really a French name for the style of rums produced in the French islands which are made from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice and distilled to about 72% alcohol. Rum agricole from Martinique will have an AOC mark on the bottle or label. If the label claims that this is rhum agricole from Martinique and it doesn't have the AOC mark, it isn't rhum agricole.
  5. The private bottling is for people who buy a barrel of their rum and have it bottled for them as they see fit. I'm not sure how that works in the US with all the rules. Vollmer is the owner of the distillery and he has put his name on a few special bottles. Most of this isn't sold in liquor stores so I would spend my time looking yet.
  6. There is also a brand of rum called Plantation rum which claims to be made by artisanal methods on small estates in the Caribbean, but none of the rums in that portfolio are true to the stated claims on the bottles. Some of these Plantation rums are good, but they aren't what the brand owner claims.
  7. River Antoine, Dunfermline and Shillingford are the only three distilleries that I've seen that still use water power.
  8. I've tried a lot of the Riedel cognac and single malt whisky glasses, but they are generally too small at the opening to appreciate the fuller flavors of aged rum, especially aged rhum agricole.
  9. Puncheon rums are very light high proof rums from Trinidad and would be very different from what was consumed during the days of the fur trade.
  10. Clement Shrubb is a sweet, orange flavored 80 proof spirit made from rhum agricole, sugar cane syrup and orange flavorings made from orange peel and pulp.
  11. Cubaney rums are bottled in the Dominican Republic but are contact distilled by another distiller. They are generally pretty good, though I tend to agree that the older rums aren't as good of value as the lesser expensive rums. These rums are very hard to find in the Domican Republic.
  12. River Antoine and Jack Iron are definitely not available in the US. In the French islands, Shrubb refers to a spirit infused with orange and generally some sugar cane juice.
  13. In reality, rhum de plantation doesn't mean anything. The rum could have been distilled from anything anywhere. There is a misconception that if a rum is made in the French islands that it is rhum agricole, but the French Caribbean islands make about as much rum from molasses as is made from fresh sugar cane juice.
  14. This a special bottling from Santa Teresa. It's good and worth trying. I don't know the price but I enjoy it though it doesn't have as much flavor complexity as you might expect.
  15. From everything I've seen in more than a decade of visiting distilleries, the name plantation doesn't say anything about a rum other than the marketing people are looking for something to say about it. There is a brand of rums called plantation claiming to be from small artisanal distilleries. The Trinidad artisan distiller is actually a large commercial distiller as are the Barbados and Guyana distilleries. The main distinction between rhum agricole and cachaca is the distillation proof. Cachaca is generally distilled to between 35 and 45% alcohol. Rhum agricole from the French islands is distilled to about 72% alcohol. There are other differences as well such as the quality control with respect to the type of cane and the growing season. At first taste rhum agricole is closer to cachaca than other rums, especially in the unaged products. But taste them side by side, and you discover a lot, even if you consider yourself a complete amateur.
  16. I'm not surprised that Cruzan is one of your favorites to date. I think their Estate Diamond is their best value, not to mention their best rum. The Appleton VX is likewise the best value from Appleton, I sip it neat when there is a limited selection behind a bar. We're all normal guys and gals who enjoy a good glass of rum. Pusser's seems a little high if it's their Red Label. The Blue Label is better but I wouldn't buy too many bottles at that price.
  17. Admiral Rodney rum has been around for some time, and has changed considerably since it first came to the market. I'd summarize to say that it's very dry, though not heavily dominated by smoky oak flavors. Definitely interesting if you have some extra money to spend but there are other rums which I'd rather drink every day.
  18. Actually, I like their 15 year old El Dorado Reserve much better and it's considerably less expensive. But if you have to have a bottle of everything that comes around go for it.
  19. My first guess is India since it shares a border with India. It is interesting that the Khukri website doesn't give any clues. I'll have to ask around.
  20. First, very little La Favorite rhum is sold in France, being one of ony two family-owned distilleries in Martinique, La Favorite concentrates on the local and US market. "* No consumer demand exists." I've heard that more than once. When I wrote my first book on rum in 1995, publishers at the second-largest book trade convention in the world, took me aside and tried to politely tell me that although I had a nice proposal with lots of nice pictures, there were no books on rum so there was no market for a book on rum. I thanked them and went on to sell more than 10,000 books myself. Now I am told that there is no demand for rhum agricole in many US bars. Corporate people tell me all the time, that no one has ever come into their bar and asked for French Rhum Agricole. Again I thank them and agree that they are right. Sometime next month, the 1000th - 12 liter case of Martinique rhum agricole will leave the Caribbean Spirits warehouse. Which confirms that there is no market for this stuff, they're right again. But just in case I ordered another 590 cases of rhum from Martinique this morning. As for Clement 40% rhum blanc - At the risk of getting in trouble with my friends at Clement. I've never seen 40% rhum blanc from any distiller in Martinique. Clement tells me they sell a lot of 40% rhum in Europe but I suspect it is their old rhum to which they are referring. In Martinique rhum blanc is bottled at 50, 55 or 62% abv. On Marie Galante, you'll find 59% abv rhum blanc.
  21. Eng, I have to admire your ambition. But to think that any Caribbean nation is going to help you compete with them overlooks the basics of capitalism. Since there is no commercial sugar cane grown on Singapore you would have to work with molasses imported from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia or Viet Nam. I'm sure you've tried the Thai rum, which is sometimes labeled as whisky or other liquors. I'd suggest talking to Asian distillers and going from there.
  22. You can't get Rivers in the US but it is a far cry from what would have been drunk in the Great Lakes. Anything which had traveled that far from a distillery would have aged and become much more palatable. In defense of Rivers, after a few months, even in the bottle, it does improve, if even slightly. The lightest alcohols which give it such a bite are released.
  23. The Cuban Havana Club 7 yo is another good example of why not to get hung up on the age statement of your rum.
  24. I get a number of requests for Ron Llave and Ron Rico from visitors to my website. Don Q is even more popular but it has suffered by distribution inconsistencies. As every distiller who enters the US market learns, US distribution is one of the most difficult parts of the industry. The challenge is complicated by the fact that the distiller has to, by law, deal with distributors in each state in which they are hoping to sell their products. Then add to the equation the fact that each distributor also sells other products and are working to maintain their market share for those other products.
  25. Although this affects some of the smaller brands distilled by Serralles, it won't affect Captain Morgan Spiced Rum which is made at this distillery. It is not unusual for distillers to feel left out in the cold when they contract with large spirits distributors for distribution in the US. It will be interesting to see how well they do in the markets in which they have chosen to participate. Some of the brands mentioned are big sellers in Puerto Rico though brand loyalty is fierce among those who live on the island.
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