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Understanding Rum


Capn Jimbo
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I've never had Pusser's but to me the Lost Spirits Navy Style has tobacco notes that are very distinctive and would make it a bit hard to mix with. To sip on it's also a bit crazy. I prefer their Polynesian and the 151 Cuban style.

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I've never had Pusser's but to me the Lost Spirits Navy Style has tobacco notes that are very distinctive and would make it a bit hard to mix with. To sip on it's also a bit crazy. I prefer their Polynesian and the 151 Cuban style.

 

That's worth knowing, I think the navy style is really, truly bad.

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I'm really curious and optimistic about the Lost Spirit rums. I'd pick up any bottle I came across, but no I haven't tried any yet. I did spend some time looking at their white papers and I wrote a lengthy analysis of their Wired articled. Hopefully it can help people make sense of what they are doing there and how sophisticated they are (hint not very sophisticated and very poorly researched). We kind of assume if you're a distiller, you are all knowing and fully educated, but that definitely isn't so. But hell, every time I travel I'm on the search for moonshine and amateur efforts. And I've been known to torture spirits here and there. Making any spirits well quickly becomes a twenty year journey, whether the produce realizes that or not. I think it can be fun to drink along every step of the way.

 

Investigating Lost Spirits' Investigations Part I

 

Investigating Lost Spirits' Investigations Part II

 

Investigating Wired's Investigation of Lost Spirits Accelerated Aging

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abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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I don't find Pusser's and the LS Navy very similar. The Navy is my least favorite of the Lost Spirits uh, spirits I've tried; it's loaded with flavor compounds, but doesn't walk me through them in any interesting way. My sense is Bryan and co. put a lot of energy into maximizing flavor density without thinking through how flavors interact, the role of "fixatives" (thanks bostonapothecary) in flavor perception and interaction, and other facets of distilling and blending that don't show up on a chromatogram. For Bryan Davis' next trick I'd like him to consider harmony. 

 

I can't recommend bostonapothecary's library of found distillation research enough to anyone interested in how spirits and flavors are made. And Stephen's thinking on perception and what's ickily called neurogastronomy is still ahead of its time and worth reading. 

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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

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Stephen, it's interesting you mention this:

 

 

 

You want ethyl acetate as close to the recognition threshold as possible without going over. When you go over the recognition threshold, ethyl acetate will smell like nail polish remover, but when below (but well above the absolute threshold), ethyl acetate will be a bridge for the other aromas. Without ethyl acetate to bridge aromas, they will be perceived as disparate and possibly dissonant. The fixative term is used in many different ways but here it brings aromas together (spatially in the mind) to create unique and extraordinary percepts. A large part of distilling and blending is managing ethyl acetate.

 

I believe Bryan's stated that he tries to keep ethyl acetate as low as possible in his rums. I think he's an extremely talented autodidact but this is one place where his research seems to have failed him. 

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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

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Thanks for taking a look Rafa. It is so hard to talk about some of this stuff concisely and for the layman. I hope I did it some justice. Its so easy to miss speak when you are on a journey learning about something and want to share where you're at as you go. We need to give Lost Spirits a ton of respect for sharing as they go. I've shared stuff here for years especially exploring new language and techniques for describing things. The further back in time you go, the worse my writing is.

 

I wrote an article a few years ago called From Free Fatty Acids To Aromatic Esters: Esterification in the Still Made Simple®. It looked at how esters form in the still and how they form elsewhere during production. It also looked at how decisions made to manage other congener classes impact esters and vice versa. It was really hard to write and I made tons of errors, some I edited and some are probably still there. Lately its been getting a ton of reads, but as usual zero comments.

 

One of the things I posited is that we'd see distillers seduced by the ester idea and they'd try to make super high ester products akin to the double I.P.A.s and ultra hopped beers. We might be seeing that now.

 

Another thing that comes up with Lost Spirits is that Bryan Davis' ideas on dunder aren't exactly historically accurately (as we found out only recently through discovering some lost literature). But hell, no one else's were either. A post I wrote called Muck Hole Not Dunder Pit, inspired by an eGullet flame war on this very thread, sheds some light on the true history and science of both muck & dunder and points to some amazing primary documents.

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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I came home this evening and sampled the Lost spirits for the first time in a long time.  I think Rafa hit the nail on  the head with the word harmony.  It is almost as if someone assembled a Frankenstein of rums putting together all the required(or desired) parts but they are not in harmony.  I sampled it against Smith and Cross, Hamilton Jamaican Black Rum and Gosling Black Seal.  I chose the last two because of the strong molasses nose of Lost Spirits

 

I think part  of the problem may also be the name.  The only reference I have for a Navy rum is Smith and Cross.  Smith and Cross is head and shoulders above the Lost Spirits effort. I wonder how we would interpret Lost Spirits effort if they called it Lost Spirits California Style or some other name.

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I think part  of the problem may also be the name.  The only reference I have for a Navy rum is Smith and Cross.  Smith and Cross is head and shoulders above the Lost Spirits effort. I wonder how we would interpret Lost Spirits effort if they called it Lost Spirits California Style or some other name.

 

I would not try to compare these two. Smith & Cross is a Navy strength rum, whereas the Lost Spirits rum is a Navy style rum. See the following clarification on the Alpenz website.

 

 

Navy Strength

57% ABV (50% by weight, or 100° English proof) was the traditional strength required by the British Royal Navy. At this proof a spill of the spirits would not prevent gunpowder from igniting. As important, this degree of concentration provided an efficiency in conveyance on board and onward to trading partners far away.

Navy Strength should not be confused with Navy Rum, which was for over 200 years a daily ration in the British Royal Navy, and traditionally composed of rums principally from Guyana, also Jamaica and Barbados.

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Thanks for the papers.  I had a pleasant flashback to organic chemistry circa 1967, walking around the lab, sniffing all the lovely esters.

 

Sadly a Pusser's purchase is out of my reach at the moment, having blown my beverage budget (OK, well, seriously, who keeps a budget) on recent culinary hardware.

 

I can say that my mai tai recipe requires an ounce of either Pusser's or Lost Spirits Navy Style to be in balance.  I cannot get around it.  Granted, I have not tried all possible rums in a mai tai, and indeed only a small subset of what I own.  But I have drunk a lot of mai tais.

 

Second white mai tai tonight.  Fortunately I came home with fresh mint.

 

 

Edit:  and limes are now eight for $1.99!

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)
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Well, I side by side tested Ed Hamilton's new 151 Demerara against the original Lemon Hart 151 and the Mosaiq re-issue.

 

Long story short, as much as I hate to give him credit, it's pretty damn good and WAY closer to the original than the Mosaiq was - should work perfectly in classic Tiki recipes calling for LH151.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the clarification info FP.

 

I tried another of my  recent rum additions, the 1993 Port Mourant.   While it is getting better on subsequent  sessions, it is not nearly as interesting as the Caroni or K & L rums I have tried recently.  It is very well made but overall after four sessions it just comes across as well aged brown spirit.  None of the curve balls or interesting flavors of the Caroni or Uitvulgt  The flavors and aromas of the Caroni or Uitvulgt were fairly obvious and just come flooding forward.  While it is bottled at 65% the the alcohol is fairly well integrated.

 

It may just be that I am unable to identify all of the things going on in this rum.  

 

Water improves it only slightly but again it is very well made and well aged spirit with no real  stand out character.  When factoring in price I think even the Hamilton cask strength St. Lucian offerings are better.  I do think it is much better than any of the Samaroli or Black Adder products I have tried though.

port mourant rum.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I side by side tested Ed Hamilton's new 151 Demerara against the original Lemon Hart 151 and the Mosaiq re-issue.

 

Long story short, as much as I hate to give him credit, it's pretty damn good and WAY closer to the original than the Mosaiq was - should work perfectly in classic Tiki recipes calling for LH151.

 

I picked up a bottle of the Hamilton 151 after following a couple threads on TikiRoom discussing replacements for LH 151. (A limited supply of Hamilton's available now at Spec's downtown Houston, for those in the area. I understand that Hamilton distribution is tiny. There is no more LH in Texas as far as I know.) I don't recall anything about this in what I've read online, so I'm a bit skeptical, but the guy who ordered it for me said the distributor told him that Hamilton bought the old LH production facility and is using the same recipe as LH 151 for Hamilton 151... taking that with a big grain of salt.

 

Hassouni, I'd agree with your conclusion--Hamilton 151 is a good sub for LH 151. Side-by-side, they taste pretty similar, if perhaps a little weaker and less concentrated in flavor than the LH.

 

People on TikiRoom are saying there's a yellow label LH 151 floating around... not really sure what this means for the product's future.

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I picked up a bottle of the Hamilton 151 after following a couple threads on TikiRoom discussing replacements for LH 151. (A limited supply of Hamilton's available now at Spec's downtown Houston, for those in the area. I understand that Hamilton distribution is tiny. There is no more LH in Texas as far as I know.) I don't recall anything about this in what I've read online, so I'm a bit skeptical, but the guy who ordered it for me said the distributor told him that Hamilton bought the old LH production facility and is using the same recipe as LH 151 for Hamilton 151... taking that with a big grain of salt.

 

Hassouni, I'd agree with your conclusion--Hamilton 151 is a good sub for LH 151. Side-by-side, they taste pretty similar, if perhaps a little weaker and less concentrated in flavor than the LH.

 

People on TikiRoom are saying there's a yellow label LH 151 floating around... not really sure what this means for the product's future.

 

Do you mean the yellow label LH 151 that proceeded the more recent red label version of LH 151 that seems to be discontinued as well at the moment? Don't have a picture handy but shown here on this website if you scroll down a bit. Might be a few of them still floating around. Worth buying the old yellow label version to me if I see it and the price is reasonable.

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

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Oh, I see. Apologies for confusing things. I've never had the yellow label that I know of. I tasted the Hamilton 151 against the red label. Never having had the original, I like the red label a lot, but if it's a different recipe perhaps that's what accounted for the difference in taste against the Hamilton 151.

 

tanstaafl2, the yellow label is what someone at TikiRoom spotted in the wild recently: http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=49099&forum=10&start=30&32

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Yes, every now and again you might still see it on a shelf. It wasn't that long ago that it switched to the red label version. 3 years maybe?

 

There is also a lower proof version out there that you have to watch out for because as I recall the labels were pretty similar. Always check the proof/ABV!

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

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Getting back to Lost Spirits navy style:  I put my (more or less) monthly rum order in tonight.  I did not purchase Lost Spirits only because I still have a good supply in house.  I do not make a practice of quaffing Lost Spirits by itself, save for one or two tastings against Pusser's, who for some unfathomable reason offer only 80 proof on these shores.  (I still maintain that, for me, Lost Spirits navy strength tastes similar to Pusser's -- whatever street cred that may cost me.)

 

Now that zombies are difficult or impossible I consume Lost Spirits only in my mai tais -- as at the moment -- along with equal parts of Smith & Cross and Neisson Reserve Speciale.  I have not found better.

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Yes, every now and again you might still see it on a shelf. It wasn't that long ago that it switched to the red label version. 3 years maybe?

 

There is also a lower proof version out there that you have to watch out for because as I recall the labels were pretty similar. Always check the proof/ABV!

Here are the various labels for reference (photo by aphonic/Eric Witz). I stocked up on the yellow label before it switched to the red. I still have a couple of bottles left.

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Here are the various labels for reference (photo by aphonic/Eric Witz). I stocked up on the yellow label before it switched to the red. I still have a couple of bottles left.

 

Great pic of the older bottles! I also have a couple of the older yellow label that existed before it changed to red but have never had a chance to try those two older yellow label bottles on the left.

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

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  • 1 month later...

Just finished off my bottle of El Dorado 3, which was mostly used for making daiquiris. Also have Barbancourt 8 and Smith & Cross at home.

 

What do you all recommend I pick up next as another great daiquiri rum?

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