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Mickeman

Rum distilleries using batch distillation?

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Anyone know of which rum destilleries only uses batch distillation in pot stills?

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There are only a few pot stills operating in Jamaica, Long Pond and a couple more, then in Grenada there is River Antoine and in the BVI- Callwood, both of whom only have pot stills so there is no column still blended into the bottled product.

In Barbados, Mount Gay and the West Indies Rum Refinery both operate pot stills.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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The mount Gay and WIRR do have pot still, but they also have continue still. They make a blend. they don't sell their Rum as a single pot still. WIRR sells their pot still to bulk buyers, but it is dificult to track them. Scheer in Holland buys from them, but they don't have their own label. They sell to other buyers wich use the Rum for privat labels, but mostly as a blend with continue still again.


The more information, the better.

Rene van Hoven

www.Rumpages.com

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I managed to get onto their site: http://www.prichardsdistillery.com/

This is a fine rum - made from Lousiana molasses and Tennessee spring water thorugh copper pot stills and aged in charred white oak barrels. I believe the contact info is on the website

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From Lara over at Charbay:

As for the topic at hand--"pot stills," you may find it interesting to note that that's basically a generic term since, yes, the distilling material is held in a pot, but how the steams rises and is collected (whether separated, fractionated or just pulled straight out) produces distinctly different results.

There are pot stills that function much like continuous column stills, such as the Holsteins used by several American distilleries. My family's is an Alambic Charentais Pot Still, designed by Pruelho in Cognac, France. Our spirits are not fractionated--we separate the batch as it is distilled. We believe that the Alambic Charentais design is best-suited to creating smooth, full-bodied, flavorful spirits. That's

as much of our family secrets as I can say...:-)


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Other variations include retorts which basically preform multiple distillations in a single batch process. This type of still is the most common in the islands. One advantage or disadvantage, depending on how you view it, is that none of the vapor from the distillations is removed during the process. In multi-column distillations there are generally several product streams. In the basic pot still there is only one product stream, though as Lara points out, some pot stills have fractional columns on top of the still.

But like the age of your spirit don't get hung up on the kind of still. There are a lot of variations. Skilled distillers operating single column stills can produce spirits that even trained experts swear came from a pot still. If you think pot stills are the only way to make good spirits think again. There are advantages to all kinds of stills. One advantage of the pot still is the small batch capability. Column stills require much larger fermentation washes in order to reach a steady state during the actual distillation, but they have the advantage of being able to distill a lot more alcohol without being shut down. I know of several column stills that run for months at a time. But unless you have the demand for the alcohol and a large fermentation capacity you can't benefit from the increased production capability.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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In reviewing their site, Its interesting that Pritchards uses the smaller, 15 gallon charred new oak barrels -- that adds a ton of money to the cost of production and its hard to say whether or not it actually is a better approach than to using used oak barrels. New Orleans Rum, which also uses Louisiana Molasses (also small production but is not a pot still rum), uses oak casks that used to hold bourbon -- which imparts an interesting flavor to their rum.

Edit: Pritchards indicates that it uses "premium, Grade A Fancy molasses from the plantations of Louisiana" and not "black strap molasses, the bitter residue from the processing of granulated sugar". New Orleans uses Louisiana Blackstrap Molasses so I am not sure how that is different from regular Blackstrap Molasses.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I asked the question since batch distillation with pot stills generally produces rum with lower alcohol content thus allowing for more "flavors" to remain from the raw material (sugarcane juice or molasses) and allowing other flavor bearers such as esters to remain in the raw spirit. The size, height and form of the pot stills used is one of the ways a distillery can get unique characteristics for its rum.

I have found a good article on the web about rum and geographical characteristics from the raw material. Unfortunately I can’t find it, but it had quotes from several rum distillery managers and the gist of the articles conclusion is that the higher level of alcohol the less flavors remain from the raw material.

According to Iain Henderson former distillery manager at Laphroaig 50% of the characteristics of their ten year old malt originates from the raw spirit, 40% from the cask and 10% from the storage climate. I understand that this varies with the alcohol strength of the raw spirit, quality (and usage) of the cask, the climate which the barrel is stored in, and of course the length of the storage. Laphroaig is a heavily peated malt so its raw spirit may have greater influence on the final malt than other lighter or unpeated spirits.

I read somewhere that Appleton Estate only uses pot stills is this true?

Or is it that they use both, but have only pot destillation in their more expensive bottlings?

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I read somewhere that Appleton Estate only uses pot stills is this true?

Or is it that they use both, but have only pot destillation in their more expensive bottlings?

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.

I have found a good article on the web about rum and geographical characteristics from the raw material. Unfortunately I can’t find it, but it had quotes from several rum distillery managers and the gist of the articles conclusion is that the higher level of alcohol the less flavors remain from the raw material.

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.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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Hi Ed!

Dave Broom mentions in his book "Rum" that the difference in where the cane have grown has not that much impact on the characteristics of the rum (compared to fermentation, distillation, maturation and blending) since most producers aim to cultivate the cane towards the same characteristics in sugar level and pH value.

Found the article with the help of the name you mentioned.

Mapping Rum By Region

by PAUL PACULT.

www.winemag.com/issues/july02/proof_positive.htm

I’m not sure I agree with Mr. PACULT regarding the comparison he does for the regional differences in characteristics for malt whisky. Most of the regional characteristics in malt whisky is made by choice not because the difference in climate or the environment of Scotland. Sure the water and maturation process is influenced by the region, but the major influences in the characteristics of the final product is by choice, although this choice is heavily influenced by tradition and of course economic factors.

Beside of this I concur with the summary of the article:

"So that’s the answer to my question of whether rums vary by region. Not so much by the land alone, but by the land and the tastes and customs of the people who make and drink rum."

The article is from July 2002 and it also tells of a "worrisome" trend that rum distillers start to deviate from their original styles to find new markets. Do you know anything of the development of this Ed? Maybe you could start a new thread about this "worrisome" trend Ed?

By the way I’m holding a rum tasting for my singe malt friends next week and will make a report of the tasting if someone is interested. We will taste and compare the following bottlings:

Appleton Estate Extra 43%.

El Dorado 15 year old 40%.

Zacapa Centenario 23 year old 40%.

La Favorite 1993, 9 year old 40%.

Trois Rivieres 1977, 6 year old 43%.

Will comeback with a report on the tasting if I get any requests for a feedback.


Edited by Mickeman (log)

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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.

“Sugar cane cultivation in the British West Indies was fueled by the demand for sugar in England,” he says, while “in the French West Indies, enterprising plantation owners, some well-versed in the production of brandy, cultivated the sweet grass with the sole intention of fermenting and distilling the whole juice into a marketable product.”

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. .

“As large distilleries seek new markets, the most progressive of them often deviate from their original styles. The once-distinctive characteristics of the Jamaican, Bajan or Cuban rums, to name a few, also tend to disappear as distilleries become part of the international community and start catering to taste preferences beyond those within their borders."

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.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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i9688.jpg

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.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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The mount Gay and WIRR do have pot still, but they also have continue still. They make a blend. they don't sell their Rum as a single pot still. WIRR sells their pot still to bulk buyers, but it is dificult to track them. Scheer in Holland buys from them, but they don't have their own label. They sell to other buyers wich use the Rum for privat labels, but mostly as a blend with continue still again.

Yes we do have a lot of pott still "single batch" rums on stock. it all depends on our clientele, what they want. We do see a, in my opinin very nice, trend of buyers who are looking for more aged rums from one specific distillery, could be pott or column still. Those buyers are aiming at the top end of the market and try to compete with the high end cognacs, and other 'digestives". Next to the exlusive range they also want to have a lower priced, but still high end umbrella brand, which could be a blend of column and pott and may be some aged column still rums.

High ester single mark pott still rum is very seldom wanted, but also growing.

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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.

What I see concerning the worrisome trend is e.g. what is happening in Germany; There used to be a lot of rum labels and rum bottelers on the market in the last two decades or so all the brands were bought by a few "big players"in the market, ending up fighting against the big brands like bacardi and nowerdays Havanna club. All those smaller nice brand are more or less gone now. The market is now devided into 2 sections; more or less the international brands and the very low end price fighting brands of the big supermarketchains like Aldi, REWE, EDEKA etc.

In the old days the dark rums had a nice component of high ester jamaican rum in it, due to heavy price pressure the dark rums of those low end brand are just light colums still rum colored with caramel. The only brands left are Pott and at distance Asmussen all the rest is gone.

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I have seen a decline in the number of small rums in the market that are actually selling any volume of rum. And while I agree with scheer, I believe that educated consumers in America and Europe are searching out the better rums from the small distillers and though these brands are more expensive to produce, transport and deliver to the shelves, they will make a significant impact on the rum market in the near and long-term future.

Of course there will be some knock offs with fancy packages but most of these brands won't succeed in the long term unless they improve the quality of their product.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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I have seen a decline in the number of small rums in the market that are actually selling any volume of rum. And while I agree with scheer, I believe that educated consumers in America and Europe are searching out the better rums from the small distillers and though these brands are more expensive to produce, transport and deliver to the shelves, they will make a significant impact on the rum market in the near and long-term future.

Of course there will be some knock offs with fancy packages but most of these brands won't succeed in the long term unless they improve the quality of their product.

It is good to be amongst the real rum lovers!

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I asked the question since batch distillation with pot stills generally produces rum with lower alcohol content thus allowing for more "flavors" to remain from the raw material (sugarcane juice or molasses) and allowing other flavor bearers such as esters to remain in the raw spirit.

This isn't so. The thing which determines how much flavor carries through to the liquor from the mash is the distillation proof; The lower the proof, the more flavors. With a good mash, a low distillation proof can work wonders. This isn't always a good thing though; if the mash tastes terrible, a low distillation proof will simply allow more of the unpleasant flavors to carry over.

"Small batch" actually has to do with their blending style.

The way barrels flavor liquor isn't always consistent. Different barrels can cause different variations. Normally, the liquor is aged in their respective barrels, then combined all together and bottled. "Small batch" means that only a portion of the barrels are blended together, and implies that some thought has gone into the blending process, although this isn't necessarily the case.

Note that this blending doesn't mean you're drinking "blended" liquor, because in the latter case the term is describing being blended with grain alcohol or unaged liquor, while in the former case, it's talking about combined the same liquor of the same age from the same still from different barrels.

"Single barrel" generally means that the liquor in your bottle has come from a single barrel. This means that you don't get the advantages of skillful blending, but you don't get the disadvantages of half-assed blending either.

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This isn't so. The thing which determines how much flavor carries through to the liquor from the mash is the distillation proof; The lower the proof, the more flavors.

This is exactly the same what I describe above. Low proof = low alcohol content.

As for bad mash, I take it for granted that we only discuss serious distilleries that don't use any mash that's not ok.

All the flavors and taste (both the good & bad) in the mash are in the substances that are commonly called congeners. Which of these congeners and how much of them that’s in the finished raw spirit depends mainly on the size and shape of the copper stills and the middle cut (or heart).

The shape of the stills decide how much reflux and copper contact the spirit gets, and the height of the stills and the angel of inclination of the neck decides if only the lighter congeners makes it to the next batch or if more heavier congeners get thought.

Distilleries that only or mainly use the Coffey still generally get a much higher alcohol content and that means less congeners alas, less aromas and taste.

That’s' why I’m trying to find out which rum distilleries that use manly or only batch destillation with copper stills and in which bottlings.

If a bottling have rum of different ages I don't concider it a blend, but if a bottling contains both batch distilled and coffey distilled rum I would consider it a kind of blend.

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This isn't so. The thing which determines how much flavor carries through to the liquor from the mash is the distillation proof; The lower the proof, the more flavors.

This is exactly the same what I describe above. Low proof = low alcohol content.

Whoops. :) My apologies. Best not to reply to posts late at night, I suppose. :) I mistook "batch distillation" for "batch barreling".

It is important to note, though, that even with batch distillation, if they run the batch through the still more than once or twice it can have the same effect at destroying flavors as if you had used a continuous still. Distilling to a high proof and then watering down to a lower proof is common practice among many liquor manufacturers.

A 6% alcohol wash will go through the still and come out around 40%abv. But single distillation is an expensive procedure, because it creates a lot of waste and ties up more barrels when you're aging it. A more common practice is to double distill it, up to 75%abv, age it in the barrels, and then water it down to 40%abv.

This isn't so bad necessarily, as the barrels can make up for a lot of the lost flavors, and some manufacturers sell their products at the overproof barrel strength.

Some distillers, though, will distill it a third time up to 86%abv before watering it down. This isn't bad necessarily, a lot of lighter-bodied rums are made this way, but they can still call their rum "batch distilled", and if you buy it expecting stronger flavors, you'll probably be disappointed.

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This isn't so. The thing which determines how much flavor carries through to the liquor from the mash is the distillation proof; The lower the proof, the more flavors.

That’s' why I’m trying to find out which rum distilleries that use manly or only batch destillation with copper stills and in which bottlings.

If a bottling have rum of different ages I don't concider it a blend, but if a bottling contains both batch distilled and coffey distilled rum I would consider it a kind of blend.

Ack, and here I was so intent on apologizing I forgot about the question. :) Single distilled rums are hard to find. :( Double distilled ones not so much, but still not quite as common as one might prefer. :)

Complicating the matter, many folks will use the term "single distilled" to refer not only to single distillation from a pot still, but also to single distillation from a column still, which, depending on the size and number of columns can spit out alcohol at a considerably higher proof than even a triple or quadruple distillation from a pot still. This isn't necessarily bad, just misleading.

For instance, Mount Gay Extra Old describes itself as a blend of "single distilled" and "double distilled" rums, but upon careful reading, one discovers that while the "double distilled" refers to double distillation in a pot still, the "single distilled" refers to single distillation from a column still. As anyone who has had Mount Gay Extra Old can attest, it's a fine rum, but if you aren't a careful reader, you might mistake it for something it's not. (Appleton Estate rums from Jamaica also seem to follow this method, although some of their premium blends may be made of only pot-stilled aged spirits)

Same goes for "double distilled". Although many times it means "distilled twice in a pot still", it can also be used to mean "distilled once in a column still, then distilled once in a pot still", which gets more or less the same result (90% abv liquor) as simply using a taller column still. Rhum Barbancourt makes their rums in this fashion, but admirably they are quite straightforward about what they mean. Bundaberg rum also follows this method.

Prichard's rum from Tennesse might be the product of single distillation in a pot still, I think. During an email conversation where I asked the distiller about his distillation methods, he mentioned that "the rum goes in the barrel about 85 proof. If we need to proof up, we add a little 160 proof from an aged barrel and if we need to proof down, we add a little 60 proof of aged rum." Although he doesn't directly state whether the rum saw any water before going into the barrels, reading the website seems to imply that such monkeying would be against their business philosophy.

Pusser's naval rum is made in pot stills, but they neglect to mention how many times the distillate is run through their stills. Reading their website it mentions

"Our old wooden stills are not efficient; to the contrary, they are very inefficient. They operate at about 67%, which greatly increases the cost of distillation. "

This to me implies that their rum is double distilled. However it also mentions being made of a "blend of five west indian rums", so it may simply be a mix of continuous rum and double distilled rum like Mount Gay Extra Old. Inner Circle rum from Australia also seems to fall in this grey area as well.

Westerhall Strong Rum from Grenada is made in pot stills, and if neither blended or triple distilled and watered down (the website is a bit unhelpful on this) it would be a straight double-distilled overproof rum.

Besides that I have no idea. :) If you find anything clue me in.

Good luck!


Edited by mbanu (log)

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Pusser's naval rum is made in pot stills, but they neglect to mention how many times the distillate is run through their stills. Reading their website it mentions

"Our old wooden stills are not efficient; to the contrary, they are very inefficient. They operate at about 67%, which greatly increases the cost of distillation. "

This to me implies that their rum is double distilled. However it also mentions being made of a "blend of five west indian rums", so it may simply be a mix of continuous rum and double distilled rum like Mount Gay Extra Old. Inner Circle rum from Australia also seems to fall in this grey area as well.

Pusser's is a blend of rums distilled in some modern stills and in some pot stills, but the bulk of that rum is made in multi-column stills. I can't tell you the five stills, but if you look closely at the label you'll probably wonder where some of that rum comes from.

Westerhall Strong Rum from Grenada is made in pot stills, and if neither blended or triple distilled and watered down (the website is a bit unhelpful on this) it would be a straight double-distilled overproof rum.

This rum is also probably distilled in a multi-column still since the pot still at Westerhall has been under repair for some time. A close look at the label will reveal that this rum is bottled on Grenada without reference to where it was distilled.

It should be noted that although the term 'pot still' tends to lend a romantic air to a spirit, a single column still, in the hands of a skillful operator, can produce a spirit with many of the attributes found in a spirit distilled in a pot still. In reality, I have a few rums which have fooled some very well-known spirits experts as to their origins.

On the other hand, it is much more difficult to distill a spirit twice in a pot still and attain the attributes found in a spirit distilled in a two-column still.


Edward Hamilton

Ministry of Rum.com

The Complete Guide to Rum

When I dream up a better job, I'll take it.

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