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Worlds Largest Rum Tasting

*Press Release*

GLOBAL RUM AMBASSADOR TO STAGE THE WORLD’S LARGEST RUM TASTING AS PRECURSOR TO EIGHTH ANNUAL RUMFEST

rum experience no date

Very limited spaces available to the Guiness World Record attempt and tickets available now on a first come first serve basis

Thursday 9th October 2014,
London’s ILEC, Earl’s Court

Tickets at £10, now on sale from rumfest.co.uk

JET_3588CGlobal Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell is inviting rum fans to become official record breakers as he bids to take the title of ‘World’s Largest Rum Tasting’ at what is set to be the biggest rum tasting experience ever to be staged. Taking place on Thursday 9th October as a precursor to the eighth annual The RumFest, rum enthusiasts will be treated to a tasting experience at London’s ILEC Conference Centre, Earl’s Court where they will be able to sample and discover rums from six prestigious rum brands. These brands have been hand-picked by Burrell especially for the event and reflect the diversity of blends, taste and style on offer across the rum category and will be presented by some of the industry’s leading names. From Appleton’s Jamaican-style Rum presented by esteemed Master Blender Joy Spence, to a Rum which bring a bit of history to the evening with Pusser’s Navy Rum presented by Peter Thornton and George Freegard, to Trinidadian-style Angostura presented by Master Distiller John  Georges, this will be a unique and one-off evening for rum lovers. Officially adjudicated by a Guinness World Records representative and hosted by Ian Burrell, tickets are available to buy now for only £10 and tables of 10 can be pre-booked for groups, all available with more information on all four days of events from The RumFest website.

JET_2654CFor the first time in history, RumFest invites guests to become part of a record-breaking attempt to host the world’s largest rum tasting, with hundreds of rum enthusiasts coming together to sample six esteemed rums from across the globe.

Representing Jamaica, Appleton’s Rum will be sipped and savoured with commentary from revered Master Blender, Joy Spence, whilst the Spanish style of rum, Don Q will be sipped and savoured with a yet to be announced speaker. For a historical twist Pusser’s Navy Rum will be presented by George Freegard and Peter Thornton. Angostura will bring a taste of Trinidad to the evening hosted by Master Distiller John Georges and the delights of Cuban’s classic Havana Club will be a part of the World Record Attempt with one final rum to be announced in the coming weeks.

Doors will open at 5pm where guests will be greeted with a welcome speech from Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest founder Ian Burrell, followed by an introduction to the rules and regulations of the Guinness World Records. From 6.30pm the world record attempt will begin as guests taste the six rums from some of the world’s most revered rum distilleries followed by an audience Q&A and the presentation of the Guinness World Records certificate.

Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest Founder Ian Burrell comments, “The possibility of hosting the World’s Largest Rum Tasting is incredibly exciting and we cannot wait to share the experience with so many rum lovers and it will be the perfect way to kick off what will be four days of superb rum celebrations. Rum is a spirit loved by many and to have the chance to taste six esteemed rums hosted by their top master blenders, ambassadors and distillers is an honour and a privilege. I cannot wait to share it with you all!”

The RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC on Friday 10th for press and trade and Saturday 11th to Sunday 12th October 2014 for trade and consumers. Standard tickets are now on sale at £49.95 for Saturday and Sunday, which include access to all areas of the the event and single measure tastings from the majority of exhibitors. The brand new Golden Tot Tokens are £5 each and allow for additional access to the more premium rums on offer. One token can be exchanged for rum retailing £80 – £100 and more expensive rums will be available for additional tokens. For full information please visit the RumFest website.

*End*

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Press Release, Rum

 

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Boutique RumFest 2014

*Press Release*

BOUTIQUE RUMFEST RETURNS INVITING INDUSTRY EXPERTS TO A VERY SPECIAL AFTERNOON & EVENING OF EXCLUSIVE RUM TASTINGS & TALKS

rum experience no date

Featuring a host of new rum distilleries and suppliers including Tres Hombres, Duppy Share and Dos Maderas

Friday 10th October, 2014, 3PM-9PM
*New venue – London’s Earl’s Court, ILEC Conference Centre*
rumfest.co.uk

JET_3518CReturning to RumFest for its fifth consecutive year, The Boutique RumFest in association with the Cork Supply company will take place Friday October 10th at London’s ILEC Centre welcoming a host of independent rum brands, importers and distilleries from across the globe. Celebrating the newly emerged distilleries and offering a platform to showcase their product, the Boutique RumFest is an exclusive trade and press only event and has quickly become THE place to discover fresh and exciting rums before anybody else. This year’s event will also host for the first time a series of specialist rum forums that will lead discussions on ‘So you want to import a rum brand?’ hosted by The Cocktail Lovers and the hot topic debate on premiumisation within the category with  ‘What makes a rum premium?’ hosted by rum aficionado and owner of the award winning Smuggler’s Cove, Martin Cate. Registration for those interested in attending is open now and can be submitted online here and successful applicants will be confirmed by Friday 26th September 2014.

JET_3588CThanks to the increasing popularity of specialist rum production, the Boutique RumFest in association with the Cork Supply company has become the UK’s leading event to showcase new, independent rum distilleries from around the world. Founded by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, Friday’s event will open its doors exclusively to members of the press and trade and will provide an invaluable experience for distributors, buyers, rum aficionados, key industry figures and rum producers alike, acting as a platform to help newly formed distilleries develop within the industry and opportunity to meet the brands for the very first time.

JET_2281CHosting a wide selection of rums from every corner of the globe, from Mexico’s Izapa Rum to Centenario from the central American’s country, Costa Rica. Far afield Indian-based Amrut distillery will be showcasing their Old Port Deluxe rum, which recently received a gold medal in the International Review of Spirit Awards, while the highly collectable Tres Hombres will also be present at the event. Family run American Koval will be showcasing their rum for the very first time in the UK from their completely organic distillery, while the newly formed Duppy Share will offer samples of their golden oak-aged Caribbean rum from the islands of Jamaica and Barbados. The championed Dos Maderas rum from Spain that combines Caribbean and Hispanic heritages to create a very unique rum will also be showcased plus the Fiji Rum Company amongst many other exciting new brands to discover at this year’s Boutique RumFest.

JET_3410CExpanding Boutique RumFest’s offering even further, there will also be an opportunity to engage with key industry figures in dedicated forums. Special guest, the award winning and first-ever female master blender, Joy Spence will be attending amongst other key experts across the drinks trade offering valuable insight into a range of key topics that are extremely prominent within the industry. The Cocktail Lovers will host an engaging discussion titled ‘So you want to import a rum brand?’, while the hot topic around the premiumisation of rums will be hosted by Martin Cate, rum aficionado and owner of one of the world’s top rum bars, Smuggler’s Cove. Additional forums will be announced soon.

JET_2561CThe Cocktail Lovers comment, “We are thrilled to be working with Ian on this exciting new addition to The Rum Experience, it promises to be both informative and entertaining and a don’t miss for anyone who wants to know more about the ins and outs of importing rum.”

The finale to Boutique RumFest will be a VIP invite-only launch party on the Friday evening, providing the perfect opportunity to sip rums and meet fellow industry insiders and a precursor the Saturday and Sunday of The RumFest.

Registration for The Boutique RumFest is now open for members of trade/press, form submissions can be found HERE. The RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC on Friday 10th to Sunday 12th October 2014. Standard tickets are now on sale at £49.95, which includes access to all areas of the the event and single measure tastings from the majority of exhibitors. The brand new Golden Tot Tokens are £5 each and allow for additional tasting of the rarest, most expensive and premium rums on offer. One token can be exchanged for rum retailing £80 – £100 and more expensive rums will be available for additional tokens.

*End*

I don’t think that any of you good folks reading this post need any further encouragement to either register for the Boutique RumFest or to buy your tickets to the main event. Rum and fun are guaranteed, plus there is the chance to meet and talk to so many industry greats and all round legends such as Ian Burrell and Martin Cate……MARTIN CATE!!!…..you may even see me wandering around…..

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Press Release, Rum

 

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Chairman’s Reserve ‘Rovers X1′

*Press Release*

Chairmans BottlesSt Lucia Distillers has recruited a new Chairman’s Reserve X1 who are currently touring top bars in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield giving mixology demonstrations, cocktail tastings and discounted serves to eager customers who want to taste the rums which have won the “Best Rum” Trophy four times in the last six years.

The tour started at Kosmonaut Bar on Tariff Street, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter where Tom Higham has invented a new cocktail ‘5 Spice Sour’ to accompany their Spice Club evening when they serve a grand home-style 4 course Indian meal (recipe below).

Montpellier’s Café on Back Turner Street, Manchester organised a “Caribbean Calling” evening and informal food-pairing event with Chairman’s White Rum, Chairman’s Spiced and it included a warm goat’s cheese, pine nut and honey salad paired with a Honey and Walnut Rum Manhattan using Chairman’s Reserve Finest Rum.

Tom HighamThe Almost Famous Bar at 100-102 High Street also in Great Northern, Manchester will also be offering individually created cocktails by four of the new Chairman’s Rovers X1: Adam Binnersley, Jonathan Leathley, Brodie Meah and Tom Higham at the new outside terrace area on Tuesday 26th August, when all four join forces to run the Chairman’s Reserve evening pop-up. Also at Almost Famous, a new Chairman’s Reserve Rum cocktail called ‘Custard Reserve’ specially created by mixologist Jonathan Leathley will be on the drinks menu – for the recipe – see below.

On the same evening, Under New Management, the popular bar in Barlows Croft, Salford M3 5DY will host a late-night session with plenty discounted Chairman’s Reserve Rum serves including Brodie Meah’s new rum cocktail ‘Watermelon Punch 1999’ – recipe below.

Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield will also be hosting in the coming weeks master classes of Caribbean rums from St Lucia showing the blends of pot and coffey still rum from one of the world’s most successful distilleries.

*End*

All sounds pretty awesome and I’ll hopefully be able to nip along to Great Northern on the 26th for a drink or two as they sound well worth checking out…………

Cocktail Recipes

‘Watermelon Punch 1999’ – Brodie Meah at Under New Management , Salford.

37.5ml Chairman’s Reserve Finest

25ml Vermouth

15ml Wheat beer & Coriander Seed Reduction

20ml Citrus

Watermelon

 

‘5 Spice Sour’ – Tom Higham, Kosmonaut Bar, Manchester

40ml Chairman’s Reserve Finest

10ml Mandarin Liqueur

25ml Lime Juice

15ml 5 spice syrup

15ml Mango

Splash ginger beer

 

‘Custard Reserve’ – Jonathan Leathley, at the Almost Famous Bar

50ml Chairman’s Reserve Finest

50ml Cocchi Americano

25ml Lemon

25ml Cooked Custard Cordial

25ml Egg White

2 Dashes Jerry Thomas Bitters

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Press Release, Rum

 

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Pusser’s Rum proudly sponsors The Beach at Camden’s Roundhouse

*Press Release*Pussers Logo

The UK’s original navy rum, Pusser’s, has partnered with the Roundhouse this summer to launch the long-awaited return of Camden Beach, a 900 sq metre terrace filled with 150 tonnes of the finest sand, end-of-the-pier amusements, pop-up food stalls, beach huts, ping-pong, live music and a showcase of summer drinks brands. The partnership between the historic venue and rum makers Pusser’s, sees the brand sponsoring one of the iconic beach huts, creating a ‘Rum Shack’ with full branding and bar presence.

Proceedings kick off on 24th July with a VIP launch party, followed by a nod to the brand’s naval roots with celebrations to mark Black Tot Day on 31st July. Pusser’s will be holding masterclasses with Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, rum tastings throughout, and serving Grog cocktails inspired by the old navy tale of Admiral Vernon, who was known as The Grog.

During the summer, the famous Pusser’s cocktail, The Painkiller, will also be served which will feature Coco Re’al – also distributed by Cellar Trends.

This is the second year that Pusser’s has been involved with Camden Beach and Peter Thornton, Brand Manager at Pusser’s, comments: “It is a very cool event, bringing something different and unique to London. On 31 July we will be inviting some navy guys along for Black Tot Day celebrations to share their sea-faring tales with the Camden crowd to help spread the word about this important day and the Navy Tot Fund. Throughout the summer, there’s a great atmosphere and backdrop and it provides an excellent opportunity for us to reach new consumers with both Pusser’s Rum and Coco Re’al.”

Join the Pusser’s team and sample the legendary rum on the 31st July 2014 at The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH

It’s a crying shame that I’m based up here in the North West with a (relatively) sensible day job, Pusser’s Rum is a staple at Rum Diaries HQ in both its Blue Label and 15 Year Old forms………….but if you live anywhere near, you should weigh anchor and chart a course for the Roundhouse……Up Spirits!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Press Release, Rum

 

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Chairman’s Reserve ‘Sprint to the Finish’

*Press Release*

Competition

St Lucia Distillers, as a member of a Commonwealth Country, has organised a cocktail competition with a difference in Scotland. In conjunction with their UK distributors, Emporia Brands Ltd, they have invited a number of leading bartenders from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen to take part, competing for a chance to go to the 100m finals session at Hampden Park on Monday 28th July.

The bartenders have been asked to come up with an original Chairman’s Reserve cocktail, using any of the four expressions available, which have all been posted on the Chairman’s Reserve UK Facebook site.

The challenge is for these bartenders to market their drinks through their bars and social networks for a week & ‘Sprint to the Finish’. The cocktail creation that has manages to attract the largest number of likes at the end of a week, on Thursday 24th July, will be the winner and we will accompanied to the Blue Ribbon event (men’s 100m finals) by the Chairman of Emporia Brands, James Rackham to enjoy prime seats for the event in a corporate box at Hampden Park.

The runners and bartenders in this race to the Games include:

Danny Whelan – Kelvingrove Cafe (Glasgow)

Alex – Amicus Apple (Aberdeen)

Mike McGinty – Treacle (Edinburgh)

Matthew Ronald – Blue Dog (Glasgow)

Jon Hughes – Bramble Bar (Edinburgh)

Adrian Gomes – The Tippling House (Aberdeen)

James Grant – Bond 9 (Edinburgh)

Lewis Thomson – Clouds & Soil (Edinburgh)

Rosie Paterson – The Voodoo Rooms (Edinburgh)

The only requirement regarding the drinks they have been asked to make, is that the base spirit must be one of the four Chairman’s Reserve expressions (Chairman’s Reserve Finest, Chairman’s Reserve White Label, Chairman’s Reserve Spiced or Chairman’s Reserve ‘Forgotten Casks’).  The nature and style of their creations was left entirely to the participants and as a part of their marketing exercise, to decide whether to appeal to bartenders, consumers, St. Lucians or lovers of the Commonwealth Games.

The Bartenders and their Drinks:

Danny Whelan – Kelvingrove Cafe (Glasgow):

Comerette Cooler – named after the white-sand St Lucia beach Anse Comerette

Comerette Cooler

45ml Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum

25ml Orange Sherbet

20ml Coconut Syrup

Dash Chocolate Bitters

Topped with a float of Root Beer

Add all ingredients except Root Beer to a mixing tin, shake and pour into a highball glass over cracked ice. Float root beer over the top. Garnish with an Orange Twist, with Vanilla ice cream and Coconut Chocolate on the side. Enjoy while picturing yourself on its namesake beach!

Alex  Muir – Amicus Apple (Aberdeen)

Mai Tai XX

45ml Chairman’s Reserve

30ml Chairman’s Blanco

30ml Chairman’s Spiced

30ml Fresh Lime Juice

15ml Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

10ml Orgeat

10ml Falernum

Hard Shake // Strain // Tiki Glass // Pineapple crisp and Maraschino Cherry

Designed to pay tribute to both the Chairman’s range and the Games by twisting one of the most popular rum cocktails ever created. The spice of the falernum compliments the spiced rum while the orgeat and Pierre Ferrand work to perfectly balance and dry out the drink, leaving you looking forward to more! Finally the big flavours of the rums appropriately lead to a strong and memorable finish

Mike McGinty – Treacle (Edinburgh)

Chairman’s Re-Served

Chairmans Re-served

50ml Chairman’s Reserve

20ml Homemade Falernum

5 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

2 Dash Chocolate Bitters

All put into a metal cup, with a lime cut into a square, covered in Demerara sugar, coffee, chocolate and cinnamon. A light on fire which caramelises the lime and it drips into the drink. Then extinguish the flame with 60ml water. It is a twist on the perfect – rum serve of coffee, lime and sugar, hence the name

Matthew Ronald – Blue Dog (Glasgow)

Bolt from the Blue 

Bolt from the Blue25ml Chairman’s spiced

12.5ml Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

12.5ml GB blueberry

Fresh blueberries

25ml Lemon juice

Lemon syrup

37.5 ml apple juice

Jon Hughes – Bramble Bar (Edinburgh)

DeWitt Cocktail

DeWitt Cocktail

45ml Chairman’s Reserve Forgotten Casks

15ml Byrrh Grand Quinquina

15ml raspberry syrup

15ml lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and fine-strain into a chilled coupe or small cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange zest and a cherry

Adrian Gomes – The Tippling House (Aberdeen)

Bodega & the Smoking Gun

Bodega and the Smoking Gun

30ml Chairman’s Reserve White Label

15ml Gabriel Boudier Triple Sec Curaçao

15ml Fino Sherry

House-made Grapefruit Zest Tincture

Stir all ingredients and strain into a chilled coupette. Spray flaming tincture over drink surface

James Grant – Bond 9 (Edinburgh)

Chairman’s Hook

Chairmans Hook

40ml Chairman’s Spiced

20ml Cherry Heering

50ml Colloseo PX sherry

5ml Gomme

Dash Angostura bitters

2 orange wedges,

4 pineapple wedges

3 blackberries

Muddle fruit, add all ingredients, shake. Serve in a red wine balloon with crushed ice. Garnish with  orange & pineapple wedge & blackberry

Lewis Thomson – Clouds & Soil (Edinburgh)

The St Lucian Sprint

St Lucian Sprint

37.5ml Chairman’s Spiced

12.5ml Nardini Rabarbaro

12.5ml Bee pollen Syrup

12.5ml Agave syrup

20ml lime

2 Dashes Rhubarb bitters

10 mint leaves

Serve in a julep tin with crushed ice, garnish with mint sprig and bee pollen

Rosie Paterson – The Voodoo Rooms (Edinburgh)

Party Thyme!

Party Thyme

50ml  Chairman’s Spiced rum

12.5ml triple sec

12.5ml lime juice

10ml gomme

2 dash angostura 2 dash orange bitters

Thyme

Egg white

Serve in a Coupe with a thyme sprig garnish

Chairmans Logo

Again, all of these drinks sound awesome……..keep your eyes peeled on the Chairman’s Reserve Facebook page for proceedings….

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Press Release, Rum

 

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Lost Spirits Distillery – The Science Behind the Art

IMAG0777_2_1I had first read about the Lost Spirits Distillery, more specifically their Navy Style Rum on the blog posts over at Inu A Kena and A Mountain of Crushed Ice. Both of those articles left me wanting to find out more anyway but when I clicked on the Rum Super Geekdom link (and you can too) and read about Bryan Davis explaining how he approached the production of the rum, high density long-chained esters, Benzaldehyde, dunder and the like, it just had to find out more.

IMAG0869_1I immediately located the Lost Spirits website and dropped an email query in to get hold of more information………..now it’s sometimes rather strange how things seem to pan out, although it shouldn’t come as any surprise given the warm and outgoing nature of the rum community (on the whole, as there are exceptions). A couple of days later I received a rather wonderful email response from Joanne Haruta, one of the co-owners of Lost Spirits Distillery, essentially asking if I’d like to have a conversation with Bryan Davis, also a co-owner, and Master Distiller of Lost Spirits Distillery….the very man mentioned on the Inu A Kena, A Mountain of Crushed Ice and K&L Wines articles.

Clearly I immediately jumped at the opportunity, who wouldn’t? We synchronized our West Coast U.S.A and North West U.K watches and on the 22nd April, I received a telephone call from Monterey County, California.

During the telephone call which lasted just shy of 60 minutes, Bryan explained that he had written a presentation that he would be giving at the Miami Rum Renaissance mere days later and that what I was getting was a run through. I can only imagine how fortunate those attendees of the Miami Rum Renaissance were as Bryan is a very engaging and clearly intelligent chap with a real passion for what he does. It really was unlike any conversation that I’d ever had, mainly because the majority of it existed at a level of understanding way above the limitations of my feeble brain. Nevertheless, I shall try to sum up my copious pages of scribbled notes into something resembling a few cohesive paragraphs. Although bearing in mind that Albert Einstein famously said, ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’, don’t expect too much from me……..I will say in advance that this is a long post, but there was no way that I’d be letting the opportunity to recount our conversation pass me by. Believe it or not, I do actually tell you how the rums taste so if that’s all you wish to read, its somewhere near the bottom…..but I think you’ll be missing out.

Bryan explains that the basics of rum production are as follows: choosing your molasses, fermenting, distilling and aging. What is amazing is Bryan’s understanding of the chemical reactions that occur at each of these stages, and it is the understanding of these reactions that enables Bryan to add, remove or even tweak the compounds that are essentially flavour.

IMAG0894_1Lignin Cross SectionThe first step in the process involves selecting raw materials. Here Bryan has two goals. Firstly, he wants molasses with high concentrations of phenolic acids (smoked toasted flavours). Secondly, he is seeking a molasses supply that is free of sulphur and chemical additives. Bryan explains that rum is often made from low grade sulphated molasses. Sulphur is used to assist with the extraction of sugar from molasses. He explains that distillers can remove the sulphur and additives from the rum, but to do so, they have to remove all of the flavour compounds with similar boiling points. To make sure that he retains all of his flavour compounds in the final rum, Bryan uses grade A (baking grade / first boil) molasses. At this point Bryan goes onto explain about Lignins. Lignins exist within sugarcane and these are the polymers that bind the cells and give the sugarcane its woody structure. As the sugarcane is pressed, a quantity of the lignins are retained within the juice and as they are natures aromatic polymers, it makes sense to retain as high a concentration as possible. Bryan goes on to explain that as the sugarcane juice is boiled, the lignins begin to undergo a heat induced decomposition into something much more simple called phenolic acids, as mentioned above.

Moving on, Bryan starts to explain dunder to me. Dunder it appears is quite a mythical and secretive substance, traditionally used in the production of high ester Jamaican rums. It is essentially bacterially fermented waste products and / or rotting fruit. Dunder pits are huge wood lined holes in the ground, hidden from view, well out of sight of the visiting public. The pits contain everything from the boiled yeast and distilled molasses leftovers from the previous run to rotting bananas and jackfruit and even dead bats. While this may sound pretty horrific and very unappealing, Bryan goes on to explain that the rotting smells of the pit are actually chemicals called carboxylic acids. These acids will become the building blocks used to create esters (the flavour chemicals responsible for the aromas of fruits and flowers in nature). Because, as Bryan puts it, the Health and Safety guy wouldn’t really be agreeable with having a huge festering pit set within his California farmland, he uses a 5 gallon bucket of bananas and lab grown bacteria to mimic this traditional process. Making dunder in this way also gives Bryan control over the process, allowing him to cherry pick bacteria based on their ability to create his desired acid profile. Since these acids will ultimately become delicious esters, this choreographed bacterial dance will ultimately enable him to obtain the specific esters that he desires in his finished product.

IMAG0871_1The fermentation process is next on Bryan’s list. Essentially he has a pool of bacterially fermented bananas, a quantity of yeast and his grade A molasses. As these components are introduced to each other, the fermentation process begins. During this phase, alcohol is created by the yeast consuming sugars. But as Bryan explains, yeast also create carboxylic acids just like the bacteria in the dunder pit. Since each strain produces a different profile of acids, he chooses his yeast based on the final flavour goals, just like he does with the bacteria. As the fermentation gets underway, the yeast also begin making esters (the flavour compounds that Bryan is after). They do this by chemically bonding acids to alcohols. Each combination creates a new and unique flavour. Butyric acid, which smells like vomit, chemically bonds to alcohol to form pineapple aromas. Valeric acid, which smells like body odour, bonds with alcohol to form jasmine aromas, and so on and so forth. Strangely for some reason, the yeast only form esters when they are under stress. To trigger the yeast into ester formation mode, Bryan creates stress through ‘partial nitrogen deprivation’. This weakens the cell walls and creates just enough stress to trigger the desired biological response, without making the yeast ill.

IMAG0897_1Once the fermentation is complete, its time for distillation. The distillation process relies upon the fact that the differing liquid components boil at differing temperatures. Heating the liquid mixture (methanol, ethanol, water etc) and capturing the vapours at the correct intervals allows you to have a greater concentration of the desired constituent components and a lesser concentration of the undesirable components such as methanol. The whole ethos of Bryan’s process is to aid production of the most desirable component for each stage which will reduce the level of undesirables that need removing yet retain a higher quantity of desirables. Lost Spirits use pot distillation with a slow rectification process similar to the process used when creating Jamaican rum.

Now we arrive at the aging process……which in this particular journey is the final process. It is also the process where the so far shared journey of both the Navy Style and Polynesian Influenced rums forks, and allows them to tread their own paths. The idea behind the Navy Style is to accentuate the pipe tobacco, smoke, nutty and honey flavours whereas the idea behind the Polynesian Influenced is to bring the fruity, pineapple components to the fore, and it is within the barrel aging process that this direction change occurs. Both rums use new American Oak barrels, but Bryan manipulates the charring levels and methods to create two very different rums. The treatments now change……

IMAG0873_1For the Navy Style Rum the barrels are seasoned with Oloroso Sherry and are heavily charred and smoked to produce lots of phenolics. The end goal is to get the fruity short chain esters to bond with the phenolics to create more honeyed, nutty long chain esters, as well as the smoky aromas.

IMAG0898_1For the Polynesian Influenced Rum the barrels are seasoned with late harvest Riesling, and pineapple was the goal. It’s inception was almost a raised middle finger to the very idea of things like terroir aiding the flavour of a rum by proving that one shared process can be changed so drastically by one particular stage within that process. To retain the more fruity notes gained from the short chained esters, all that was needed was to minimise the aforementioned phenolics, thus stopping the short chained esters bonding with the phenols, and leaving them in their fruity state.

Apologies if that makes absolutely no sense, it’s quite hard for me to understand fully, but I really wanted to try to explain how in-depth Bryan’s methods are and how this affords him ultimate control over the production of the rum. This is even more amazing when you taste the rums and realise that there is a statement made on each label that lists the basic ingredients as water and molasses. The label also states that no colouring or flavouring additives are used.

Lost SpiritsAs a quick aside before I tell you how the rums taste, I want to draw your attention to the labels. These too are all Bryan’s work. The intricate nature of the label and the time it must have taken to prepare and research the labels just goes to demonstrate how personally he takes the production of the products on the whole. Pirate Ships, Cherubs, a Skull & Crossbones and more otherworldly items adorn the label of the Navy Style whilst Tikis and Sun Gods adorn the Polynesian Influenced.

Now lets see what the rums actually taste like.

Tasting Notes 

IMAG0870_1Lost Spirits Distillery Navy Style – 68% ABV

In the glass: Though not as dark as it appears in the bottle, the rum is a very dark mahogany with and almost liquorice black hue. Initially the rum is very astringent due to the high abv but the aromas of smoke and treacle pour out of the glass. You could smell this rum a country mile away. On the nose it is very reminiscent of another favourite of mine, Balcones Brimstone Whiskey. The smoke and treacle are backed up with caramel and an almost citrus sharpness on the nose. The whole experience brings to mind barbecued bonfire toffee and evokes memories of first morning light at a festival with the embers of the fire still smoking away. Swirling the glass releases corkscrew-esque droplets. After the astringency calms down there is a buttery quality to the nose that is like dulce de leche. Real depth is hinted at with vanilla, walnuts and thick treacle appearing as a tilt the glass to my mouth.

In the mouth: Wow. Robust is certainly a word that I’d use to describe my initial sip. The impact of the high abv is apparent as the rum almost takes your breath away but the first sip is packed full of flavour. That smoke is immediate as is the treacle. It sounds silly to say as the rum sits at 68% abv but it is ridiculously drinkable. Its a little numbing at first but you quickly get used to it. There is flavour that arrives in waves. Smoke, caramel, treacle, oak and vanilla. The treacle is backed up with a nutty, buttery, pastry quality and dark stone fruit like dates and cherries. There is also a hint of liquorice on what is an extremely long finish. Adding a drop of water opens up more sweetness and whilst it makes the rum easier to sip, it removes the ester bomb qualities contained at cask strength. What the water does do is reveal a dandelion and burdock quality which is very welcome. It doesn’t have a viscous mouth feel. You really need to try this.

IMAG0896_1Lost Spirits Distillery Polynesian Influenced – 66% ABV

In the glass: This expression is slightly lighter in colour with less of the liquorice and more dark copper. There is also slightly more freedom of movement in the glass and a swirl reveals dumpy but free falling droplets. There is less smoke, although it is there. Instead it is replaced with a little caramel, tropical fruit, ripe apricot, red wine tannins, oak and banana caramel sweets. It is amazing how the same process (to a point) can yield such different results. There is certainly a family feel to the rums as they are not poles apart, but they do have their own identities. As I tilt the glass, the astringent nasal burn leaves me with the smell of fresh pencil shavings.

In the mouth: The mouth feel on this rum is immediately a lot thicker than the Navy Style and is altogether more chewy. Those banana caramel sweets are present along with a hotter mouth feel. Pineapple, apricot, custard, almond, fudge and a citrus oiliness provide the backbone of the flavours. On the way down I get a heavy red wine feel on the back of my throat yet a fruity freshness on the tip of my tongue. I find this harder to sip than the Navy Style due to the mouth feel and its chewy nature. A drop of water thins out the mouth feel and ups the fruit and the rum becomes a lot more like candied pineapple fruit leathers. Once again, amazing stuff.

Mixed drinks are also where the rums excel and you can find ample concoctions over at A Mountain Of Crushed Ice (click on the link then just keep clicking) and Cocktail Wonk (also a hot bed of great drinks).

Should you pick these rums up if you are stateside? Absolutely yes. In fact one of my friends picked up another bottle of the Navy Style for me on a recent trip to the West Coast and she managed to nurture it and bring it all the way home. With tax and once converted, it came in at just over £32 and it is worth every penny just for the experience. I firmly believe that both rum and whisk(e)y lovers alike will love these rums. The news also gets even better as rumours are abound of a new expression from the Lost Spirits Distillery, a Cuban Style Rum. Late news in also informs me that the Lost Spirits Distillery range, both Rum and Whisky, has a UK distributor. The East London Liqour Company have the rights to UK distribution and that can only be a good thing as you will all get the opportunity to experience Lost Spirits products.

Big thanks must go to both Joanne and Bryan who have assisted me greatly with the production of this article by essentially being my proof readers and technical check ensuring that the ‘science’ is correct. As is usual with these things, feel free to pop in to try the rums…..we’re friendly people…….

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

* Lignin image courtesy of The International Lignin Institute *

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Rum

 

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St Lucia Distillers Win at the ISC 2014

*Press Release*

St Lucia 1931 2nd ReleaseSt Lucia Distillers won the Trophy for ‘Best Rum’ at the International Spirits Challenge in London this week for the fourth time in the last six years. The winning rum this year was their ‘1931’ Second Edition Rum which celebrates over 80 years of distilling fine rums on the island of St Lucia and which is newly blended each year.

This follows previous ‘Best Rum’ ISC Trophy wins for St Lucia Distillers for their Admiral Rodney Extra Old Limited Edition Rum in 2009, their Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum in 2010 and their Chairman’s Reserve Finest Rum in 2013.

The casks selected for the ‘1931’ Second Edition were put down in 2004, 2005 and 2006. These included casks containing 100% Coffey still distillates matured in a combination of American white oak casks and Port casks. In addition they selected casks with 100% pot still and 50/50 blends of pot and Coffey still rums, aged in American white oak. The blend was then assembled and put back into American white oak casks for a further three months to marry before bottling. The ‘1931’ Second Edition rum was first released in 2012.

St Lucia Distillers ‘1931’ Second Edition is available from Master of Malt

I’m partial to most rums that St Lucia Distillers have released as I own the Chairman’s Reserve range, Admiral Rodney and also the ‘1931’ First Edition. If I ever obtain the ‘1931’ Second Edition, I’ll be sure to let you know how it tastes.

Award Collection

The picture above shows (from left to right): Ian Wisniewski, Judge at the ISC, Josiah Regis receiving the ISC Trophy for ‘Best Rum’ 2014 on behalf of St Lucia Distillers and John West of UK importer Emporia Brands Ltd with Justin Smith, Publisher, Drinks International.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 
 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Press Release, Rum

 

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