A newcomer to the crowded marketplace has been the recently opened Rummieclub, which is Amsterdam’s newly opened rum distillery. The Rummieclub distillery is the brainchild of two people, Judith de Bie and Martijn Gerrits.
I first met Judith at the UK Rumfest in 2019 and I have been waiting eagerly for their first bottling…..but it wasn’t that easy to get to that point.
Their decision to start a rum distillery around four years ago led to one major event……it meant that they had to sell their home and move to the Bijlmer. Judith gave up her job at the City of Amsterdam and started working part-time to research all things Rum to make the dream a reality. After a few locations didn’t work out, they found a building in the east side of Amsterdam in Diemen. They decided to start a crowdfunding campaign, selling their first rum bottles to close the small financial gap that enabled them to buy their equipment. As the rental agreement had already been signed, they were obviously elated that the crowdfunding was successful. Then the wait started, the build process had a lot of delays and took far longer than anticipated. Almost a year later , and with their living room full of equipment and barrels they finally got the keys in December 2019.
Since then they have been distilling non-stop, filling barrels, honing their skills, experimenting with differing yeast strains, including some that have been homegrown.
Their website has a wealth of information and can be found here.
It includes crazy levels of detail for the processes behind their products….some of which I will utilise below.
As small and honest rum producers, Rummieclub want to be open about their production process. The rum category is one where the rules and processes differ by region and brand. Because of this, rum can be very diverse. This diversity has a downside, as a customer you don’t always know what you are buying. Rummieclub would like to be known as one of the producers that gives all the pieces of the puzzle about their rum production so that you are fully aware of what you are buying. All of this brings us onto one of their inaugural releases…..Rummieclub Overproof.
Rummieclub Overproof – 58% abv – 0g/l additives
Just look at that label! It has no bearing on the bottle contents but I am very impressed by its vibrancy.
Rummieclub Overproof undergoes an non temperature controlled 10 day fermentation in an open topped vessel. The organic molasses sourced from Paraguay was slowly added to the ferment over several days. Commercial yeast (Saccharomyces Cervisiae) was used for this initial batch. The resultant +/-8% abv wash is then distilled to 85% abv in their 500 litre Istill. An Istill affords Rummieclub a lot of control to make all of the choices that they want to make, and it can produce an array of differing distillates. It has a stainless steel boiler with a direct heater in the boiler. Rummieclub use copper waffles to extract some undesired compounds. On top of the boiler there is a packed column with a robot that opens and closes thecolumn as thay desire. It has numerous temperature probes and different valves for the heads, hearts and tails cuts, which they make based on temperature and taste. They chose this apparatus because it’s energy efficient and gives them the control and options that they were looking for.
Following distillation, the Rum is reduced using water that has been through a reverse osmosis filter to 58%. From here it has a resting period of around two months. 130 bottles of the Overproof were produced for Batch #1 and I am bottle #69 (Dudes!). Each release will see a different local street artist design the label utilising the Rummieclub colours. The label for this release was designed by Munir de Vries and it represents his vision of animals getting drunk on overripe fruits.
Just ahead of my notes, I wanted to give a little information on the level of experimentation going on at Rummieclub…..As mentioned earlier, they are experimenting with homegrown yeast and the next batch of Overproof will utilise their own yeast taken from raspberries. I asked if this would bring differing fruity notes or whether it was all about how the yeast does its job. Apparently the raspberry yeast gives an almost rotten fruit or papaya flavour. The homegrown yeast works differently to commercial dry yeast and gives different results, they are also a lot less consistent with occasionally way lower yields. Experimentation is also taking place with yeast from blueberries and mint from the garden, but the raspberry yeast is giving the best results so far. There is also a desire to experiment with dunder in the next Overproof.
With all of that said, what is it like?
Nose: Initially a light fruity vapour driven nose which warps into warm, buttered malt loaf and malted milk biscuits. Its also leaning on the creamy, almost yoghurt-y side. As it develops it becomes fruity with the sharpness of cranberries and there merest hint of caramelised pineapple. Spice, pepper and ginger grows as does the aroma of warm, almost melting plastic.
Mouth: The palate is spice led during the early exchanges with lots of black pepper and ginger juice which seem to morph into raisins, which brings some sweetness. It has one hell of a mouthfeel, very oily and chewy due to the lack of chill filtration. Molasses shows up and brings a beautiful sweet and bitter interplay that just sings. Burning car tires and warming molasses round things out with a hint of salty liquorice at the back end and maybe the merest hint of Horlicks and Maltesers.
In conclusion: Amazing to think that this is their first release such is the quality of the Rum. Its not just towing the line of the glut of unaged output from new distilleries of late. They’re not messing around. It has a unique profile that shows how they want to pursue their own direction….and their level of experimentation has me really excited to see what they can do moving forwards. I for one cannot wait to see what comes next from their unaged output, let alone their aged stuff. Makes a tasty daiquiri too. Outstanding effort!
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