What is rum really

• Rum, as we know it today, began to be distilled in the 17th century.
• The name is derived from the English colloquial expression “rumbullion” meaning “uproar”, “melee”.
• The distillate comes from the molasses and juice of sugarcane.
• As for the taste, it is the most widely drunk spirit in the world and is produced around the world.
• The distillate must contain at least 37.5% alcohol.
• Rum was the drink of sailors, pirates, robbers and smugglers.
• Rum has a long tradition in seafaring, the Slave Trade, the US and also in Flensburg.
• Rum is the perfect companion to any cigar and is excellent combined with chocolate.
• Rum is authentic and is typical of many countries in the Caribbean

Rum from molasses

Rum is produced by the fermentation and distillation of sugarcane molasses. The molasses is a residue of the sugar production industry and has a thick, brown and sticky consistency. When producing sugar, a large portion of it cannot be extracted and so remains as a residual product. This molasses can be used for fermentation only after it is diluted with water, because the sugar molecules in it are still too concentrated to be able to process the yeast into alcohol. This watered-down molasses then undergoes “skimming” and “dunder”. “Skimming” is the foam that forms on the surface when the sugarcane juice is boiled. “Dunder” is the nonalcoholic residue of yeast from the previous distillation. Both of these additions are crucial for the future aroma of rum. Due to the high content of sugar, fermentation happens very quickly and intensely, and that is why the process of fermentation to create a more intense aroma lasts up to 12 hours – 7 days!

Sugarcane

Sugarcane grows in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Sugarcane belongs to the grass family (Poaceae) and is very similar to bamboo. There are about 9,000 different species of sugarcane. It grows up to six meters and, depending on the variety, has greenish to brownish stems. The stalks can reach a diameter of up to 5 cm, with 2/3 of the stalk containing sweet pulp. Approximately 20% of the plant is sugar and 90% of that sugar is juice. Planting until the first cut is between 12 and 18 months, depending on the region.

Barbados

Barbados is not volcanic in origin and so is quite flat.This is the place where much that has to do with rum began. It was in Barbados that English traders first realized they could make some cool millions on sugar without much effort. The book «The Distiller of London», published in 1639, has a recipe for «Barbados Water», a mixture of different spices, alcohol and sugar. With a little imagination, the spicy spirits can be considered the forerunner of rum. Today Barbados produces rum in the traditional way in the most modern facilities, giving it a very balanced and yet tremendous character.

Dominican Republic & Haiti

The island of Hispaniola is one of the Greater Antilles and is divided into two countries. The larger of the two is the Dominican Republic, the smaller Haiti. It is one of the first islands where sugar was processed. The first sugar factory began operating here in 1516. Most likely a certain type of rum was already being made here. This is due to the fact that Hispaniola, unlike other large islands where sugarcane is grown, never developed its own pervasive style of rum. The three largest producers of rum in the country – Brugal, Barcelo and Bermudes – are descended from Spanish immigrants and so have maintained the Spanish/Cuban style. Soft spirits, aged in American oak, with subtle elegance. Completely opposite is the French-speaking part of the island. The style is very «French». The result is a rum (Agricole production), which is distilled in equipment made for cognac and then aged in barrels made from Limousin oak.

Jamaica

Jamaica has the highest density of bars in the world, and this is counting only the legal ones. There is a famous expression in Germany today «mixture of Rum from Jamaica». In 18th century Germany, foreign spirits were slapped with very high import duties. This is why «Original Jamaica Rum» was diluted with a homemade, neutral alcohol and water. Today this mixture must contain only 5% Jamaican rum. Jamaica specializes in highly aromatic rums with a high content of alcohol, which in its pure form is often completely unsuitable for consumption, but perfectly good for diluting. This itself suggests the perfect description of real Jamaican rum: very aromatic, strong, spicy and distinctive.

Pott still rum

A copper pot, which essentially consists of three parts:
Pot, in which the leaven is cooked with steam (batch process).
Cooler, which cools the steam from the pot.
Gooseneck, which connects the pot to the condenser.

Double distillation creates a higher alcohol content and cleaner rum. The alcohol content can be used to amplify the different nuances of rum. The start and end sequence are redirected and the heart is captured midstream. The volatile substances like methanol first begin to evaporate at lower temperatures, separating the initial sequence.

Aging in the country of production

The experience of a master blender is used during the aging process, which mostly uses barrels formally used for bourbon and whiskey. Selecting the type of barrel, the degree of “toasting” and last but not least the place and time are critical decisions. New barrels (first fill/max. 6 months) quickly transmit flavors like vanilla, tannin, leather and so on to the rum. Using barrels that were used for whiskey, sherry, cognac or wine gives it the flavor of the previous occupant. Rum ages far faster in a tropical climate than, for example, in Europe. Of course, it also evaporates more (Angel’s Share): in Scotland, approximately 3% evaporates every year, in the Caribbean 6 to 10% per year! This is why rum ages probably 3 to 4 times faster and therefore a 5-year-old rum is often equivalent to a 15-year-old whiskey!

Column still rum

For the production of more rum and better control of the taxable amount. Thanks to continuous distillation, this system dispenses with the pot. The output yields a higher content of alcohol, which contains less glycols. Up to 98.5% alcohol content can be achieved. The ferment is continuously fed into the first column, where there are multiple copper plates. The plates are perforated, so the ferment falls from top to bottom. Hot steam, which rises, is fed into the column and on the way forces the alcohol from the ferment upwards. Once the ferment is completely at the bottom, all alcohol is extracted from it. The vapor mixture is now fed through a tube to the bottom of the second column, »the rectifier«, and then from here it again rises upwards in the column. Here, the mixture reaches the tube, which contains the cooled ferment. While the ferment is heated, part of the steam condenses on this tube. Once the heavy components liquefy and settle on the bottom, the light materials continue to rise in the column as steam, before finally condensing. This ingenious technique makes it very easy to separate light and heavy materials.

Solera system

In this system, oak barrels with a capacity of 520 liters are stacked on top of each other. The top row has the youngest distillate and so the oldest is at a lower position. Perhaps one third of mature rum comes from the lowest row of barrels. These partially empty barrels are then filled with a younger rum from a higher row. This procedure is repeated until the top row is empty and is no longer filled with fresh distillate. The rum ages as it moves between the individual rows. All Solera rum is a patchwork of many ages and therefore their exact ages cannot be determined.


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