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  • Writer's pictureJames Lawrence

Molasses and the birthday of English rum

Today is a very special day at the English Spirit Distillery: it's been exactly six years since we made a contribution to English history and bottled the first batch of our Old Salt Rum, the first rum ever to be commercially distilled in the UK.

Dr John will be the first to admit that our rum has come a long way indeed in six years. Distilling rum from scratch is a very tricky business; so tricky in fact, that there are only a few other distilleries in the UK to do so, even today. Fortunately, we have the benefit of experience and practice: six years of our former biochemist turned distiller Dr John running our copper alembic stills many hundreds of times, tweaking and improving the recipe and process every time. It's been through this extensive effort, trial & error, and of course testing many hundreds of batches of rum (hard life) that we've been able to produce rums with such rich flavours and full bodied smoothness.

That said, it's not just the practice that makes our rum so delicious. We use 100% molasses as a base for our rums, the only distillery we know of in the UK to do so, as opposed to sugar cane syrup. Even making rum with sugar cane syrup is no mean feat, and we take our hats off to anyone who does. However, making rum with 100% molasses, the old fashioned way, is even more difficult. Temperature control is harder; lots more can go wrong; it costs more and the yield is much lower; not to mention how messy the stuff is. A while ago one of our distillery team (who shall remain nameless...) spilt a thousand litres of the stuff, like thick black treacle, in the distillery - it took two days to clear up. However, the extra cost and effort is worth it, as there really is no comparing a rum made with molasses to one made with sugar cane syrup. A molasses rum is richer, has a much more well rounded and fuller taste spectrum, and the esters (flavours) are unbeatable: the effect of triple distilling molasses in copper alembic stills produces gorgeous notes of raisins, cracked caramel and treacle, heightened by smoothness that warms but never burns.

To illustrate what we mean about molasses, head over to our Facebook to see a video of James and Simon preparing some of our Venezuelan Blackstrap molasses for fermentation in the distillery. We've been watching it on loop, with our mouths watering. Here's the link:

We hope you'll join us in celebration of this very special day in the annals of English (Spirit's) history with a glass of English molasses based rum.


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