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  • sampotter2

"youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art"

Updated: Apr 4

The sheer delight of maturity.



Well, the time has come to open a barrel!


In 2011 my rum adventure began simply by wondering why no one - and I mean no one - was making any British rum. It took the merest caress of the idea to reveal the arresting difficulties. Supported by naivety I gave it a go and the rest, as they say, is history! In 2012 we became the first distillers of rum from scratch in the UK, the grandfather of British Rum.


First the basics. Rum must be made from sugar cane or a derivative thereof. Way back when, it was made from cane sugar molasses. Molasses is a by-product of sugar manufacture. You’d take your sugar cane, cut it down, mill it (to wring out the sugary juice), add some acid, boil and scoop the crystallized sugar off the top. In the pot is a golden treacle. Add more acid to the pot and boil again. More darker sugar forms for you to remove. In the pot we now have darker stuff treacle/molasses. Repeat one last third time more and the darkest soft sugar forms on top and molasses remains in the pot. Molasses is reduced in sugar and relatively high in acidity! Veritable black runny gold!


We all have a jar of this stuff in the kitchen. It's messy wrestling a tablespoon of the stuff into a cake. Have a thousand litres spill in your driveway and…. best not remind me!


I make rum with molasses. It gives such immense depth and richness to the spirit that I am still head over heels with it. 


We kick off by mixing with great quality water, adjusting pH and oxygen content. Then add our unique yeast and ferment at a typically British temperature; no chance of a Caribbean 31 Celsius. A couple of weeks later we are ready to distill.


We distill twice in 200L copper pots, topping and tailing with precision and then it's over to Father Time for his part. But first pop our rum into a suitably prepared fine oak barrel.



I’m a fan of ex-French red wine oak barrels, 225L. We’ve naturally played around with the strength of the spirit that goes into the barrel; the temperature the barrels are held at during aging and a few other bits we keep close to our chest (so as not to catch a chill, if you follow my drift?). 


After just two years of making Old Salt Rum it won best rum in the world in 2014. Where do you go from there? We learnt from our mistakes!


When I sip a glass of our five year old Old Salt Rum, I admire what it's made of itself. Its most volatile notes have escaped through the gaseous permeability of the oaks structure, displaced by polishing oxygen, catalytically playing matchmaker to a host of chemical interactions, spawning a panoply of layered aromatic and plat of flavoured delights.


For me it's a neat sip. Spiced oak, cinnamon and sweet mellow vanilla are the first to welcome me in. Tobacco and slightly dark chocolate next, before the raisins and christmas cake delights embrace. Soft to start, faultlessly smooth. The perfect hug. No gentler touch even from a finger’s stroke on a lover’s cheek.


I’ve enjoyed it so much that it would be horrid not to share!


Join me for a glass of our five year old Old Salt Rum.


There’s life in the Old Salt (Rum) yet!


Cheers!


Dr. J.

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