Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Richard Seale Speaks Out on Caramel and Backdoor Sweetening

Richard Seale

     In the desperate and pathetic attempt to find a “tradition” of sweetening in Jamaica (and presumably Barbados) Rum it is now being claimed (by the usual suspects) that caramel color was hitherto incompetently made and so contained large amounts of residual sugar which sweetened the rum.  {A little background - Genuine caramel color is made from heating sugars and does contain some residual sugar but as it has a bitter taste and a potent dark color, it is used to color spirits not to sweeten them.}

     Caramel Color has long operated in a legal framework which specifies its use only as a means to adapt color. Today, EU spirits specifications e.g. Scotch, Rum will indicate that caramel can be legally added as means of “adapting” or “adjusting” color. That is to say, if caramel affects flavor, it becomes an illegal flavoring. The draft EU rules now offer further clarity and specify that caramel color "does not correspond to the sugary aromatic product obtained from heating sugars and which is used for flavoring purposes”.
The European Technical Caramel Association (EUTECA) created a decision-tree, to distinguish the food additive color “plain caramel” and aromatic foodstuffs (Burnt sugars) by a simple yes/no decision cascade - see attached. If it affects flavor, it is not caramel color.

     Jamaica has long operated in the same legal framework for what is caramel color. - the 1942 Jamaica Excise Act does not simply say caramel can be added, it says it can be added as ‘coloring matter’. The Act specifies the purpose to its addition. Even the Caricom Rum Standard describes Caramel color as “a wholesome coloring matter widely used in the liquor and beverage industry”.  Famed Jamaican Rum Blender J Wray & Nephew used to source their caramel color from the London firm of White Stephenson - I think they got the genuine article.  But lets humor this nonsense for a moment.

     Caramel color has long been used in rum and its historical use included adjusting the color of bulk un-aged rum to the specification of the English buyer. We can see from the historical records - see attached - that a large amount of caramel was used to meet the color specification (Lovibond #19) causing an obscuration of up 1 1/2 degrees of UK proof. According to the attached record - a change from 140 UK Proof ( = 80% abv) to 138.5 Proof ( = 79.14%) - an obscuration of 0.86%. That will correspond to about 5 g/l of added solids.  Now our caramel color analysis shows that about 20% of the solids in caramel color are residual sugar. Now lets humor this nonsense, by assuming our caramel maker is so incompetent that 50% of the solids are sugar. Now this is going to cause a big problem because our poorly made caramel will not give us the right color intensity. And if we have to add more, we are going get rejected by the buyer for excess obscuration - see the attached of possible faults. Contrary to the claims, we can see from the attached that obscuration faults are avoided and “care” is taken in "preparing the color". Our rum producers take the very care they stand accused of omitting.

     But we will continue to humor this nonsense.  So now our inept caramel color has added 2.5g/l of sugar to our 80% abv rum (instead of the usual 1 g/l). And by some miracle our pale rum has passed the buyer.
Next step is dilution to 40% abv. That brings us to a whopping 1.3 g/l of sugar in our rum (instead of the usual 0.5g/l).  And from that “tradition” is coming the argument to allow sweetening of Jamaica Rum up to 20 g/l.  Lets not humor this nonsense a moment further.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

You Had to be There, Very Eerie Sunset

     Friday night provides a very unique sunset.  The low clouds that left only a slot for the sunset made fgor some very dramatic shots as the sun sank into the ocean.  I sat for nearly 30 minutes on the front deck of the boat shooting these awesome shots of the stranger than fiction sunset.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Caribbean Journal Green Rum Company of the Year: Rhum Neisson, Martinique

     You don’t think we’d do a slate of Caribbean awards with rum, did you? As appreciation for rum continues to grow, it’s important for the Caribbean’s most famous export to move with the times and be an example for the spirits world at large. And no rum company has been more laser focused on sustainability and green practices than the boutique rhum distillery in Martinique’s Le Carbet: Rhum Neisson.

      Led by intrepid CEO Gregory Vernant, Neisson now produces the world’s first certified organic rum, a rum project that is now seeing the world’s first aged organic rum, too. When you make rhum agricole, that’s no small feat — but for Vernant, it’s been a passion project – but one he sees as paramount for the future of rum making.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Havana Club’s “Daiquiri Days” Brings Summertime Street Culture Worldwide

     Havana Club’s multi-market campaign will channel the spirit of Cuban street style.   Havana Club unveils a new multi-market ‘Daiquiri Days’ campaign for Pernod Ricard’s Havana Club three-year-old rum – bringing some summertime swag to the Havana Club brand for the summer of 2019.

     The campaign will channel the spirit of Cuban street style, championing Havana Club’s new frozen daiquiri serve – a “liberation” of the traditional daiquiri for a modern, urban audience. The drink is served either in a paper cone or ceramic cup, to play on its resemblance to a slushy snow cone and is made even more recognizable through a signature cherry on top. Further collateral include a global-ready OOH poster campaign, slushy machines and everything from jumbo metal straws to flip flops and swimsuits.  Havana Club aims to galvanize the next generation of rum drinkers by tapping into street culture with a bold, confident movement to seize the summer across cities worldwide. Rolling out internationally, Daiquiri Days will celebrate the ‘high-low’ lifestyle of today’s young urbanites – creating a luxe feel on the streets, whilst bringing a bit of street to the higher end of culture.   The 360-degree campaign will embrace Havana Club’s Cuban roots, bringing to life the raw, lo-fi and DIY attitude of Cuban street style and celebrating a drink which can be drunk at home and on the streets.

      Daiquiri Days campaign will help Havana Club retailers, bar-tenders and brand managers identify clear daytime drinking occasions, from ‘Summer in the City’ to ‘Weekend Vibes’, and signpost them to consumers across on and off-trade touchpoints. The campaign aims to take social media by force, with bright, summertime visuals such as swimming-pool blues, continuous waves of inviting water and popping yellows – complete with glam, kitsch-cool models.  Digital assets have been created for Havana Club’s social media team to use across all markets – complete with ideas such as how to gamify content with polls and emoji sliders and Insta-friendly ‘Rum It’ recipes in three taps – as well as creating branded GIFs and stickers for the brand.

     Michael Scantlebury, founder and creative director of Impero, said: “We love the bold confidence of Daiquiri Days – channeling Cuban street cool to tap into the summer mood of audiences across the world. Street chic is about to gain a whole load more attitude thanks to Havana Club Daiquiris – they’re just so bad-ass.”   Nick Blacknell, international marketing director at Havana Club, said: “We are really excited to launch our Daiquiri Days campaign this summer in multiple markets across Europe. With the Impero team, we have created a bold, eye catching and most importantly fun drinks campaign that we are confident can make the Frozen Daiquiri appealing to a fresh urban audience.”

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Mr Flaglers Old Railroad Bridge

     One of my favorite places in the Florida Keys is Bahia Honda, and I just love to kayak around Bahia Honda Key shoot pictures of nature and what man has made in the area.  Drifting with the tide under this old Flagler railroad bridge is one of my favorite places.  I can still hear the sounds of the steam powered locomotive as it passes above taking its passengers and freight to Key West .

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Nelson’s Distillery Launches its Newest Rums

     English producer Nelson’s Distillery has expanded its portfolio with the launch of two rums, each made with spirits from Barbados, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.  Nelson’s Signature Blend Rum and Nelson’s Roasted Pineapple Rum are bottled at 42.5% abv  To create Nelson’s Signature Blend Rum and Nelson’s Roasted Pineapple Rum, three rums sourced from distilleries in Barbados, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are blended together and aged in oak barrels for three years. To make its Roasted Pineapple Rum, Nelson’s then adds “natural” flavorings to the blend.
     Neil Harrison, founder and master distiller, said: “We know that rum is the next big trend here in the United Kingdom, especially flavored rum.   As a forward-thinking, proactive business, we wanted to ensure that our expansion not only includes the development of our signature gin range, but also places us firmly at the forefront of this exciting new marketplace”.
Bottled at 42.5% abv, Nelson’s Signature Blend Rum and Nelson’s Roasted Pineapple Rum are priced at $52.00 per 700 ml bottle.  The launch follows the news that Nelson’s has expanded its sales team as it looks to grow its presence in the UK. Rosie Peters and Lara Marshall have both been appointed as account managers for the business.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Diplomático No. 3 Pot Still Rum Ready to be Introduced

      Venezuelan rum brand Diplomático has completed its Distillery Collection with the third and final release in the series – No. 3 Pot Still Rum.  The Diplomático Distillery Collection aims to showcase the different distillation methods used to create the brand’s range of rums.
     First launched in 2017, the collection comprises No. 1 Batch Kettle Rum and No. 2 Barbet Rum.  The latest release, No. 3 Pot Still Rum, is created in the copper pot still that was first used at Diplomático’s La Miel distillery in 1959.  The pot still uses sugarcane honeys and a prolonged fermentation process. The spirit is then filled into small American white oak barrels to age.
     This is the third of the three numbered series rums from Diplomatico, it is described as having aromas of red and tropical fruits with toffee and vanilla. On the palate, the flavors develop into wood combined with coffee and dark chocolate.
     Jon Lister, UK brand ambassador, Diplomático, said: “The rum is essentially a look behind the curtain to show the flavor profile behind the traditional range.  “It’s not to replace anything in our portfolio, it’s to support and showcase the traditional range.”  Diplomático Distillery Collection No. 3 Pot Still Rum will be available from select retailers at an RRP of $78.00.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Hammock on Great Guana Cay

     There is nothing more inviting than an empty hammock between two palm trees on the beach.  Seems that most everywhere I go I can find this inviting sight.   This Hammock on  Abaco, The Bahamas,Great Guana Cay made me happy relaxing on the beach with a nice rum on the rocks lazing in the sun.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Mount Gay Welcomes New Master Blender Trudiann Branker

Trediann Branker Master Blender

The Barbados rum Mount Gay has announced a new master blender, who represents a first for the company.  The 300-year-old rum brand has appointed Trudiann Branker, who steps into the role after a five-year apprenticeship with outgoing master blender Allen Smith.  Trudiann Branker will be responsible for overseeing hundreds of casks of ageing rum and hand-picking each one that goes into every blend.
     The new master blender graduated from The Siebel Institute, the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and has more than 11 years’ experience working in the spirits industry.   She joined Mount Gay in 2014 as a quality assurance manager and has followed the same path as former master blender Allen Smith.   Smith, who boasts more than 25 years’ working at Mount Gay, has held the position of master blender since 2005.    He was responsible for bringing blends such as Mount Gay XO and Mount Gay 1703 to market.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Beveland Introduces Peated Rum

     Spanish drinks group Beveland has extended its Ron Relicario rum range with a new peated expression.  Relicario Peated Finish has been aged for between five and 10 years in the Dominican Republic. It was finished for an additional six months in American oak barrels that previously contained peated malt whisky from Speyside.
     The expression is described as having “a unique flavor with aged notes and smoky nuances of peat and malt”.  The product made its debut at the trade fair ProWein in Düsseldorf previously this month.   Beveland expanded its portfolio back in February with the introduction of new expressions,  a brandy barrel-finished rum and an elder flower-flavored liqueur.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Sun Also Rises in the Bahamas

     I love to get up relatively early in the morning to walk along the dune.  You see some very beautiful things as you gaze out over the water.  This life is so wonderful, I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Enjoy the view.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Off to "Camp Great Guana" for a Few Days of Music and Adult Beverages

     Heading today for “Camp Great Guana” in the Bahamas.  Four fun days of party and great music.  The Barefoot Man George Nowak is playing is final concert there this weekend.  We have been to Nipper’s for his concerts since the mid 1990’s and George has become a good friend over the years.  Looking forward to seeing and hearing him for the final time at Nipper’s on Great Guana Cay along the ”Crystal Sea”. 

    It is a long, narrow islet, 7 miles long, It is in the center of the Abaco Islands and is near Gurnelemi Cay.   It is located about 8 miles from Marsh Harbour.   There are approximately 150 people that live on the island, mostly along the five and a half mile long stretch of beach on the east side of the island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

     Great Guana Cay's settlement is known for its loyalist culture and architecture, as well as its social scene. Several traditional loyalist homes are in the settlement, which wraps around a natural harbor.  Nipper’s and Grabber’s located around the area of Guana Harbour is one of the biggest tourist attractions on the island. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Berry Brothers and Rudd are Launching Spice Hunter Spiced Rum

     London wine and spirits merchant Berry Bros & Rudd is preparing to launch Spice Hunter spiced rum in the United Kingdom, where it will be initially available across 19 Revolución De Cuba bars.  Launching through Berry Bros’ distribution arm, Fields, Morris & Verdin, Spice Hunter is made with Mauritian rum from the Medine distillery that has been blended with 13 spices – including clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and ginger.  The combination of spices and aged rum gives Spice Hunter a “bold yet balanced taste” with notes of ginger, cloves and nutmeg that give way to a lingering spicy finish.
     Jack Denley, brands executive for Spice Hunter, said: “We’re hugely excited to bring Spice Hunter to the UK market. This is a rum that doesn’t get lost in the mix and challenges you to make a bold move.  “With its 13 exotic spices and aged Mauritian rum, Spice Hunter is designed for the modern drinker; complex, approachable and undeniably bold.”  Spice Hunter takes its name and inspiration from 18th century botanist turned spice smuggler Pierre Poivre.
     Wounded whilst fighting the British, he recovered from losing an arm on the Dutch-owned islands of Indonesia. Whilst there, he saw the abundance of nutmegs and cloves growing, which he began smuggling to start a botanical garden on his Mauritian homeland.
From 2 April, Spice Hunter will be available throughout the United Kingdom at Revolución De Cuba’s 19 sites as well as a host of other United Kingdom  bars and pubs. It will also be available to buy through Amazon and Berry Bros & Rudd for £25 or $32.00.