Excellent heavy, dry style of rum, Old School rum the way it should be !
Notes: Rational Spirits run by the people who also ran Lost Spirits the makers of Leviathan , Bohemian Bonfire, whiskies, some of the most unique peated whiskies I have ever tried and makers of Polynesian Inspired, Cuban Inspired, and Colonial Inspired , and Navy Style Rums. This is their latest foray/expression of a rum which is from a partnership of Lost Spirits, and a distillery in South Carolina with Helena Tiare Olsen (A Mountain of Crushed Ice) as Brand Ambassador.
This rum is unique in a number of ways, the first being the use of a technology long abandoned and now ressurected by them, something known as a dunder pit, although in a highly modified form (much in the nature of modern day probiotics from their origins). Similar to sour mash or setback in American whiskies, dunder was ( and still is to a limited degree) used in Jamaican style rums, but Rational Spirits has improved and cleaned up the process using bacteria descendants form dunder pits and new strains for rum fermentation.
This rum, and the other rums produced by Lost Spirits were prototypes and proof of concept for a new type of accelerated aging process using high energy photons (rather than the usual approach of using pressure,heat and a hyperbaric chamber of some sort) bombarding the rum and wood to produce compounds ( and results) that closely resemble a 20 year old rum in profile (as in gas chromatographic profile not just taste). This rather simplified explanation of the process and the careful but accelerated aging in multiple wood types, artful blending and meticulous care produce a portfolio of rums of very distinctive taste and appearance.
I would also like to point out that Lost Spirits does not any coloring or flavoring additives, unlike many in the industry. It comes by its color and bountiful flavors honestly – not from a chemical vat and tweaking colors with additives.
Lost Spirits has recently taken the wraps off their aging machine and we cover that story ( with pictures) here. An article in Wired magazine has also covered the story in depth here.
Appearance: Clear dark amber/mahogany color similar to , well I am not sure what really, this stuff is amazingly deep and rich in color, deeper than a bottle of 25 year old whiskey. Almost black in appearance in the bottle, A deep, rich, promising color that reminds me of a Jamaican style heavy rum of long aging.
First Impression: Heavy molasses and cinnamon type notes with whiff of alkali dryness, char and old leather, touches of her like smoke, creosote, not the usual sweet syrup that many dark rums strive for. A very hopeful sign.
Taste: Heavy cartelized ( not added caramel – just the taste of caramel, a very much heated/caramelized/burnt sugar ( think creme brûlée crust in liquid form) with dark sugars, almonds, toffee, char with bananas and dark fruit notes with a drying, slightly alkali back note. A refreshingly dry and non sticky dark rum
Drinks: Any cocktail calling for a dark and drier form of rum , Zombies, dark and stormy, even cocktails calling for a tonic type bitter ) Negroni family, amaro and fernet drinks, spritzers and aperitifs, benefit from using this dark and multifaceted rum. Helen Tiare Olsen has developed a portfolio of bespoke cocktails specifically for this rum here and I highly recommend giving it a look !
Bottle: Heavy crystal type glass choice with remarkable shine to the glass itself. Refreshingly , they did not use a what has become a very typical craft spirits apothecary type bottle – the somewhat bell or apothecary bottle that you see almost everywhere anymore – the frosted vodka bottle of craft spirits as I sometimes call them) . It seems to be a hybrid between one of those and a clear glass brandy style bottle ( used in their other spirits) a bottle of a roughly cylindrical style but wider with a notably heavier clear glass foot to it giving it the more prestige look and superior balance that such a bottle brings. The label is interesting and a departure from their usual style also,with a mixture of fonts,raised printing and some Santeria or voodoo references in the artwork along with a nickel sized deep green seal on the right hand bottom corner of the label. The back label my require a magnifying glass for anyone over 35 to read comfortably.
The package is topped by a natural cork with a green wax seal. A rather retro closure that is both functional and charming.
I would however strongly suggest you use one of those older style bottle opener, that is by definition NOT a corkscrew but uses two pieces of spring steel and usually has an oval handle, usually called a prong corkscrew, very easy to find, but overlooked, these cork pullers save your corks from the mutilations of a corkscrew and keep the integrity of the cork intact .
Other: This is navy strength/overproof and therefore flammable, also smooth enough to sneak up on you, be warned !
Final Thoughts: A real, dry dark rum, not some sugary mess of coloring, molasses,sugar and some cheap rum unlike a lot of dark rums out there.
Website: http://www.rationalspirits.com ( or this rum in particular but right now more of a placeholder than anything)and
The main page of Lost Spirits with the story of their reactor.