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Old 11-22-2007, 09:31 PM   #11
Edward Hamilton
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I'll continue looking for other things in English.
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Old 11-24-2007, 12:54 PM   #12
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First, Ed thanks for taking the time to try to sort some of this out.

To be clearer, Scottes, I wasn't speaking specifically of white or light rums. I use to be o.k. with Bacardi, many years ago. I'm not sure if it was a choices are limited thing, my palate having grown as a result of more local choices or the integration of the internet adding choices, or if it can all be blamed on slippage by Bacardi.

To be fair, I don't know the bulk of Puerto Rican rums, but the few that I've tasted are not my favorites. I'm not a huge fan of Dominican rum either. Don't get me wrong both PR and DR rum have their places and fans, but I find the majority of what I have tasted to be less dimensional, and that's probably a design feature.

Also keep in mind, I'm slowly opening up to rum from other perspectives. My main focus had been sipping caliber rum with an occasional scientific experiment in cocktails. As the caliber of what's going into cocktails has stepped up a notch (for me), I find myself much more receptive to the thought of using (some) of my rum for that purpose. Perhaps my disposition with PR & DR rums will improve as a result?

To move ahead to my next question for Ed, you mentioned distilling improvements (technologically speaking)... I'm just contemplating of course, but I did have some older Bacardi on a couple (two literally) occasions and thought it was a much more intriguing spirit, but at the same time was unsure of the effects of it being stored for such lengths of time. What I'm wondering is if you think being that PR is a somewhat developed island compared to some others, could these technological advancements have perhaps washed out some of the individual characteristics that might have been found in older batch runs of PR rum?

In advance I realize this is generalizing and the discussion is primarily around Bacardi. If there is a PR rum you highly recommend for sipping please let me know. As for DR rums, maybe I'm just biased. I don't care for Brugal at all. It isn't a tragedy but I just don't have space in my cabinet for it. I also thought domestically available Matusalem took quite a hit the minute it stopped being produced in Florida and switched production to the DR.

Any thoughts? All are appreciated by the way.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:00 AM   #13
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A very interesting topic here. After living here in Puerto Rico for 10 years I think I'm beginning to form an opinion of what happened. I do agree with Matusalem that there is a lack of breadth in the flavor profile of rum here. The cause I believe is do to the fact that are only two companies actually distilling here anymore. Bacardi and Serralles. I find this shocking in an Island this size with such a history in rum production. Both Bacardi and Serralles have led the charge in the "vodka-ization" of white (and Gold) rum here, essentially producing rum for those who don't like rum. To this end they have been very successful and do produce a high quality product inside this genre. These are not serious rums warranting serious assessment. Trying to do a serious tasting of these is like trying to pick out the differences between Miller Lite and Coors Lite....Not much to work with here. They are made and marketed for mixing to a public that wants to drink something sweet with a kick. Of course there has been a bit of a backlash to this trend across categories in recent years with micro breweries, single malt Scotch, special edition Bourbon, and now Artisanal and aged Rum. Both Bacardi and Serralles have made a small nod to this with bottlings of some older stock with mixed results to my palate. It's sad to me that they have not at least produced a "token" bottling that shows they can stand with the worlds best when it comes to connoisseur Rum. Oddly, my favorite Bacardi Rum (the 8 anos) is made in the Bahamas and bottled in San Juan!....Go figure. Alas, this only represents a niche market in the overall sales picture to huge concerns like Bacardi and Serralles.

The only other rum "producers" here are Fernandez with Barrilito (which stands on its' own merits) and Trigo, which produces Ron Canito Curao (which stands apart from all other white rum I've tasted here) as well as Riserva Aneja. It's a shame that others have not stepped forward to at least "produce" (if not distill and produce) a world class connoisseur rum of which Puerto Rico could be rightfully proud.
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Old 11-28-2007, 12:12 PM   #14
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<caaaa-rack> ...the sound of wood striking ball as "Rum Runner" knocks a towering shot out of the stadium!!:eek:

Thank you sir for the detailed response. Vodka-ization of rum. Love the terminology - mainly because it perfectly describes my interpretation of PR rums I've tasted in recent years.

Way down on the list of items that don't strike my fancy rests vodka - something I know many people enjoy - but it just isn't for me either. I'm glad you were able to state what you believe has taken place. It's hard for myself as I'm not interested in offending or upsetting anyone, and certainly don't want to stereotype Puerto Rico etc.

On a personal level, take for example single malt scotch. I enjoy and dibble and dabble in various makes. Many people gravitate to Lowland & what is termed Speyside whiskies because they are deemed more approachable. There isn't much made lowland these days and I've had some that was good, (different Rosebank presentations for example), but for the most part, Lowland whisky isn't my thing.

On the other end of the spectrum I love ronchy Islay and island whiskies and could live off of truer Highland styled drams as well. Many steer clear of the Islay whisky because its often rambunctious (sp?) nature is considered less approachable or user-friendly. For me those nuances are additional flavors - something I appreciate, but I can certainly understand the next person who finds them unbearable or unattractive.

OTOH, Lowlands tend to be straight forward and to my buds, lack complexity (not unlike my reception to vodka). What I taste in Lowlands is not all that much but definitely alcohol. What I taste in vodka is even less with the exception of there being even more alcohol forward.

What I taste in most white rums as I believe Scottes was describing is somewhere in the same neighborhood - little to nothing with the exception of forward alcohol (so vodka-ization fits that perfect).

When we get into aged rums from PR, most of what I've tasted is comparable in the range of flavor I get with Lowland Scotch whisky. There's a little something there, but not much and it's not like between brands & iterations with-in brands that there are huge profile differences.

Again to be clear, these observations are solely based on what exposure I've had. You named a couple of items I have not had the pleasure to become acquainted with - which to me says my experience & conclusion are limited in focus.

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Old 11-28-2007, 07:38 PM   #15
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Taking a liesurely Manny Ramirez stroll around the bases......


Given our own subjective preferences in taste, I give the devil (or bat) his due. Bacardi and Serralles produce high quality, HIGHLY recitfied spirits in the white and gold types which make excellent mixers for certain drinks suited to the modern palate of most consumers. I can tell you that no one down here is drinking these rums neat and expounding on the quality.....Well....Except for the guys I see in the market at 7 AM buying a pint of Palo Viejo white (the least expensive rum sold here) and speaking in Spanish of "That awkward hour of the day between ones' last cup of coffee and ones' first belt of the Old Tree"....Always cracks me up.

To a large degree the Puerto Rican public has "bought the hype", frankly being overwhelmed by the sexy marketing of both Bacardi and Serralles.

The consolidation of the industry from the 40's through the 80's in the wake of the Bacardi success left the remaining distilleries (once owned by Seagrams, now by Serralles) following the Bats lead and taking a slighty different marketing approach with basically the same product.

The Artisanal producers (except Fernandez) were left by the wayside, and somewhere along the way Puerto Rico lost it's soul in high quality aged connoisseur rum production.

So...Any of you lads have a rich uncle? I see about 60 acres that are prime for growing cane here....and an empty wharehouse next to it....I'll provide sweat equity in modest exchange for a few shares and a lifetime supply of the produce...and we all ride off into glory bringing Puerto Rico back to the realm. Mi Tierra! Mi Bandera! Mi Gente!
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rum Runner View Post
So...Any of you lads have a rich uncle? I see about 60 acres that are prime for growing cane here....and an empty wharehouse next to it....I'll provide sweat equity in modest exchange for a few shares and a lifetime supply of the produce...and we all ride off into glory bringing Puerto Rico back to the realm. Mi Tierra! Mi Bandera! Mi Gente!
*starts calculating how much money he'd have if he could liquidate his wife's My Little Pony collection (1200 plastic equestrian statues)*

Speaking of Bacardi and their success...I was reading an article somewhere today about the fact that rum sales are on the decline and a lot of people are blaming Bacardi's successful bid to promote its brand over its spirit - i.e. people know they're ordering Bacardi, but not necessarily that they're ordering rum.

I'll have to see I can find that article again.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:05 PM   #17
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Dear Dood..We have to start somewhere in the fundraising..If your wife's collection is it...Then so be it....I'll avail my wife's collection of Cupie Dolls. Hell..I'll throw in my collection of briar and meerschaum pipes too, just to get the ball rolling.

Interesting on the post of reduced rum sales and the impact of the said 800 pound Gorilla.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:05 PM   #18
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Thank you , gentlemen, for the wealth of info and great opinions. Ron Barrilito rums will always have a place on my shelf, and I agree about other PR rums. I brought home a bottle of Reserva Anejo on my last trip, and was very disappointed. I am thinking about adding some "spice", if I ever find the time.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:14 PM   #19
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A pleasure Hank, for my part. I agree that Reserva Aneja is more about the bottle than about what is inside.

I placed a call to the Marketing Director of Trigo Corp which produces such, two days ago. I just wanted to inquire about what they produced. No call back as yet...
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:52 PM   #20
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I've met a lot of people in the last fifteen years who didn't realize that Bacardi. And an equally large number of people who couldn't name more than two rum brands. One of the most compelling reasons that I wrote my first book was that hordes of people were coming to the Caribbean every week with the thought of lying on the beach and drinking rum all day, but didn't know anything but Bacardi and were afraid to try anything else in large part because they had never heard of any of the other brands and were afraid to try them.
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