Sugar cane is harvested either by hand or machine and is then cut into lengths around 20 centimeters. After cutting the sugar cane the juice extracted and prepared for fermentation.
The extracted sugar from cane juice produces a by-product called molasses. Molasses is the most used product what most Rum is made from.
From the sugar cane there a few base ingredients that forwards us to fermentation. Molasses, cane juice or cane syrup is fermented with water and cultured or naturally occurring yeast to produce; Wash. This is roughly around 5% vol. The resulting wash will be then distilled to make Rum.
Two easy differences to remember is slow fermentation or fast fermentation. The big difference is when fermentation is done slowly, it is uncontrolled and can last for 3 weeks. The fast or in other words, controlled fermentation is done in closed stainless steel tanks that can take 48 hours to be ready.
Distillation can be done in different stills. But first, distillation works on the principle that alcohol boils at a lower temperature then water. In other words, you can boil the substance and collect the alcohol throughout the boil, cool it down and so condense these vapours back to liquid. The more you do this, the more alcohol towards water.
The beauty of Rum is not only the aroma’s that are created throughout the whole process but all the flavour compounds that can be collected by the skill of the distillation process. It is a craft to collect the alcohols and flavour compounds or congeners to create a subtle finished Rum. Differences between light and heavy Rum is something for a new chapter.
Pot stills are the original types of still. They look like copper kettles in a alembic shape. The Pot still collects lower alcohol and is therefore mostly distilled more times. The unique opportunity for a pot still is that it is made from copper. Meaning it will take out the Sulfur and brings in the Esters. This process is very delicate and brings Rum to a whole new level of aroma’s. Examples of this are aroma’s that remind you of Banana, Mango, Exotic fruits to even stronger ones like nailpolish or tin.
These column stills are mostly know as continuous stills due to that they run continuously without the need to stop, collect and start again like the pot still. This means that the collected alcohol is at a much higher concentration of alcohol in the final distillate. This makes it more effective and higher production of lighter and cleaner rums.
Where does the color come from? The result of ageing in casks is that it brings in colour but not only that. The most used casks are oak wood and in particular ex-bourbon. Meaning the casks were used once by the bourbon industry.
Blending is they final and key process to find the ultimate rum character that will be shared with you. Many Rums are blended and the beauty of that is everything is possible. Every Rum type or quality is unique in it’s kind and brings many profile, process and traditions that are made by the distillers.
By bringing different Rums from several origins, distillers together, you can add so many character and flavour to the Rum profile. A delicate process and a good nose helps you choose the right blend.
Mates Gold Rum is therefore a good example of combining different styles together. Majority of the blend is a 3 to 5 years old aged Rum from Barbados and Dominican Republic. However it is blended with light and Heavy style Rum from Jamaica that offers aroma’s or Esters.
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