Out of the ordinary…
I`m very happy to share my impressions of yet another interesting rum…but this one is a bit different from the rest…
Lost Spirits Distillery owners Bryan Davis and Joanne Harut of Monterey County are known for their award-winning single malt whiskies, especially their ultra-peated American single malt craft whiskey Leviathan – and now they have come up with this rum and another one (called Polynesian Inspired, review will soon follow)
They have a lot of passion paired with a scientific approach in the making of spirits and they are – to quote Camper English over at the Alcademics – ” Lost Spirits Distillery are doing some crazy shiz” - And now they have managed to concentrate all the flavor goodness in these rums….and for those who are interested in knowing how it`s made – i send you over to this page, called “Rum Super Geekdom”
Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum is a 68% cask strength high ester rum, distilled in Bryan`s copper pot still and made from fermented grade A baking molasses and evaporate sugar cane juice, and what they call wild bacteria banana dunder, aged in oloroso sherry seasoned virgin american oak – here is their description:
“NAVY STYLE 68%”
GRADE A MOLASSES
WILD BACTERIA BANANA DUNDER
OLOROSO SHERRY SEASONED VIRGIN AMERICAN OAK
PHOTOCATALYTICALLY “CHARRED” NEW AMERICAN OAK SLABS
Note that it says “Navy style” and not “Navy strength” as navy strength is no more than 57% abv, the reason for this, was that gunpowder would still explode if alcohol at this strength was accidentally spilt on it. Over that strength is overproof.
The bottle is nothing but a work of art and it looks old yet new…sort of and i don`t think i ever seen the statements “Does not contain coloring additives” and “Does not contain flavoring additives” written out like that on a rum bottle before.
I was a bit mystified about this rum from when i first heard of it but after studying and now also trying it i`m less mystified and i`m quite impressed with the flavor.
This is a high ester rum (esters = the aromas of fruits, flowers, and spices) are made from chemically bonding alcohols to acids) and part of creating all the esters are what is called “dunder”
A quote from the page explaining what dunder is:
Dunder is a mysterious substance added to the fermentation in high ester rum production. Dunder is sometimes made from overripe fruits, rotten fruits, and sometimes a special soup of decomposing bats, and waste from the last distillation.
Dunder is made in pits or caldrons and is sometimes ripened for up to a year before use. Though it may sound like voodoo there is actually a good reason for this substance. When the fruit, molasses waste, or bats undergo bacterial fermentation the bacteria produce carboxylic acids as a byproduct. These acids are responsible for the “rotting smell” but remember we are going to chemically bond them to acids later to make esters. The final esters will smell and taste completely different from the acids they are made from.
A carefully made “dunder” can yield more carboxylic acid than many years in a barrel. In my case this means overripe bananas which are a component of the yeast starter.
The rum doesn`t have any caramel coloring, yet it´s very dark, like coke, the rum doesn`t contain any flavor additives yet it´s more flavorful than many other rums. I trust my taste buds…and they are telling me i`m gonna like this…
To start with, the nose, to me what you get is a funky punch of wood and citrus peels of grapefruit and lemons, something dark…and a hint of vanilla that softens and binds it all together.
First sip is strong…and no wonder, this is an overproof beast of 136 proof or 68% abv. (alcohol by volume) but it´s amazingly sippable…and the mouthfeel is a just a little bit viscous.
There´s some heavy funky wood notes and some caramel, followed by tropical fruit and this rum ain`t for the faint of heart. For tiki drinks it´s thumbs up all the way to tiki nirvana…this is definitely a rum that can stand up and complement all those mixers and juices tiki drinks usually contains. Also it will surely make great bold rum cocktails of any kind.
There`s a lot of punch, funk and flavor, it`s a rich and robust rum, on the dry side, what more can you ask for? this is a rum for the rum geeks but i believe also whiskey lovers would like this. To be an overproof it´s surprisingly smooth, it burns a bit on the tongue but not unpleasantly so.
There´s a hint of Smith & Cross in this…and a bit close to demerara rum as well even though it does not have any of that specific flavor that only demerara rums have, but it´s somewhat similar in style though, like what i imagine the old style navy rums might have been.
Is it just me, or do i see a steady trend towards more flavorful pot-still type of rums? rums well suited for tiki drinks and stronger rum drinks as well as sipping rums? old school style rums?
What`s interesting with the Lost Spirits Navy Style rum is the method it´s made, with a combination of premium raw materials, high ester making with more emphasis on creating esters and less of aging time, as far as i have understood it, correct me if i`m wrong. Of course that is not all but part of the picture.
Like i said, this rum is not for the faint of heart and the same goes for the distillery, apparently….take a tour here.
Now on to the drinks, let´s make a few…
The other day i discovered a thread at the Tiki Central containing a recipe from a long lost book called “Introducing original Polynesian tropical bar recipes … Mai Tai, Navy Grog … and many more” from Dick Moano – containing a recipe for a drink called Wally`s Kanaka Punch.
It´s not a complicated drink and seemed well suited to try this rum with so i gave it a shot, but changed it a bit adding a little vanilla syrup and a vanilla bean and mini pineapple garnish:
Wally`s Kanaka Punch - Lost Spirits Navy Style
3 oz pineapple juice
1 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz triple sec
0.25 oz vanilla syrup
2 dash (home made) Grenadine
Glass: Libbey Carats
Shake with cracked ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with fresh cracked ice.
Garnish with a quartered mini-pineapple and vanilla bean.
The drink is fruity and blends well with this rum which have both woody and fruity flavors, is strong and spicing it up, giving the drink a kick.
The next drink i tried was the daiquiri, i suspected it´d be a spicy one and it was, very strong, woody and spicy. Not 100% balanced because the strong flavors took over a bit but for those who like it strong, like i do, go for it.
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz sugarcane syrup
Glass: Libbey Fiesta Grande
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
To wrap it up, i sure enjoy this rum a lot and i hope Lost Spirits Distillery don`t ever stop making rums…
Flavor lovers and tiki drink drinkers, here´s a rum for you!
You find Lost Spirits website here. For those who are going to the Miami Rumfest on april 25-27 – there will be a seminar on this rum, ” Bryan Davis on making Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum” - where you get a chance to taste it and learn directly from Bryan how it is made.