View Full Version : Producer Transparency
I've written here a lot about producer transparency, although I've probably never called it that. here (http://www.alcademics.com/2010/08/the-bacardi-boat-of-truth.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Alcademics+%28alcademics.com% 29) is a good post from Camper English on the subject as it relates to Bacardi Rum and Patron Tequila.
I'm posting it here rather than in the "other alcohol" section because I think we have had more transparency from whiskey producers too, although there is still too much of the Potemkin Distillery syndrome around for my taste. Most producers won't lie if you ask them the right questions so asking the right questions is key.
Just as we often indulge in the nostalgia of "things must have been better in the olden days," so apparently do rum enthusiasts.
...Most producers won't lie if you ask them the right questions so asking the right questions is key...
That's my experience in my dealings with producers.
The people I've met are not the bogeyman. They're nice people, good people, and not deserving of constantly being cast as liars if they don't offer up all their information to anyone who wants to show off on the internet.
At the risk of showing off on the internet, I'll just say that lying isn't the only crime. Misdirection deserves criticism too.
It is to our great benefit that the definitions of Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, straight Whiskey etc. are so precisely codified in the US. We take that basic transparency for granted but it is blessing.
The bartenders in your link are correct in distrusting the PR flacks from any of the Rum majors. The Rum manufacturers association can't even get the manufacturers to agree on the vaguest definition of what Rum is. Some countries have specific definitions and age requirements but most don't. Even those that do have some sort of legal definition are reluctant to find any fault with one of their largest exporters.
As referenced the current use of the term solara in describing the aging of Rum is likewise more than a little suspect as the definition is left up to the manufacturer - and as the linked post shows they can play fast and loose with it.
When a Rum manufacturer describes the product as aged in used Bourbon barrels (and that constitutes all the flavoring) and it tastes overwhelmingly of pineapple or raisins or mango I am pretty sure there is some sort of post distilling infusion is happening as even the oldest Bourbons don't pull those flavors out of the oak. None will admit that they add fruits and flavors to the juice. In short you have no idea what your buying or drinking - not the most comforting of thoughts.
I've also learned that age statements can be very suspect. In some traditions, the stated age is that of the oldest spirit in the bottle, not the youngest as is the law here and in the other major whiskey-producing nations. A young rum with one drop of 20-year-old rum in the mix might be labeled 20-years-old. Of course there's a certain amount of caveat emptor involved, as a 20-year-old rum with a $12 price tag just might be a tip off.
I get this image of a line up of push top flavor bottles like they have at Starbucks.
The barrel moves down the line getting squirt or six of vanilla, then one or two of Caramel, than perhaps an orange squirt followed by a squirt of prune and then one of burnt raisins. The barrel is then rolled across the yard a few times then dumped into another barrel. The next week it is emptied and a few drops of some of that old stuff in the back that is probably about .... oh say 18 yrs old is added then the juice bottled as 18 yr solara Rum.
Of course this is just a funny image.... no one would ever do anything like that.:rolleyes:
Of course not and I would post more but have to finish my letter to Santa.
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