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birdie

Rum the next Bourbon

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birdie

ok....we have all heard that "Rum is the next Bourbon" and there are plenty of chats/blogs/reviews/forums out there that are on either side of the discussion. So for the purpose of this topic lets say Rum is the next big thing, what would you buy a case of today.........I have a couple of friends that years ago saw that Bourbon was going to explode and bought before it really hit, between them they have cases of Weller 12, Weller 107 and yes Pappy both 10, 15 and 23.....at the time, much to my regret, I thought they were nuts "why are you stocking up on bourbon that is always available".

 

So if tomorrow you could go out and buy a case of Rum that you think could be the next 'Rum Pappy' what would you buy.

 

Myself I think some of the Foursquare rums are a possibility.

 

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kevinbrink

I don't like this game

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birdie

Not a 'game' just thought it might be a bit of fun.

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smokinjoe
12 hours ago, kevinbrink said:

I don't like this game

From reading your posts, I know you are a longtime rum lover much like Bruce, Paul, Kyle, et al.  I feel for you guys.  I really do.  Rum will probably turn into a price inflating, availability deflating, shit storm, because a few bored, opportunistic, publicity seeking, self promoting, bloggers are looking to create relevance and grow their own brand by stirring up their minimal readership by dropping "Pappy" bombs laced with descriptions of "next big thing".    Bad thing is, their tools will go out and buy by the case load sight unseen, or rather, untasted/untried, because their desire to simply stockpile the latest and greatest is insatiable.  No matter that their thirst and taste for these rums are far from insatiable.  It's just about "having".  I think this infatuation by these shepherds and sheep will be short-lived, but I just hope that in the process they don't squeeze actual rum lovers out of the fold.  

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kevinbrink

I would say I have a long relationship with Appleton and Mount Gay, but and thanks to others have expanded my understanding/appreciation for Rum over the last couple years, if I were to answer the original question posed, I would concur that FourSquare is the most likely to be over hyped based. Fred Minnick and others certainly helped with their over the top declarations.  Personally while I do love FourSquare quite a bit, I would take CS St Lucian or Funky Jamaicans over the bottles that have been hyped. 

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tanstaafl2

Don't see Rhum Agricole getting to be the "next big thing" even if rum does finally go down that rabbit hole (it has been predicted for years but maybe it will finally happen.).

 

So I expect that I will still have access to rhum I enjoy even if the better non-agricoles do start to get snapped by the newest species of sheep! Caroni and a few others are already pretty much there.

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kevinbrink

It probably helps that Agricoles are typically priced somewhat higher already than decent sipping rums. I have yet to do a deep dive into Agricoles myself, having only had pours at bars. One of these days I'll probably grab a bottle of something just not sure where to start, La Favorite, Clement, Rhum JM, Neisson, Duquesne and HSE are all pretty available to me and I'm probably missing some others.

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The Black Tot

It already happened. 

 

The rum market bolted out of the barn about 3 years ago.

 

We didn't notice it in the US because the US isn't where the market for premium rum is centered. It's in Europe - primarily France, Italy, with a bit of Scotland on the side.

 

It took less time to pressurize than bourbon did because production numbers of quality rum are much smaller than bourbon.

 

I see the French version of "Pappy bros" today trading rum bottles from a few years ago EXACTLY the same way their US cousins do bourbon. 

 

Foursquare is good rum, and Richard is a much appreciated and critically needed force for ethics in rum production. But is his rum the best the world has made? Not to my taste. Still, I buy it and I enjoy it.

 

Basically I don't mean any disrespect to Richard, but if Americans take on Foursquare as "the Pappy of rum" then I have these mixed feelings about it:

 

1. I'm very happy for Richard Seale, who deserves every bit of success that comes his way, and I hope he can use this to exponentially expand his production and displace some of the sugared dreck that floods the US market currently

 

2. I'm very happy that this may lead to other rum producers to stop lobbying against transparency, legally binding age statements and added sugar. If 4S gets successful enough rum producers may have to face that it is in their own best interests to produce premium, serious, transparently labeled rums in a manner that finally gives respect to rum as one of the world's great spirits.

 

3. It confirms what we already knew - that "Pappyism" in any spirit category is driven by people who can't taste for themselves, trampling after "thought leaders", afraid of missing out on the best but unable to determine what the best is on their own, while product of greater character and style is quietly consumed in smaller quantities by those who can.

 

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kevinbrink

Great points, the one that sticks to me the most is the one about production levels, for Rum to have a boom in the states like bourbon is experiencing good quality products would need to be much more readily available. Good quality bourbon is basically available in all 50 states, it is now and it was before the boom. Quality unadulterated Rum on the other hand seems to really have much more of a regional availability.  

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birdie

Premium rum is much more prevalent in Europe as Virtuoso posted, my brother in the UK is a rum drinker, he has quite a collection and has several bottles of Kill the Devil 1998 Caroni which he says is really good but is now over 200 pounds in the UK, however his first bottle a couple of years ago was only around 80 pounds, so it has increased in price considerably. So the boom I think is happening its just not crossed the pond, reverse to a certain extent is true also, Bourbon in the UK compared to single malts and Rum is not that big.

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smokinjoe

Between pours of several of these "other than Bacardi" type rums from our resident rum experts here on SB, and a handful of bottles of Seale, Caroni, etc rums that I've purchased, I'm not sure that this taste profile is going to be attractive to the general populous to a degree that it becomes a "big thing" ( in the US anyway).  Funk, diesel, asphalt, burning rubber, are not things most people go looking for in their spirits!  :D  Are they interesting and hugely different than our generally accepted taste expectations of general rums as adulterated by Bacardi and others?  Sure. However, there is a reason that the billions of gallons of these rums produced every year have been sugared, flavored, and colored...to make them more potable to the population at large.  I'm not sure aged unadulterated rum is in too many people's wheelhouse.  Outside of the spirits enthusiast community, I don't see much traction.  Besides, these rums have been pursued and enjoyed for years by a well established rum enthusiast community, so there isn't a lot of pent up demand at that  level.  Cool and interesting? Yes.  Big thing?  No.

 

All this being said, billions of Asian people can't get enough Baiju, of which some I have tasted is some of the most vile liquid on the planet.  So, who knows.

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NDN98

Since I am just starting to explore the world of rum, I hope it doesn't start going crazy like bourbon did a few years ago.

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The Black Tot

The US market has never had the chance to find out if aged, unadulterated rum is in their wheelhouse. The product would have to make it, broadly, to shelves first for people to develop, or even find out if they have a taste for it.

 

The rums which get added sugar for the US market are mostly rums which could not stand on their own, flavor-wise. Some of them can't even be made palatable by the sugar! I'm thinking regular production Bacardi for example.

 

Your argument that "I don't like it so it's not likeable by the broad US populace" is very charmingly you, Joe :) 

 

Remember that we had a bourbon glut not too long ago because the US populace decided that bourbon wasn't to their taste for a few decades (in a period when even the bottom shelfers were rich and delicious!). In the 50s a wave of tiki culture spread across America based on Trader Vic's and Donn Beach's cocktail movement, all founded on the premium unadulterated rums available in those days. Tiki is still not mainstream in 2017, but the number of bars is growing every year and every time I visit one in the US it is packed.

 

Things get cool, and then they get uncool. Diehards like us enjoy things throughout, but the cool market doesn't stick around forever. US whiskey is definitely cool right now, and rum is getting there as people look for options when all the fancy bourbons they read about on the internet can't be found at their retailer.

 

I bring us back to production volume - aged unadulterated rums are, in the big picture of global spirits production, a drop in the bucket. They don't have to catch on broadly in the 400million people US market for supply to get slammed. Even if one in 500 spirits drinkers enjoys them and decides to start buying a few bottles, it's a rum boom. And when I pour rums at the Sampler, for example, I'd say the ratio comes out at about 75% of the tasters are really excited about it, and say they would buy it if they had access. Many of them ask to buy the bottle out of my hands.

 

Most of the high end rum products are basically small batches of less than 800 bottles in a run, and Europe already wants all of them. The best rums in the pure unadulterated aged category are almost, with only a few exceptions, pot still products, and not able to scale up.

 

As for the pent up demand, Velier rums for example are now MUCH harder to get than Pappy Van Winkle is. That's a development that's started in the last 2yrs, but it shows no sign of stopping. There's a crazy amount of pent up demand. If they could wave a wand and produce 50x what they do now, they'd still sell out on release day and never see a shelf.

 

Thanks to our celebrated author whose name rhymes with clinic, Criterion and Triptych sold out in hours in the US. But at this stage it's the same way the Van Winkle craze started - when people fell over themselves to buy an ORVW10, but left a 10yr OWA barrel pick sitting on the shelf. Put the same rum in a bottle that doesn't have a buzz name, and those in the know can still quietly fill their cart, which is what I'm doing these days. It won't last long though - in another year or so people will know all the angles and I'll have to wait 5-10yrs for people to abandon the category again. Fortunately I've already got 5-10yrs of great rum to drink in the bunker.

 

 

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The Black Tot
3 hours ago, NDN98 said:

Since I am just starting to explore the world of rum, I hope it doesn't start going crazy like bourbon did a few years ago.

As I've said above, you're already too late. It's already crazy.

 

What you can buy in America right now by way of pure, single rums is, with only a miniscule amount of exceptions, only what Europe doesn't care about.

Edited by The Black Tot

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smokinjoe
20 minutes ago, The Black Tot said:

 

 

Your argument that "I don't like it so it's not likeable by the broad US populace" is very charmingly you, Joe :) 

 

 

Just trying to help you guys out.  ;) However, time here has shown that the extrapolation you have made is nowhere close to being "me", charming or not.  

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The Black Tot
1 minute ago, smokinjoe said:

Just trying to help you guys out.  ;) However, time here has shown that the extrapolation you have made is nowhere close to being "me", charming or not.  

I would never call you summarizable, Joe. Just one of your million mysterious scintillating facets.

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birdie

Visited a store today in Fort Collins that said they had Criterion and 2004 from Foursquare on the shelf tucked away in the Rum section pretty much going no where for weeks, in the last 10 days they sold out of both.

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The Black Tot

There you go, word has reached Fort Collins

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birdie

Frustrating to say the least, but it only takes one scared steer to start a stampede, you want to not be the guy that tracks down every bottle and clears the shelf, but as my wife of 25yrs sweetly told me 30 mins ago, "remember when you moved here 20 odd years ago from the UK and you thought Pappy Van Winkle had a weird name and would not buy it."........in the UK winkle is a term for penis, hence reluctance on my part to buy a bottle.

 

So I am probably going to buy when I see Foursquare on a shelf, and in 10 years time I could be the dumbest guy around or the smartest.

 

 

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smokinjoe
12 minutes ago, birdie said:

Frustrating to say the least, but it only takes one scared steer to start a stampede, you want to not be the guy that tracks down every bottle and clears the shelf, but as my wife of 25yrs sweetly told me 30 mins ago, "remember when you moved here 20 odd years ago from the UK and you thought Pappy Van Winkle had a weird name and would not buy it."........in the UK winkle is a term for penis, hence reluctance on my part to buy a bottle.

 

 

 

 

Heehee!  That's hilarious.  I suppose you picking up a bottle of Fighting Cock is totally out of the question, then...  :lol:

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The Black Tot

I'd certainly buy the limited and cask strength 4S when you see them. Those are getting hard to find and show no signs of slowing down.

 

4S stuff is a blend of column and pot still output, and they are more scaleable than pure pot stuff. I am hoping for all of our sakes that Richard adds as much capacity as he can possibly do, as soon as possible. Maybe he already has this planned, I haven't spoken to him about it.

 

Richard will be around for a long while yet and his son is being brought up in the business. They'll be making great rum for us long after this new bubble has burst.

 

It's like Weller. I don't sweat the present tightness in the market, because they're making lots of it and the problem will solve itself eventually. I'll very likely live to see bourbon get uncool again.

 

Personally I have about 8 bottles of the 2004 cask strength put aside to weather the storm. 

 

I'm particularly keen to see what happens in the distant future when 4S distillate gets released at 15yrs+ at cask strength.  

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The Black Tot

That's also why Brits giggle every time they see a Hampton Inn.

 

Hampton is also Britspeak for the male genitalia.

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birdie

Yep.....that's another bottle that does not translate well.

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birdie

My brother in the UK just pinged me on another Foursquare product called Sixty Six, anyone know anything about this one, it's available in the UK not sure about the US.

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The Black Tot

It's a 12yr age statement version of RL Seale's 10yr.

 

It is very caramel like sweet, but naturally so, from barrel extractions, not sugar addition.

 

I enjoy it, but I haven't stockpiled it or anything. It's not the first thing I'd choose to bring over from the UK. Blanton's straight from the barrel comes more to mind on that front. 

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