Rum has a very interesting journey. Our spiced rum begins its life as a co-product of the sugar production process. After sugar cane is harvested it goes through a series of processes before being turned into sugar. The sugar cane juice that is collected is boiled in order to prepare it for crystallisation. It is during this stage that a viscous syrup, known as molasses, is produced. This molasses contains vitamin B6, minerals and sugar, which is essential for producing our rum.
At Blue Rabbit Distillery, we take delivery of molasses produced in Okinawa and use this as the base for creating our rum. In addition to molasses, we use the distinct character of kokuto sugar from Okinawa. These two raw materials form the basis of our “rum wort” into which we now infuse a selection of spices to define the unique flavour profile of our spiced rum. The rum wort is then added to our stainless steel fermentation vessels and yeast is added to begin the process of alcoholic fermentation. This is the process by which the sugar in the wash is converted into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. During fermentation, bubbles of CO2 gas are formed together with molecules of flavour. This is where the flavour profile of our spiced rum really starts to come to life.
After a period of around a week to 10 days, the fermentation process will have converted the sugar in the wash to alcohol. We now have an alcoholic “wash”. This flavoursome wash is then pumped into our still boiler and heated. As our still is a hybrid model, it is configured into “pot still” mode. Unlike in the process of distilling our gin and vodka, where reflux is used, the volatile alcohols in our rum pass through a copper wafer to remove any sulphur compounds and then flow freely up though the vapour column where they carry all the flavour molecules ready to be condensed back into a liquid as they hit the cooling column. Our high alcohol flavoured rum now flows from the condenser into a collection vessel where it is ready to begin its maturation process.
The final and most important stage of developing the balance and flavour profile of our spiced rum is to oak mature this new make rum spirit for a period of 6 months. This allows essential flavour compounds like vanillins and lactones in the charred Japanese oak we use to impart a greater dimension to the spirit. Our rum has worked hard so far and is now resting for a while before it is ready to be bottled.
Six months has now passed and our spirit has developed some lovely complex spice aromas and flavour from its partnership with Japanese oak. Only now is it ready to be bottled. Just like our gin and vodka, the rum is pumped in through our vacuum bottling system and pumped, under vacuum into the bottle. A natural beech wood top stopper is secured into the neck of the bottle and a capsule is heat-shrunk to secure the stopper. The Blue Rabbit Rum front, back and neck labels are then applied and the bottle is numbered and personally signed by our Distiller before being released for sale. It’s taken more than six months to craft our wonderful flavoured rum. Now, it’s your pleasure to experience its taste.