Ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased to announce our Home Nations series has arrived! Following the success of a combined Rum and Whisky launch with our Australia series, we joined forces again for something a lot closer to home. Like, literally on our door steps.
Taking a little inspiration from rugby, we felt that the Home Nations was the perfect way to collectively title and celebrate the craft producers here in the UK. Our only problem was, well… where to stop. The first three we contacted all said ‘yes’, and as excited as we are to be working with these incredible Rum producers, we have to acknowledge that we could have worked with many more excellent companies, all of whom are pushing the UK craft Rum scene ever upwards.
Let’s take a look at the three amazing releases, which consists of two bottlings from Scotland, and one from England.
Ninefold Distillery, 17 Months Old - Batch 1 [59.4%ABV]
Ninefold are at the forefront of Craft Rum production in Lockerbie, Scotland. Located on the Dormont Estate, owned by the Carutthers family, and run (single handedly) by Kit Carruthers. This small facility first started making Rum in 2019. Driven by a strong desire to produce authentic Scottish Rum, albeit from imported molasses. Kit uses multiple yeast strains in fermentation, before distilling in the 500 litre pot still, which due to the design allows a run to be made in a single pass. From there it's either bottled as Pure Single Rum, or laid down for maturation. Our release is from Kit’s Cask 4, a virgin oak ASB which has produced a beautifully developed Rum. The future is bright for this distillery.
Six winged Angels, Highland Reels, Robert the Bruce, and is that Old King Cole? Surely there must be one heck of a story behind the label!
Nose: Vanilla pods, juicy sultanas, rich butterscotch, and gentle maple syrup lay over a base of fresh planed oak.
Palate: Soft and sweet into the mouth. Caramel biscuit-y notes, with dates.
Finish: Lingering notes of black tea, fresh ginger, and tingly black pepper.
J Gow Distillery, 2 Year Old - Batch 1 [57.2%]
In what is possibly the smallest rum distillery / island combination ever, J.Gow Distillery on Lamb Holm (Orkney) are producing some wonderfully characterful Rum, characterised in the main by their use of chestnut cask in the maturation process. Rum, or indeed any spirit matured in chestnut (Castanea Sativa) benefits from the increased porosity of the grain structure, and the more rapid interaction that brings. The flip side is that the angels share is more like 8%, opposed to the 1-2% you’d see from ex-bourbon cask in Scotland. Add into this regular ex-bourbon and virgin oak casks, ex-red wine, port, and whisky casks, and you can sense that this distillery has a bright future.
Company owner, and producer Collin Van Schayk is keen on working on different types of yeast and fermentation,. With ferments lasting anywhere between five and fourteen days. Distillation is carried out in his 2,000 litre iStill, the choice of which was in part made for him by the limitations of the electrical supply to the island. Feels a little like frontier production.
The name J. Gow makes reference to the infamous pirate that originates from Orkney, and met a sticky end in 1725 at the end of the hangman's noose.
Our Boutique-y blend is 3 parts chestnut cask, and one part virgin oak cask. The combination of which reminds us nicely of the key style of the distillery, but also brings a little more complexity.
Nose: Honied notes, with a complex blend of fresh clementine, elderflower, sultanas, underpinned by fresh oak. A gentle waft of crispy bacon doesn't feel out of place at all.
Palate: The honied notes continue onto the palate, developing into a pleasing fruitiness.
Finish: Tannic, dried thyme, and black tea. A tingle of black pepper.
Greensand Ridge, 18 Month Old - Batch 1 [52.6%]
Greensand Ridge is a well established distillery, with an amazing reputation for sustainability. Their production of fruit brandies ensures that local crops not deemed ‘supermarket worthy’ are not wasted. This ethos extends to all aspects of production, from recycling waste water to packing choices. Owner and distiller Will Edge is building a company that will be fit for purpose for the decades ahead.
Rum production utilises imported molasses, and a ten to fourteen day long fermentation process that involves the inclusion of a little dunder from previous distillations. Distillation is made in a single pass through the Holstein Pot Still - an impressive bit of kit that has a column section with a number of configurable plates that allows additional rectification. This setup facilitates the ability to produce Rum in a single pass.
Normally Rum is filled into ex-bourbon cask, but for our Boutique-y release we’re pleased to secure a Rum matured entirely in cask that previously held his delicious apple brandy - also made at Greensand Ridge. If there is one thing that is certain, it’s that Rum and apples go together beautifully!
Our Boutique-y Pete has a tiny little personal connection to this Rum, as he happened to be visiting the distillery long before the idea of the Home Nations series was even conceived of. Completely by chance Will was starting a Rum fermentation and asked if Pete would ‘pitch the yeast’ - i.e.; pour the bucket of starter culture into the 2,000 litre tank of molasses wash. This was on the 7th August, 2019. The fermentation, and distillation were then completed, and the Rum entered into ex-apple brandy casks on the 17th September, 2019. A nice little detail to bring it full circle.
The label pays homage to Pete getting involved, while Will enjoys a moment of R&R. Pretty sure we’ve seen that squirrel before right?
Nose: A summer fruit salad of victoria plums, ripe cherries, and juicy peach vye with an unmistakable slice of cheesecake.
Palate: A sweet gentle rush of bright citrus fruits fill the mouth.
Finish: Green tea, gentle lemongrass and cardamom. A dry, and lasting finish with a touch of fresh ginger at the very end.