Rum’sploration: Rock Town Rum

Hey, so we’re doing this posting thing again. Will it continue? Your guess is as good as mine but at least for the time being, I’d put decent money on yes. The reason is two-fold:

  1. I miss writing creatively for myself
  2. I’m really exploring spirits and cocktails these days and need a place to put my thoughts so I can refer back to them in the future. So, really this is more for me than you, but if you get something from it … cool. I doubt you will since there are tons of much better blogs with actual research and writing skills but who knows.

I looked at what I liked and didn’t like about the Bacardi 8 post and found a lot I didn’t like but a couple things I did. So, this is round two. We’ll get there, just enjoy the ride.

ROCK TOWN RUM

  • Distillery: Rock Town Distillery, Little Rock Arkansas, USA
  • 40% abv / 80 proof
  • Aged 31 months in used whiskey casks (this was the age statement on my bottle)
  • 250 Gallon Vendome Pot Still
  • Martin Cate Classification: (1) Pot Still Lightly Aged (A guess. I’m happy to be corrected)
  • Spanish Style

The back story for me here (because don’t all food and drink blogs need a back story prior to the meat of the post) is that my wife and I stopped in Little Rock during a cross-country road trip at the end of 2017. Rock Town was both of our first ever distillery visits (having been to countless breweries) and we enjoyed the tour and the tasting at the end. We enjoyed that tasting maybe a little too much and, since at the time we weren’t drinking much other than beer or cider, we quickly overdid it. It was a great afternoon and evening, but the last couple hours are a blur. Anyhow, the next morning I woke up with this and one of their whiskeys sitting on our AirBnB’s kitchen counter (with receipt of course). There’s been a lot of movement in our lives since and I only recently had a chance to open the bottle and dive in. (That wasn’t so bad, was it? Short and sweet) Let’s get to it.

NEAT

Rock Town Rum-1
The background makes this much darker than it really is

The pour is a fairly light yellow straw. It leaves some decent legs on the glass when swirled. The nose is very hot and booze forward with the main player being dry, dead grass during a 98F degree afternoon. There is only the faintest sweet notes in the taste with the harsh, rough booze notes really taking the cake. I did pick up a bit of wood but in the form of lumber and not vanilla or oak. The aroma and taste lead you to a medium length finish that is light on flavor and heavy on the heat. Thin body with a dry finish. Honestly, this was a little tough to get through neat. It wasn’t very flavorful and the boozy heat really burnt up my tongue. I wouldn’t reach for this if I was in the mood for little sip.

DAIQUIRI

Rock Town Rum-2
A Bright Beacon of Hope?

I … was not expecting this. After my experience with it neat I thought this daiquiri was going to be a bust and already looking for a cocktail to cover the rum up with for the variable coming next. However, this snappy little daiquiri stole my heart. The daiquiri glows a brilliant soft golden orange in the glass. The zing of the lime gets its spot in the sun here. The problems I have with the rum neat (booze forward, little character) are really tempered here- the rum supports the tart snap of the lime quite well without dulling it down, while still ironing out many of the “limey” notes, leaving just that zing which I love in a daiquiri. The boozy aspects are still there, but they really take a step back from the forefront. As I got a bit more into the cocktail, the rum’s alcohol heat did start to show a bit more. The Rock Town Rum really works for me in a daiquiri. Is it a better option than a quality silver rum here? I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know it works and for now, that’s enough for me.

PASSION GROVE SWIZZLE

Rock Town Rum-3
A Cocktail Wonk original

At this point, we’re batting .500 with this rum. Good in a mixed drink but bad neat. What to do? How about a cocktail that calls for a white rum and see how it does? I thought about substituting this for a gold rum but honestly, the profile just isn’t there. So, how about Cocktail Wonk’s Passion Grove Swizzle? What’s even better is Mrs. Tuesday Pints recently gave me my first swizzle sticks for our anniversary- perfect-o! The Wonk calls for Plantation 3 Star, which I’ve not had (and therefore can’t compare how this fills the bill) but that’s life on this small island. His recipe is as follows with my substitutions in parentheses.

  • 1.25 oz Plantation 3 Stars (Rock Town Rum)
  • 0.75 oz Jamaican overproof (Wray & Nephew Overproof White)
  • 1 oz pineapple juice, fresh pressed (I used canned Dole)
  • 0.75 oz lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz passion fruit syrup (BG Reynolds)
  • 0.5 oz falernum (BG Reynolds)

This is a mighty tasty cocktail and one I’ve enjoyed previously with other rums in place of the Rock Town. The star in this show is rightfully the passion fruit with the W&N Overproof coming on quite strong, too (as it generally does). The Rock Town settles in to the background, content to support the rest of the drink by boosting the booze and providing a solid foundation for the tart fruit and slightly spiced profile.

So, that’s Rock Town Rum. Not something I’d reach for when wanting to sip on some rum, but one that makes a fine daiquiri and subs into cocktails with relative ease. To me, this rum really proves that Rock Town is a whiskey distillery selling vodka and rum to make ends meet. It just doesn’t have much character to bring me back, though the craftsmanship is obviously there so it’s in no way a ‘flawed’ spirit.

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