American rum is a tradition that goes back to the early colonial days when the tricorn hat was still en vogue. While the cyclical nature of fashion has not yet brought back the tricorn (for reasons that still escape me), American rum has been making quite the comeback.
Granted, if you were to consider where American rum would be made a few places might cross your mind. New England has historically be the center of American rums (think Medford Rum). New Orleans and Hawaii sort of jump out at you too. Colorado, on the other hand, probably doesn’t crack the Top Ten list for “Where do I think American rum comes from?”
Montanya Rum is made in Silverton, Colorado. Yes, rum in the Rocky Mountains.
Since 2008 the distillery has been hard at work producing a gold and a white rum. Karen and Brice Hoskin apparently got the idea to make their own rum while visiting Belize. By November of 2008 they were making runs on the still and producing rum for the good people of Colorado. As of 2010 their rums are available all over Colorado, in Chicago, Arizona, New England, and Georgia.
Montanya Platino is a white rum produced from fresh sugar cane juice. The cane is shipped in form Hawaii, crushed, and then fermented before being run through a copper pot still.
Platino rum is not completely colorless. There is a very faint, pale, straw color to the rum. Some of this color is picked up from the very brief time the rum spends in used Woodford Reserve casks while some is also derived from the addition of caramelized honey at bottling.
The addition of caramel or molasses after distillation is fairly common among rum producers, but the use of honey in the place of sugar makes Montanya a bit more unique.
In the glass a thin, sharp ridge forms on the sides before melting into slow-moving legs that work their way down to the bottom.
A whiff of the liquor immediately submerges your senses in notes of vanilla and butter. There’s a slight grassy, vegetal note at the top of the nose, along with a sugary sweetness and just a slight hint of alcohol. Overall the nose is very warm and rich.
Montanya Platino’s entry is sugary and full of rich vanilla. The richness detected on the nose is omnipresent on the tongue as the rum coats your mouth with a pleasant warmth. This rum has a very strong savory quality that lasts from entry to finish.
The midpalate has an interesting salty quality to it combined with a touch of honey before notes of coffee and pepper arrive on the finish. A pleasant finish to the rum leaves your palate with lingering notes of walnuts and vanilla and just a little bit of spice.
There is a very nice complexity to the palate that isn’t always found in white rums. It almost sits somewhere between an agricole and a molasses-based white rum.
Those same complexities and unique tastes that the Platino possesses make it a bit interesting to use as a mixer.
I ended up spending the better part of a week trying the rum in different cocktails. It wasn’t really taking that much effort to find good drinks to make with it, but rather it was just so damned interesting to mix with. Those flavors that didn’t work in a daiquiri made great appearances in drinks like the Twelve Mile Limit, or El Presidente.
My favorite, suggested by Matt Lanning of Silverton, Colorado, was the Nacional.
1 oz Light Rum
.75 oz Apricot Brandy
.75 oz Lime Juice
Sugar to taste
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
A modification of the classic daiquiri, something in the apricot flavor seems to bind the complexities of the Platino to the lime and sugar much better. This is a drink that is easily drinkable if you can find real apricot brandy or can find a good substitute (which we can discuss more when I do a real write-up on the Nacional).
The Long & The Short Of It
Rich, savory, sweet, and complex, I really like the Montanya Platino. I was a little disappointed at how it worked in a daiquiri, but actually enjoyed the challenge of having a rum that kept asking me not to give up on it as a mixer and lead to a deluge of fun drinks – many of which I had never tried until reading them and thinking, “Montanya Platino would probably NAIL that drink.”
Dood’s Rating: 3 Bottles of Rum Out of 5
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A friend of mine picked up a bottle of Montanya’s oro rum and it is very interesting. It tastes almost like a scotch.
Playing off those scotch qualities I do a take on the Rusty Nail, that I call the Rusty Harpoon. It uses the Montanya Oro, lemon juice, honey, Pernod, bitters and a dusting of nutmeg with a twist of lemon.