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Stolen Smoked Rum

Stolen Smoked Rum


By Robert Plotkin

Once in a while a spirit is introduced that is so singular it has no rivals. But having no competition may not necessarily ensure success. The new spirit may have no competitors because there's no indication people will respond favorably enough to venture taking a sip. Even then there's no assurance of long-term success. No, the new product needs a focused brilliance of character and enough charisma to ignite the collective imagination. If it indeed has the right stuff and is released at just the right time, the results can be phenomenal.

Such is inevitably the case with recent arrival Stolen Smoked Rum. The rum is a welcome departure from the field of flavored rums, a range that features a myriad of brands infused with almost every type of fruit and spice combination imaginable, well, almost every combination. If you can imagine, handcrafted Stolen Smoked Rum is infused with the flavors of coffee and tobacco, making it the world's first smoked rum.

Launched in 2010, this spirit is made on the Caribbean island of Trinidad from locally sourced sugar cane. After the cane has been rendered into molasses, the distillery transfers it to large fermentation tanks where it is fermented using a proprietary strain of yeast. It is then passed through the distillery's array of continuous column stills. The rum is then matured in American white oak barrels used previously to age bourbon.

Here's where the true artistry occurs. Once the rum is emptied from the oak barrels, it is slowly macerated with the all-important flavor package, which includes Colombian Arabica coffee beans, vanilla beans from Madagascar and fenugreek from Moracco. The finishing touch is to infuse the rum with the flavor of American hardwood smoke, which is derived through a process called Pyrolysis, in which the wood is burned at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. It is rigorously filtered for purity prior to being bottled at 42% alcohol (84 proof).

Stolen Smoked Rum is an intriguing, one-of-a-kind taste sensation. It has a shimmery brownish/amber appearance, a velvety textured, medium-weight body and a generous bouquet imbued with the aromas of tobacco, vanilla, cacao, toffee and roasted coffee. As alluring as the aromatics are, the palate is even better. It showcases the long-lasting flavors of freshly brewed coffee, vanilla beans, warm caramel, dark chocolate and lingering wisps of charred oak. The finish is long and slightly smoky.

"The flavor combination of coffee and tobacco is our deferential nod to a time when intellectual conversations between creative types were commonly accompanied by the indulgence of coffee and cigarettes," notes Jamie Duff, CEO and co-brand owner. "So what's with the label design? Our original label design had our brand name as Stolen Coffee & Cigarettes Spiced Rum. The Feds objected to the association with cigarettes. So in response we decided the most irreverent course of action was to scratch-out the banned text."

Do yourself a favor and sample this marvelous new flavored rum neat, or with a single ice cube. The aromas and flavors are mesmerizing and well worth the price of admission. That said the rum enjoys numerous applications behind the bar in craft cocktails and mixed drinks.

Everything about this rum smacks of counterculture and independent thought. Even the front label design is suggestive of independent thought. As a reformed smoker, I can truthfully say that I've waited years for this product to be created.