Chip Dykstra takes on Downslope White Rum, yet another new high-end small batch spirit from Colorado. How does it rate? Read the entire review here.
DownSlope Distilling White Rum
DownSlope Distilling White Rum 78/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
DownSlope Distilling, Inc. of Centennial, Colorado was incorporated in May of 2008 and began production about a year later after they received their Federal Basic Permit to produce distilled spirits. Their sugar cane vodka and a white rum hit the market in August of 2009. All of the Downslope products are distilled using a Double Diamond Pot Still created for them by Vaughn Wilson in Arkansas.
The white rum produced at DownSlope is made from dried Maui cane juice rather than molasses. The cane juice is fermented in 300 gallon tanks and distilled twice in 220 gallon batches. Production from cane juice results in a drier, less sweet rum than would be produced from molasses. After two runs through the still, the distillate is filtered through an instrument called the Lichtenstein. This is a device designed by Master Distiller Mitch Abate who is responsible for the entire distillation, filtering, and cellaring process. DownSlope White Rum is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
DownSlope’s White Rum is presented in a short squat clear bottle. It is sealed with a nice high density cork which provides that satisfying ‘pop’ when opened. The labeling is clear and uncluttered and the entire presentation is professional and attractive.
In the Glass 8/10
The rum displays itself as a clear spirit with no haze or hints of colour. A very light oil is present on the sides of the glass when it is swirled, but legs do not form and run down the sides of the glass. The aroma is slightly vegetal and medicinal at the same time. A light caramel rises from the glass with hints of banana. The impression one receives from the glass is that of a very young spirit fresh from the still, reminiscent of cachaca.
In the Mouth 46.5/60
The cachaca style continues into the mouth as the rum carries light caramel and no apparent oakiness. I taste banana peel and orange zest. Sipping it straight is not really preferred. This is not meant to be a criticism, rather it is a straight forward assessment as very few white rums are meant to be enjoyed neat.
In tasting this rum over several days I discovered that it mixes quite well in most traditional rum drinks. The rum and coke I tried tasted great at a ratio of 50 % rum to 50% coke, and the mojito I mixed was very enjoyable. I then, went out on a limb, and mixed a cachaca style drink, the caipirinha. In this form the rum really excelled. I should not have been surprised, as the rum is made from cane juice and bottled with little or no aging. This is similar to Cachaca (a cane juice spirit from Brazil) which is perhaps a closer cousin to the DownSlope white rum than the traditional molasses based rums most of us are more accustomed to.
In the Throat 11/15
When sipped straight, the rum has a pronounced burn in the throat which forces me to sip very slowly. Banana peel and light caramel slide down my throat in about equal degrees of dominance. The medicinal quality I noted on the nose seams to reappear in the finish but is not present when mixed in a cocktail.
The Afterburn 8/10
My final score of 78/100 represents a rum which I consider to be a solid mixing rum. I do not recommend sipping the rum straight, but I think it’s perfect for creating high quality cocktails. Because the rum is made from cane juice rather than molasses, the flavour is less sweet, more dry, and has very little oakiness. This means that cocktails made with DownSlope rum will have a slightly different flavour than you may be accustomed to. However, they are every bit as enjoyable as cocktails made with sweeter white rums.
The bar drink I am going to recommend is a Caipirinha made with DownSlope White Rum instead of Cachaca. For those interested, the Caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil and is in fact one of the most popular cocktails in the world. The Downslope White Rum flavor profile lends itself perfectly to this classic drink and is particularly nice on a hot summer day.
1 1/2 oz Downslope White Rum
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 teaspoons crystal sugar
In an old fashioned glass place the lime cut into four wedges and the sugar.
Muddle (mash the two ingredients together using a muddler or a wooden spoon).
Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the Rum.
To read more from Chip, check out The Rum Howler Blog.