Last Straw

Review: Blackstrap Rum (Last Straw Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

ABV
45.3%
Aging
1 Year; European Oak
Recipe
100% Blackstrap Molasses
Distiller Last Straw (Vaughan, Ontario)

This is the blackstrap rum which I loved - an unaged rum which is perhaps my favorite white rum ever. It has now been matured in a cask, so we have some age to it...


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Cask 1

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

The nose is oily, with lots of white pepper, blueberry, molasses, cilantro, chipotle- still that classic blackstrap flavour, but with oak this time – the palate is lightly confectionary, with oak, blueberry, molasses, white pepper, brown sugar...the finish fades out with dried berry notes, white pepper, and molasses. The finish has some nice oily, vanilla, toffee notes which just go on. A really nice rum! On the lighter side, and I really like it – though I still might oddly prefer blackstrap to this. I do love that white rum.

Assessment: Recommended.

Value: Average. If you like the category, it’s a decent buy for $50.


Review: Blackstrap (Last Straw Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

ABV
46.5%
Aging
None
Recipe
100% Blackstrap Molasses
Distiller Last Straw (Vaughan, Ontario)

Molasses is a by-product of sugar production from sugar cane. When molasses is made, juice from sugar cane is boiled. The first boil, which promotes sugar crystallization, yields cane syrup full of sugar. Once this sugary cane syrup has been extracted, the resulting liquid can be boiled again, yielding molasses. Once this has been extracted from the boil, the resulting product can be boiled further to yield blackstrap molasses - the component of the original juice with the least sugar but the most organic content and flavor. It, in a sense, is a low grade source of sugar, unlike the higher grade products typically used by rum distillers. However, blackstrap contains the most organic matter and was selected by Last Straw for production of their rum.

At first, they found it terrible to work with, as the yeast had trouble accessing the sugars in the blackstrap. 60 litres of blackstrap yielded no more than 7 litres of alcohol after a long fermentation and distillation. However, with the addition of yeast nutrients, they were able to speed up the process and the result is before us: their blackstrap spirit, sold currently as a white rum but also aging in three different types of casks at the moment: new toasted oak, a bourbon barrel, and a refill barrel.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: 1

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

I really like this white rum. I love a good white rum to mix with, but this one has the character to be had just on its own or over ice. I like this the most of the white spirits produced at the distillery – by a decent margin. Perhaps even more than their aged moonshine, as much as I love whisky….

The character is clean and clear – a terrific, clean nose full of molasses, blueberries, and toffee. Very clean and full flavored on the palate with lots of clean molasses and toffee and yet still very light and round. The palate slowly rises in heat to a clean, full-bodied fruity and berry finish with lingering molasses and spice. Brilliant! I tend to mix a lot, with great care for what goes in to my cocktails, and this is in the class of the best white rums I would pick to work with. Good white rums can be hard to find, and this mixes so well.

This is just perfect for a mojito, one of the top tier cocktails in my book (when done right). Or, muddle with blueberries, mint, lime, and simple syrup to taste (if you are a recipe person: muddle 12 leaves of mint or basil with 1.5 oz blackstrap, then squeeze in half of a lime, add 1/2 oz - or more depending on sweet/dry preference- simple syrup, 1/8 cup blueberries, ice, and 4-5 oz soda water. You’re in for a good time).

$40 dollars at Last Straw Distillery, 40 Pippin Rd #9, Vaughan, Ontario

Highly Recommended. I don’t taste too many white rums, but this is one of the best I’ve had, and it’s a huge improvement over most of the big commercial ones.

Value: Average, but higher depending on how much you like white rum.


Review: Darker Side of the Moonshine (Last Straw Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

Image copyright by Last Straw Distillery Corp. Used with Permission.

ABV
46%
Aging
4 months; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
100% Corn
Distiller Last Straw (Vaughan, Ontario)

This spirit is to be released this Saturday, December 3. It is a different spirit than previously - their first batch of Dark Side of the Moonshine was distilled only once - but this, though also 100% Corn, was distilled twice for a more polished flavour, and, rather than put into a Tennessee whisky barrel, it was dumped into a new oak barrel. The result, just 4 months in, is astounding: rich woody flavors coming into a clean, light spirit. Go visit the folks at Last Straw and give this one a try, while supplies last.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: Cask 1
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

I really enjoy drinking this. This reviewed sample is only three months into the aging - though the released product will have another month of wood in it.

Rich toffee and oak, with walnut, roasted hazelnut, icing sugar, buttercream, nutmeg, and clove, with the confectionary quality on the nose growing even bigger with time. On the palate, quite confectionary yet with some good spice backing. Easy to drink and oaky with light smoke, rich toffee, caramel, banana, and some lighter apple notes. The finish is full of caramel, oak, toffee, and dried corn.

It doesn’t taste immature, even though it is so young – in part because the distillate is quite clean and combined with bracing oak influence. This has come along in just a few months...I think this is a bit too smooth to be called moonshine!

$50 at Last Straw Distillery, 40 Pippin Rd #9, Vaughan, Ontario

Score: 4/5