Nova Scotia

Review: Rapture of the Deep Dark Molasses Moonshine by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Still Fired Distilleries.

ABV
45%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Distilled from fancy molasses and sugar and infused with spices
Distiller Still Fired (Annapolis Royal, NS)

This is made from a mash of fancy molasses and organic cane sugar, distilled and then infused with molasses, maple syrup, vanilla, and coffee from the local roaster Sissiboo. In this way, it is quite similar to Still Fired’s Diver’s Envy spiced molasses moonshine but with different components added. These components give a richer, deeper character than the other moonshine products made at the distillery. It is infused and mellowed for two months, and designed to be sipped over ice or mixed.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Sweeter and richer than Diver’s envy, but still very spice-dominated. Maple syrup, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rich molasses combine with some bright berry notes from the moonshine. It really isn’t in a dark rum category, flavor-wise, but more in a rich spiced rum category. And not a vague, commercial concoction of flavours – this one has sharp, clear cut and identifiable flavours.

Works very nicely as a mixer, especially for someone like me that likes a good amount of spice to come through on a lot of my cocktails. Very enjoyable!


Review: Diver's Envy Spiced Molasses Moonshine by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Still Fired Distilleries.

Image courtesy of Still Fired Distilleries.

ABV
45%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Distilled from fancy molasses and sugar and infused with spices
Distiller Still Fired (Annapolis Royal, NS)

This is made from a mash of fancy molasses and organic cane sugar, distilled and then infused with clove, cinnamon, vanilla, and coffee from the local roaster Sissiboo. It is infused and mellowed for two months, and designed to be sipped over ice or mixed (as wiht most spiced rums).


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The spices lead, and dominate, on this one. It’s rich in baking spices and it’s hard not to think of nutmeg. Sweet cinnamon and vanilla create bright top notes, with light sweet rum notes in the middle and  supplemented by the dark richness of coffee and clove underneath.

This is a nice alternative to sweeter spiced rums which can feel very artificial – this one is big, spicy, and still fairly light.


Review: Three Sheets to the Wind White Molasses Moonshine by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Still Fired Distilleries.

Image courtesy of Still Fired Distilleries.

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Distilled from fancy molasses and sugar
Distiller Still Fired (Annapolis Royal, NS)

This is made from Crosby’s fancy molasses and sugar, and distilled through the first still designed and built in Nova Scotia, Kirby (well, the first legal one…). The moonshine is mellowed for 8 months in stainless steel tanks before bottling, a technique often used by wine and spirits producers to soften and mellow their products. This prevents the moonshine from tasting like something that might “melt your face off”, in the words of one of the founders of Still Fired, Andrew Cameron.

I do quite like good white rums, and it’s nice to see these sorts of products being produced across Canada (although, there still aren’t enough in my opinion!).


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose is light and nutty, with some great classic white rum notes – blueberry, coconut, white pepper – and even some sweet jammy notes combined with peppery spices. The palate is subtle and easy, lightly fruity, and lightly spicy without any roughness. Molasses comes through in a slight flourish toward a clean finish.

This is just the sort of thing I look for in a lighter white rum – light and subtle while playing up fruity and spicy notes. And it’s very clean, too, which makes it mix very well. Excellent in a mojito.

Recommended.


Review: Fundy Gin by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Still Fired Distilleries.

Image courtesy of Still Fired Distilleries.

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Corn base spirit with botanicals
Distiller Still Fired (Annapolis Royal, NS)

This gin is made from a base spirit distilled from corn , filtered and proofed down to 40% before being macerated with juniper, coriander, cardamom, rosemary, angelica root, orris root, hand picked dulse (a seaweed) and another secret ingredient. Then, it is distilled and named after the bay of Fundy - which is right beside Annapolis Royal, where this is made.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Very woody and very spicy, featuring rich juniper, coriander and brown cardamom notes. The spices really pop on this one, and the pop is beautiful on top of the citrusy juniper. The palate is loaded with sharp, woody spices and has a long finish full of cardamom and coriander.

The cardamom is just awesome and it makes it mix really well, both in standard gin drinks but also sours/lemonades. Slightly herbal on the end.

This gin is right up my alley.

Highly Recommended.


Review: Daily Ration Rum (Compass Distillers) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Compass Distillers

Image courtesy of Compass Distillers

ABV
40%
Aging
~1.5 years, new or second use barrels
Recipe
Crosby Molasses
Distiller Compass (Halifax, NS)

Rum can be challenging to make, since it is made from sugar products which often don’t contain a lot of inherent complexity. This has inspired rum producers to find different ways to develop flavour for rums. A traditional Jamaican approach uses dunder (or “muck”) which takes the stillage (the liquid left in the still after distillation) and leaves it out for months at a time to interact with the active elements in the atmosphere - bacteria, yeasts, etc. Incredibly complex character is created in the process, and this can get transferred to the rums.

Compass explored using this approach, and found that while the dunder added loads of complexity to the rums, the character kept evolving so it was difficult to keep a consistent character. Alex Wrathell, the head distiller, described the character as ranging from “unbearable” to “artificial cherry flavour”.

Compass found easier, and more consistent ways to ladder up the flavour of their rum. They increased the intensity of the molasses character and use multiple yeasts in fermentation to create interesting character during fermentation. Once distilled, the rum is aged for 1-1.5 years in full size new or second use barrels.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose is crisp, with an intriguing marine character, cacao, a touch of rubber, cherry, vanilla, cacao, coffee beans, almonds, and candied fruit. The palate brings in nutty and toasted characters, as well as a bit of a salty edge and tropical fruit. There is a very light sweetness which keeps everything in balance. The finish leaves you with a nutty, sweet, and marine character. Interesting stuff!

Assessment: Recommended.