January 3, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Denizen: Rum From Within

"Denizen is a blend of five rums from Trinidad that are aged up to five years, then blended with 15 rums from Jamaica..."

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Over the past couple years, I have developed quite a love for rum.  Like so many other spirits, the cane spirit first was introduced to me during college after it had been blended (poorly) into a trash can filled with sparkly carbonated stuff, a ton of artificial fruit juices, some citrus that I think was left over from the previous year, bubble gum and some hard candies with ice bought at the gas station up the street.  Do you get that my first impressions were nominal at best?  Like meeting the ex-husband while on a first date.

Then there is the rum itself.  These days overproduction, money-saving short cuts and the marketing world’s love of trying to make every spirit as neutral flavored as vodka by promoting over filtration of taste and smell in the name of the almighty dollar has stolen the very identity of some spirits.  Somewhere along the way, someone convinced us that dark is bad and white is good.  Christ, didn’t we end this discrimination years ago? Didn’t we settle this in the 60s?

Anyway, rum is a good thing.  It can be made anywhere in the world, and is not as restricted as so many other liquors are, making rum a much more varietal opportunity for the distiller and the blender.  Beisdes, most rums are made from molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process, so it starts with a recycled product, and that is a good thing.

I do prefer aged, amber rums to silver/white/unaged/blanco rums. Why? Becasue so many of these are the very product of what I hounded on before.  They are tasteless, flavorless and uncharacteristic creatures and lost of their predecessors' lively distinctive boldness.  Imagine John Wayne versus Justin Beiber.

Back in the day, even clear rums had character.  They stood proud.  I mean American Eagle proud.  Rum, after all, was the first native spirit of America.  In fact, most rums of that day were not aged either, other than the rocking trips a barrel would have taken in a ship’s hold or on the back of a wagon.

So, an ingenious idea:  bring back the old clear rum!  And it has been done with Denizen (not to be confused with the jeans line, though I bet they would make a helluva pairing).  Released just last year, Denizen is a magical blend of rums from Trinidad and Jamaica that create a full flavored rum that, yes, tastes like rum.  The initial nose is sweet like the smell of fresh sugarcane (what a novel idea!), and the color is clear and holds well at 80 proof.

The mouth feel is medium heavy with notes of tropical fruit and sweet.  I do not detect pepper, and the heat is low.  The finish is clean and refreshing.  Now that is a tasty rum.

Denizen is a blend of five rums from Trinidad that are aged up to five years, then blended with 15 rums from Jamaica by blenders in Amsterdam who have been blending rums since 1723 (Jamaican rums as a category tend to have more weight to them than their brothers and sisters of Puerto Rico and St Croix).

Now, I did say this was a clear rum made up of 20 aged rums.  So how is it clear?  The color has been filtered.  Yes I did bash on filtering earlier, but look back and read again.  I said filtering  flavor was bad. Filtering color, while not my most favorite thing, is just damn near impossible and WAY too expensive to try to do to rum in pot stills, where you let it mellow for a short time.  We are subjects of our own echnological design.  Personally, I would love to have a Jeep I could still work on without having to hook it up to a turbo-charged  Hewlett-Packard HP-2700 Chromatigragh.

So, Denizen, defined from within, an inhabitant.  I suggest you give Denizen a try and give your inner rum lover a treat.  It retails for less than 20 bucks, and is far superior to most of its counterparts. Trust me when I say you will love this rum and leave the bat behind!

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