The Rum Controversy: Added Sugar


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14 hours ago, nKostyan said:

What do you say about this? "RL Seales Golden", aged in bourbon barrels, has a sweet taste.

Same distillery as Foursquare, more traditional profile, still no sugar. Almost everything in Caribbean rum is aged in ex-bourbon barrels.

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22 hours ago, Psiman said:

I only have a little bit of Foursquare stuff.

said tongue-in-cheek i'm sure...

 

the shibboleth is the best rum i've had by far. nice collection.

regarding foursquare, their vintage rums seem to keep getting better, the '05 was very hot, they seem to me to have come down in heat and increased in flavor.

-dobbs

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/19/2021 at 2:39 PM, Psiman said:

I only have a little bit of Foursquare stuff.

Oh yeah I almost forgot. I have the latest also. Should be something new coming from Foursquare soon.

So your rum cabinet is larger than your humidor?

Thanks to your posts my rum library has expanded as my checking account has decreased!

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Adding sugar and "color correcting" goes beyond just rum.  This is a dirty little secret in port industry and other distilled products like cognac. Only under duress will they admit it.

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1 hour ago, BrightonCorgi said:

Adding sugar and "color correcting" goes beyond just rum.  This is a dirty little secret in port industry and other distilled products like cognac. Only under duress will they admit it.

Ralfy has a dated, but informative video re:e150.

At least straight bourbon/rye aren't allowed to use it.

 

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1 hour ago, HawkI84 said:

At least straight bourbon/rye aren't allowed to use it.

You really believe none of them don't color correct or add carmel/sugar?  No one would ever do something that's not allowed.  Okay!

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29 minutes ago, BrightonCorgi said:

You really believe none of them don't color correct or add carmel/sugar?  No one would ever do something that's not allowed.  Okay!

I doubt the bigger names do for their straight whiskeys. Not worth the risk if they get caught from a reputation standpoint, and the use of "fresh" (so to speak) barrels imparts color pretty quickly anyway. It's possible they would for some flavored stuff, but that isn't "straight" bourbon anyway.

I could see some startup/"craft" distillery doing it with a product they're trying to rush to market, though, even with the word straight on the label.

Lots of stuff can have the additives, though:

https://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2014/09/flavoring-is-legal-in-american-whiskey.html

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1 hour ago, HawkI84 said:

I doubt the bigger names do for their straight whiskeys. Not worth the risk if they get caught from a reputation standpoint, and the use of "fresh" (so to speak) barrels imparts color pretty quickly anyway. It's possible they would for some flavored stuff, but that isn't "straight" bourbon anyway.

I would say it's the opposite; the bigger names are more likely to add sugar or color correct.  They'll do either to make their product consistent as needed.

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On 1/9/2022 at 1:56 PM, BrightonCorgi said:

I would say it's the opposite; the bigger names are more likely to add sugar or color correct.  They'll do either to make their product consistent as needed.

I agree. Let's not forget that for a big brand lack of consistency can be a really big problem as well. If anything it might be less likely to happen with one-time special editions, vintages, etc, where consistency is not a factor or is not expected. and even then, who knows?

Additionally, "getting caught" might not be as straightforward as one might think. How do you prove that they are adding sugar/burnt sugar? You could test with a GC/MS for sugar in the spirit but how do you prove that they added the sugar and that it's not naturally occurring sugar from the mash that made its way into the final product? Every producer can run the fermentation to whatever efficiency they want, which can leave more or less sugar available in the mash before the distillation.

 

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2 hours ago, Enduin said:

I agree. Let's not forget that for a big brand lack of consistency can be a really big problem as well. If anything it might be less likely to happen with one-time special editions, vintages, etc, where consistency is not a factor or is not expected. and even then, who knows?

Additionally, "getting caught" might not be as straightforward as one might think. How do you prove that they are adding sugar/burnt sugar? You could test with a GC/MS for sugar in the spirit but how do you prove that they added the sugar and that it's not naturally occurring sugar from the mash that made its way into the final product? Every producer can run the fermentation to whatever efficiency they want, which can leave more or less sugar available in the mash before the distillation.

 

Not something that would typically occur according to readily available literature on the subject, sorry. Any unfermented sugar in the distillate needs to be added back.

Cheers!

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1 hour ago, Jeanff said:

Not something that would typically occur according to readily available literature on the subject, sorry. Any unfermented sugar in the distillate needs to be added back.

Cheers!

I should have been more clear. I'm thinking more in terms of how lawyers from a big name company could argue that it's very hard to prove that potentially found sugar didn't end up in the distillate from the mash since it's something that is naturally in the mash. It is true that under normal conditions sugar will not end up in the distillate, but there are always exceptions. Like say when running a distillation too vigorously (and with a simple alembic without rectification column) some liquid/solids from the pot CAN end up in the swan neck and then in the distillate. It's not very common but I've seen it happen. This is just an example and I'm not saying it's what they would use, I'm sure big ticket lawyers could come up with more.

My point is that if the added "ingredient" were something that is completely foreign to the spirit production, it could be risky to try to hide it. Like say caffeine in a cognac. Hard to justify it ending up there without being added. But sugar... I'm willing to bet that the kind of layers big companies have on retainer would find a way to explain it and then counter-sue whoever tried to throw mud on the company.

This is just IMHO.

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6 minutes ago, Enduin said:

I should have been more clear. I'm thinking more in terms of how lawyers from a big name company could argue that it's very hard to prove that potentially found sugar didn't end up in the distillate from the mash since it's something that is naturally in the mash. It is true that under normal conditions sugar will not end up in the distillate, but there are always exceptions. Like say when running a distillation too vigorously (and with a simple alembic without rectification column) some liquid from the mash CAN end up in the swan neck and then in the distillate. It's not very common but I've seen it happen. This is just an example, I'm sure big ticket lawyers could come up with more.

My point is that if the added "ingredient" were something that is completely foreign to the spirit production, it could be risky to try to hide it. Like say caffeine in a cognac. Hard to justify it ending up there without being added! But sugar... I'm willing to bet that the kind of layers big companies have on retainer would find a way to explain it and then counter-sue whoever tried to throw mud on the company.

This is just IMHO.

Sugar carryover is a known evidence of poor distillation practices or potentially damaged equipment; as such, anyone claiming sugar is naturally occuring in their rum is saying their product is sub-par.... 

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It's evidence of a sub-par product to YOU or other people with a certain level of knowledge. Do you believe the average consumer would draw the same conclusions?

And that is IF this notion were advertised, which I sincerely doubt would be the case.

We are talking about sugar/burnt sugar corrections being standard practice that companies may or may not be open about. Someone was saying that big companies wouldn't do it because "what if someone finds out". Corgi said it's the opposite and I agreed. My argument is: I don't think big companies worry about it because IF a competitor were to call them out (in court), then their lawyers would easily take care of it. If the argument they use is that sugar ended up naturally in the final product, only the parties involved would be made aware of this. I very much doubt that a competitor would then waste money to run a smear campaign to advertise the fact that sugar carryover is a sign of sub-par product, which only makes sense to people who understand distillation. 

The fact of the matter is that companies DO use sugar/burnt sugar to correct distillates. That's a well known fact. I believe that one of the reasons why they don't have to worry too much about disclosing it is that it's possible to find an explanation for sugar to be in the final product. If you disagree with that it's fine. What is your explanation? Why do you think companies don't worry about correcting spirits with sugar or burnt sugar and not necessarily advertising it?

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15 minutes ago, Enduin said:

Why do you think companies don't worry about correcting spirits with sugar or burnt sugar and not necessarily advertising it?

Well, that depends. For some spirits in some jurisdictions, the law doesn't require manufacturers to advertise their use of additives, either absolutely or within a set amount/set types of additives.

As for the companies which we assume are acting against known laws in their jurisdictions, my guess would be as good as others'...

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@Psiman put me on the hunt!

image.png.bf1ef687c06013b9309ee982326147fb.png

Have had a few bottles of Foursquare in the past, all enjoyable. Harder to find now.

Also a couple of the Worthy Rum-Bar bottles, overproof white and gold. Searching for others.

The LROK is fantastic with an aged CoRo!

Black Tot and the Hampden 8 also quite tasty.

How do you feel about Flor de Cana? I've always enjoyed those and no apparent indication of additives.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This Black Tot 50th is a hell of a rum! 

https://blacktot.com/our-rums/black-tot-50th-anniversary/

Read the blend.

It's amazing (and strong)!

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