About Kōloa Kaua’i Spice Rum
In 1778, the HMS Resolution, commanded by Captain James Cook, made landfall on the island of Kaua’i, the oldest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Cook was the first European to visit the Hawaiian islands, and his sailors — undoubtedly exhausted from a long and arduous journey — are believed to have introduced the concept of rum to the Hawaiians. Within a few years, Hawaii’s first successful sugar plantation was established near the town of Kōloa on the island of Kaua’i. “In many ways, this is where it all began,” says Robert Gunter, master distiller at Kōloa Rum Corporation.
Each Kōloa Rum is made exclusively from raw sugar cane crystals, which are grown on the island of Kaua’i. The island’s rich, volcanic soil, along with its temperate climate, produce naturally flavorful and dense sugar cane. In addition, unlike most distilleries which use molasses in order to produce rum, Gunter only uses raw sugar cane crystals, which contain naturally higher concentrations of sucrose and minerals. “It just creates a better rum,” says Gunter.
After purchasing the sugar crystals from the Gay & Robinson Sugar Plantation (situated on the western part of the island), Gunter ferments the sugar using a proprietary strain of yeast he sourced from Guadeloupe, an island in the French Caribbean. “Never underestimate the importance of yeast in producing a quality rum.”
Following fermentation, the wash is twice-distilled through Kōloa Rum’s vintage, 1210-gallon, hybrid copper pot and column still. The still, which was originally manufactured in Pennsylvania shortly after World War II, was previously used to distill bourbon in Kentucky. During distillation, Gunter forces the alcohol vapors to pass through the column’s seven plates. As the alcohol vapor rises, it is stripped of impurities and becomes more concentrated.
In order to create Kōloa Spice Rum, Gunter infuses the rum with carmalized sugar, natural vanilla and a proprietary blend of herbs and spices following distillation. Golden wheat in color, Kōloa Spice Rum has hints of allspice, cinnamon and cake, and finishes with a touch vanilla. The rum earned the Silver Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012, and the Bronze Medal at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival in 2011.
Once each rum has been infused with the requisite ingredients, Gunter brings the rum to proof using water sourced from Mt. Waialeale, one of the wettest spots on earth. “The water is captured during rainfall and is slowly filtered through layers of volcanic strata before reaching these vast, underground aquifers,” says Gunter. “That’s what adds the unique taste and mouthfeel to our rum.”
Once the rum is brought to proof, each bottle is filled and labeled by hand.
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Rum history allegedly started in the Carribiens in the 17th century when they started to ferment and distill molasses, a byproduct of sugar production. Most of the Rum is aged in oak or ex-wine casks, giving its color and flavor.
We distinguish between 4 different Rum categories, where white or unaged rum is mainly used in cocktails, while dark, spiced, and añejo (aged) rum are mostly enjoyed neat.