of high-esters rums. Typically, oxidation ponds are used to satisfy all the COD (chemical oxygen demand) of vinasse in the rest of the world, and the oxidized vinasse can be used for irrigation or safely dumped into a body of water as a source of nutrients for the aquatic flora and fauna. But dunder pits are actually fed sugars (typically in the form of molasses) to keep alcoholic fermentation going. Because of the need to keep adding fermentable sugars to the dunder, having and maintaining a dunder pit becomes a very expensive operation, one only justifiable through the sale of highesters rums at an equally high price.
So, should small craft distillers produce high-esters rums? Finding and filling needs are keys to successful commercial enterprises. In the case of high-esters rums, filling the German demand for Rumverschnitt was key. Nowadays, however, the market for high-esters rums at bottle-proof strength is somewhat limited. If a craft distiller happens to identify a niche market and is able to produce (and maintain) good high-esters rums for that market, then the answer is a resounding yes. However, if the desire to produce a high-esters rum is limited to a notion that this type of rum is selling like pancakes, then I would recommend additional research to validate the assumption. There are also two very important reasons to consider not producing high or very-high esters:
First, the process of forming esters from carboxylic acids can be reversed when blending high-esters rums with other rums or with water (as in the case of proofing down the rum prior to bottling). If the pH is increased enough through the addition of neutral or alkaline water, the esters may become dissociated and may separate into their originating alcohols and carboxylic acids. Second, most esters are not very soluble in water, meaning that at lower proofs, when the water-alcohol mixture has more water than alcohol, they may lead to cloudiness in the spirit, which can be very hard/expensive to treat (and the treatment always involves the removal of said esters!).
Conclusion Esters are excellent sources of aromas in a distilled spirit. All aged spirits will have esters, and those with more esters will tend to have a complexity dimension not found in their younger or unaged counterparts. This, however, does not mean that the higher the concentration of esters the better! So study your target market, validate your assumptions and plan to produce only what you know your consumers want and are asking for. Cheers! Luis Ayala is editor of “Got Rum?” Magazine and founder of The Rum University. Visit www.gotrum.com or email email@example.com for more information.
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