This is another analysis of a brilliant experimental product from Cory Widmayer. The product examined was produced with Schizosaccharomyces Mellacei which was studied by S.F. Ashby of Jamaica rum fame over a century ago. In this instance, Cory used the high pH Arroyo process instead of the high acid Jamaica process.
This rum was rested on oak chips as an effort to sketch out what maturation may look like. It turns out I was not supposed to analyze this rum but merely drink and enjoy it! Somehow it got mixed on the lab shelves with recently received samples. I actually only had 225 ml of sample to analyze when I needed 250 ml so I subsidized it with 25 ml of Philippines yeast rum and proceeded undeterred. As I prepared the sample and measured the ABV, the aromas I was getting were incredible. If this was a commercial product, it would easily be one of the finest on the market and really brings to life Arroyo’s notion of suavity. Radiance was on display. How incredible would full scale maturation in traditional barrel’s be?!
The distillate makes you think of Jamaica rum in terms of experiencing true radiance, but you know it is not because other proportions are different. These proportions may change with true maturation such as ethyl acetate filling out, but we don’t know enough yet and only make assumptions based on data from the old whiskey literature.
Something else to note is that this is not a rum oil bomb but rather a suave stand alone spirit.
When comparing the Jamaica process and Arroyo’s process something to know is that at high pH, a fission yeast can take on a lot of the roles we project onto bacteria. Many fission yeasts can produce rum oil themselves, surpassing bacteria and they are also capable of producing high value esters. One of the biggest ways Arroyo’s process wins is economy. High acid ferments with very high volatile acidity can rarely surpass 5% ABV while high pH ferments can achieve a lot of the same aroma goals with ABV’s beyond 8%. So much can go wrong when you attempt the high pH process, but when it goes right, this sample exemplifies what it can look like.
Fraction 1: Detectable, but very low in ethyl acetate.
Fraction 2: Even more diminutive than fraction 1. Kind of confusing because it is not exactly neutral but very low in congeners.
Fraction 3: Very neutral as expected.
Fraction 4: Definite presence of fusel oil, but pretty much at the baseline for a fission yeast. Its at a level that it is not horrible on the palate.
Fraction 5: More of an estery character than a rum oil character, but there is a definite radiance. The fraction is slightly cloudy and covered in oil droplets but there is no obvious louche like some very heavy rums. It smells wonderful! Palatable and not exactly acrid. This fraction was not overly concentrated and somehow seems elegant.
Fraction 6: Greets you with a suspicion of rum oil. Radiant character. Similar fatness to fraction 7, but more easily detectable acidity. A small precipitate was apparent in the volumetric flask, but I still don’t know if it would be an ester or acid.
Fraction 7: More intense than fraction 8. Radiant character and suspicion of rum oil. Feels so much fatter on the palate than fraction 8. Detectable gustatory acidity but not too significant.
Fraction 8: Mild aroma, not significant gustatory acidity. Nothing too stale or off. No liabilities.
Stillage: The aroma is more neutral than exhausted. No very significant gustatory acidity. Almost a bass-y vanilla character on the palate.