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Can you put a bounty on a book’s head? We’ll try!
We are running out of important texts in our effort to create a library that can support the distilling industry. We finally tackled the famed Le Cognac and revealed its wisdom. Recently, a very surprising amount of people have been interested in the deluxe Desjardins edition of Studies On Rum, but what else is left? Kervegant’s Rhum and Cane Eau-de-vie? No, we translated that one. H.H. Cousins manual of Instruction For Making High-Ether Rums? Nope, we did two different copies. So whats next?
Sugar technologist Hubert Von Olbrich taught us the importance of collecting texts at the 1975 Rum Symposium:
It is an irrefutable fact that a library is cheaper than a laboratory [emphasis mine] and that inquiries are far less costly than investments in development work which is already being carried out elsewhere. By means of thorough information regarding the basic position of science and technique, irrational brain-work is avoided, fruitless researching and inventing activities are prevented and the squandering of economic power and capital is hindered.
Two important whiskey making texts are screaming to be returned to the whiskey community:
Unger, Earl D. Beverage Alcohol Distillation. Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Inc. Research & Development Department. 1980. [A copy has been located, but you can only view it in person.]
These were both at one time only held by the Library of Congress, but both were stolen over the years. Rumor has it that one prominent distiller has copies and may be able to tell us what is in them even if they cannot share. Another rumor is that someone may have acquired a copy from a yard sale, but I have not been able to follow up on that lead.
This IRS oddball is still on the loose:
Schoeneman, Robert L. A STUDY OF WHISKEY STORED FOR EIGHT YEARS IN PLYWOOD BARRELS. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division Laboratory Internal Communication, IRS Publication #156, 1955
I collected the four year study from the Forest Products Research Laboratory Library, but have never come across this follow up study nor a library that held similar IRS bulletins.
We are still missing the earliest works of Kervegant:
KERVEGANT (D) — L’industrie rhummière à la Martinique, Bull. Agr. Martinique (3), II, 23-110, 1933.
[A copy has been located (UC Davis), but you can only view it in person.]
This lost work may have informed Peter Valaer’s seminal 1937 survey of rum:
LEONARD (M. A) — Rum. Trade, production and manufacturing methods of principal producing countries. U. S. Dept. Commerce Rept. 1937. [A copy has been located with the help of the Commerce Department librarian, but you can only view it in person.]
Rum, trade, production, and manufacturing methods of principal producing countries; by Marion A. Leonard. Nov. 1937. cover title, 40 leaves, 4° (Foodstuffs Division) [Processed. All 1937 figures are preliminary.] C 18.2: R 86
Next up is the lost works of the Rum Pilot Plant and there are quite a few. I have seen these first two appear with English language citation titles as well but they may be in Spanish. They were last cited here:
Technical Staff. Rum Pilot Plant, Manual de Métodos Analíticos de la Planta Piloto de Ron, (MPPR-1), Agr. Exp. Sta., Mayagüez Campus, Univ. P.R., Río Piedras, P.R., January 1969.
Technical Staff. Rum Pilot Plant, Manual de Métodos y Procedimientos Bacteriológicos de la Planta Piloto de Ron, (MPPR-2), Agr. Exp. Sta., Mayagüez
Campus, Univ. P.R., Río Piedras, P.R., June 1969.
Rodríguez Benítez, Victor. Estudios sobre tecnología de ron. University of Puerto Rico. Recinto de Mayagüez. Estación Experimental Agrícola. Planta Piloto de Ron. 1960. (71 pages)
Rodríguez Benítez, Victor. Proyecciones futuras de la Planta Piloto de Ron. Universidad de Puerto Rico. Recinto de Mayagüez. Estación Experimental Agrícola. Planta Piloto de Ron. 1959. (12 pages. “Paper prepared to be read at the technical meeting with representatives of the rum industry held at the Rum Pilot Plant, December 4, 1959.”)
These papers from the very early version of the Rum Pilot Plant (the first generation after Arroyo) appear to be held by the Agricultural Experiment Station library that is an extension of UPR. UPR hosts many works from its journals online, but none of these early works. The first two citations do not appear to be indexed by any library and we can only safely assume they are held by the library.
The Experiment Station published a document in 2004 that was an introduction to their library resources, but the email address bounces back.
Bounties are all paid in birectifier case studies conducted in your honor from a spirit of your choosing. You will also be immortalized in the distilling scene with your name attached to recovering a lost work. If you have a text you want to physically trade, I may be able to offer up extremely rare stuff from my library. I know a few producers are going to slowly chime in and increase the bounty by offering up some of their choicest spirits for recovering a lost work.
Lets make 2022 a great year for recovering lost works!