Reports Of The Jamaica Sugar Experiment Station 1906, 1907, 1908

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The point of this post is to simply make these documents available internationally in an easy to view format. Because of their age, they are in the public domain in the U.S., but due to some technicality, they are restricted for international viewers even though they basically belong to Jamaica.

The reports are long documents that, besides rum production, cover cane farming and processing. I’ve condensed things to only the sections relating to rum production.

Reports of the Jamaica Sugar Experiment Station 1906 (3MB PDF) [This may encompass what I’ve seen elsewhere cited as 1905]

Reports of the Jamaica Sugar Experiment Station 1907 (4MB PDF) [This also includes the lectures presented at the course for distillers.]

Reports of the Jamaica Sugar Experiment Station 1908 (1 MB PDF)

A lot could be said about these documents and recent projects bringing them to life. One thing to note is that these ancient scientists also saved us their yeasts and we have a strain from 1912, likely collected by Ashby. Back then, Jamaica actually had a yeast service supplying distilleries at the beginning of the season with fission yeasts. This yeast made it around the world and acknowledgement has been found that it was held in the collection of the Hawaiian Experiment Station. Hawaii simply had nothing viable to do with it and was mostly interested in fuel ethanol. Roughly four decades later, with a changing economic landscape for rum, a lot of this work was forgotten as revealed by the J.A.S.T journals.

Mid 20th century in Puerto Rico, Rafael Arroyo was reviving fission yeasts, but using a pure culture high pH concept that was the opposite of methods presented in the Experiment Station reports. We have been able to execute both approaches and compare and contrast them. We have also found the drivers of aroma in both. Many investigators have drawn conclusions on fission yeasts, but none to our knowledge have investigated them in both the context of high pH pure culture ferments as well as high acid Jamaica style ferments.

Over a century later, we are poised to revive this work and potentially advance some of it. In the next years, rum is going to see a new form emerge akin to single malt Scotch. Some of it is already here with exemplary producers like Hampden putting products on the market under their own name for the first time in their storied history. Age statements may take a backseat to the promotion of other features such as yeast type and distinct fermentation complications like symbiotic bacteria so don’t be surprised if the aroma of a four year old tropically aged fission yeast rum can beat the pants off a 12 year old single malt Scotch!

The works of Percival Greg may be similarly hard to find internationally. I had digitized them many years ago but should provide easier links.

Fermentation in Rum Distilleries, 1893 [page 588]

Rum Analysis
A Contribution to the Study of the Production of The Aroma in Rum (which is three parts)
The Jamaica Yeasts
“Selected” Yeasts and General Considerations


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