Santo Domingo’s South Bay Rum – Small Batch, BIG Sweetness
Rum can always be counted among our vital supplies for any sailing or boating adventure, of course. Upon further reflection of the sublime shakedown cruise that spawned the image above, though, I probably should’ve shoved off without that particular bottle.
No, South Bay Rum is not terrible.
The real issue lay in the fact that it was our first time together. I, as usual, was hoping to delve deeply into the essence of South Bay’s supposed small batch artisanal advantages, the better to provide you with an insightful and hopefully helpful review.
Attempting to do so while out at sea, I soon learned, would prove difficult.
The strong aromas of the open water surrounds combined with unavoidable salt spray seasoning mixing with anything and everything hitting my lips certainly compromised my initial South Bay taste experience.
One thing I can definitively say about South Bay, though, is that it’s all kinds of sweet… intensely so!
It’s so sweet, in fact, that if you love sweet rums you’ll feel compelled to keep your glass full. This contrasts with traditional DomRep rums, renowned as they are for their dry-balanced flavor. I rather likened South Bay to sugary blends from Guyana’s Demerrara region, Zacapa 23, or Diplomatico Grand Reserva to anything else I’d ever tasted from the Dominican Republic.
South Bay is proudly produced in Santo Domingo, though. According to their website, the blend is handcrafted by “Cuban Rum Masters” who immigrated to the Dominican Republic. These “Masters” apparently use the Solera method in their blending, employing barrels formerly used to age Scotch whiskey, Bourbon, and Sherry along the way.
However, no information is provided on who these Cuban Rum Masters might be, how long the rum is aged, or where it’s distilled. In a spirits world where buzzwords like “artisanal” and “small batch” are so over-used they’ve basically lost all value, the lack of info frankly gives me even greater pause.
Maybe I’m maturing as a rum-lover, or as a consumer in general, but lately it’s become increasingly important to me to know where the things I put into my body actually come from, and, even more importantly as it relates to spirits like rum that aren’t required to list their ingredients on their labels, what’s actually in ’em.
Hmmm… I guess when it comes to South Bay I’ll have to do more investigating.