Friday Happy Hour: The Curious Case (& Taste) of 10 Cane Rum
Good things almost always come to those who wait, but that’s not always the case in the wild world of rum. Here among the noted experts, master distillers, novice wonks and rum junkies, everyone has their own opinions over what makes a fine rum. The funny thing is, there’s nothing really to say that any of them are wrong.
That’s because unlike other spirits, bound as they are by various stipulations that define them unequivocally as what they purport to be, rum has no rules.
A wine can only be classified as Port if it’s produced in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. Real champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France. Whiskey’s strict regulations vary so much depending on where it’s made that it’ll make your head spin.
Rum? Well, just about any distilled alcoholic beverage made from molasses or sugar cane juice can call itself rum.
As we’ve noted before, the rhums of Martinique are the only rums in the world that are formally classified and must achieve a certain standard, but other than that, rums reside in the wild west of the spirits world.
So, what’s my criteria for great rum? I have a few things that I look for, with age ranking pretty high on my list. As someone who prefers to take my rum with just a few rocks, the bold, complex flavors you tend to get with mature blends definitely appeal more to me.
If you’re more partial to mixing cocktails, especially lighter variety drinks like mojitos, then the age of your rum won’t matter as much. You’re reading this, though, so I know you still demand high quality and a taste of the uncommon in your light rum, right? If so, then 10 Cane Rum may be just the thing for you.
Originally launched in 2005, 10 Cane hails from the Bennett Family’s ancestral home, Trinidad & Tobago. It’s nothing like any of the other rums produced there, though.
10 Cane is crafted from first press Trinidadian sugar cane juice, a method similar to the rhum agricole technique used to make Martinique’s world class rhums. Every other Trini rum that I know is made from molasses.
Does the difference make 10 Cane better? The answer is no… and yes.
Again, it boils down to how you like to enjoy rum. If you sip, then no, you won’t be replacing your 1919 with this. If you’re mixing up some daiquiris, then you’ll want to give 10 Cane a try. What you’ll find is that 10 Cane adds a silky smooth and fruity quality to your cocktail, with fragrant and tasty notes of vanilla and pears shining through. 10 Cane is especially good if you don’t like the harsh burn associated with many light rums by virtue of their rather short fermentation and aging processes.
I did mention at the top that you don’t always have to wait on good things when it comes to rum, right? That’s definitely the case when it comes to 10 Cane as it’s only aged 10 months! That’s a bit shorter than most light rums, which you’d think would yield a much harsher flavor. As noted before, though, 10 Cane is plenty smooth, which I’m guessing is due to its unique method of fermentation and distillation.
10 Cane is slowly fermented at a low temperature for five days, whereas typical light rums sail through the process in just one. 10 Cane Rum is also double-distilled in small batches in French pot stills, lending a artisanal quality not usually found in light rums.
So yeah, 10 Cane is special, uncommon and definitely worth a try if you’re mixing.
By the way, earlier this spring the 10 Cane formula was re-worked to add some molasses-based rum to the blend. A good 10% of 10 Cane is molasses rum now, bringing it a little closer to its fellow Trini rums – another good reason to pick up a bottle tonight.