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I was able to visit the Richland distillery while in GA. Seems to be a mom and pop run operation. The facility is very nice and was filled with the sweet smell of cane syrup. The sample that was given had a great aroma with no harsh alcohol scent. The taste was very clean with an initial caramel flavor that was followed by an agricole characteristic of vegetable and grass. The finish wasn't long but it went down very smooth. I was able to taste the barrel proof liquid straight from the copper still, which was surprisingly smooth at close to 120 proof. Very flavorful with a nice balance of dry and sweetness. An overall good rum but not the agricole that will have me moving away from typical molasses based rums.
Rum like tequila is what it is because of what it's distilled from. Unlike vodka, gin, scotch, whiskey all come from grain. Rum whether its made with cane juice or molasses it's still derived from sugar. For me this is what makes rum so special. Even though its all distilled sugar the spectrum of flavors is dramatically broad by way of techniques from the soil to the glass.
Richland is pretty unique in flavor. It's a wood rum so don't even bother if thats not your thing. There is a lot of clarity going on here. On the nose it's fresh cut white oak, leather and terpintine along with cooked sugar, vanilla and almonds. In the mouth there's a shocking sweetness but not the overly sugary kind. The almonds continue on the tongue, the type of almond flavor you get from cracked cherry pits. And oak. A lot of oak. It's as if you dipped an oak popsicle in maple syrup.
It's not cheap but it doesn't taste cheap. On the contrary it's exceedingly rich to the point that I was a bit fatigued towards the end of the second pour.
So what is rum? I would argue this is a truer rum than one thats been loaded with extra sugar like an El Dorado or the likes of. I'll take the influences of wood barrels any day over the influences of additives. And by the way it's not bourbon barrels Richland uses. They use virgin white oak. If you smell raw white oak you'll think bourbon, but its oak and bourbon doesn't have a monopoly on it.
The mellow aged flavors laced with butterscotch both in flavor and aroma, come alive in your mouth. This is one of those rums that reveals more and different tastes and essences with each sip. About as close to perfection that I have had. This can easily be mixed -- but a real sipping style rum from Georgia and the world
I was out in the wilds of south west Georgia and ran across a sign saying rum distillery tours with an arrow pointing to the little town called Richland Georgia. I had to stop. Their web site said tours every half hour. But the front door was locked and I was about the only car on the street. Well there was a guy in the back who opened the door and asked if I was there for the tour. Yes I am. Turns out he was the master distiller and chief bottler. I got a great little tour and the aroma from the aging barrel house were out of this world. My son got me a bottle of the top Bacardi rum which was the the price and half the taste. The use their own farmed sugar cane and its produced from 2 copper stills. You will thank yourself for getting this rum. Very smooth, excellent sipping neat or over over an ice ball
I did not know there was a rum produced in the state of Georgia. Even though I live in Florida less than 20 miles from the FL/GA border I had not heard nor seen Richland Rum. I ran across it on a trip to nearby Thomasville and decided to purchase a bottle to try.
First thing I noticed was the aroma. Frankly, I suck at trying to describe how something smells when it is complex like a well-made rum. This is one of those rums. The aroma is very pleasant and I swear it seems I detect a little whiff of cinnamon (as in cinnamon toast) in there. I'm probably wrong but the bottom line is that it has a very good odor.
On initial taste I detect a buttery sweetness combined with distinct oak. Not a major burn but a nice warmth that lasts rather long. The finish goes back to the mild sweetness with vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch characteristics.
Overall, a darned good rum. Versatile as well. Makes for a wonderful sipping rum and works awfully well in Coke Zero. BTW, according to the tag attached to the bottle, I purchased rum from barrel no. 46, bottle no. 353.
I was rather disappointed in the harshness of this rum, in fact I almost would believe it to be a different spirit altogether. I blind taste tested this one with a few of my friends and got 2 bourbons, 1 scotch and 1 rum. It seems to lack the subtle tastes of the sugar cane and molasses. It is more like a "rhum agricole". It doesn't mix well (meaning you will give up it's essence to do so), but that is an attribute of finer liquors. It is best straight up or on ice. It is definitely a quality liquor, but does not agree with my palette.
So this is a VERY different rum. In fact the only thing close to it even slightly is Agricole. And there is some debate whether this rum is in fact an Agricole. Regardless, it is certainly better than the Agricoles I have had, though it is unique in its taste profile.This is extremely oaky and similar to Bourbon in many respects even though it is definitely rum. The current 7.6 rating could be accurate even if it takes a complicated route to get there.
As I understand it Richland basically recreated a colonial era rum distillery in south Georgia where rum was produced in colonial times in America. Richland rum is a single estate rum meaning that the sugar cane, the distilling process, the barreling and aging, and bottling of the rum all occurs on a single plot of land in southern Georgia. Richland by accounts adheres to mostly colonial era standards and thus has no additives or added sugars. It is aged in virgin White Oak casks and that becomes very apparent. Moreover, unlike most rums, Richland uses the colonial era method of making the rum directly from unrefined sugar cane syrup as opposed to molasses or sugar cane juice. The result is unique, at least to my knowledge though closest to Agricole by definition. It is, seemingly, history brought to life in that this rum is probably the closest thing you can find to what buccaneers and pirates drank in the 17th and 18th centuries.
As far as the taste goes here is what I found:
The nose is caramel, vanilla, lemons, and oak. First taste is straight lemon-drops with sour candy notes. Mid palate is almost overpowering intense oak with just a hint of vanilla. Aftertaste is almonds, caramel, grassy notes and a very pleasant warmth. This is clearly a rum but with a lot of bourbon undertones. I dislike the intensity of the oak and harshness in bourbons. This rum is exceedingly smooth with no harshness or burn, though it does have very intense oak notes. In some respects it has a lot of the attributes of the Agricoles (citrus and almond notes) but I can also very much understand the whiskey comparisons given the amount of oak notes. At any rate, it is certainly much smoother than most whiskies on my palate. It reminds me of a perfect marriage between an Agricole and a Bourbon but without the harshness of either of those spirits. It is certainly more enjoyable than either. It is a decent enough sipping rum if you want a change of pace close to a bourbon experience but still want rum.
Overall this is a unique experience. Given the flavor profile: its intense oak, lemon, and grassy notes, I shouldn't like this rum...yet I do. It presents a change of pace. It contains all the attributes that I enjoy of French style rums and all the notes I enjoy in a bourbon but with none of the harshness.
In total it is like sipping an exceedingly smooth cross between an Agricole rum and a Bourbon.
It is probably not a rum that I will turn to often, but one that will definitely remain in my cabinet when I want something different. You could absolutely substitute it for bourbon drinks and it is what I offer my friends who are bourbon drinkers. Thus far they have loved it. Yet it is also unmistakably rum.
I want to rate this an 8 but it is too expensive and the white oak is just slightly too intense for my personal taste (even if it is exceptionally smooth).
*Update* This rum makes an absolutely unbelievable Old Fashioned. In fact it was better in an Old Fashioned than a high quality Bourbon I had bought for that very purpose. I have heard that more recent bottles have more traditional bajan style Rum characteristics so I look forward to getting a bottle from a later barrel number
A very interesting rum. It's made from sugar cane syrup (not molasses, nor fresh-pressed cane juice, so I do not believe it is technically an "agricole"), distilled in Georgia, and bottled at 43% (sensible for its youth). My bottle was #132 from barrel #24.
On the nose, there is just a hint of vanilla and clove, and wood. LOTS of wood/oak. Fortunately, there's no ethanol kick whatsoever, despite only ~3 years of aging. In the mouth, the alcohol hits hard—best to let it breathe a bit. There is moderate astringency, and a pleasantly spicy (if short) finish.
On the whole, it is extremely dry, and very well-oaked—like a bourbon or whiskey, as other reviewers have pointed out (slightly sweeter that most whiskeys, but no where near as sweet as your typical rum). The new-oak barrel-aging really shines! I really enjoy this one, and I think it's one of those rums that has the power to bring rum and whiskey drinkers together.
I actually tried it side-by-side with a similarly-aged Bourbon. The Bourbon was actually sweeter, with notes of caramel apple and even bubblegum accompanying the powerful wood and leather aromas. Better for winter, I thought. The Richland Rum was far more approachable, with a cleaner, dryer, and more straightforward flavor profile. Both were good.
A few more years in the barrel would help round it out a bit more, and almost certainly make this a 9. I'd like to see this distillery expand its rum production and offer a 6–8 year bottle for $50 or so, and see this drop to the $30–35 range. Still, at around $40, it's a real nice treat.
Delicious neat, in an Old Fashioned, or a fancy 'Ti Punch. Grab a bottle if you can find it.
One complaint about the bottle: the shoulders are so sharp and level, it's a challenge trying to pour out the last drops! Otherwise a fine presentation, topped with a cork stopper.
UPDATE 1/2018 - I had the opportunity again to try this rum, but this time it was barrel 152 rather than 24. My, how things have changed! They took everything that was good about the earlier batch and made it better. It's less "crazy oaky," far more balanced, with a richer flavor profile. I should say insanely well-balanced. It's one of those rums that has something for everyone, and is deficient in nothing. Where the early bottle showed promise, and the newer one delivered in spades. Kudos to Richland Rum for acting as a beacon—an exemplar—for the American craft rum industry. The distilling prowess demonstrated here is nearly up there with Privateer. 8++ :)
This is a good rum, with a fair amount of bourbon flavor.
Taste to me is a more sugar cane (agricole) than a molasses. Has a fair amount of bourbon; maybe a tad much.
Smells and tastes of bourbon, sugar cane, caramel, oak, and spice.
A nice American rum!
Two ingredients. Distilled water from their onsite aquifer, and sugar cane. A polar opposite of what defines most rum (often mixed and aged with other rums), this bottle is unique. The flavors are simple, you get oak & caramel. That's it really. It is fairly harsh, but as you let it mellow out, it opens up nicely and smooths out a bit. Still leaves a warm finish in the throat like a quality scotch.
I wouldn't dare mix this. At nearly $50 a bottle, it's meant to be savored.
Try to get a well lit shot from the front of the rum label
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