While looking for a catamaran listed for sale in St. Augustine, we passed by St. Augustine Distillery on Riberia Street. Knowing they recently released a golden rum, we made an immediate U-turn to check them out. Our tour guide, Tim, took us inside the restored ice plant, telling stories about days past and present followed by a tasting session that made us wish we had taken the Old Town Trolley.
Our tour began in a cool, windowless room filled with church pews and historical pictures of the once great ice plant built in the early 1900s. The plant supplied ice to residents, farmers and the booming fleet of shrimp boats. As the shrimp fleet diminished and refrigerators replaced ice boxes, this last remaining ice plant in the country closed in the 1950s. The building sat in disrepair, often being used as a haunted house, until four local business men and women bought it in 2012, pouring time and money into completely restoring the plant to be a premier distillery, bar and restaurant. The distillery opened in 2014 producing vodka, gin, bourbon, and rum.
Launched in January 2016, St. Augustine Distillery Pot Distilled Rum is made from local sugar cane syrup and molasses. The fermented liquid is distilled in a beautiful copper pot still they affectionately call Bessie. The rum is then aged for four months in bourbon barrels before being bottled. This short aging processes give the rum its golden color.
Daiquiri — The tasting room had a Wild, Wild West L-shaped bar where Tim made cocktails to highlight all the spirits the distillery manufactures. For the rum he used a special Tropical Tiki mix sold by the distillery. The cocktail was very fruity with an earthy undertone. Was that the rum?
Though we sampled the rum neat at the store, it wasn’t quite enough to really analyze this unique taste. We purchased the $45 bottle for further investigation.
Neat — There is a strong alcohol burn on the nose with Clint finding oak and spice notes while Terry leans more towards subtle butterscotch and banana. The alcohol burn dissipates quickly on the palate leaving us both searching for more. There is a grassiness like nothing we have ever tasted before, with subtle notes from the nose hitting the back of the palate. We both agreed the finish is warm and soothing but the earthiness to this rum doesn’t scream rum. Clint keeps saying it tastes more like a tequila.
Mojito — Mint, sugar, lime, club soda and tequila? Yep, this rum has the earthiness of a tequila.
OVERALL RUM SCORE for St. Augustine Distillery
St. Augustine Distillery Pot Distilled Rum needs more time. For now we would encourage you to ride the Old Town Trolley to the distillery, take the tour and try all the products the company has to offer. Hint: the bourbon is spot on.
2.75 of 5
Sipping Rum Scale
1 – An expensive mixer
2 – A quick celebratory shot
3 – Wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with friends
4 – Are my friends worthy of a sip
5 – Special moments rum
About Clint and Terry: We have sampled many a dram over our 33 years of marriage and quite often we don’t fully agree. Could be the difference is male/female taste buds. Or, somebody is just wrong.