The Caribbean is undoubtedly best known for rum-making, but the spirit has long-standing roots in New England as well. In fact, the founder of Privateer Rum, which produces smooth, small-batch rum in two equally impressive versions, is an ancestor of famed rum producer, privateer and patriot Andrew Cabot—a man who made a name for himself back in 1750. Not only does Privateer Rum’s founder share the same name, but the modern Andrew Cabot shares the same passion for producing the best possible spirit.
Together with master distiller Maggie Campbell, Cabot produces high-quality rum without additional additives, coloring or sweeteners—components that have become quite common in most mass market rums. This means that none of the potency is lost, but a hangover is much harder to come by. Both Privateer’s Amber Rum and Silver Reserve reflect the outstanding ingredients utilized, and a modernization of a process that’s been around for centuries. They each taste great in their own right and, from fermentation to bottling, the entire process takes place at the Privateer distillery in the coastal town of Ipswich, Massachusetts.
For their True American Amber Rum, Grade A molasses (which has a true brown sugar taste) is fermented with Privateer’s proprietary blend of yeasts. It’s then distilled again, and brought to 110 proof before barreling in American oak casks. There, it begins to blossom with nuttiness and dried fruits. After being re-casked in bourbon and brandy barrels, the rum is then married and re-barreled a final time, allowing the various flavors to unite. Ultimately, the rum ages for 18 months and ends at a solid 90 proof. This is the rich, fuller version of the two and it tingles gently on the tongue before revealing its complexity. The spirit is flavorful enough to be sipped on its own, but is just as welcome in a dark rum cocktail.
The Silver Reserve Rum hails from a different source. Pale amber cane juice crystals are fermented and then double-distilled. The spirit then rests in stainless steel tanks, begetting the richest flavors from this ingredient. A slow proofing process contributes to the overall sensations experienced from this refined tipple, where apple and pear notes make it ideal for cocktails—but as far as light rums goes this can also be enjoyed alone. Much like its sister product, no additional sweeteners enter the mix and it’s bottled unfiltered. The rum is rounded out at 80 proof, making it lighter and lending an additional ease to a sip.
Privateer Rum is available through stockists in select states, where the Silver Reserve Rum retails for $27, and the True American Amber Rum sells for $34. The brand is extending its distribution further across the US over the next few months.
Photos by David Graver