Erick and Karin Vonk began producing Richland Rum at their distillery in Richland, Georgia in 2009. This was the culmination of decade of experimentation to discover the right sugarcane for the central Georgia climate, then the right yeast and fermentation methods to produce the rum that they wanted to bring to the public.
Using sugarcane from their farm they take the fresh pressed juice and convert it to sugarcane syrup. In 2018 they opened a second distillery off the coast of Georgia in the city of Brunswick where they produce their Single Estate Virgin Coastal Rum. There they ferment the sugarcane syrup, and the wine is distilled using copper pot stills. The rum is rested for nine months in virgin oak barrels then bottled at 43% ABV.
The rum comes in a tall round bottle that is standard for the Richland line. The synthetic cork and plastic cap is secured with a red foil wrap. The front and back label provides some details about their spirit. In the bottle, the rum has a straw color that lightens slightly in the glass. Agitating the liquid forms a razor thin band that quickly beads up and slowly releases a single wave of legs that thickens as the band beads up leaving behind a ring of pebbles.
The aroma of the rum reminds me of standing in a sugarcane field as the cane is getting harvested. The tang of the alcohol grounds the rum with light mineral notes with a touch of medicinal astringency in the alcohol notes.
The rum leads with the alcohol igniting the mouth immediately delivering a swirl of cane, grass, oak and honey. The combination of flavors forms a robust profile with the honey sweetness forming a pleasant punctuation mark.
A few years ago I tried a sample of Richland Rum straight from the still and really hoped that they would produce a product similar to it. With the resting period they add a layer of complexity that otherwise would not exist and round out some of the rawness of the rum.
I have had this rum in a punch, a daiquiri, and because of the profile being so close to that of an Agricole, a Ti punch. It held up well in all of the cocktails and manages to maintain its identity. While I have enjoyed all four of the rums in the Richland line this one is my current favorite because in it you find beauty in the rum’s purity and subtle complexity.