Motanya Distillers, located in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, America, was established by Karen Hoskin in 2008.
Before getting more technical, it’s worth mentioning how Montanya Distillers is, as the website states, “a force for good”. From being environmentally friendly and promoting gender diversity to giving back to the community, Montanya Distillers have some impressive values they can “brag” with. They are also a certified B Corp which, long story short, means they are very environmentally sustainable through practices such as being 100% wind powered and offsetting the carbon production – you can read all the specifications in this section of their website.
The fact that Montanya is situated 2700 meters above the sea level gives their rum a specific “terroir” due to a decrease in the atmospheric pressure leading to a lower boiling point. That results is a quicker distillation that requires less energy and also influences the flavour of the end produce. Obviously the said altitude has an impact on the ageing process too because of the temperature fluctuations that would have the rum interact more with the barrels.
Montanya uses copper Alembic pot stills for the wash that usually would ferment for 6/7 days – pretty crafty, eh? The distillate is then aged most of the time in Laws Colorado Whiskey barrels with a few exceptions for more special bottlings. The rum is brought to strength with pure snowmelt water from an aquifer located below the bottling facility.
The base material they use intrigues me – long story short they use the whole cane except the water and the bagasse. In order to ship the cane from the farmers in Louisiana without it having ferment on the way they need the juice to be “stabilised”. As explained by Karen Hoskin herself: “The juice is heated one time by boiler (some would call this raw cane honey or sugar cane syrup), and then put under vacuum pressure in tank to cause a crystallization process. Then it’s put into a centrifuge and separated into molasses and raw cane, which is shipped to us by the ton.”.
This process results in around 12% molasses and 88% raw, unrefined cane sugar which is all used in the fermentation process. This practice is in line with Montanya’s “no waste” policy as even the bagasse is used as fuel for the stills. As raw or unrefined it is, from my understanding it’s still processed sugar that goes into the fermentation, which I don’t have a particular issue with, but some might, looking forward to see what others think – let’s make it a productive conversation, alright? It’s a similar case as with the Nine Leaves‘ use of jaggery (or the Japanese equivalent) as the raw material for their rum.
So Montanya Platino is “dehydrated” sugar cane juice based (?), fermented for 6-7 days and pot still distilled. Aged for 1 year in barrels that previously held Laws Colorado Whiskey and Montanya Oro and filtered through coconut husk carbon filter for the clear colour. Bottled at 40% and with a smidge of Colorado honey – literally less than 0.04% (<0.28ml per 700ml).
On the nose feels quite warm. Coconut cream, cocoa nibs, biscuits and nutmeg. Vegetal as well with notes of aged tequila. Charred oak with a touch of smoke, waffles, and single cream. Some white pepper and toffee.
On the palate it has a velvety mouthfeel and flavour. Biscuits, (cold) hot chocolate, brownies and agave syrup. Raffaello candy, liquorice, grapefruit zest, ground coffee and butterscotch. I’d have trouble figuring this is a white rum in a blind tasting. Spicy with black pepper and green chilli. The finish is medium to long with floral honey and caramel.
It definitely has more body than your average white rum and although it contains just a smidge of honey, I do believe it makes its presence felt, especially via mouthfeel. I don’t have a problem with it though, definitely will give it the purity thumbs up. Can be found for £35 on Master of Malt and given their sustainable practices and delicious rum I’d say grab one.
Will certainly make a Daquiri with it and report back!
Montanya Platino score:
Value for money: 14/15