Rum from our sugar pulls them off the highway
IT COULD be said that the large sugar refinery at Harwood drags people off the nearby Pacific Highway, and it couldn't be truer for a Mudgee distiller.
And while it is said that some would sell their nearest and dearest for some good rum, all it took was our molasses to inspire Baker Williams distiller Nathan Williams.
"I'd been to a wine show at Ballina and on the way back south passed the Sunshine Sugar refinery at Harwood and thought 'I wonder if they sell Molasses' - a quick u-turn and 10 minutes later we were on our way to making rum" said Nathan Williams, distiller at Baker Williams Distillery.
"We'd previously considered running rum but all of the supplies of Molasses we were aware of had been from up north (Qld) and we didn't feel that was right - when a NSW molasses was in sight we had to go for it."
Rum in NSW some would say has been a blessing, others a curse "Rums' history in NSW has been chequered to say the very least - currency and corruption have been big themes - it's history had some enlightening moments. During the process we even discovered a man had sold his wife for a gallon of rum during colonial days."
Baker Williams Distillery's Single Barrel Rum was Fermented & distilled on site in Mudgee, the rum has been patiently laying in a virgin bourbon barrel over the last couple of years on it's path to becoming rum.
"We thought that it deserved new oak, the spirit straight off the still was vibrant and lively, with it's characteristic rummy sweetness, so balancing that with robust oak just seemed to make sense."
Released in two expressions; 99 bottles only of Cask Strength at 65.3% ABV ($135) and a latter release of 50% ABV ($95) - approx. 300 bottles, supply is quite short. With the rum aficionados in mind, the cask strength will be released on the 9th of November with the 50% abv expression not till later this year.
Visitors to the region are able to taste the rum at Baker Williams Distillery, bottle sales are also available on site or through limited stockists (The Oak Barrel in Sydney CBD and Kellys Irish Hotel in Mudgee) as there is only a small wholesale allocation due to the single cask volume.