Monday, 18 March 2013

Yo-Ho 'hic' Ho and a Bottle of 'hic' Rhum - LJ Silver

Rumour had it that with a little coaxing one might gain entry to the local Rhum Distillery for a look around, and with even more luck a 'taster' or two may be forthcoming. At normal pace the walk would take no more than 20 minutes, but of course at 'birding' speed a good deal longer.
First off GREY KINGBIRD was added to the List,
but there were no surprises finding PALMCHAT.
is a little more difficult, but has become a daily sighting.
 A lucky look at the easily identifiable WHITE-NECKED CROW
when they are in full 'guttural' voice, and
this fine specimen male
was the second addition today.

This is also the nearest I have been to 
while today these 'spotted' LIZARDs
seemed to be covering the forest floor.
Some Blooming nice Creepers just before arrival at the
 Sugar Cane Fields
 the Raw Materials
 some of which has been recently Cropped.
Looking to the distance and seeing this pall of 'white smoke', I could only conclude that they had either elected a Haitian Pope or the 'first mash' of the day was underway at the Distillery?
Met at the Main Gate by the Security Officer
there seemed little doubt that I would gain entry,
being directed to the Office Complex to be met by 
Alan - Head of Human Resources.
He in turn introduced me to Felix, one of his staff,
who would act as Tour Guide.
Not of a lot of interest, these are new hoppers about to be fitted.
In the yard piles of freshly cut Cane were being
fork-lifted into the
feeding the Conveyer Belt to the Crusher.
While the residue fibers were carted off elsewhere
the juice was filtered into these tanks
looking totally unpalatable.
From there the juice is pumped to settling tanks for a 24 hours lay-over
while 'fella my lad' keeps the area clear of what is left of the cane.
The liquor then finds its way into these
VATs where under the watchful eye of the
(Felix left)
it is mixed with 96° proof alcohol.
I was, of course, saving myself for later so only supped a pint! 
Felix bathed my hand in this and apart from the terrific smell,
the alcohol evaporated in under 10 seconds.
Here it stands for 72 hours before being
decanted into these French White Oak Tuns
for further fermentation.
 No other wood is used in the process,
especially these Barrels where 'aging' takes place,
(20 years in the case of the *****)
Packaging is produced in Venezuela,
and Bottles in Costa Rica.
These are firstly loaded into the system and
sent for 'washing' in 'hot rhum', which is recycled only for washing,
(the only time I have voluntarily taken 6 showers in one day)
before being filled with the 'darker than amber' nectar!
Caps are fitted before
carriage to the
Packaging Section
and onward to distribution.
When we arrived at this neat little al fresco bar I thought,
time for a little Yo-Ho-Ho but no such luck.
Straight past the Loading Bay for the residue cane
used for animal feed,
and into the street - not a 'HIC' to be heard!
A unique experience for me, having drunk a bath-full of the stuff in my time,
and most enlightening and interesting, despite the lack of a 'tot'!

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