Zuidam distillery's Flying Dutchman 3yo Rum starts with a fermentation done in very small batches. Two different strains of yeast and controlled low temperature fermentation contribute to the very fruity character of these rums. The fermentation takes at least two weeks. That is exceptionally long but essential in the formation of the delicate flavours of these rums.
After the slow fermentation the rum is distilled three times in small handmade copper pot stills. It is only after the third distillation that Patrick feel they have obtained the desired product. The method of hands on distillation in small pot stills is more costly and slower than the customary large-scale industrial column distillation. Although less efficient yields a better more balanced rum with an exceptional fruity character and an unrivalled mouth feel is achieved.
After careful and time-consuming distillation the rum is aged in small casks for 3 years and then bottled by hand.
Zuidam Distillery’s Flying Dutchman 3yo Rum is a somewhat of a labour of (brotherly) love. Although Master Distiller Patrick van Zuidam prefers whisky, his brother Gilbert prefers Rum, and so in 2010 Patrick embarked on making a rum more akin to whisky production. This is acutely apparent in the exclusion of any column distillation, and the sole use of the copper pot still.
The first challenge was to find molasses of a high enough quality to produce the kind of Rum Patrick envisioned. The fermentation of molasses is challenging due to the low amount of vital minerals, amino acids and nitrogen, which the yeast needs to multiply. At best, low nitrogen leads to slow fermentations and at worst stuck fermentations. Some countries outside of the EU allow the addition of additives, most using ammonium di phosphate and in some cases using fruit such banana’s, sultanas, or dates. Within the EU distillers are not allowed to add anything to the fermentation besides molasses, yeast and water.
The molasses is sourced from Barbados due to its high quality, flavour profile, sugar content, minerals and availability.
The fermentation starts as a 10,000 litre batch using two strains of yeast, a Belgian yeast to create extra fruity flavours and a special rum yeast. The fermentation temperature is controlled and held constant at 22 Celsius and takes about 14 days. This results in a sweet and fruity smelling molasses beer at about 12% alcohol.
This beer is transferred into two 5000 copper pot stills where they are slowly distilled over 7 or 8 hours to maximise copper contact and to get good separation of wanted and unwanted flavours. The low spirit is then distilled twice more to bring the spirit up to 76% alcohol.
The distillate is then cut down to 60% alcohol and put into three types of barrels. 250 litre re-coopered Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez butts along with 200 litre virgin American oak casks are filled and left for three years.
The barrels are then blended, hand bottled and labelled as Flying Dutchman 3yo rum.
Zuidam Distillers was started back in 1975 by Fred van Zuidam. The idea was to start a small distillery that only produced very exclusive products. He build a small distillery of 300 square meters with 1 small copper still and 1 small production line. After a long and struggling beginning it took Fred van Zuidam over 10 years to create the reputation of being the finest distillery in the Netherlands. But it was only after his wife Helene van Zuidam started creating the packaging for the products of the distillery that business really took off. In 1989 Zuidam expanded their warehouse with 600 square meters and one production line. These days both sons Patrick and Gilbert run the distillery under the watchful eyes of their parents. With Patrick caring for the distillery and production and Gilbert looking after the customers. They run a state of the art distillery of 3600 square meters with 4 brand new copper stills, over 1000 oak barrels, 4 production lines and a modern tank storage. In all these years the aim of the distillery has never changed. Please the customers and try to produce the best products possible.