The Portsmouth Distillery, is located at Fort Cumberland, Eastney Point at the entrance to Langstone Harbour. It was established in 2018 by ex Naval officers Vince Noyce and Giles Collighan and wine trade veteran Dich Oatley. Vince and Giles had always shared a mutual love of rum and the distillery was founded with the aim of making a Portsmouth Rum – and here is their second rum release.
Cinnabar Spiced Rum is based around their 1968 White Rum, an un-aged rum is made using powdered sugar cane juice imported from Costa Rica. This is then rehydrated at the distillery and the resultant sugar cane syrup is then fermented. This is a long, slow fermentation (their very first fermentation took 4 weeks or so) after which the ferment is distilled through the distillery’s two stills, a 500 litre pot still (nicknamed Sophie Wu) and a 4 plate column still. Using sugar cane syrup instead of molasses as a base produces a more aromatic, herbaceous style of rum. Then the spicing begins!
The spices and flavourings for Cinnabar Spiced Rum , or botanicals if you will, are then macerated in the white rum for 24 hours. These include cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, orange peel and Szechuan peppercorns which also feature in their Fort Gin. The flavoured rum is then re-distilled. A tiny bit of caramel is added for colouring and a little Madagascan vanilla (vanilla doesn’t take very kindly to being distilled) is added too. There is also a little Costa Rican sugar syrup added, not very much, just enough so that it is not bone dry which means that Cinnabar Spiced Rum is not one of those awfully sweet spiced rums and instead has a good balance of freshness. Please note, this gives the rum a slight haziness.
The rum is called Cinnabar Spiced Rum after the red and black coloured Cinnabar moth which is found at the fort. The red and black colours of the moth, along with a plan of Fort Cumberland make up the label. The inside of the front label features an image of the Cinnabar moth which is revealed as the rum is drunk. Like the white rum and the gin the bottle it is bottled at 41% ABV (4+1 = 5, the number of corners of the Fort!).