Taildragger Amber Rum

Taildragger Amber-2015-RG1-USE

Product of:  Illinois, USA
Aged:  15 months
Price: $30-$35
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
Sugar: 0-5 g/L (estimate)
Context: Premium Pale Rum
RG Rating:  8

Tasting Notes
Taildragger Amber Rum is the color of pale straw, like a Sauvignon Blanc wine, but in this case we can’t take inferences from the hue.  The Tailwinds Distillery uses neither charcoal nor chill filtration, because it removes precious aromas and flavor, or as the distiller says; “the raw cane charm.”  Swirling produces a nice crown of beads inside your tasting glass, which quickly form into many legs that run rather quickly.

The Initial taste offers some sweet oak and a subtle citrus texture like mild tangerine, and is more appealing to the palate than the aromatic clues, before fading semi-quickly to a pleasantly smooth finish of mild caramel.  It’s neither refined nor crude, striking a nice compromise between young flavors and easy sipping.

Onto the sniffing; there’s a bit of grain on the nose, picked up from the used aging barrel, as well as more pronounced scents of vanilla, some phenols, sweet butter, new leather, and the desirable funky aromas of overripe pineapple and wet leaves.  The initial taste is crisp and off-dry, with a slight butter-pecan-lemon sensation that is counter-balanced by the medium-heavyweight body, which is lightly oily and denser than expected, giving the rum a nice boost of substance.  The finish is substantial, considerably lengthy.

Taildragger Amber Logo-USE

Toby Beall, Tailwind’s Master Distiller is also a pilot.  His Taildragger rum is named after the slang term for a type of aircraft landing gear configuration.  

Beall's story is compelling.  “We had [previously] experimented with 15 gallon french oak barrels very early on in our production to see what kind of taste profiles we would get. We are now using 53 gallon American oak barrels formerly home to Rye whiskey that we let age for 15 months as well as several we have set aside for longer agings.” 

“We use a Caribbean strand of yeast that allows for about a 5-6 days fermentation time of sugarcane juice molasses (first spun). We then distill in a 100 gallon Vendome pot/column hybrid still to produce a spirit of 172 proof.  From fermentation to distillation to bottling and signing the bottles, it is all done by hand here.”

“We are a small family owned company. We are all pilots. As a pilot traveling to the Caribbean, South and Central America quite regularly, I fell in love with rum and the lifestyle surrounding it. I wanted to make a rum that was quite different than those made outside the U.S.  Our new branding reflects our history in aviation as well and is as uniquely American as the history of rum that was once made here.”

Taildragger Amber Seal-Blk-RG1

Taildragger Amber is a respectably nice rum; certainly easy to drink neat and pushing enough flavor and body to stand out in classic rum cocktails like a Hemingway daiquiri.  The company’s logo harkens back to another generation, featuring the type of Nose Art that graced World War II bomber fuselages and the iconic flying B-17, both symbols of an era when the United States of America
united in a just cause, and allied with other freedom-loving peoples.  Those old sentiments give an indication of the rum; it is honest and straightforward, suitably complex and a fair value.  Buy American.  Buy Taildragger.

Bottle #63 of Batch #11, bottled January 17, 2015 was reviewed during June 2015 at The Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017