The SOMM Journal

October / November 2015

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Page 76 of 132

76 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015 { fine spirits } THE YEAR WAS 1924. AMERICAN PROHIBITION WAS IN FULL Carrie Nation, axe-wielding swing. The spray of salt water from the Long Island Sound dampened the skin of the crew of the Kirk and Sweeney as the wooden schooner swiftly sailed three miles off the coast in the dark of night to pick up its designated deposit of illegal Caribbean aged rum. But before it could return to deliver its speakeasy-bound cargo, the boat, its crew and its delicious rummy contents were seized by the U.S. Coast Guard, never to sail, or be sipped, again. That is, until August Sebastiani embarked upon on his own spirited journey, founding 35 Maple Street Spirits in 2011. The portfolio of the Sonoma, CA-based company includes Kirk and Sweeney Rum as well as Uncle Val's Gin, Bib & Tucker Bourbon and Masterson's Rye Whiskey. Sebastiani launched the first in his trio of Kirk and Sweeney aged rums three short years ago, but with an eye toward the past that his own family could appreciate. The Sebastianis, you see, have a hundred-year-plus history in the wine industry in California, so to name his line of rum with a nod to history felt just right. "The Kirk and Sweeney was a rum runner from back in the Prohibition days. You'd have a sizeable barge loaded with rum leave the Caribbean, heading north. The rum runners would then shoot out, load up fast and shoot back. There are photos of it being apprehended," August says. "And if you look at the neck of the 12 Year Old, there's a photo that wraps around it showing the pallets of rum sitting on the boat when it was apprehended." While you no longer need to risk tangling with the law to try them, the Kirk and Sweeney rums are indeed worth any bit of exertion to ensnare. The baby of the bunch, a 12 Year Old (released, fittingly, in December 2012) offers notes of split vanilla bean and Sugar Daddy–like caramel. The final two were released in June 2015. The extra years in barrel for the 18 Year Old allow the rum to take on deeper, richer layers of lick-smacking maple and hazelnut. And the 23 year Old? Pour of a little into a glass, swirl it around, and you'll be treated to notes of almond, date and candied fig. August Sebastiani is owner of 35 Maple Street Spirits, based in Sonoma, CA PHOTO: CHRIS BERGGREN KIRK AND SWEENEY RUM FLOATS TO THE TOP by Amy Zavatto MAP: FUSE VIA THINKSTOCK Rum Ruing, Sonoma-Style

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