Seven Troughs Distilling releases Black Rock Rum in Sparks

Black Rock Rum

Black Rock Rum at Seven Troughs Distilling co. The rum barrel sits in the background.

Nevada’s first modern, aged rum now available at Seven Troughs Distilling Co. tasting room

Rum quickly conjures the image of Johnny Depp screaming at Keira Knightley for burning all his rum on a desert island. In some ways, Seven Trough Distilling Co.’s new spirit fits that scene pretty well. The black label and unkempt, drippy wax seal will remind anyone of a desert island. The light caramel color, deep molasses, honey, butterscotch and vanilla flavors will take them the rest of the way there.

Today, Seven Troughs started bottling its first batch of Black Rock Rum and anyone can visit to watch, help or pick up a bottle before they hit stores in a few weeks. Following in the 18th-century methods Seven Troughs established for Recession Proof Moonshine, the new colonial-style rum comes from a time when the 13 colonies were preparing for a revolution.

“Rum has deep American roots – deep colonial roots,” said Tom Adams, owner of Seven Troughs. “Before whiskey, there was rum.”

Colonial-style rum uses a high percentage of molasses and some added sugar to ferment into alcohol, while a Caribbean agricole rum uses only cane juice. Colonial style, distilled in copper pots and lightly aged, packs in hardy, complex flavor while white agricole finishes more pure and simple. Black Rock uses bread yeast and ferments to three times more than whiskey before distillation, causing it to take 22 hours.

“Sometimes I just set up a cot and sleep here until it’s done,” Tom said. I asked him to post a selfie of his overnight distillation to Facebook next time.

Tom enjoys the challenge of learning to run the distillery the hard way. On his first attempts at sealing bottles of the new rum, he learned that adding two layers of wax overheated the bottle and forced the corks to pop out. Luckily it only happened twice before he decided each bottle only gets one coat. And it’s a good thing he loves doing it so much, otherwise filling 600 bottles and dipping them into a wax-filled slow cooker by hand may get a little tedious.

Black Rock Rum, aged for two months in two 59-gallon chardonnay barrels, will yield about 600-800 bottles depending on the various proofs. Right now, Seven Troughs only owns two barrels, making it difficult to produce a lot if it gains traction. And why wouldn’t it? Rum is the next upcoming trendy spirit in an ongoing revival of forgotten booze started by craft distillers.

“Rum is fun, it’s not as much labor, you don’t have to grind grain because it’s all liquid, it just takes forever to distill,” Tom said. When asked why they sealed the rum with wax, he said, “It’s cool! It goes with the pirate theme. It’s probably the only rum you’ll find like that. And customers can wax their own bottle in the tasting room!”

Black Rock Rum

Four versions of Black Rock Rum will be available

  • White, unaged
  • White overproof, ~150-ish proof
  • Aged golden rum (pictured)
  • Tahitian Vanilla Bean, same as aged golden with a single bean in each bottle

Exclusive fun fact: Seven Troughs Distilling Co. is looking for a new site somewhere in Downtown Reno, Midtown or Fourth Street. More to come as that story unfolds.

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Mike Higdon

Editor & Publisher at Drinkable Reno
Mike Higdon is a journalist passionate about beer and cocktails. He started the site because no one else covered Reno's growing craft scene at the level of detail required to stay in the know about all things drinkable in Reno.

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