Visiting Broadslab Distillery in Benson, NC. Part one: the visit.
Author’s note: Before I left Broadslab, Jeremy was generous enough to gift me with four bottles of his product, one of each kind. I do not normally accept such gifts, but I made an exception in this case. Though I do not consider this payment, the FTC does. As such I am disclosing the info now. Though I had tasted all of the products and made judgements about liking or not liking them before I knew the gift was being made, the tasting notes below are from tonight. Please use this info to judge the relative accuracy of my thoughts on them.
I like visiting with craft distillers. I love the passion with which they do the work they do. And let’s be honest, you don’t get into that business if you don’t have a passion for it. So, to that end when I started planning my trip to North Carolina, I decided that I was going to look to see if I there were any I could visit. And boy, were there. There are at least 13 active distilleries in North Carolina. Many of which were either nowhere near where I was going to be or not offering tours while I was going to be in the vicinity. I reached out to six of them, three responded.
The first one that I passed was Broadslab Distillery in Benson, NC. Tours to Broadslab are available by appointment only as Jeremy, the proprietor, pretty much runs a one man show. Along with his two body shops. And the farm he grows his corn on.
To say that Jeremy is a busy man, would be an understatement. He also seems pretty handy to have around. You see, he built his still. And the building it’s in. And he cleared the driveway leading up to it. Along the way he found an old tub. It had ax cuts in the bottom given to it by the agents that busted his grandfather during prohibition. It seems Jeremy came by his passion naturally.
Now I will say that the tour is a short one. The building isn’t big. You walk in, there’s the still. Turn around, and there’s the fermentation area. Take a short walk to the back of the building and you see the bottling line. But a small building is ok. It is just a part of his operation. He has a farm where he grows the corn that is one of the ingredients in his Shine. In case you were curious, he malts the corn there too.
I talked to Jeremy for the better part of an hour. He took me through all the parts of the still from heat box (gas now, but designed to convert to wood if he wanted) to the thumper that is housed in a barrel. He explained how he’s trying to grow sustainably and run his business responsibly. He even told me about plans for the future. Though out of respect to him, I’ll keep those under my hat. (If you want to know, set up a tour!) He even went through the infusion process he uses to make his spiced rum.
I left admiring the operation and the proprietor. If you are in eastern North Carolina, set up a visit. Or attend an event he’ll be at. Taste the product. It’s good stuff.
Carolina Coast Silver Rum
Nose: A vague sweetness that I can't quite put my finger on. Smells like every moonshine I've ever tried.
Mouth: The sweetness is still here, but there's a bit of funk in the mouth too.
Finish: A fairly harsh burn and bitter.
Overall: This is a fairly typical mixing rum. It performs nicely in a mojito, though that funk comes through and might be off putting if you were not expecting it. Drinking it neat: meh. Not great, not terrible.
Carolina Coast Spiced Rum
Nose: Christmas in a glass. Vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, allspice. It's like a cookie in liquid form.
Mouth: All the flavors from the nose are here. Nice mouthfeel.
Finish: Sharp at first (in the sense of a sharp cheddar) but then a warmth spread from the back of the throat all the way to the tip of your tongue. Nice.
Overall: Didn't expect to like this. I detest Captain Morgan spiced rum and have never had any others. But, to my surprise, I like this one. I'd sip it on it's own. I'd consider mixing it too. I think it'd bring a lot to a cocktail. I might even try dabbing a bit on myself as a cologne. It smells that good.
Final thoughts: If I were buying this for myself, I wouldn't regret either purchase. I'd mix the silver as I expected to and not be unhappy about it. But if I were buying to sip, I'd go for the spiced. It's damn tasty.
This was part one. Part two will be an interview with proprietor, Jeremy Norris and reviews of his two moonshine products.